Replacements for Palm Keys


Thanks for the compliment.
I have added a dimensional drawing for the PCB if you want to build your own. The position of the copper is not critical as long as it’s making contact with the center post.

There is also a Gerber file available that you can use to order the PCB with.

I’ll add more details on the build, but it’s really simple. Once you have the 3D parts, (I’ll add details about print orientation). it’s a matter of adding the PCB, soldering a thin stereo cable, and connecting the center post to the ground of the cable. You can use any cable if you enlarge the existing holes (2mm).

The base is still missing, and will be added soon.


I’m not familiar with this option, this was the first time i ordered PCB. if you have pointers, this would be helpful.


JC/W6IPA. can print it quite cheaply. you can also get the PCB online for quite cheap.



Thanks for that.

What is used to make the central post ?

I can only confirm the need for a connector. 3.5 mm is standard and cables are found everywhere with any computer or sound system. 2mm are less common and not in use in our hobby.

I have 0.8mm PCB only… Maybe drilling a hole at the bending point place will help “adjusting” the spring rate indepentdently of the pcb thickness ?

A good idea would be to add 2 depressions on the base for some magnets.

Continue the good work, and i’m sure you will end with a very usable paddle. Try to avoid any particular parts to have a wider audience… The plunger is a good idea but hard to find in junk boxes…

Now i have to search for someone who has a decent printer !



Good one… the best place is in your shack. Turn the speed down and practice the alphabet, well, every symbol you use on cw.

Nobody was born knowing how to use a paddle. We all had to go through a process…

Good luck… looking fwd to the b2b contact. (Private joke)

73 Andrew VK1DA/VK2UH

The central post is 3d printed, and a screw is used to make the contact. I’m playing with thickness and length.

I started with 0.8mm as a prototype. When you remove the coper, usually, it’s closer to 0.6 (depending on the model). Otherwise, it’s easy to sand it down a bit - or as you said, drill some holes to remove material.

I am also doing two things to help : reducing the length of the back support to move back the pivot point, and adding 5mm to the paddles. Combined, this would lower the force on the tip of the paddle.

In the US, we can go to public libraries to have small objects printed, companies like 3D Hubs may have subcontractors in Europe, or maybe there is an equivalent service in Europe ?

Otherwise, it’s a good excuse to buy a cheap printer and start designing things, this is how i started.


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Could you also add some holes in the base, in order to be able to screw it on a heavy base or a leg mount ?

The combo, magnet + holes would be perfect.

I found a colleague who has a 3D printer, but he’s actualy ill… :roll_eyes:

73, Patrick

there is also the Portapaddle II kit

it works great :+1: with very good feeling

73, de Bruno f6hhk


+1 on this! I clip mine to my operating board. Good feel to it.

Kent K9EZ

Neither was anyone born knowing how to use a straight key. I started in 1971 and eventually “mastered it” in 1982. I was bequeathed a sideswiper in 1983, but still prefer to use a straight key, as Paul M0SNA / W6PNG found out when we carried out a joint activation in October. I think his eyes are still returning to their sockets. :grin:

A design such as that under discussion could be of real interest to me as it would provide a cost efficient approach to changing over to a more modern keying method. As an all weather activator, making it weatherproof would be essential.

As for the b2b, it will come… when you guys down under don’t upset the water gods. Maybe next year conditions will be better in terms of both the weather and propagation.

73, Gerald G4OIG / G8CXK

Hi Gerald,

Good points. A less expensive paddle would probably encourage others to try one too. My main reason for going to a paddle was that i was finding contesting quite tiring on the hand key and while I could copy the higher speed ops I could not match their speed. I borrowed a bug but it was in poor condition and i was not happy with the accuracy of its code. Anyway that was some time ago now.

I am planning a visit to EU in Sept 2019 so perhaps our contact will be possible then.

Andrew VK1DA/VK2UH

As an extra incentive to creating a successor to the Mini/Palm Paddles – here’s an opportunity to win a few dollars as well as international fame and glory (abridged announcement taken from the ARRL Letter Dec 06 2018).

In 2019, QST is inviting participants to submit their best Morse key/paddle designs in the “QST Key Competition”. Design styles can include straight key, semiautomatic key (bug), paddle, or sideswiper. The winner in each category will receive $250. Only one entry may be accepted per person or team, and the deadline to submit is June 1, 2019.

The key must be an independent mechanical device, not an integral part of another device, such as an electronic keyer. Keys must be the sole creations of the entrants and not available for sale.

Complete details and entry requirements will appear in the January 2019 edition of QST. The digital edition will go live on Friday, December 7, 2018.

Have asked 2 days ago for an offer. Waiting him to answer…

Looks nice !

73 Patrick TK5EP

Not a problem in respect of my contesting career Andrew… on 1296MHz it was a case of QRS to try to get through the white noise and QSB. Although it is an entirely different situation with SOTA, I still don’t send at much more than 20wpm, so a straight key is adequate. However, seeing designs in the making and what is available commercially has really made me think that I would be better with a modern key. It might help operating in cold weather when my Reynaud’s can be an issue.

Thanks for the heads up on your EU trip next year… I will put that into my diary. :grinning:

73, Gerald G4OIG / G8CXK

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See where American Morse keys and paddles are also offered.

Thanks ,

QRPkits does not have the Porta-paddle… At least no link shown on their page. They have the DCP paddle thought.

Still no answer from Doug @ amirecanmorse.
I will drop him a new mail.

73, Patrick

The portapaddle and 7 others are shown on the page I see here:

Yeap, but when you follow the Porta-paddle link, no price shown for the paddle, only accesories.

I dropped them a mail a few seconds ago.


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Interesting potential for a key for SOTA activations is a TouchKey. It has no moving parts, works on the principle of the conductivity of our fingertips to close a circuit. This takes a little practice to get used to - about 5 minutesTouchKey2 TouchKey1. I made the wood boxes from thin sheets of exotic wood. It is very light - about 138 grams and connects to your rig via a standard stereo patch cord.

Ariel NY4G


The bottom of the page has the accessories. A little higher up is the key itself