I’ve been practicing a lot of CW lately and had ordered a QRP guys iambic paddle from their website qrpguys.com awhile back. I went to the CW class on Saturday morning, which got me in the CW mood. After knocking some items off the honey-do list I was getting a little bored on Saturday night so I headed down to the shack and dug out the iambic key kit I had ordered.
I’ve never done any kit building or anything slightly engineer-y until joining the club. I don’t always understand why things work and building kits (even simple ones help me along). This kit didn’t look too hard, although it has a 4 out of 5-star difficulty rating on their website, so I jumped right in!
I made sure I started by sorting out all the parts in an orderly fashion. I learned this much from working countless hours after Christmas and birthdays on Star Wars lego kits that are made for children, but built by adults after the kids get frustrated 15 minutes after starting!
I then got to the fun part of soldering. This was different than what I’ve done in the past as I started with soldering all the mechanical parts together by applying a small amount of solder and then checking to make sure everything lined up before putting a lot of solder on. I enjoyed this as it was a large area to solder and it didn’t matter so much if my soldering skills aren’t very good! There were only a few electrical components to solder and that part was rather easy, even for my limited skills!
The toughest part of the whole build was assembling the paddles. You can see from the picture there are four nuts (and lock washers) that are to be assembled on the inside of the paddles with very limited space. Tweezers were an absolute necessity – and earplugs for any youth that may be hanging around. After many – and I do mean many – attempts of dropping and picking up nuts and washers I finally got the washers and nuts in place and fastened.
I was thrilled to have succeeded and ran out to the car, where my radio is hooked up at the moment and gave it a quick test run. Below is my not-so-professional video which shows my not-so-professional CW skills.
The paddles work well. The black pads do stick together a little when you push on both paddles at the same time, but I am very happy with my tiny QRP paddles! I am thinking of cutting slots in the sides and attaching a velcro band to attach to my leg to keep the paddle in place in the hopes that I could operate it with one hand. Let me know what you think or if you’ve built this kit before.
Jamey (KC1ENX)Follow or Contact Us: