[CQ-Contest] Foot switch recommendations

Kimo Chun kimo at lava.net
Mon Mar 29 15:36:05 PDT 2010



There are many foot switch manufacturers out there. Most are built for
industrial tool and machinery control. Others were made for office equipment
like old tape transcription machines. However, many of these are also very
heavy duty and sometimes require a fair amount of pressure on them to
actuate (ex. people using them while standing). Also, they may or may not be
using it with the same duty cycle you intend. Thus, one with a lighter
spring may prove to be friendlier to you.


In the communications industry, by far, the most common footswitches are
made by Line Master. They come in different sizes and duty cycle ratings
(i.e., harder to push - such as their Clipper or Clipper Master (I forget)
series). They have a smaller version (about the size of a pack of
cigarettes) that is probably better suited. The Heil unit is almost
identical to this. No matter if it is the Heil (which is fine) or the Line
Master all are subject to regular maintenance. Their hinged pivot screws can
and will come loose from time to time. I own a number of both and the


You can adapt most any foot switch you find but these I mention usually have
both a Normally Open (push to close) and Normally Closed contacts (or
sometimes more than one set of Normally Open contacts. Depending on what you
need to switch (simultaneously) you need to pay attention to this.
Otherwise, most people only need a single N-O contact set.


Unless you are keying some higher voltage (in some older radios?) you are
generally switching low voltage, low current so you don't have to concern
yourself about contact ratings. The Heils come with a quarter inch two
circuit (mono) phone plug that is typically used with their headset
adapters. Honestly, I don't think you will go wrong with the Heil. It isn't
significantly different from the Line Master but some may disagree.


I seem to have a footswitch fetish. as I must have at least a half dozen
other types of single and dual footswitches like I mentioned above. I get
involved with multi-multi contesting and DXpeditions so you can never have
too many footswitches! Once, on Palmyra, KH5, I had the keying circuit in my
radio set wrong (slightly confusing manual- or my ability to read
schematics) and blew out an FET keying transistor keying a Kenwood TL-922
linear. So I got an extra foot switch and glued a piece of T-111 on them so
I could key both at the same time (rig and amp). Who knows if I hot switched
the amp sometimes.. It worked well enough for the short time I needed it.


I have not seen the MFJ switch so I cannot comment on it.


I hope this helps.


Aloha, 73


Kimo Chun, KH7U

Delta Communications, Inc.

Honolulu, HI





Date: Mon, 29 Mar 2010 15:41:40 -0400

From: Ryan Jairam <rjairam at gmail.com>

Subject: [CQ-Contest] Foot switch recommendations

To: cq-contest at contesting.com


     <4165082f1003291241h3f3504abtfc245192e05fb994 at mail.gmail.com>

Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1


I need to buy a foot switch.  One handed logging isn't cutting it

anymore and is cutting into my rate.


Most ham radio stores have the choice of the Heil or the MFJ foot pedals.


Is that really the only two choices we have?  I have a heil headset

and it has not impressed me with its build quality.  Therefore I'm a

bit reluctant to buy another Heil product.


Anyone has any recommendations? What do you guys use?


Ryan, N2RJ


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