As I’ve mentioned in the past, I feel pretty lucky to live in an area that is flush with POTA sites. It’s not that we have numerous individual parks, but the parks we do have encompass massive portions of the area.
One park, in particular, that literally runs around and through Asheville, NC, is the Blue Ridge Parkway. When I’m in town and have a few free minutes, it’s quite easy to hit the BRP; it’s never far away. I can set up along the parkway pretty much anywhere, or go to the Visitor’s Center or Folk Art Center if I want to operate from a picnic table. In addition, the Mountains To Sea Trail runs along large portions of the parkway, so it’s very easy to hit it as well.
On Wednesday, September 28, 2022, I took my daughters to a class and had the better part of an hour to play radio. The BRP’s Folk Art Center was only a 10 minute drive from their class, so I made a beeline for the site as soon as I dropped them off.
I had the amazing Penntek TR-45L packed in my car, and decided to pair it with my Tufteln End-Fed Random Wire antenna.
The form factor and size is very similar to their Pocket Paddles I’ve used for the better part of two years.
The feel of the CNC machines paddles, however, is much more solid than that of the 3D-printed key, no doubt because aluminum simply has less play.
Not only can you adjust the action of the paddles (in terms of travel to the center contact), but you can also adjust the spring tension.
The key they sent me also has a magnetic base (you can see the rare earth magnets in the four corners of the base plate below).
As with all CW Morse products, this key is designed and manufactured in the USA.
In the spirit of full disclosure, CW Morse sent this key at no cost to me. They asked for my honest evaluation.
So what do I think? Is this key for you?
This is one of the most solid feeling paddles I’ve ever used. Since this key is built with 6061 billet aluminum blocks and the the main body is made in one solid piece, it feels substantial. To be clear, though, it’s not what I would consider heavy, but it obviously weighs more than their 3D printed pocket paddles.
I believe these paddles could take heavy abuse from ops (like me, I’ll be honest) who are pretty heavy fisted. You may have noticed in my videos that I tend to slap around my paddles and keys. I can tell this paddle will take serious abuse!
If you’re the sort of op who likes a lighter touch, though, you might stick with CW Morse’s 3D printed paddles. The action feels lighter and, again, being 3D-printed, the material is a bit lighter.
I can tell you that these CNC machined aluminum paddles are going to get a lot of use and abuse from me. In fact, I’ve been using them exclusively for about one week in the shack and I’ve been very pleased. I feel like my sending accuracy has been excellent. I can’t wait to take them to the field soon, but first I need to finish a few DIY projects at the QTH–POTA and SOTA activations will be my reward!