May 2020 Update: This key was gifted to KK5PJ who was extremely patient with me in my very first CW QSO and the many practice sessions that followed. THX.
CW or Morse Code is a way ham radio operators send messages with a simple tone of two durations. It was a must before the days of wireless voice communications and still remains popular because it is a fun challenge. Also, due to its efficiency messages can get through with limited power or in poor conditions.
There are no shortage of morse code key designs, but in general they fall into a few categories that are discussed here. We decided to DIY a "cootie" or "sideswiper" key and used our 3D printer to produce this design from Thingiverse.
Hardware parts list:
- Qty 1: 0.81mm / 0.032 in feeler gauge (hack saw blade also works)
- Qty 3: #8-32 x 1 in. Combo Round Head Brass Machine Screw
- Qty 3: #8-32 x 1-1/4 in. Combo Round Head Brass Machine Screw
- Qty 11: #8-32 nut
The result was surprisingly fantastic in both look and feel. Now, to practice.