G0VQW's keys.


Homebrew Steel Ruler cootie.

G0VQW's shack, click to enlarge picture. A few months ago I heard CW signals that seemed more musical than most so I stopped to listen. I soon realised it was my old friend Bryan G0GSY in QSO on the side swipers net SSN. Being of a curious nature I had to ask what sort of key this was that was making such beautiful music. It was just an old steel ruler and a couple of contacts!I was intrigued and had to find out more.
Lots of interesting info was taken in through browsing the SSN site and following the links to YouTube. Unknowingly my tutor for the side swiper was IK0YGJ who has produced an excellent video of his technique which I have tried to emulate with increasing success.
SSN participants were very helpful friendly and encouraging as I progressed from my iambic paddle to a twin lever paddle with each terminal strapped so I could use it for cootie CW. This sufficed for a while but then saw an article about how to convert a vibroplex bug to cootie key by simply tying back the vibrating arm. Why didn't I think of that!
Cf. David's, N1EA, article.
Then during one Sunday SSN my friend Bryan said he had a spare ruler and a few parts and would knock me a key up. A few days later my first proper cootie key arrived well packaged and with a letter from Bryan G0GSY. The key is mounted on a wooden base, which used to belong to and old straight key(I think) now worn out. The base measures 14cm/8cm. The keys arm is a stainless steel ruler of Japanese origins. Bryan assures me it will never break. The steel rule is mounted in an old iron base which used to be a device we call helping hands in the UK. It used to have 2 crock clips and a magnifier lens.

G0VQW's homebrew Steel Ruler cootie, top view, click to enlarge picture. G0VQW's homebrew Steel Ruler cootie, click to enlarge picture.

The key has a very nice action and is by far the best key I've used for sending cootie music. Although I don't exclusively use the side swiper,I find it very easy to plug in and send good code with this key even though I've been using my Schurr proffi 2 a lot for conventional iambic keying. [G0VQW].


TWRadio's TWanger prototype #0001.

Video: TWanger prototype #0001 in action.