Category Archives: Accessories

Dale’s solution for enhanced CW field ergonomics

Many thanks to Dale (N3HXZ) who shares the following guest post:


Ergonomics of Operating CW in the Field

by Dale (N3HXZ)

About a year ago I started getting active in Parks On The Air (POTA) and Summits On The Air (SOTA). I had always been an avid hiker and backpacker, and though I am getting up there in years (recently retired!) these amateur radio opportunities were just the medicine I needed to rekindle my passion for the outdoors and amateur radio.

Thanks to Thomas (K4SWL) and his blog post and videos I was able to quickly come up to speed on the basics and get out into the field for CW activations.  I quickly discovered that operating CW in the field is quite different from operating at home. The creature comforts of a good chair, a level and spacious operating table, and isolation from the weather makes for a great experience in the shack, but is not available in the field, especially if you are backpacking to your destination. My early activations were sitting on a rock, or the ground, and using only a clip board to mount my rig (Elecraft KX2), locate my CW paddle, and place a notepad to record QSO’s.

While simple, this operating setup poses problems. Attaining and maintaining a flat workspace is tough in the field in order to keep things from shifting or falling off the clipboard, especially if you are not firmly seated. There is not enough space to set your wrist in order to steady your CW operating, and the notebook pages can flap in the wind, or the wind can blow your logbook clear off the table while operating. I realized I needed to upgrade my mobile station! Continue reading Dale’s solution for enhanced CW field ergonomics

3D printed side rails and cover for the Venus SW-3B

Many thanks to Rick (K8BMA) who writes:

I’ve had a SW-3B for a couple of years now. Even use it in the ham shack.

I also have a KX2. From packing the KX2 around, I have noticed problems with the main tuning encoder, probably from having weight up against it. I pack it in one of the bags they sell.

Recently, I came across 3D printed end plates, cover and, STL files for the SW-3B. My son, a packaging engineer printed off a set of these parts at work for me.

Just what you need for yours. I also found a similar cover for the KX2. Next on my list.

Enjoy your posts.

73, Rick K8BMA

Thank you so much for sharing this, Rick! I believe you printed KN6EZE’s side panels and cover that are available on Thingiverse. I am definitely planning to print some of these as well. One reader noted that the encoder is a bit of a weak point on the SW-3B and it should be protected in transport if possible. 

I’ve been thinking about grabbing some KX2 side rails and Lexan cover from this company. Then again, I reckon I could also simply print some!

Thank you for the tip!