I decided that I wanted to try something new paddle-wise for my lunchtime QRP portable operations. The main criteria was that it had to be on the inexpensive side. That seems to be my main criteria these days where a lot of things are concerned. Besides working well, it would also be nice if the paddle was light in weight.
Palm paddles would probably be the ultimate, but are way too expensive and would not fit within my meager budget right now. I needed to keep it under $50 if at all possible. That really narrows down the possibilities, let me tell you. I have a Whiterook MK-33 single lever paddle. It works well and it also fits the bill, but it tends to get a bit sloppy around the 22-23 WPM mark.
I had a Bulldog paddle back when I had my K1 and I liked it. However, I included it as part of the K1 package when I sold that radio to raise money for my KX3. So, relying on my memory, I decided to give another Bulldog a try. I went to the Website: http://www.amateurradioproducts.com/, only to find out that they no longer manufacture the model I had. Mine was the one on a small triangular wooden base that had three tiny suction cups.
They have several different models now, and I decided to go with the BD6, the Mini-Iambic. It arrived on Saturday through the mail, and tonight was the first chance I had to try it out.
I have to admit that I was skeptical when I opened up the package that it came in. It is indeed ‘mini” – in fact, it gets lost in the middle of the 1.5 inch fender washer that serves as a base! But as usual, it turns out that looks are quite deceiving. This little paddle is smooth and is great to use just as it is, no adjustments were required, although the accompanying instruction sheet tells you how to go about that, if needed. I worked both W1AW/5 and W1AW/0 tonight at about the 21 WPM range. The paddles acquitted themselves nicely there. Then I turned up the speed a notch to work EV1R and LZ1WR and C6ATT. Even at the speed where the Whiterook goes kaflooey on me, the Bulldog stays sharp, smooth and flawless and had great feel to it. The fact that it was only $35 was icing on the cake. I will definitely bring these along for Field Day. They may be too small for some of our guest operators, but they work great for me!
72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP – When you care to send the very least!