Some unique keys
During the recent years I came across some unique keys which I am going to present to you on this page.

Basically, these keys were initiated by the revival of the QRP CW movement. Over the last couple of years QRP has become quite popular all over the world. QRP means low power and typically is limited to 5 Watts of output power. Using such low power calls for quite efficient operating modes. This is where CW - besides some digital modes like PSK31 - gets the focus.

As QRP rigs usually are quite small and are often also used for portable operation (because of the low power consumption making it possible to run the Rig from small and light batteries) the add-on equipment - in this case the key - needs to be quite small as well.

So, here are some examples of small and light-weight keys ideally suited for portable QRP operation.

Mini squeeze paddle by DK1WE

DK1WE mini paddle  During my 2009 ham radio exhibition visit I came across a nice little  squeeze  paddle designed and manufactured by DK1WE.
 It's about the smallest little paddle I've ever seen. Given the size it's  performing quite well up to medium speed.
 Seems to be discontinued in production.

Mini hand-key
mini key
I saw this key at the Friedrichshafen (Germany)
Ham Radio Fair some years ago. There it was just a unique piece for demo purposes and it was not for sale. After some talk I could convince the guy to try to get one for me. It then took a couple of weeks - maybe months - until a small box arrived with the key inside.

Today I use it for portable operation together with some of my really small CW QRP transceivers like the SST-40.
As you can see from the pictures the key is really small and you hardly realise it when it is in your pocket.
It's well suited for basic CW operation at limited speeds - not really the right choice for high-speed freaks. ;-)
Palm Radio Squeeze Key
This key provides an almost genious concept:

It's a small, light-weight and at the same time an almost full-blown squeeze key. To protect the paddles during transportation they are retracted inside the square tube and slide out for operation.

It comes with a clip-on base and optional little magnets which can be glued to the bottom of the base. Now you can put it onto a sheet of metal in order to stabilise it during operation.

You can even have this key delivered in 2 colors - depending on the design of your transceiver (grey or black).

For CW operation it needs an electronic keying device (of course) which may be integrated in your transceiver anyway.

Recently (January 2003) I saw a little plug-on electronic keying device advertised on the Web. With it's front it plugs right into the key's rear cable connector and provides the outlet for the keying cable on the rear. Power is provided by a small flat cell type of battery within the add-on module. The speed adjustment variable resistor is placed on the top of the module. Cute!

The key is still in production by Palm Radio in Ulm, Germany, and distributed also in the US.
Palm Radio Homepage
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