delara news Delaware Amateur Radio Association, Delaware OH   VOL 36 NUMBER 3

Joe Fischer


Joe Fischer

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A Mechanical Keyer The Straight Key Century Club (SKCC) is a great organization for people just starting out on Morse code, or CW.  They have an award structure that encourages members to work other people regardless of if the other person is an SKCC member. A popular activity is the monthly Weekend Sprint (WES) where a lot of SKCC-ers are on the air and allows one to quickly get some points to advance up the SKCC award ladder. Well, awards are to this author like a pork chop waved in front of a dog is: I’ve got to have it! Did you pay attention to the first two words in SKCC’s name?  Straight Key, as in mechanical, as in no electronics, as in no keyers or paddles.  Ever try to work a 36-hour contest using just a straight key?  Man, does your wrist or hand get sore.  And for me, that’s after just 10 minutes or so. We’re a nation of loopholes and I think that I found one: they say keying must be mechanical.  Ah ha: a solution presents itself!  Behold:   With this baby, I can call CQ for days, if I want to.  I only have to use my straight key to send back the other guy’s call and this beauty will then send the rest of the response, which is always the same (no serial numbers). The following is from the SKCC Web-site itself: “SKCC members who participate in the WES must use straight keys, sideswipers (cooties), or bugs.”  This keyer actually drives a straight key, which you can’t see, it’s just not my hand doing it.  I don’t see where I must actually be pumping the key up and down with my poor hand. OK, so it’s a bit unwieldly.  It’s kind of heavy, maybe no more than 200 lbs.  And, yes, it does produce quite a racket when it runs, but I have noise-canceling headphones.  And it takes a few hours to reprogram, but I only use it for SKCC events. Let’s take a looky-loo at a recent WES:   Going to be a long time before anybody tops that!  And, I’m eligible for just about every award they have. Ah, I see I have an email from SKCC, probably inviting me to Washington DC to accept a major award for my great efforts.   Oh, no.  A secret monitoring facility?  A wall of shame?  The sending variance is pretty impressive.  But, sticking his tongue out at me?  What am I going to do now? Anybody want a mechanical keyer? GL es 73 de Joe AA8TA dit dit
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