Morsekeys and Paddles

Over the years, I have collected various morse keys and below you can see a selection of them. >Click on the picture<


2012: I bought my first Elecraft K3.

The transceiver is praised into the clouds everywhere and is famous for its robustness and participation in many DX expeditions. I found a used one for sale on and after a short period of reflection I decided to buy it.

The model I bought had 2 receivers, Antenna tuner, 100W PA, 400Hz 8-pole filter, 6KHz + 2.4KHz + more filters, RF I/O module and Digital Voice recorder.
I do not know exactly how old it was. It can be difficult to determine from the serial number (2334) and the seller did not know it, but the best bid I have reached is approx. December 2008 (then s / n 2362 was produced).

The K3 is really a superstation with a receiver that is far beyond all the other radios I have tried (Yaesu 450 and 1000, Kenwood TS950 etc.) and probably surpasses my Ten-Tec at certain points as it has a little more options.
Since I am not an analog technician and I am not well versed in technical specifications I will refrain from giving numbers so it is a purely subjective assessment.
The first time you grab a K3, you have no doubt that it is well built and intended for many years of use. The operation is very easy and the large display shows a lot of useful information so you can always see what it is doing. The buttons you use the most are also most easily accessible and they are not so small that it becomes difficult to use them.

Everyday use you learn quickly but there is also a configuration menu where you can basically program your radio as you want it to work. There are a sea of ​​settings to optimize the receiver for just your use and you can e.g. program how the sound should be sent to the various audio outputs, how the built-in keyer should weight the characters, how much gain should be added when you turn on a filter, where zero-beat should be and many many more things. Here is really something to get started with for the experimenter.

My experience with Elecraft and Ten-Tec is that they are both superstations when it comes to the CW (and that’s the only thing I’ve tried). I use both stations with equal pleasure and what Elecraft has in the receiver “The Eagle” has in “Silk smooth Break-in” which is a joy to work with.

For now (May 2024) I am using a K3s – 100W – ATU – Roofing filters 250 + 400 + …. (only using the 400Hz filter) – No more modules.
I have an Elecraft KX3, 10W – ATU – Roofing filter. Using this for /P operations on family vacations.

2011 November I bought a Ten-Tec Eagle 599AT

So how is it to use?
The operation is quite simple. It does not have many buttons, but there are those you need for a quick setting. I like radio stations without a whole lot of settings that I still do not use for anything. I only do the CW and use a paddle so the Eagle fits me really well.
The buttons have a dual function which is switched with the FNC button and adjusted with the Multi button. The functions you use the most are also the ones you get to most easily.
When I’m working on a band, I actually only use the VFO as well as the BW / PBT and AF / RF Gain buttons. They sit well placed and are easy to get to.

The receiver works really well. When you have just got the RF gain set to fit the band, it is fantastic as much as you can hear. RF gain should be set reasonably high on most bands. After that, I mostly use BW and VFO.
The transmitter can deliver 100W and it is a good clean signal which several times in Pile-Ups causes me to get through after quite a few attempts – that cannot be due to the effect nor my antenna which is not special ;o)
The Ten Tec Eagle 599 is clearly a proof of how far one has come with the technique and it has not disappointed me a single time yet. Another good thing is the small size as well as the low weight. It is easy to carry as hand luggage in any plane and I use that too.

Here you can see my PalmRadio paddle which is attached under the radio.
It is a smart little mini-paddle that does not fill anything on the table and which is easy to carry when the station is transported around to my various locations.

I started with the Yaesu FT-450 in 2011. (It has now found a new happy owner in the Faroe Islands :o)

1975 – 1985
My first HF station I bought at OZ4SJ, Svend Aa. Jensen and Valby. And I was even in the capital to pick it up ;o)
OZ4SJ Imported Radio Amateur Equipment from America; such as. Heathkit, Drake and Ten-Tec.

It was 1975 and I had spent a long time visiting different dealers and seeing what equipment there was to choose from. Transceivers with transistors had started to come in the PA stage so I was not interested in getting one with tubes. This meant that there were not so many models to choose from. On the other hand, there were several retailers at the time and I was around several stores here in South / Central Jutland and Funen to look at the goods.
One of the Transceivers I was very interested in was an Atlas 350-XL – All solid state SSB / CW Transceiver 350Watt 10-160m Full-QSK which could be obtained from OP Electronic in Nykøbing F. but it was too expensive for me.
Other options were HeathKit kits which were very popular but difficult to obtain in Denmark. There was a much sold model SB-102 SSB Transceiver which cost DKK 5,900 (Delivered through OZ4SJ) and there was the new model SB-104 Single Sideband Transceiver which was somewhat more expensive. Heathkit also made a Low Cost model HW-101 5-Band SSB-CW Transceiver but it did not have full break-in and it had tubes in the PA stage.

Since I was exclusively interested in CW, my interest quickly fell on Ten-Tec which had a good reputation and was already at the forefront of transistor technology and famous for their perfect QSK (real full break-in that does not exist better ;o)
It turned out that my wallet limited me and I ordered a Ten-Tec Argonaut 509 from Svend Aage and it cost me around DKK 2,900. – well picked up in Valby. It became my first station with which I drove countless QSOs until 1978 when I bought a Triton IV 540. You can read about the Transceivers below.

My previous Transceivers

My first station which I was very happy about. It had a really good receiver and it had diode shift instead of relay at transmitter / receiver (QSK).
Ten-Tec Argonaut 509
Min første radioamatørstation
First QSO on 19. december 1975 [DM4ZEB]
Last QSO den 16. juli 1978

HF Transceiver
Frekvensområde 10-80meter
Modulationstyper CW/USB/LSB
Frekvens Stabilitet <100 Hz @ 10.5 til 14 VDC
Følsomhed <0,5 µV ved 10 dB S+N/N
Selektivitet 2,5KHz v. 6dB
single conversion: IF at 9 MHz
Antenne impedans 50 Ohm
Sendeeffekt 3 Watt Out
CW QSK – Som bare virker!
Ten-Tec Century 21 Model 570
My second radioamatørstation
First QSO den 18. juli 1978 [F6DYF]
Last QSO den 10. september 1978

HF Transceiver
Frekvensområde 10-80meter
Modulationstyper CW/SSB
Frekvens Stabilitet <10 Hz @ 10.5 til 14 VDC
Følsomhed <1 µV ved 10 dB S+N/N
Selektivitet 0,5 / 1,0 / 2,5 KHz
Direct conversion receiver
Antenne impedans 50 Ohm
Sendeeffekt 30 Watt out

I only had this station for a very short time. The receiver simply could not be used, it could not keep up with the Argonaut receiver at all.

This was a really nice little station that I until July 1982 drove more than 6000 QSOs with. After 1982 it became only very few (The computer had taken the interest :o(
Ten-Tec Triton IV 540
My third radioamatørstation
First QSO den 12. september 1978 [OZ2QK]
Sidste QSO 29. oktober 1985

HF Transceiver
Frekvensområde 10-80meter
Modulationstyper CW/SSB
Frekvens Stabilitet <10 Hz @ 10.5 til 14 VDC
Følsomhed <0,3 µV ved 10 dB S+N/N
Selektivitet 2,4KHz v. 6/60dB
Single conversion: IF at 9 MHz
Dual-gate MOSFET RF stage and MC1496 mixer
Antenne impedans 50 Ohm
Sendeeffekt 100 Watt Out
CW QSK – Det berømte Ten-Tec som virker!
Ten-Tec Antennetuner model 247

And then I had an antenna tuner for my Triton station so I could use a LongWire antenna. It was also used with an 80/40 meter dipole.
There were no instruments in the tuner because it was not necessary because the Triton had a built-in SWR meter. Yes yes, it was a deluxe station ;o)

Yaesu FT-450
My fourth radioamatørstation
First QSO den 11. september 2011 [5B9CKV]

HF Transceiver
Frekvensområde 160-6 meter
Modulationstyper CW/SSB/AM/FM
Frekvens Stabilitet ±1 ppm/hour v.25°C
Følsomhed <0,25 µV ved 10 dB S+N/N
Selektivitet 2,2KHz v. 6/60dB
Antenne impedans 50 Ohm
Sendeeffekt 5-100 Watt