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write your own review of the BSL Paddle MINI.
Oct 27, 2006 09:32
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Fun and useful paddle kit
Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I just finished building the BSL Paddle Mini kit. I really like it and am amazed at it's simple design.
The kit arrived very quickly from Japan. It went together easily as it's quite simple, and instructions were adequate.
It did a little experimentation to figure out how the two microswitches fit together (inverted and nested side-to-side) while still leaving their actuator arms free to move inside the protective gate. But once you get it, it's one of those "Why didn't someone think of this sooner" moments.
Although the BSL Paddle Mini uses micro-switches, (which makes clicks with each DIT and DAH) the feel is quite pleasant. The switches have very light mechanisms, so keying feels easy with not much resistance; this adds to the better feel compared to other "switch" based keys.
It is somewhat delicate though, as the metal tabs on the switches (which hold the paddles) is very thin. Not a key for rough and tumble use; it would likely get bent or broken.
But it's very light weight, and would be great for portable operations or backpacking, as long as you carry it in protective container.
I did spend the time to sand and polish the paddle edges, for nice smooth feel, and am glad I did. The bright colors look nice on the finished-edge paddles (I picked yellow base/top, and blue/red paddles; you get your choice at ordering on colors).
Base: You can order kit with different bases. I opted to build my own base. The paddle comes with single stand-off and screw which is meant for mounting to different bases.
I ended up mounting mine on a "mini" Altoids tin (not the standard size; that would be too easy). I installed one of the NorCal QRP club's keyer kits inside the mini-Altoids tin and mounted the BSL Paddle Mini on the lid. Then put 4 small rubber feet on the bottom. The rubber feet and weight of the wiring/components/jacks give it just enough friction to stay put when keying.
Even with the sanding and polishing of the paddles, this is a fun one-evening kit even for beginners. It makes a fun and colorful addition to your QRP and mini-paddle collection.
72, de Mike - N6OFT
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