During an especially bumpy descent into Portland, Oregon two 1/2 years ago,
I grabbed a soft-drink can began to tap out Morse code on the opening tab.
For the following December SKN, I built a straight key for about 23 cents
from a discarded soft drink can (I suppose you could use a b__r can as well).
After the can has been opened, the tab makes a good lever. Take a thin
strip of wood or plastic, maybe 1/8 in thick, 3 in long and 3/4 inch wide,
place it flat over the top of the can (you can secure it with a rubber
band), and insert a wood screw (preferable brass to maintain tradition) in
the center of the insulted strip such that end of the tab (i.e. the end over
the hole) makes contact with the protruding tip of the screw when the
opposite end is depressed. The leads to your Ten-tec rig can be attached
with alligator clips (hence the 23 cents) to the screw and to the body of
the can. Hold the can in one hand, at a comfortable angle, and tap out your
Morse code with the middle finger of the other hand using good wrist motion.
In SKN two years ago, I made 26 contacts (average length > 20 mins per QSO)
with this device, with no sore-fist hangover the following day. The tab
never did break off.
The "feel" of the key can be changed by moving the screw in and out, by
rotating the tab left or right, etc. One advantage of all this is that the
$120 or whatever stays in your pocket, or, preferably, is used to treat your
spouse/friend to a night on the town to make up for the New Year's Eve/Day
hours spent on this rediculous but fun activity.
Bill, N6ZFO firstname.lastname@example.org
PS My friend Mary, G0BQV (Britain's only female FOC member) would want me
to remind the group that "cw" is properly called MORSE not cw, by the
aficionados of this quaint mode of communication.
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