From Our Members

From Gurbux, W6BUX:

Hand-Crafted Keys and Paddles by W6BUX

BIARA Associate Gurbux Singh W6BUX, who is an avid CW enthusiast, has a background in Mechanical Engineering and grew up in Rangoon, Burma where his parents had a machine shop and foundry and also had the Amateur Radio station XZ2KN where he got hooked on Morse Code. After immigrating to the USA in 1974, he got back into ham radio and of course CW. After 60 plus years as a CW operator, he has a discerning eye and a feel for what makes a good key or set of paddles for sending good code. Not satisfied with what was available off-the-shelf, he decided to craft his own for his personal use.

He noticed that most manufacturers used springs for returning the contacts to open and that made them have a dead feel that was not smooth. That was true for straight keys and paddles. Instead of springs, he uses repelling magnets to open the contacts and this gives them a very smooth action and almost no lag in opening the contacts when keyed. He likes this return movement technology so much that he has also modified an off-the-shelf Kent key which had springs into one with magnets for opening the contacts. Some of his ham friends who have had a chance to use his products whether at his home or on board the USS IOWA, or on Field Day, are amazed and impressed with how good the “feel” is. Gurbux uses only his home made keys and paddles and has no reason to buy them from other places.

Incidentally, Gurbux uses only basic hand tools and does not have or make the use of fancy machines to make these. It is the enjoyment of making them for his own use, not for selling them, which gives him satisfaction. Making one key can take many weeks or months but who keeps track when one is having fun as another part of his hobby of Ham Radio.