Homebrew paddles “Serrafusta”
Today i gave it a shot to build my own CW key. I still have the intention to learn CW one day and i thought having a key could be handy.
First step is to find the materials for the paddles. Looking around in my shed i found the almost perfect paddles.
Yes, it is what it looks like. I just took a hacksaw blade (serra in catalan) and broke them in two. The advantage of the blades is that they are conductive (at least when you remove the paint, that is) and they are just sturdy enough to bend with a fair resistance. The nuts and bolts at the end will be used to connect the dash and dot wires.
Next is the base. I created the base out of wood (fusta in catalan). The elevated part is where the paddles will be fixed, the ground connection will be made to a big bolt i screwed in the centre of the base. On the base of the that elevated part i created a small cable guide.
The cable i am going to use is an old cable i found in the shed as well. I found out that it’s pretty difficult to find a cable with a stereo jack and some decent wire connected to it. This is a cable with one side a 3,5″ stereo jack and the other side a serial connector. Don’t ask me what this cable was for.
Here is where i connected the ground connection to the centre bolt. This image also shows the use of the small cable guide i mentioned before.
The paddles are now fixed to the base. I use a connecting bridge which puts enough pressure on the paddles to keep the firmly in place. As you can see the gap between the paddles and the nut is pretty small. You can adjust the gap by turning the bolt.
Here is a view from the back side of the paddles so you can see the bridge more clearly. The dash and dot cables are connected to the paddles now.
This is the finalised key connected to the radio. You can see that the key is pretty small. I found out that the base is way too light to work with one hand, so eventually the key needs to be fixed to the table with sucking naps, velcro or whatever. But in any case it was a fun thing to build, cost $0 and works fairly well. Now it’s time to start morse lessons!!