Old Bay Top, CW Touchkeyer Bottom

 

Exposed PCB

 http://www.cwtouchkeyer.com/

Model P6 CWtouchkeyer

 

Model P6 CWtouchkeyer http://www.cwtouchkeyer.com/P6.htm

“The PC card is exposed to reduce assembly cost and material cost to provide a low cost touch paddle. The model P1PAD would be the next option.  It’s twice the size and offers a weight in it. The P6 is designed to be low cost, light weight yet hold the touch standard as with all my products.” Summer, from CWtouchkeyer.com says, “I’ve had a few comments about the exposed PC card but less than 1%.”

I wanted to protect the PCB from potential short circuits that might damage the Touch Paddles.  I ordered the P6 because every radio I have already has a keyer onboard. A quick scan of the CWtouchkeyer.com web site will show you various models with better and better features.

I like to tinker and one of my favorite things to do is to use something for ham radio for which it was not intended. The Old Bay spice can was just the right size for this job. The can was almost empty anyway. I was going to mount the entire keyer inside the Old Bay box but eventually decided that was overkill. Modifying the cover was pretty easy. I used a Dremel tool to rout out the cover lip so it would fit better on the PCB. I used ‘Whiteout’ to drip a mark onto the Old Bay Cover through the screw holes of the PCB for its rubber feet and main cover screws.

 

The hardest part of this job was getting all the wire back in the box, and whole thing put back together without pinching the wire. It took longer to write this blog and get the photos properly displayed than doing the actual work.

Using these paddles is not exactly the same as using mechanical paddles. You cannot ‘rest’ your fingers on the metal tabs. Touching the metal strips sends a stream of code out. I learned to keep my wrist steady to avoid sending extra dits. The learning curve is not as steep as I first suspected it would be. My fist improved after using the touch paddled for just a short time. Using them if fun. I plan to try various CW speeds on my radio keyer just to test myself and make sure I don’t embarrass myself when I go on the air.

I tested the paddles with very low power into a dummy load. So far so good. Now I’m looking forward to using them on the air.

The P6 is a very light weight model and can be held in your hand to steady it. I like these paddles so much that I am thinking about getting a second set and boxing them up in a different kind of enclosure and weighing it down to keep it from moving around. That will be fun to play with indoors with my 100 watt radio.

73

de AA1IK

 

Ernest Gregoire

Geezer on the porch

Ernest Gregoire, AA1IK, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Florida, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

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