CW Paddle and CW with Yaesu FT-817

Hello Sota family, since I have only activated Sota Summits in SSB and FM so far, I am also considering trying CW in the future.

As a tranceiver I have an FT 817. I have 2 questions for you:

  1. Question: Which paddle do you use? Can you give me some information or possibly post a picture / source of supply etc…

  2. Question The FT-817 does not have a CW filter when delivered, this can be installed later (YF-122C with 500 Hz). The existing SSB filter must be removed here so that the CW filter can be installed?. Or is the SSB filter permanently installed and the CW filter comes in an additional optional slot.? My goal is of course that I can then use the TRX well for both SSB and CW. Which CW filter did you install?

Thank you for your help 73 Michael. DC8YZ

In German:

Hallo Sota Familie, nachdem ich bisher nur in SSB und in FM Sota Summits aktiviert habe, überlege ich mir auch ob ich zukünftig mal CW versuche.

Als Tranceiver habe ich einen FT 817. Dazu hätte ich an euch 2 Fragen:

  1. Frage: Welches Paddle verwendet ihr ? Könnt Ihr mir ein Paar Infos geben bzw. evtl. ein Bild posten / Bezugsquelle usw…

  2. Frage der FT-817 hat ja in Auslieferungszustand keinen CW Filter, dieses kann man ja nachträglich einbauen (YF-122C mit 500 Hz). Muss hier der bestehende SSB Filter entfernt werden, damit der CW Filter eingebaut werden kan?. Oder ist der SSB Filter so zusagen festinstalliert und der CW Filter kommt auf einen zusätzlichen optionalen Steckplatz?. Ziel von mir ist es natürlich dass ich dann den TRX sowohl für SSB als auch für CW gut verwenden kann. Welchen CW Filter habt Ihr eingebaut?

Vielen Dank für eure Hilfe 73 Michael. DC8YZ


The FT817 has a 3.5mm stereo socket for the Morse key, so any paddle or straight key with a stereo 3.5mm (3 conductor) plug can be used.

The Palm Mini key is probably the most suitable key, but these are out of production now. The Bamakey looks like a nice key. There’s also the Radio Adventure Gear Paddle for a budget option. Ali Express and similar sites have a stainless steel key with strong magnets which would probably suit an FT817 and again in the budget price class.

There is one optional filter slot in the FT817, you can choose whether to fit an SSB or CW filter in that slot, you also need to enable the filter in the radio’s menu system. Fitting a CW filter doesn’t affect SSB operation. A third party option offered both CW and SSB filters on one module to fit in the single slot, but I’m not sure if tjis is available anymore. It seems that common opinion is that the SSB filter doesn’t really offer much advantage so isn’t worth fitting.

73, Colin


This is the paddle I use on my FT817 (and also with SW-3B radio). Very nice paddle
with a screw to fix to the FT817 (left or right hand). Five years of use with no problems.
Good luck for your future CW activations
73 de Claudio IX1IHR


UNI -715 Automatic Paddle Key Keyer CW Morse Code for HAM RADIO YAESU FT-817 818

I have a UMPP-1 paddle from GM0EUL. I really like it.

I can’t comment on the FT-817, but I use a bamakey TP-III. It’s not as cheap as others, but it’s really nice to use. I also use it at home attached to the underside of my IC-7300

I just purchased the 500Hz filter a few days ago. They are only available second hand, and it took a couple of weeks of watching several websites before I managed to get one (cost me just under £80)

I am a new CW operator…only been doing it for a few months. I found the ft818 to be unusable for CW without the filter. It doesn’t seem right to advertise the radio as CW capable, when out-of-the-box the performance is so poor and the filters are discontinued.

I use a Bamakey tp-III paddle.


The CW filter YF112C or -N (narrow) was a Collins mechanical filter that is no longer in production. To obtain one you would need to look on the second hand (used) market, but I suspect they will be rare and quite expensive.

The dual filter option marketed by the W2RT group in the US is also no longer available as far as I know.

CW Filters are not strictly essential - CW is still usable in the ssb bandwidth, but once the band is crowded it becomes difficult to receive your desired signal. Audio filters can be helpful but do not avoid the impact of strong nearby signals in the ssb bandwidth from affecting the receiver AGC.

As for paddles there are so many options available. User preferences are developed over a long period of operating on CW, I doubt if the paddles I like would necessarily suit anyone else. If you are not a frequent paddle user, give yourself time to gain the familiarity with paddles before spending big money on whatever anyone else says is “the best”. You don’t need the best until you know what’s deficient about the others. That takes some time to develop.

I have one of the metal paddles currently being sold on Aliexpress and I find it seems robust and stable. I have it attached to a steel plate, but it isn’t stable enough without additional weight, I need to add another steel plate.

Good luck and let’s hope for a contact one day.

73 Andrew VK1DA/VK2DA


CW filter for ft817/818 is not needed 98% of time. I never use cw filters in 45 years and because of price never will. There are some other tricks. Do not listen on small speakers biult in radio. Use aditional bigger speaker. Or, better, use headphones. Do not use low quality phones. No need for expensive ones. I am using one that comes with samsung mobile. Low quality phones tend to double or triple signals and are not sensitive enouqh.
In 45 years I never find paddles that are imposible to use. Just start with 50 or 60 cpm and slowly go up. And, set enough long delay on 817

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In former times CW-Rx often had no narrow filters. Some months ago I’ve found some audio samples from busy frequencies with sea radio traffic, many signals with different pitches and some in bad quality. It was by the operator to select the relevant signal by his trained brain.

Yes, it needs some training. If you want to do this, start in a quiet situation, not on a summit.

And yes, a narrow filter has its benefit by a more easy operation, especially if the operator is not so trained. But its not a must.

73, Ludwig

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The installation of an optional filter is described on page 74 of the manual. After it is set up following the instructions it can be selected by pressing the F button, selecting row 7 and pressing button C.

The headphones (cans) in use at that time had a resonant frequency that could be used to enhance the audio at that frequency, tuning the wanted signal into that frequency helped to concentrate on it - I tried it long ago in my SWL days, it wasn’t as good as a narrow filter or an audio filter but it worked.


Yes, I used such old Hedphones (“4 kOhm”) 40 or 50 years ago.

I think its like anything in life, lot of times you can do a perfectly good job with basic things, but there are often nicer options which make things more enjoyable or easier. It could be anything - like cars or woodworking tools. A cheap car still gets you from A to B, but a more expensive car may get you there faster, with more comfort. Better quality tools are often more pleasurable to use than cheap ones.

A CW filter makes life a bit more pleasant but is not an absolute must. I prefer to use a CW filter, but I also have a pretty well trained brain filter also. My brain was trained using RockMites -

The 300Hz filter in my FT817 was well worth adding, it certainly enhances my enjoyment of using the rig on CW.

73, Colin


IIRC Palm Paddles where on sale this year at the QRP-Labs booth in Friedrichshafen…

Hi Michael,

There are many good paddles available (as others have written here) but I strongly recommend using the paddle you are familiar with on your first activations. There are already lots of variables on an activation. You don’t need extra trouble with an unfamiliar key.

73, Roman


Many Many Thanks for all your Help and Informations.

73 Michael

I have recently become a big fan of the CW Morse paddles, which are something like $40. They are larger from a volume perspective than some of the other options but are mostly 3D printed parts, so they don’t weigh too much and the action is very nice. I was very impressed using these for the first time all weekend and these are probably going to be my regular SOTA key for the time being (I have used everything from the Begali Adventure to home brew keys and these present one of the best value propositions). I usually like to hold the key in my left hand while sending as opposed to other options, but there is a model that allows you to attach the key to a strap if that is your thing.

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Hi Michael
Am using G4ZPY mini iambic paddle. I got this from G4ZPY Gordon, during my staying in UK approx 20 years back. Not sure if he is dealing with this now.


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I’ve used these for chasing, and even took them to the top of Clingman’s Dome last week (W4C/WM001) to try my first CW activation. Had the FT-817, the LNR TFR end fed antenna and the 7AH LiFEPO4 for plenty power to stay awhile.

Of course, once setting up I discovered that I’d left the coax jumper for the antenna at the bottom of the hill in the truck. When I got back down the jumper was exactly where I’d laid it to pack it in the bag. Maybe next time.

Mike, N4VBV

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I have one too - my first twin paddles, lovely appearance and keying action. They must be collectors items now. Apparently, Gordon G4ZPY stopped making paddles and keys in 2010 and has died since then. His website is still there but I suspect it’s inactive.