Securing cw paddle

Just curious about the different ways to secure a cw paddle while operating on a sota summit.

Currently I have been clipping a paddle to a clip board with those black paper clips/clamps. I have only tried this out at home as I am still learning cw.

What is everyone else doing or have tried? What were the results?

I use an AME Porta Paddle-II iambic key, attached to a clip-board along with my KX-2, clock and clip for a log sheet. This key has two threaded holes on its bottom side for easy mounting. Been using this arrangement for 3 years with great results.

Hold paddle body in left hand, key with right hand.


Hi Casey,

For my first CW activations, I had the paddle fixed to the top of the FT 817 (it’s a Palm Paddle, with a magnetic base). It seemed important to have it fixed to something.
That worked well enough, but then I activated with a small MTR radio, which wouldn’t support the paddle, so I fixed the paddle to a large stone found on the summit, with tape or whatever, which was not ideal :o)
Then one day I couldn’t find anything to fix it to, so I just held it against my logbook under the thumb of my left hand, holding a pencil in my right hand and operating the paddle.
That works really well for me, even when hunched up in a bothy bag on a wet summit.

I should say that I’m only an occasional CW activator, and my activations tend to be short, typically an hour or less. What works for you will depend on how you like to activate etc.

Good luck, and have fun,


There’s an existing thread on this topic with various solutions at …

… which includes my Velcro leg strap - see photo at …

73 Andy

Now Andy, as a left-hander I would normally accuse you of right-handed bias.

While I learnt to use a straight key with my left hand, when I switched to iambic paddles I taught myself to do it with my right hand (it wasn’t difficult as I thought it would be). So now I paddle-key with the right hand and copy to paper with the left - without having to drop the pencil between overs.

That’s about the way I do it. Not always using my left hand thumb, just from time to time. Mainly with my index and middle firgers, so I see my wristwatch at the same time and so I can write down each QSO time.



The pencil doesn’t have to be dropped. It’s easy to operate the iambic paddle with the pencil trapped between the rear part of the thumb, the index and the middle fingers of the same hand. The right hand in my case.
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Only if you have nice slender fingers. My fingers are like short over stuffed Chorizos !


I’m sure they are not that much “chorizos preñados” (pregnant chorizos).
Now that I’ve post a picture in my previous post, I bet you can do that without a problem and it’s much more convenient and faster to switch between logging and paddleing.
Let me know, please, if you tried it and found it OK.


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I fixed an old bicycle helmet strap to my Te-Ne-Ke paddle and then I place the key and strap around my leg, near my knee and tighten the strap with the helmet clips. Very fast, easy, cheap …

The N0SA mini paddle I bought came with 3M/Scotch Dual Lock. It’s a velcro-type of fastener with a sticky backside. One small square stuck to the paddle base, the other to the radio. I have found that it holds the paddle firm, but I read a comment or two by other operators who don’t think as highly of it. It helps if you orient the wave pattern of the two pieces at 90 degrees from each other. An inexpensive option from the hardware or department store.
Peter KD0YOB

Hi Guru,

Okay, that’s certainly better than dropping and picking up the pencil. But you’re still having to reposition the pencil in your fingers and thumb at the start and end of every over. No doubt it’s become automatic for you but it’s not as efficient as using both hands and neither hand or fingers having to move at all.

Also (as per my earlier link) I put the paddles inside my winter jacket (right-hand pocket) when very cold so I don’t need two keying techniques - one for summer and one for winter.

You are probably right, although, as you well guessed, the repositioning of the pencil is something I do so automatic that I don’t even think about how or when I do it.
One question: are you able to manipulate the iambic paddle with one hand AND write on the log with the other hand at the same time?
That would be awesome!
Many people approach me while I’m operating during a SOTA activation and start asking questions or making comments. I often don’t say anything and I may be found a rude guy, but it’s not rudeness, it’s that I can’t talk while I’m transmitting morse and this is something people not knowing the morse code can’t understand. I guess it happens to everybody, but when I’m transmitting morse code, my brain is already talking through my fingers manipulating the iambic paddle and it doesn’t have a parallel channel to talk through my mouth at the same time. It’s one or the other but never both at a time.
I guess that using one hand to operate the iamic paddle and the other hand to write down on the log is a bit of the same and I guess I wouldn’t be able to do it. Can you do it?



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No way! My wife says I’m useless at multi-tasking (although I’m not really as bad as she claims).

Fortunately, CW QSOs are simplex so I don’t need to. In fact, I wonder if anyone could do it because sending (translation of sentences into Morse) and receiving (translation of Morse to sentences) surely involves the same part of the brain (like trying to talk and listen simultaneously).

The two tasks don’t overlap so it’s no different from what you do. Of course, I wouldn’t propose an experienced operator (like yourself) re-train to paddle with the other hand for a small efficiency benefit.

But, for a new operator looking to use a paddle for the first time, it’s worth considering teaching yourself to use your non-writing hand (which is otherwise not doing anything useful – unless it’s holding a glass of beer). After all, iambic paddling only involve your thumb and forefinger and, as I said, I had no trouble learning to use the opposite hand.

73 Andy

I use a clip board gizmo fits my summit log so i can write with my right hand. CW paddle a Palm Radio small paddle comes with a fitting with a magnet if you want to stick it to the chassis of your rig. I decided to attach the paddle mount to my clip board and I can send cw either hand so I use my left hand for sending and right hand for logging and shoeing flies. Another tip I find if the paddle is set with dots on the thumb i can send cw either hand so just flip the paddle up the other way to change the hand you are sending with. Always set you SOTA station up with the radio and key or mic on the opposite side of you seated position to your writing hand that way you don’t have to put down and pick up between writing or sending mic or pencil. Now expect to get a gaggle of tablet/iphone loggers with how they do it. Been good for me on 280 summits.
Regards Ian vk5cz …

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I added a very thin metal sheet to my clipboard and some magnets to the key box. So far I have not had issues.

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I always admired a member of the Guildford Club who could contest qso (with a pump key), carry on a different conversation and roll a cigarette - all at the same time!

Yes, we can only admit that most of us are poor limited mortals while there are some privileged individuals with exceptional overcapable brains that we all can just envy…


Palm Pico paddle

  1. Push by left hand to my log, work and keep pencil/ball pen like Guru shown on the photo
  2. Keep in left hand (not so good as first option due to possible slight movement of the paddle), rest as above.

73, Jarek