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Author Topic: What's best for QRP CW?  (Read 4955 times)
VA3MGY
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Posts: 24




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« on: October 15, 2011, 02:25:51 PM »

I have an Icom 703Plus and want to use it QRP in the field. 
What is the best key or paddle to use for sending CW?
I'm concerned about its weight and ability to withstand
wear and tear taking it in and out of a backpack for
portable operations.  I need something rugged.
Any suggestions?  Steve VA3MGY

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WB6BYU
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Posts: 13029




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« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2011, 02:31:25 PM »

I usually carry my old J-38 straight key, though I saw a nice palm-sized key made in South Africa
some years back that would be well suited to the task.  I've considered building my own that
doesn't require a flat place to set it down:  one option I like for a set of paddles was a pair of
relay contacts attached to the thumb and forefinger that can be pressed against any convenient
object (in that case it was for mobile operation, and it allowed the driver to hold the wheel with
3 fingers of the hand that was keying.)

For low weight I'd probably build one into the rig using a microswitch, but if you are carrying a
IC-703 with batteries that probably isn't a limitation for you.
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W5FYI
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Posts: 1044




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« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2011, 07:21:25 PM »

These are fairly light weight and rugged, and reasonably priced: http://www.americanmorse.com/
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WA4FNG
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Posts: 162




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« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2011, 12:30:09 AM »

I don't have one of these, but have several friends who use the Palm Mini Paddle

http://www.mtechnologies.com/palm/
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VA7CPC
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Posts: 2357




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« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2011, 08:29:17 AM »

Another way to solve the problem (I'm not the first person to have this idea):

http://www.eham.net/articles/13722

  Charles
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KQ6Q
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Posts: 965




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« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2011, 03:41:25 PM »

I use the PortaPaddle from American Morse with my 703. I did need to do a mod to provide better ground to the Key/paddle jack on the rear panel - got lockup on 10mhz and higher bands. 40m was OK. AK7V sent me the link a few months ago - http://www.qsl.net/icom/ic703/703key.html
you will need a magnifying glass and a sharp pointed iron.
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KE7WAV
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Posts: 126




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« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2011, 08:56:40 PM »

I have made a few keys and I like them, but recently I decided to try one of the keys made by electronics USA and I love my cootie I got from them.  They are really inexpensive and a fun lightweight travel key.
<http://electronicsusa.com/productsham.html>
Give them a look.

73 de KE7WAV
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W5ESE
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Posts: 550


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« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2011, 10:02:30 AM »

I use a Whiterook MK-44 with my AT Sprint 3.

I've used it for 4 years in the Texas QSO Party, once for a 'Summits on the Air' activation, and a few other times on casual backpacking trips.

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K5LXP
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« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2011, 10:32:23 AM »

A 703 (and it's attendant power source) is not something I'd want to backpack very far but for for most of my portable operating I use an American Morse Porta Paddle.  It's not a remarkable paddle in terms of function but it's fairly light and doesn't have any fragile protrusions that would be bent or broken if dropped or had something land on it.  Instead of a heavy base, I use scotch dual lock along the back edge of the base and "stick" it to a complimentary strip of dual lock I have on my gel cells. 

For "real" portable QRP (<1lb station) I use a Palm Mini Paddle.  It's advantages are it's light and although fragile, retracts into its housing for secure transport.  It has an optional magnetic base or I just rubber band/tape it to something.


Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
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AK7V
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Posts: 249




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« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2011, 02:40:06 PM »

I, too, use the Palm Mini Paddle with my IC-703.  I also use it with my "base" rig in the shack.  I think it's great.
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N5RWJ
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Posts: 461




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« Reply #10 on: October 19, 2011, 03:29:45 PM »

These are fairly light weight and rugged, and reasonably priced: http://www.americanmorse.com/
I love the bush whacker and mine B sideswiper paddles.
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VA3MGY
Member

Posts: 24




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« Reply #11 on: October 20, 2011, 08:10:43 AM »

OK, thanks to everybody who replied. As to the comment about the weight:  he's right.
The Yaesu 817 w/battery is 2.5 lbs.  The Icom 703 w/battery is 5 lbs.
And that's not counting the microphone or antenna. 
Steve VA3MGY in Ottawa, Canada
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W1JKA
Member

Posts: 1619




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« Reply #12 on: October 20, 2011, 12:06:55 PM »

    For all my portable QRP ops I just use an old signal electric or J-38 straight key,they are rugged and size/weight is not an issue in my backpack.For a backup key I use the old standby wood cloths pin with two thumbtacks squeeze paddle.Use whatever you have and are comfortable with and have fun.

73  Jim
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KA4RUR
Member

Posts: 2




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« Reply #13 on: October 30, 2011, 11:40:34 AM »

I use a Vibroplex 703 with my IC-703, it must weigh about 1 once or less .....

Fred KA4RUR St. Louis, MO
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K8AG
Member

Posts: 349




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« Reply #14 on: November 04, 2011, 12:12:51 PM »

I actually wrote an article in QRP Quarterly about converting an old ball style computer mouse into a paddle set (maddles?).  I must admit it is not good for QRQ.  But it is rugged and has taken a lot of abuse and still works reliably well.

My 2 cents.

73, JP, K8AG
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