Sunday 2 May 2010

Mouse Paddle

Poor weather this May Day Bank Holiday Sunday afternoon has kept me in the shack. I was doing some woodwork and the glue-up was so big it needed to be done outdoors - but the skies looked ominous, so I left it for another day...

Recently I've had some fun with the FT817 (Blogs passim) and the Walkabout Mk II antenna in the garden, but I was a little uneasy carrying the Bencher paddle down there - so easy to trip and drop it.

I've been drooling over the nice little "Mini-Paddle" from Palm Radio, but I've still not recovered from all the exertions of opening the m0xpd wallet on too many recent occasions, as documented in these pages, so I haven't yet taken the plunge. Still, I do need to do something about a paddle for /p (or, at least, "/garden") working.

Thoughts turned to all the goodies I had harvested from the recent cull of mice in the m0xpd shack - especially those micro-switches...

I figured I could lash something together using the switches - particularly as I had already once used a mouse as an input to my Keyer, after the style of kb1jqx.

A couple of hours messing about with a scrap of Veroboard yielded a servicable paddle...

Don't get me wrong, dear reader - this is just a bit of fun - the result of hiding from the drizzle on a Sunday afternoon!

The paddles themselves were filed out of copper-clad glass fibre and they are "hinged" using solder tags.

The h/b "mouse paddle" will never displace my Bencher...

... but it has a surprisingly good "feel" and, to prove its viability, I've just enjoyed QSOs on 80m with two fellow FISTS members, g3xzx and gm3jud, using the paddle. Although these didn't quite reach rag-chew proportions, they were in a different league to the terse exchanges the contest boys have been filling the 40m band with today.

Whilst the "mouse paddle" above is little more than an experiment (in fact, little more than a joke) it has whetted my appetite to try making a small paddle - I have previously made a straight key, which I use pretty much every day (it was a great excuse to get the knurling tool out)..

Bencher, Kent, Begali - watch out HI HI

...-.- de m0xpd

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