Today I had a few minutes to finally put together this pair of small Morse paddles that I got from American Morse. They have a very nice “milled aluminum” aesthetic that I like a lot. By themselves, they are a little light, and tend to float around a bit, but they include a tapped hole that can be used to secure them to a board. I’ll probably use a little wooden plaque from a craft store, and mount my K1EL keyer on it as well to create a little mini Morse station that I can use with some of the QRP kits I’m building/planning to build. Or, I could simply hook it to my FT-817. It’s got a built in keyer even. Not sure yet.
Addendum: I was still bored while waiting for my wife to show up, so I went ahead and soldered together my K1EL keyer kit, pictured to the right. I only had one real problem: the instructions claim that when you insert the battery, you should hear the dit dah dit (R) through the small builtin speaker. I didn’t. I was confused. I checked the voltages between supply and ground. 3.2v, just as it should. The chip was getting power. I puzzled for a while, then suddenly realized there was a jumper that I needed to install to enable the small piezo speaker. Once I did that, all was well. Now, all I need is the proper cabling and a nice box (Altoids tin?) to mount it in, and I can use it with my new paddles.
Addendum2: Today I hacked a little 1/8″ stereo cable and wired it up to match the requirements of my FT-817ND. I’m a complete rookie at this Morse stuff, but I thought I’d record a quick little video to show how it works, using my Canon digital camera. The audio on this thing is a bit weak, but you can get the picture. I had to hold the key down with one hand because otherwise it tends to walk around a bit, I have a block of wood that I’ll eventually bolt it to.