Which is the best paddle?

I would be grateful for comments on your favorite paddle for portable ops. I have two – they are OK but neither is as good as I would like. So do any of you have one you really truly like? Thanks! Scott kw4jm

I use a Palm Radio Mini-Paddle and have been very happy with it. I like the way that the paddles slide into the body for storage. The spacing may be a little tight for some folks especially in winter if you try to operate with gloves. I have fabricated a leg mount for it which works out very well which uses a Palm snap-on base and a couple other including a Velcro strap. A couple buddies are using the newer Palm Pico-Paddles which are quite a bit smaller but I have not tried those yet.

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I use a Palm Pico Single, and I am quite happy with it. I like it more than my AME Porta-Paddle that I used previously.

I have used the Palm Mini on many activations and for me it’s the best ultralight solution. I am not so keen on the feel of the Pico Paddle, although many others are; the Pico Single may well be better as it is slightly stiffer. But now I have my absolute favourite paddle for SOTA, a Schurr SOTA Wabbler:

You can buy them from the QRP Shop in Berlin:

They are not the cheapest (although cheaper than Elecraft’s KXPD3 and most options from Begali). They are not the lightest either. But for me it is a joy to send with, just like being back in the shack. They have two 8mm magnets on the base, so it is very simple to add a magnetic docking shoe to your flight deck. They are not as good to hold in the hand as the Palm Paddle. The paddles are completely stiff, much like a Kent paddle, there is no give in them whatsoever. I think the Alberto Frattini Magnetic Iambic gets absolutely the right balance between flex and stiffness, but completely stiff works for me as well.

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I use a Whiterook Single Lever Mini Paddle. Very light, but you have to clean the contacts sometimes.
[Mini CW Paddles, Morse Code Keys & Keyers : Electronics USA]

John G4YSS

New favorite here is the TIP1 paddle, a limited production item by N0SA.
Also like the protective storage feature of the Palm Mini.

All Best, Ken

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I use the AME Porta Paddle and the Te Ne Ke. I like them both. The Te Ne Ke gets used more though.

Scott, I use a rewired computer trackball (sans ball). It fits the hand nicely, is light and backpack friendly. Most of all it’s cheap. That’s why I use a broken hacksaw blade as a paddle at home


Not the MFJ 561. It is has the distinction of having both super low weight and quality.

The AME Porta-Paddle is really nice.

are you looking for the best, or just an acceptable compromise between cost, weight and usability?

I like my Palm Pico.

I’d like to say price is no object… but it is. I am hopeful though that for $150 or less I can buy a paddle with positive not gooshy response and practical to deploy on a clipboard in the field. Thx, Scott kw4jm

Palm Pico.

Palm Pico, N0SA SOTA, American Morse PortaPaddle are all solid. Latter two more rugged and heavier than the Palm (not that the Palm is flimsy).

Hi Scott,

Price has to be a factor for me too.

I have an American Morse DCP. Bought as a kit at Dayton in 2010. For the price it is excellent but it needs a base (one is offered as an option). Otherwise it needs to be held down somehow, maybe screwing it down to a clipboard is one method. I have this paddle in a box with my MTR3B.

I also have a Palm mini paddle and it is excellent too. Again, it needs to be anchored to be usable with one hand. I havent sorted that out yet, I bought it very recently. It tends to stay with the FT817 but of course it works with any radio.

The paddle I have used most often in the field is the chinese built model in many of my photos. It isn’t light so it stays where you put it. The adjustment is not ideal, a bit coarse but is good enough for portable work. For the price, not bad value. It seems to have several names but the most common is UNI-730. You will find it on ebay.

I only key at speeds up to about 22 or a tad higher, so a paddle I find acceptable may not suit higher speed operators.
73 Andrew VK1DA/VK2UH

AME Porta Paddle

At less than 3 ounces, yet a quality & precision paddle, the AME Porta Paddle is my choice. With 2 threaded mounting holes on the bottom, the key can be fastened to a clipboard along with my KX2 and my logsheet clip. Makes for a light trip to the peak and a quick setup/teardown. I have a second PortaPaddle with the optional weighted base for shack use. It’s a kit that takes about 30 minutes to assemble.
72 GL, Woody/K1LB

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