Home-Brew CW Paddle  -  Weekend Project

What do you do with an hour of Saturday free time and a bag full of junk parts?

Bag full of junk parts

Why, you take on a HOME-BREW CHALLENGE!

With only the parts inside this bag, including miscellaneous brackets, plates and springs - I set out to build a dual-lever paddle for CW "Iambic" keying.

I spent the first half hour carefully arranging a handful of these parts and eventually arranged them into a working mechanism.
The only extras I used was a piece of wood for the base and some machine bolts and nuts.

Home-Brew CW Iambic Side Paddle

There was no drilling and cutting of the paddle's parts except for the mounting board, which is amazing.

First, I took a look at these small black plastic pieces with a funny shape... A good paddle shape.
These angled brackets bolted right into place, and I now had levers.
The main problem to solve was how to actuate the levers.
By attaching the levers to angle "L" brackets, a simple wood screw would allow rotation of the lever arm assembly.
Two small plates were attached to the board which provided a landing place for the lever assembly to strike.
The brackets were attached with a small sliver of space between the angle brackets and plates to allow for a little rotational movement.
I found spring that I cut into two pieces. These fit right over the bolts that were attached to the lever assemblies.
With springs in place, there is a little tension to hold the levers into place.
Angle brackets made from two metal strips are able to be bent to a specific angle to allow for contact distance.
Wiring was simple, but to add a nice touch to the connector cord that plugs into the radio - A gold-plated Radio Shack stereo plug was used,
and three 26 gauge wires were snaked through a brown shoe lace to create a vintage cord reminiscent of days gone by.

Old School Retro Cord


Connecting to my Yaesu FT-857-D, I went into the CW type menu and selected the "iambic" Keyer option.
This is a mode that I was unfamiliar with and have not tried in the five years I've been a licensed amateur.
I have to say, It took only a few minutes to pick up the basics of sending with a paddle and "Iambic" keyer.

Keyer from top

Keyer view from angle

Keyer view from side

Soon, I'll post more on the basics of "Iambic" keying and the use of dual-lever paddles...

Mike, K4ICY