Original TFR Paddles by W4ED .    Key to this paddle

(pun intended) is the plastic spring material.  Spent

a year trying out various samples, finally found a keeper.

It's a plastic picnic/party knife sold in bags of 24,

marketed by Sovereign, Fedralsburg, MD.


Goals for this paddle were:  rugged,  light weight,  cheap.

Older one is about 2 ounces, new one below is 1 1/2 ounce.

It can be built in a few hours with simple hand tools,

collecting parts takes longer !

         Click to expand

  Click to expand
A look from the other side.

Click to expand


Closer look at business end of W4ED TFR CW paddle.

         Click to expand

  Last,  a top view of contact gap adjusting screws.

  Click to expand


Here are the steps I took in building a TFR single paddle.

First, collect the parts...  (B/M not done yet, sri)

Click to expand

Next,  cut spacers to length 1 1/2" each from one

of the two plastic knives, keep the scrap.

Click to expand


Then Super Glue aft spacer under main paddle. Length from

left paddle tip to aft spacer sets stiffness.  2 3/4" shown gives

medium stiffness, while a shorter length will be stiffer.

Click to expand


A closer look at the aft section.  Be careful to place plenty

of glue at the 2 3/4" mark since it is the area  that sets

paddle side-to-side stiffness.

Click to expand

Now, glue front spacer on top of main paddle.  Goal here is to

align the spacer exactly on top of the main paddle.  Also use

just enough glue for good coverage, but not too much.

Click to expand


Next is a busy step. Trim front tip of spacer (and paddle) back to

a length of 1 1/4".  Trim aft spacer (and paddle) to 1 1/8".  Using the

drill bit that came with the 6-32 tap, drill four holes.  Starting from the

front tip, center each on the paddle, place 1st 5/8" from tip. Place

2nd hole 7/16" from 1st one.  Measuring from the aft tip, place 3rd

hole in 1/4" place last hole 5/8" from 3rd.  Use 6-32 tap to cut threads

in each hole.  This plastic can break a tap, so back out the filings as

you go, and don't rush it.  Each tapped hole will be through two

layers of plastic. Insert two sets of 3/4" screw, washer,

and nut as shown.  These screws could be knurled thumb screws,

if you really like to tweak, and can find them !

Click to expand


In this step, the 1/16" x 1" aluminum angle is prepared.  I used a

hack saw and medium file to cut the shape.  Overall length is 5 3/8"

Front set-back is 1 1/2".  Top of aft taper is 1/2".  Drill holes after

shape is finished.  The two holes that secure the aft spacer are

tricky and will be oversized.  Use a 3/16' or 5/32" drill bit and you

may still want to "stretch" the holes horizontally.

Place the paddle with front screws in final its position.

Scan ahead if not sure, then come back here.

Then mark the aft spacer holes on the angle aluminum.

Try to leave a small gap (1/32") between 1st front screw and

vertical set-back.  Drill two holes as just marked.  Drill 1/4" hole

for stereo jack about 3/4" from aft and up 3/8".  This hole location

is not critical, but do check for clearance with paddle.

Click to expand


Closer look at flip side, aft holes.

Click to expand


I enjoy this step the most.  Using two 3/8" 6-32 screws,

mount the paddle onto the angle base.

Click to expand


Closer look at 1st front screw gap.

Click to expand

Another look at 1st front screw.

Click to expand


Solder two 5" insulated wires to 1/8" stereo jack.

Click to expand


Mount the 1/8" stereo jack.  Run wire pair between paddle and

angle aluminum.  Cut wire for comfortable single turn around

front two screws, one each.  Strip about 1/2" insulation, then

form an inverted 'U' with the bare wire. Place the 'U' wire

between the washer and plastic paddle. Try to keep the wire

out of the 6-32 threads, it can bind making contact

adjustment  difficult.  For adjustment, turn each front

screw for the contact gap that gives best feel, for both

sides. Then tighten the nuts.  It may take a little re-adjustment

to find the best feel.  A far as stiffness goes, making the paddle

swing softer can be done by weakening the area where the main

paddle meets the aft spacer. This can be done by drilling a small

hole through the main paddle, 3/8" in front of inboard aft screw,

and enlarge as need.  To make it stiffer,  need to start with

a new main paddle and decrease the 2 3/4" length,  thereby

thickening the area where the main paddle meets the aft spacer.

This design was not driven by adjustment of side-to-side

spring stiffness,  instead,  was driven by finding a plastic

material that would give a good medium  feel (imho), as is.

Click to expand


That's it.  Done.  Here is my latest one, ready for action.

Click to expand

Since it is so light, it will need more than its own gravity

to hold it down.   The set up above  works because the

weight of the K2, pressing down via left bracket, pins the

TFR paddle in place.  Under the paddle is a special material

that makes all the difference. Sold as "Magic Cover GRIP",

a non-slip liner, was found at the local grocery.  Also have

used a small C-clamp, placed just aft of the stereo jack.


These paddles are what I use  for CW.   I switched over

from a Vibroplex bug at home , and could not send fast

(or well) enough in the field  with a straight key.  Just

what I needed, and the price was right.   CUL HF CW.