A Dutch hamradio station in a bookbinding workshop


Until 2010 I used only straight keys. Since then I practised using paddles as well. I’m not an expert on those things yet, but they suite me fine.
I’ve build some of the keys myself like the KIWA-key and the touch-paddle based on a kit. The straight key with the blue knob was also build by myself.


When I first came in contact with hamradio I noticed that most hamradio operators apply very strong spring tension to their keys thus needing to use extra unnecessary energy to push down the key.
While at school we were not even allowed to use any spring tension at all in the beginning. So we had to keep the key-knob high using our thumbs. Letting go would result in a closing contact triggering the tx to send a continuous wave and more important a very unfriendly face of the teacher. I can tell you I express myself mildly here!!

Keying advise

Heaving read the above the advise might be clear:
Use as less spring tension as possible. Especially when starting to learn keying.
I find this also very usefull using my paddles.
However, before trying to operate a key, teach yourself to decode morse signals first!

The paddle pictures

In the paddle gallery you see a Begali Sculpture, a Uniham paddle from China and my homebrew touchpaddle.