Apologies for Poor Sending

Hello all,

Sorry for my poor sending on 20m CW this morning from W1/HA-014. My key contacts were spaced too close causing an unintended “dah” on the “dit” return. I use a 3D printed single lever key and adjusted it at home but I think the cold caused some dimensional changes that affected the contact spacing. I fixed the issue on the summit and continued to operate without this issue.

Thank you to all chasers, the effort you make is much appreciated!

Jonathan “JB”


Don’t sweat it. I’ve had my fair share of activations where my key was malfunctioning, or my fingers were malfunctioning due to being frozen. Thanks for the activation - hope you had a good day on the mountain!

73 es HNY!


I worked you no problem yesterday JB, and at a 439 strength it was hard to hear any sending errors on my side! As a chaser and activator I know its a different ball game sending sat hunched up usually bending over the radio outdoors in the cold and keying awkardly. I probably make 10 times more errors activating than I do chasing.

73 de Phil G4OBK


I have that issue with my Radio Adventure Gear /Paddle. I increased the spacing recently but I’m yet to try the key on a SOTA activation. I simply don’t trust the key enough.

73, Colin


You did a great job, field repair especially in winter is never easy.
On 40m during our S2S, your signal was a perfect 599 so, your new key and MTR4b are now working perfectly.

Always a pleasure to hear you.
72, Éric VA2EO

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I’ve experienced two key failures on hills.

Once I tore the wires from my morse key (and didn’t have the alum key needed to access inside the case) I resorted to pressing the wires together in my hand. Much to my relief I got plenty of contacts.

The 2nd time my radio wouldn’t recognise I was using a straight key and simply sent out random but very well spaced out dots and/or dashes to which I had no control. Having learned from my previous equipment failure I’d cleverly brought a spare key - a tiny Palm Paddle I’d never used. Out it came - but I quickly discovered that it too would only send dots and/or dashes but not always when I wanted to and even then I almost no control over what was sent. I attempted a kind of repair by hitting it over a rock and by other devious but crud methods I eventually gained some control - imagine a total drunk who’d only spent an hour or two learning morse and you’ll have some idea of how little the transmitted product resembled morse code.

Again I was absolutely astounded and delighted at how many chasers stuck with it and replied - I just hope non of them thought I was drunk.

But like you I think also apologised on here!!


You did fine, Mate, TNX for contact, congrats on winter activation. I no longer have paddle adjustment problems thanks to a touch paddle… no adjustments! On the other “hand,” the metal posts are v-e-r-y cold in winter, ha-hah-hah!

HNY, fred kt5x / (w5ya on peaks)

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Hi Fred,
Consider painting the metal posts with a conductive polymer for comfort in cold weather.
If very, very cold WX, do not test with your tongue!

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well that’s a curiosity alright! - fd

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Thank you all for the replies and encouragement. I am a chaser as well as an activator so I know the struggle of trying to listen to a weak signal and understand what is going on in the pileup so as to time a call correctly and to copy the necessary information.

Phil, thank you for pulling out my weak signal yesterday, much appreciated! Looking forward to more QSOs in the future.

Éric, merci! You had a true 599 signal yesterday from your summit. I hope we can continue our nice run of S2S contacts, it is always great to work you.

Fred, thank you for the QSOs yesterday, you had a very nice signal both in morning and afternoon when 20m was very hit-and-miss for me!

Jonathan “JB”

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