Gear The Shack

The Te-Ne-Ke Paddle

The last few times that I went to operate portable, I brought my Speed-X key. Don’t get me wrong; it’s a great key. When doing POTA and SOTA, I want it to work reliably above all. However, it is large and somewhat heavy.

I’m always looking for ways to cut weight and add reliability to my portable radio setup. After some research, I decided to spring for something a bit nicer than any of the other portable keys or paddles I own.

The Te-Ne-Ke was created by Boyd Mason, NE8KE, in 1994. Nowadays, the North Ottawa Amateur Radio Club builds these and offers them to the public. From their website, I ordered through PayPal and wrote in the note that I wanted the paddle without the steel base when I sent them my cash. I ordered it in the morning and it was in the mail by that afternoon. Three days later, I had a package in the PO box.

Let me tell you, this thing is nice! The body is made from a stainless steel U-channel and the contacts are made from beryllium copper which shouldn’t corrode. The mounting hole which is drilled in the top is centered well and free of burrs. The laser engraving gives it a professional touch. Mine weighs 40 grams (1.4 oz) alone and 65 grams (2.3 oz) with some stainless hardware and elastic velcro leg strap that I added.

When I connected it to the radio, I found that it was well adjusted to my style of sending already. It wasn’t touchy nor did I have to slap it around to get it to respond either. If I do end up adjusting it, it seems straightforward to accomplish. Maybe feeler gauges could come in handy here to dial in the settings you like.

Some state that the dit and dah contacts are spaced a bit far apart for their taste, but the distance is perfect for my liking. I like holding my thumb and pointer finger about an inch and a half to two inches apart while sending. The Te-Ne-Ke allows me to send in a natural, relaxed position.

As I mentioned earlier, I added an elastic velcro strap to my Te-Ne-Ke. I like this style of attachment because it relieves me of trying to balance everything on my lap. As a consequence of attaching it to my leg, I can also use this paddle while operating mobile.

In order to attach the paddle this way, I punched a hole through the strap with the stainless #6 screw. The stainless #6 fender washer bites the strap against the bottom of the paddle. A stainless #6 wingnut and lock washer complete the attachment system on top of the leg. When strapped to my leg, the paddle doesn’t slip or wiggle around while operating. It provides a rock solid, predictable operating experience.

If you’d like more information before getting your own, check out these reviews on eHam. I’m glad that I spent the money on a real deal portable paddle that will serve me well for many outings to come.

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