CoWee: a homebrew Iambic paddle


I wanted to build a new Iambic key since long based on a new concept: using a recycled card for the moving parts.

Taking the chance of the confinement due to Covid-19, I took some free time to build and test it. Now I just need to wait for our freedom to go and do an activation in the mountains!

Hope you like this design. It is lightweight (10 gr w/o cables) and small and fits well in my log table.

73 de Ignacio


Nice simple design Ignacio, well done!

Excellent job, Ignacio. Seems sweet and easy to make. Congrats.

Be save!

Looks super light!

I have my eu NHS card to spare… heheheh nice use for it… (im sorry I couldn’t resist the brexit joke when I saw this)

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Hi Ignacio,

That’s a neat and simple construction. Light enough to be no problem in the pack too.

“Tap and go” becomes “tap and QSO”.

73 Andrew VK1DA/VK2UH

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Good one Ignacio.
I think we are all hoping to get out on a summit soon. WX is right, time of year is right just no essential travel yet.
Take care
vk5cz …

Me encanta !!

Seeing Ignacio’s new paddle, I just had to come up with an invention of my own !

So I was thinking, can we make a paddle from just one piece of plastic sheet, and with simple home tools ?
Yes, we can !
Here is my OP³ or One Piece Plastic Paddle

So I took a sheet of plastic, drew a few lines where the plastic had to be removed, and started cutting it to size, then drilling a lot of holes , then used a Dremel to remove the plastic between the holes.
I guess one could also “melt” all this with a soldering iron.
I cleaned the edges a bit with an X-Acto knife, but they are far from “factory” quality.

Bending was done by holding the sheet over my soldering iron until the plastic started sagging, then I bent it into shape.

First part that was bent was the middle part, then the right paddle.

After that , I soldered the wires to a 3,5 mm connector, mounted in a hole in the right paddle.

Finally the left paddle was bent into shape, and the wires soldered to the three pieces of self-adhesive copper strip.

Because of the large base plate, it is not the lightest, it weighs 29 grams without cables. The base plate can be fixed to your table or clipboard with velcro strips, or double sided tape, magnets, etc … .

Does it work ?
It does, I made a short video :

As you can see, it is a bit wobbly, so I should have used a thicker piece of plastic (or some stiffer material, I wonder if an old CD would work ?).
And the edges are a bit rough, I didn’t spend any time at making it look better, I just wanted to test the principle.

Does anyone have better “plastic working skills” than me ?
Make a better looking one, and let us know here in this thread !



Let me share this design, which @EA2AJO sent me some time ago. I don’t know if it’s his design or somebody else’s.
I’ve never built it or tried it.
My preference is for dual lever paddles and I think a dual-lever paddle can also be made easily following this same basic, simple, cheap and very easy to build principle:
Best 73,



These are 2 basic, simple dual-lever paddles I’ve built in the past:

Later I realised that there was no need for a spring and it was better taking advantage of the flexible plastic material of the levers. So I made this one:

Both were made with materials from the junk box.



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Wow, excellent idea Luc.
This is a good paddle for crisis times…

Are we developing a natural replacement for the so much missed Palm Paddles?

Anyway, we could convert this into a challenge to build the cheapest / lightest / environmental friendly / reliable paddle… hi!

Thanks for sharing Luc, I need to find a new target material now!


73 de Ignacio

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Nice and simple design. I like it.

73 Angel

Great minds think alike! Mine are designed to be handheld while using them but you can use magnets to hold them to your rig. The yellow tab in the upper left of one picture is a straight key wedged under my MFJ rig.


…I think I know what I will do this weekend :wink:

Thanks for the idea!

73 de Greg DL3GJ


Very nice job! The creative realm is wide for paddles. I use a built-in touch paddle with just two posts protruding from the radio. I once had the electrolytic capacitor in the keyer fail, so I wanted to make an extremely light weight and durable paddle to bring along as a back-up to the touch paddle. I made this in a dental floss case, simply plugs into the key jack. The tab slips into a seam in the radio case toi prevent rotation of the paddle when used. Pressure on the springs causes elongation which causes contact with the acorn nuts. - Fred KT5X (aka WS0TA)