Looks like the folks at Lab599 are producing a paddle that fits their TX-500 radio, similar to the keys available from Elecraft for their KX2/KX3 radios.
While not available yet, the details are available in a PDF file here (link).
Here is their mockup image from the PDF:
Curious about everyone’s thoughts here. I personally am very interested. It would remove the need to carry (and not lose) the small adapter cable that comes with the radio, but I worry that they would need to get the feel and performance just right.
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?
Alliteration aside, with my recent review of N6ARA’s TinyPaddle I noticed that I’ve started a collection of small, portable paddles. I thought it might be useful to do a quick comparison post for everyone’s reference.
Each brings something to the table that the others don’t, while sharing many similarities beyond just portability.
I’ll focus on physical characteristics only – how a paddle feels to a user is subjective, I really like each of these for different reasons, and as such your particular tastes may or may not align to mine.
I have purchased each of these for portable use and keep 2 of them in my bag each time I pack things up to leave the house. They are all small and light enough that having a backup means that I don’t have to stop playing radio if something breaks (and to date none have – I’m just paranoid).
NOTE: I am using my cheap set of calipers and a kitchen scale, and as such all measurements are close enough but perhaps not precise.
I’m a few weeks into the CWOps Basic Course and, with some experience and time under my belt, felt it was time to post an update on how things are going.
First off, the course is not a traditional type of class. Students are expected (and rightly so I believe) to drive their own progress via daily practice routines that are laid out simply and in a highly consumable manner. (read: if I can follow it, you can too)
The focus starts on Instant Character Recognition (ICR), where in a half second or less your brain associates the character with the CW being received. This would be similar to someone holding up a card with a random letter or number on it and your brain instantly knowing which one it is visually. If you’re reading this, you’re already doing that with the alphabet and what you see on this screen.
There are tools and exercises along the way to train your brain to pick out the sounds quicker and quicker each week. More complex activities are then introduced as words and phrases are built out and expanded.
There are two sessions each week with an advisor, who provides guidance and inputs along the way. They assess each student’s progress at regular checkpoints, and will point out errors.
So how is it going?
Well, I am surprised (pleasantly so) how fast I am actually progressing. I started off my CW journey earlier this year doing a lot of repetitive learning of characters on my own, using apps like Morse Mania and listening to audio files developed by Morse Code Ninja (seriously give that guy a donation – his work is phenomenal). That gave me a solid foundation for the Basic Course that I’m in now. I’m seeing definite improvements in recognition of my problem characters that plagued me for weeks prior. I can follow QSOs more easily now, and my fear of getting on the air has lessened quite a bit. This at a little less than halfway through the course.
The group is fantastic. We all are progressing and struggling in different areas, but we take the time to work together via Discord video chats to push each other along.
I highly recommend this to anyone looking to learn or significantly improve their CW abilities. The coursework is well planned, the advisor has been amazing, and it is exactly what I needed.