EA2/NV-112 by EA2IF/P 12-04-2014

Dear all,
I had the pleasure of activating a new unique this afternoon-evenning.
I want to apologize because I had announce in my previous alert a cw activation on HF, but my Palm Radio paddle decided itself that it would not produce any dot today. With dashes only it wasn’t going to be possible :wink:
After looking into the paddle and trying to produce dots by shortcircuiting with my pen ball first, which it worked, and a small screwdriver that I found in my sota-kit later, which didn’t work, I decided to forget cw for today and do the activation fully on ssb.
So I did and I ended up with just 30 qsos by the time I ran out of power in my batteries. I think it’s less than my usual number of qsos on a cw activation, but it’s true that today’s was on saturday afternoon and this shouldn’t be compared with Sunday morning ones due to bands conditions differences and people availability.
However I have the feel that working ssb consumes more power out of the batteries than working cw.
Now I’ll have to look into the Palm Radio paddle and see what’s wrong with it.
It’s weird that it worked perfectly until I finished my last weekend activation at EA2/NV-099, I packed it into the sota-kit bag with the same care I always use and nobody has open the bag or touched anything since then, but the paddle didn’t want to produce a single dot today. I’ve been reading a thread here with lots of comments about failures like this one or similar. I remember some colleagues said it seems to be related to the too stiff cable of this paddle.
Well, I’ll look at it ASAP and I’ll let you know if I find something interesting.
Thank you everyone for your calls today and apologies to my devoted cw chasers which couldn’t get this new unique today from me. I’m sorry for that but there will be other ones in the near future.
Best 73 de Guru - EA2IF

In reply to EA2IF:

Guru - I recently had a similar failure with my Palm Paddle. My problem was in the cable, near the connector on the paddle end of the cable. There was a broken wire. For several activations I made it work by bending the wire - then I was able to repair it at home. After the repair I used several layers of heat-shrink tubing to make it stiffer. Now I disconnect the cable before I pack up my gear - previously I left the cable connected to the paddles. I was reasonably careful, but things do eventually fail.

I also had a very embarrasing activation when snow got into the Palm Paddle. My paddle was almost useless because of a few flakes of snow! I don’t know whether the snow melted and then shorted the contacts, or if it melted and then froze into ice, creating mechanical problems. I was unable to send sensible CW, and it was a rough activation until the problem seemed to improve - perhaps the snow or water inside the paddles moved. The temperature that day was about -4C. It is essential to keep these paddles out of the snow - just a little bit will find its way inside - there is nothing in the way - with very bad results.

The metal housing of the unit is also very cold with bare fingers when the temperature is below freezing. When it’s cold It gets worse with time during a long activation. In cold weather the paddle housing should be clamped to something to avoid having to hold that freezing metal with fingers. I need to find some thin gloves that will provide some insulation without losing the feel ffor the paddles.

Otherwise these are good paddles, and I have no problem with them going out of adjustment or getting stuck.


In reply to KX0R:
I am on my second Palm Paddle lead and I have a new one spare, mine gives up on the dash side some times but a wiggle makes it work. They are not that robust really but a very nice paddle to use when working. Sorry to miss you the other day George I was a bit late getting to my summit. I got my String stuck up a tree from a dodgy throw and it took me some thinking on how to rescue it .
73 de ian vk5cz …

In reply to KX0R:
Dear all,
Problem found. Broken wire.
I have just repaired the broken red wire of the Palm paddle cable, exactly where you yours broke, George, very close to the 3 pin connector to paddle.
I have cut-off exactly 9cm of cable and soldered again the 2 wires plus braid to the 3 pin connector.
Since I don’t have any heat shrink tube available here, I have just wrapped the connection with electric tape. Not as professional as heat shrink tube but good enough.
I’ve just tested it and works fine again, so I’m again ready to activate SOTA on CW.
I’ll look forward to copying you soon again from a summit.
Best 73 de Guru - EA2IF.