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Author Topic: Wiring up a new key  (Read 886 times)
WM2P
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Posts: 26




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« on: November 25, 2007, 08:00:12 PM »

I am expecting my first CW key for Xmas. In anticipation I went to my local electronics store so that I could make the cable from the key to the rig buy could not find any suitable cable to use. They had nothing that had three wires in it. I am getting Bencher Hex key and wanted to make the cable up this weekend. This store is the largest electronics store near me and they sell almost every brand of CB radio, car and home audio along with GPS and most things electronic but like most others, are getting away from the do it yourself supplies.

I was wondering if I could just buy a mic cable or some other audio cable that terminates in a 1/4 inch RCA plug from Radio Shack and then just cut off one end?

I know I can just run three separate wires but I would like to have them all nice and neat in a cable form. Any ideas?
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KB9CRY
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« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2007, 05:34:43 AM »

All the keys and CW jacks I've ever wired only used two wires.  With CW it's either on or off.  Don't think you need three wires?!
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K7UNZ
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Posts: 691




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« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2007, 08:11:53 AM »

Actually, you do need three wires.....ground, dot, dash.

As for the cable, just about anything will do.  I currently use a coiled cable on my Bencher Hex Key, made from a cut-off headphone extension cable.  Quarter inch stereo plug on one end, which fits nicely into my rigs with that size plug, or into my K-5 keyer with a simple radio shack 3.5mm adapter plug.  

On the cut end, simple solder on the lugs that come with the paddle and you're in business.

73, Jim/k7unz
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WM2P
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« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2007, 11:38:17 AM »

Thanks. I just got an email from Bencher that said the same thing about buying a Radio Shack audio cable and cutting off the end and soldering on the lugs. All the keys I have seen at my friend's shacks had three wires, one being a ground.
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N8UZE
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« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2007, 03:26:50 PM »

Straight keys take two wires.  Paddles take three wires.  Since I've never used a bug, I don't know how many wires that takes.
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AE5I
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Posts: 124




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« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2007, 10:01:50 AM »

Two.  And you oughta give a bug a try sometime!  ;-)  Bugs are my favorite...
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K9AMP
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« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2007, 08:31:13 AM »

As someone has already stated you need two conductor cable for straight keys and bugs, and three conductor for paddle types. You are correct in that it is hard to find cabling at electronic stores anymore.  So I use various cables I cut to use.  Some are cut off patch cables with premolded plugs on one end and then I usually add a terminal lug on the other ends.   I’ve made them from cut up power cords, patch cords, headphones, even extension usb cables.  They all do the job.  I prefer the thinner types as they are the most flexible. Power cords are usually the thinckest.
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KD5MJJ
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« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2007, 02:47:39 PM »



Radio Shack.

73 Hank k5icw
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N1UK
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Posts: 1589




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« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2007, 08:12:24 AM »

Stereo microphone or audio cable seems a good choice to me
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