My cootie/sideswiper was inspired by an article (http://sideswipernet.org/articles/w9ok-modernization.php) by W9LA about how hams in the 1930s might have constructed a cootie/sideswiper using a ceramic DPST knife switch. I didn’t have a ceramic DPST knife switch, but I did have a nice Leviton ceramic DPDT knife switch which I used as the basis for my cootie/sideswiper. Instead of using tape for the fingerpieces as described in the article, I used Fender guitar picks.
This cootie is the key I use most often for home-based operations.
This (see photo above) is the one I built a few years ago from a hacksaw blade, cabinet fixtures and a crafter’s block of wood. The felt pad finger pieces allow me send more smoothly than with the bare metal lever.
I also used 4 pads under the base for gripping.
Since I had most of this stuff on hand the cost of the project was less than $4 dollars.
Fantastic, Mike! And I understand Hermione sends like a dream!
Thanks for sharing, Mike! Anyone else care to share a photo of their homebrew key? Please comment or contact me!
Many thanks to Alex (W3AVP) who shares this photos of his homemade cootie/sideswiper originally posted on the POTA Faxcebook page. Alex notes:
I didn’t want to lug my Begali key to the parks so I made my own using the plans from KA8VIT. Worked great! I had a little QRP key but my fat fingers would make so many mistakes. The DIY aspect of this hobby is extremely entertaining!
And I bet your “cootie” serves you well in the field! I love the simple design and the fact it even has an adjustable action. At the end of the day, keys are merely switches so are perfect for homebrewing!
If you have a sideswiper/cootie or any other key you’ve built and would like to share it here on QRPer, contact me (K4SWL at QRPer.com).
Those of you who are fans of single lever paddles will be pleased to learn that LnR Precision has announced the latest key in their product line: the SKCC Sideswiper.
Here’s the description from the product page:
The SKCC Sideswiper is patterned after the Kungsimport key produced in Kunsbacka, Sweden in the 1980’s by Hakan Scard (professional operator at Gothenburg Radio, SAG) and Ben Jomkert. It is a classic very traditional Sideswiper produced for the Straight Key Century Club.
The light weight Oak fingerpiece allows for a close gap setting making it a very fast key with little chance of chattering. The heavy 2.8 pound base makes it a very stable device on your desk. No chasing this key around the desk or needing two hands to operate.
The SKCC Sideswiper base has a 4″x 3.25″ powdercoated cold rolled steel base with SKCC logo
The blade is highcarbon spring steel and features a Lightweight Oak Fingerpiece
Upper hardware is anodized aluminum with matte finish.
Weight is 2.8 lbs
I think this is a beautiful key–I love the simple design, heavy base and the fact they’re made by a quality key manufacturer.
The price will be $94.95 US.
Thanks for the tip, WD8RIF!