I took some time away from work and family to decompress in nature.
I’ve previously written about Afton State Park (K-2466) near my QTH here in Minnesota. It is a beautiful park located on the shore of the St. Croix river which separates Minnesota and Wisconsin.
The hike into the campsites is not tremendously long at just about 1 mile, but there is both a steep downhill and uphill section that can get the heartrate up a bit, so I chose to go lightweight this trip.
Elecraft KX2 (new to me – more on that in a follow up post)
Elecraft AX1 antenna
BaMaTech BaMaKey TP-111 (see previous post for a review)
I knew going into this that the AX1 is a severely compromised antenna, however I didn’t want to haul in a throw line to run an EFHW or dipole, nor did I want the weight and mass of one of my larger verticals.
This was going to be, and was a challenge.
In the end, I logged 5 contacts. Signal reports weren’t great – as expected – but I greatly appreciate the effort those old men put forth to pull my signal out of the ether. Given I was on 20 meters, no surprise to see the distances for each contact.
You can see a quick video I did upon returning this morning showing the area, the setup, and some of the flora and fauna I encountered.
Even though I failed the activation, it was a great time and beautiful scenery. Just what the doctor ordered!
- [BETA] Added CW decoder function
- Extended 10-meter band for TX with taking into account the CB range: from 26065 to 29700KHz
- Added quick mode selection by long pressing the MODE button
- Improved VFO/MEM function: fast switching by TUNE/MULTY between stored VFO values
- Added ability to assign alternative functions to RIT/XIT encoder
- Improved LOCK function in Memory mode
Yesterday I received a new paddle from BaMaTech in Germany – the TP-111 paddle (link).
The TP-111 is a small, ultraportable CW twin paddle from a shop run by Markus Baseler – DL6YYM – and located in Bad Düben, Germany.
There are several products in Markus’ portfolio, from morse keys to antennas. There are even flight decks – portable desks that I’m really interested in looking into more sometime.
Today, however, we’re focused on the TP-111 paddle.
I placed my order on May 22nd and received it on June 14th, and true to the listing on the product webpage, it shipped in about 2 weeks after I placed my order.
The package arrived and was well padded, and even included a small pack of gummy bears. A nice touch.
The key itself is extremely well made. There is an attention to detail here that is to be admired.
All edges and corners are smooth.
The top acrylic (?) cover mates with the machined base with exactness.
Inside of the key one can see the connection between the port and the paddles, and the soldering is nearly invisible. No blobs of solder or flux to be seen.
The 4 magnets set into the bottom of the base are flush with the bottom, no gaps and no protrusions.
Size-wise it is small enough to go unnoticed inside my portable kit, but not so small that it is cumbersome to use.
The published dimensions are 0.79″ x 1.38″ x 1.97″ (2,87)”, or 20x35x50 (73)mm. The portion in the parens is including the paddles sticking out the front.
The paddles are fantastic. There is a rubber sleeve over each one that ensures solid finger contact and is somewhat “grippy”. (if you rock climb you’ll understand that reference to rubber)
The paddles also move very smoothly with almost no play.
In fact this is where this little paddle really shines – in use.
Upon first hooking up to a radio to generate a sidetone, I was struck by how smooth this thing is. While adjustable, I don’t feel the need to change anything out of the box. I find myself overcompensating movements based on other paddles I own and have to train myself to not need to do so much to get good results.
So how would I rate this? I need more time on the air with it but out of the box I am sold. As always, time will tell, but first impressions are difficult to recover from if not done right.
This paddle gets first impressions right.
It’s even Max-approved.
You can see from below the relative size next to my American Morse Ultra Portable Paddle. Both are superbly built machines.
So if I was a new buyer which one would I get?
Flip a coin. Both are great paddles. Both are well made and adjustable in all ways you’d expect. Both are also quite sturdy in their construction.
If you have one of the BaMaTech paddles, let me know your thoughts in the comments. Agree? Disagree?