Morse Key poll

Here’s a can of worms about to be opened…

What is the best morse key for SOTA use?

I had a go with a “Bulldog” key some time ago, but was not impressed.




Mini Palm Paddle with magnetic base for attaching to top of 817 case.

In reply to G4YTD:

Search of Reflector for “What Morse paddle?” will bring you dozens of answers asked in June 2008 and April 2009


In reply to G4YTD:
Mini Palm Paddle
Roger MW0IDX

In reply to G4YTD:
Palm mini paddle until the moisture in the air sends it scatty! It goes on every activation with me so am open to cw responses to my CQ calls. I lack the confidence to use it.
My other key is a Czech army one see Ads in Sprat. Good value for money but your cw instructor will complain about poor keying technique with this key.

David M0YDH

PS tks fer 26 callers to today’s activation of Hutton Roof Crags. Another tiddler tomorrow Holme Fell the second lowest Wainwright. I might be able to get my boot over my swollen foot [cellulitis] by then!

In reply to G4YTD:

Palm mini paddle … until the inner conductor in the lead breaks! The cable is very thin and fragile.

Walt (G3NYY)

In reply to G3NYY:

The cable is very thin and fragile.

But you know where to come for replacements! :wink:

(And Alinco DJ-G7 waterproof microphone leads).


I use an MFJ-493 portable iambic keyer, it has its own side tone and the speed can be adjusted very easily by turning a rotor on the side. It saves messing about with memories if you want to qrq or qrs. It runs off a 9v battery and it is very small and light.

Nick G4OOE

In reply to M1EYP:


Mini Palm Paddle with magnetic base for attaching to top of 817

Exactly the same setup now.

When I started with CW, I used this Russian key:
and the magnetic paddle is much more comfortable.

Marek OK9HAG

In reply to G4YTD:
In the shack I use a Hi-mound manipulator picked up off ebay for £12, When /P I use a homebrew paddle built around a Lego brick.

Sean M0GIA

In reply to G4YTD: Well maybe not the lightest, but I use a Begali Traveller strapped to my leg. Great action, with magnetic return…very crisp response and certainly ROBUST engineering!


Keith GW4OKT

In reply to G4YTD: Have never found one that was light enough. My rig weighs 78 gms, and I couldn’t tolerate the key weighing more than the transciever which the Palm does. I made my own. I used the reeds of an ancient relay, mounted them in a film can which I hold. Total weight including connecting cable, jacks, plug, is 25 grams.

72, Fred KT5X

Cloud Runner

In reply to G4YTD:

Mini palm paddle.

In reply to KT5X:

I sometimes carry a paddle designed by OK1QO, which also uses magnetic return, the spacing can be adjusted by screws. Can’t beat your 25g Fred, but the OK1QO paddle is only 39g and can be considered lightweight, too. I purchased it 2009 in Fried for as few as 25 EUR, a big bang for the buck.

There is one disadvantage though: The housing is made from an open aluminium profile and so it is collecting dust by act of murphy’s law, the contacts have to be cleaned frequently (with a paper strip for instance) in order to operate reliably.

Up to some years ago I used a homemade key with single lever paddle, also using reeds from an ancient relay and equipped with an electronic keyer (PIC 16F628) with two programmable memories, contest counter, speed control, sidetone oscillator, etc. etc. Since my rigs are all now equipped with their own electronic keyers, I don’t use it any more.

I also have got a palm paddle, which is still my favourite.

73 Bernhard DL4CW

EDIT: Oh, and I once built an electronic keyer which can be inserted into the palm paddle itself.

It is using the free K8 keyer design, available from K1EL’s homepage. The “cube” on the right is inserted into the palm paddle providing the keyer’s framework. The disc on top is a small piezo buzzer for the sidetone. The cube will carry the small K8 keyer board on the left (but could carry other designs as well). Please excuse the ugly build, but it was just being built for the fun of it and never was ment to raise beyond that state.

Thanks all

Am interesting read on return from yet another weekend at work! Looks like the PP has it though despite the cable problems.

Thanks to all those who took the time to reply.




In reply to G4YTD:

Just still mostly straight key now, so I can’t compare it’s action to a “real” unit, but my “free” converted 2-button mouse keyer works well and is light. It’s not as compact as some I’ve seen here. Maybe I’ll take it apart and mount the switches in a square piece of conduit to make it smaller.

Best 73,


In reply to G4YTD:

And what about an equipment from the AME company ?

OK1HRA’s experience from the Porta paddle:

My experience from the Mini Paddle:

I wish you good luck

73 Igor OK1TGI

In reply to G4YTD: I have a Palm, though i have been using my smaller lighter homebrew paddle lately. I “fixed” the cable problem by making my own cable for the Palm. I robbed the super flexible cable off a cheap set of ear buds, and added a three pin where ear buds had been. To make that secure, I covered it with hot glue, and covered that with a piece of shrink wrap.

In fact, this is the very same cable I use on my homebrew paddle which weighs only one ouce.

73 Fred - KT5X

Cloud Runner

In reply to DL4CW: Very neat, Bernie. I suspect the main difference in weight, which isn’t great, is aluminum vs plastic.


In reply to G4YTD:
I am using Palm Paddle since 4 years. So far, no issues at all.
Ruda OK2QA