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Hamvention Goodies-CW Touch Keyer

I almost forgot to mention one of the more interesting “goodies” I picked up at this year’s Hamvention.

If anyone has fond memories of the Heathkit 5010 uMatic keyer, here’s the ticket. Its the CW Touch Keyer. The touch keyer is a set of capacitive paddles mated to a keyer.

I came very close to missing this entirely. Their booth was in plain sight on the floor of the arena, but I didn’t spend much time there. On a last minute walk through, we noticed their display, and began playing with the samples. Hooked! Sold! Cha-CHING!

They also sell the capacitive paddles board as aseparateitem, and that is the option I chose. I plunked down the cash for the P3 kit, because I’m not sure yet how I’d like the paddles configured. I’ve never liked using paddles. Iambic paddlesaggravatethe arthritic/carpal tunnel in my hand, even more than a straight key. My paddle “fist” really sucks. I don’t know that this will help any, but for only $20 USD, it is sure worth trying. Heck, it was worth the twenty just for the novelty factor – many folks won’t remember the heathkit keyer. I didn’t at first, but after a memory jog by NT4D, I remember seeing a set of these back in the days of my yoot’. I’d never actually used a set, but remembered seeing them.

The P3 kit went together in a few minutes of solder smoke. After initial testing, I now need to decide how to construct the contacts/paddles, and decide what sort of enclosure to use. The board itself is small and will fit into an altoids tin, leaving the tin mostly empty. There is also a P3SMD version, if you want an inexpensive gizmo for practicing surface mount soldering.

The light touch required on the display models is encouraging. The “complete” wired paddles have gold plated paddles, so I would expect pretty good life from them. They sure were fun to play with. But it leaves open the question of how to construct my own set. Thepossibilitiesare varied and numerous.

Inspiration will come. It always does.

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