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Author Topic: A Modded Kent SP-1 Key  (Read 4477 times)
W1EUJ
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Posts: 34




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« on: October 10, 2017, 03:21:49 AM »

Its the Kent SP-1 single paddle key.  



I had settled on this key after finding the single-paddle style was the best fit for my 'novice sending style' - and this was after trying out a Begali and building up an American Morse paddle kit. In the end I found that it gave the greatest bang for the buck - the Kent has a VERY precise adjustment mechanisms and a great 'feel'.

After years off the key, I brought the Kent to work for my lunchtime sending practice sessions, and it was then that I remembered some of its negatives. While the key was made from solid chunky brass and steel, the design of the black plastic paddle had a flaw. The thin end that attached to the main pivot arm is even thinner, and under the pressure of sending, the paddle would flex slightly, giving the key a disappointing 'sponginess' of the end of the action.

That effort in the design and fabrication of the key to make a solid action was a bit spoiled in the end by a weak paddle. I'm not sure how thick the un-notched (fat part) of the paddle was but it would have been much better not to have machined down as far and left such a thin tab on the end. They did that so it would be flush with the thin lever for a clean look, I'd guess.

Well - this just won't do. I need to fix this. This key can be way better.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2017, 03:42:12 AM by W1EUJ » Logged
W1EUJ
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Posts: 34




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« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2017, 03:35:08 AM »

As an illustration of what I mean:

See how thin that mounting 'tab' on the paddle is? It would flex right at the step change in thickness as you operated the key; I could see the small gap open and close under the pressure.

I contacted my compatriot in key modification, Donnie WA9TGT, and we worked out a plan to improve this key.

It all came down to that thin plastic paddle finger piece. It was too thin to my fingers and wasn't always the most comfortable to operate for a long period of time. Its an issue that 'iambic' operators do not suffer but for single-paddle enthusiasts there seems to be two camps of design - either the 'paddle' is relatively thin like the arm that it attaches too, or it emulates the wider spacing of the 'iambic' style. I prefer that wider style and the Kent is of the thinner one. So, the plan is to make it thicker.

We also want to make sure that no flex happened under operating pressure. So, the materials chosen were of 3/16" plastic, so they would be rock solid in feel.

The easiest way to get that thicker design was to simply mount on two thick paddles onto the existing arm, one on each side. The mounted pair would be wider than any single paddle that he had available, would take less effort to machine to fit, and would be very rigid without resorting to some gap-filling material between the paddle.

Last, the key had this 'sway' to it - the key came with four screw-on rubber feet - and while its nice that they are screw-on the choice in design made them too soft to hold the key rigid under the side to side pressure on the key. Those feet had to be replaced with something that was both more rigid, and would have a good 'grab' on a table top or rubber pad.

Here's how it turned out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKVKC_VAkdg

« Last Edit: October 10, 2017, 03:51:09 AM by W1EUJ » Logged
W1EUJ
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Posts: 34




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« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2017, 03:57:09 AM »

There are some things I'd still like to improve. I don't like that I could only fit on three rubber feet - what would be nicer is some additional plate and standoffs so that I can mount on a full sheet of self-adhesive rubber so I can use the key without a rubber mat. I also need to replace the original PVC jacketed wiring with a flexible, lay-flat type cable. Updates on this soon.
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N3QE
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Posts: 4883




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« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2017, 05:30:52 AM »

A different way of doing it, even stiffer, with wood!

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W1EUJ
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Posts: 34




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« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2017, 08:31:50 AM »

Nice!
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N3HEE
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Posts: 433


WWW

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« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2017, 06:04:37 AM »

I had a Kent single lever.  Never liked the feel of that key.  Just too much slop in the lever arm no matter how much I messed with it.  Here is how I fixed it !



Begali HST
« Last Edit: October 16, 2017, 06:06:38 AM by N3HEE » Logged

Joe
N3HEE
CW Academy Advisor (Level II)
W1EUJ
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Posts: 34




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« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2017, 06:45:29 AM »

 Cheesy Cheesy
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W9FR
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Posts: 1




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« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2017, 07:11:59 AM »

I simply turned the paddle upside down to get it higher.  The thin paddle wobble has never been an issue since I use extremely close spacing with a light touch to send. I routinely send error free cw at 40 wpm with this paddle.  Your mod looks good and I may consider it later.  Thanks for the great post.  W9FR

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W1EUJ
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Posts: 34




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« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2017, 08:41:19 AM »

You know, I should have mentioned that I tried that just to see if the change would reduce the mush. I've got a bear fist mashing out 20 WPM tops so it just had to get fixed for my case. And agreed - if I didn't have a flex issue, I'd still consider the mod for the thickness  offered and the looks.
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KC4ZGP
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« Reply #9 on: October 21, 2017, 06:17:37 AM »


You modded?

Alrighty. Language...always evolving.

Kraus
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W1EUJ
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Posts: 34




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« Reply #10 on: October 22, 2017, 07:10:25 AM »

Hey, it is in the dictionary!
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VK5EEE
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Posts: 1063




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« Reply #11 on: October 23, 2017, 04:46:32 AM »

English constantly evolves as perhaps it is not a language, it is a mixture of French, and something else?
Many languages are constant. French is not exactly constant but they have a committee that meets every year to officially decide?
English is so imprecise, hence legal English uses 50 words to say what would be 5 words in a precise language?
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Long Live Real Human CW and wishing you many happy CW QSO - 77 - CW Forever

Support CW and join CW clubs. QTT: FIST#1124, HSC#1437, UFT#728, RCWC#982, SKCC#15007, CWOPS#1714, 30CW#1,
W1EUJ
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Posts: 34




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« Reply #12 on: October 23, 2017, 05:21:18 AM »

That's all nice, but what about the key?
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N3QE
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Posts: 4883




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« Reply #13 on: October 23, 2017, 07:13:53 AM »

Hey, it is in the dictionary!

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mod

Quote
mod
adjective
Definition of mod

1 :of, relating to, or being the characteristic style of 1960s British youth culture
2 :hip, trendy
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W1EUJ
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Posts: 34




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« Reply #14 on: October 23, 2017, 08:14:32 AM »

I dunno...

https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/mod#mod_Noun_300
http://www.dictionary.com/browse/modded?s=t
https://encyclopedia2.thefreedictionary.com/modded
https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/mod#English

Google said: mod3: informal verb past tense: modded; past participle: modded - make modifications to; modify. Ex.:"both the single-player and multiplayer games can be modded"

I don't have my library card to check on the OED history, I think I see the update in 2002, but I know I was using it earlier. However, and at least per a simple title search, here's a fairly old occurrence of 'mod' as a verb and synonym for modification: NOV 1972 - HAM RADIO (PG. 71) - S-Line Transceive Mod (Ham Notebook), with other ham radio articles continuing to use it in that sense up to the present day. And, you have to give that following 'mod' with -ed is not exactly a evolutionary leap in the development of the English language.
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