[CQ-Contest] Do Keycaps Still Exist?

Ed Muns w0yk at msn.com
Mon Jul 20 13:50:04 PDT 2009

> I set up all sorts of shortcuts and macros with Writelog, and 
> am frustrated with sticking labels than can be removed that 
> invariably come off at the worst possible time.
> I'd like to use old-fashioned keycaps, as prying keys off a 
> keyboard is a bit dicey!
> Do blank keycaps exist anymore?  If so, where an I get them?

This is not an issue for me and I change key definitions for every contest.

1.  For the Fn keys in the top row of the keyboard, I customize a single
strip of paper with labels.  I have a PowerPoint file with a slide per
contest.  To the extent that I use different keyboards with different
physical dimensions, then the slide per contest will be specific to the
keyboard being used.  But the basic slide is a template of text boxes
centered on each Fn key.  Often, I include a background rectangle to group
keys for easy location at a glance ... Kind of provides a graphic tree
structure so Fn keys can be logically grouped.  If the software allows
shifted-Fn keys then there are two rows of text boxes.  There is an overall
outline box around the template that is used for cutting out the strip of
labels with a paper cutter or simple scissors.  By now, I have slides for
all the contests I do and can tweak the one I need for the next weekend.
For a new contest, I just duplicate one of the slides and edit the text and
color backgrounds.

Then, from a craft store I buy a cassette that dispenses removable adhesive
for rolling onto the back of this paper strip.  It is adhered to the
keyboard above the Fn keys and easily removed and replaced for the next

2.  For keys within the keyboard array where I've defined a short-cut, I use
1/4" colored dots that are available from office supply stores.  Again, get
the removable type.  Often the colors will give me what I need for
identification, but if not then I write a character or two on the dot.
Tweezers are handy for applying and removing the dots.

Alternatively, some contesters use one or more of the various X-key
configurations to have a customized keypad or strip separate from the main
keyboard.  They have removable keycaps under which you can insert/remove
labels.  That's too complicated and takes up to much operating space for me,
but they are popular with others.

Ed - W0YK

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