Home Brew paddles

Martin VK3TMP 

I’ve only recently started to learn morse and have a WWII era straight key that I will continue to use as I think the ‘feel’ is really nice – to me anyway. I have some months back ordered a quite cheap 3D printed paddle from the usual site but I have become a little tired of waiting – not that I’m really ready for a paddle just yet hi.

Being somewhat of a tight-a…., er HAM, and having holidays at home instead of sunny Spain, a little project was in order. A case I’ve had for probably 35 yrs (10x5x2.5cm), some perf board, a couple of lengths of wire including some short lengths of 240v mains copper, an old brass book binding post, some scrounged screws and a scrap of wood were all I needed… oh, and a couple of bits of shrink tube to finish it off.

I cut the perf board base roughly to shape so it was snug in the case. Drilled a hole for the binder post which I cut to fit the case. The wood block was drilled and screwed to the board. A little ‘slop’ allows for fine adjustment and the screws for the paddles were offset so they didn’t short each other. 

The wood needed some ‘meat’ for the screws so to make the paddles a little closer to the contact, I soldered some short lengths of copper wire to each track. Any adjustment can be made easily by shim or filing – none as yet needed.

The paddles were connected to the base with some hookup wire as the connector lead wire is so fine (a scrounged headphone lead that looks quite attractive I think – and free of course. I have soldered the lead to the base tracks in line with the connectors. Strain relief is via a zip tie and loose knot. 

Well, a little practise and it seems to work a treat! And, the dits and dahs are on the correct paddles too.