PA3CLQ's Leuke Linken Nr. 465


British CW Operators in World Wars I and II

I recently found an interesting documentary on how British hams were recruited to intercept CW traffic during World Wars I and II.

Go to:

73, Brian Webb, KD6NRP


Before Twitter and Facebook, there was Morse code: Remembering social media’s true inventor

Interesting article in The Washington Post:

73, Jeff - N2KOF


i would like to buy an heavy straight key, like a marconi 213 replica,

someone can help me find one?

Alessandro La Rosa IZ0WKV

Try  ??

W/best regards, Pete NM5PS

Additional source is



June Rag Chew

Greetings all,
The June issue of the Rag Chew is now available on the SKCC home page.
Just a reminder to take pictures of your Field Day activities and summer antenna projects...pass them along to the editor(me) and see hem in print here in the Rag Chew.

73, Ted K8AQM Rag Chew editor


Having a challenge zero-beating a signal?

Here is a link to one called Grandson of Zero Beat.

This on has a bank of leds that shows if your above or below the desired freq.

Push button calibration allows you to change the side tone freq.
Rocky Weeks, AF5AF

I made a similar circuit years ago, because I was jealous of the "blue led" on an FT-857D ... hi

(in the meantime I HAVE an FT-857D ... couldn't resist)

see page 13 (text is in Dutch, but circuit and pictures are universal .. and Google Translate is your friend ;-)

if anyone is interested, I still have the Eagle files somewhere, send me a private mail

73 - Luc ON7DQ/KF0CR


Check out this Facebook Group "CW Bugs, Keys & Paddles"

Thanks for having me in this group.

Check out the Facebook Group "CW Bugs, Keys & Paddles" if you would like to see and share pictures of your CW keys.

There is going to be a Begali Key giveaway as well in this group in less that two weeks.

73, Mark KM4AHP 


Off topic - but are there any old draftsmen out there?

I got this with some old drafting supplies. (I still draw with a pencil)

There has to be an "experienced" draftsman out there that can tell me what this is?



Hello Allan

It reminds me of something made by Olson Mfg.

Do a Google search for "Olson drafting tools".

It could have been a custom or hand-made insert for one of the tools.
If it has a groove or taper on the outer edge, it was meant to slip into the other part.

They were used for setting heights for lettering.

You'd make faint lines to outline your lettering.
I used to have one of the original Olson tools long ago in the days of pencil drafting.

It made you think every time you put a line on paper!


Looks like a homemade circle drawer thingimajig.

I'd say compass but a compass is well a compass.

I still hand draft(had to use my compass this morning).

Before CAD I would sometimes make my own drawing aids.

It looks like the hole at the 1-3/4 mark(closer to 1-11/16) is the center pivot.

From there you could make numerous holes.

Also using the other strategically placed holes you can make numerous diameters using the other holes as the center point.

Just my 2 cents, de KD6NOF

You piqued my curiosity.

Here's a modern one.

And I've got one of these in my draw.
Bud Sabatino kd6nof


Here's an explanation for why conditions were so terrible last weekend in march 2017 (history)

<DIV<FONT face="Arial">including some great aurora photos.

73, Darrel, aa7fv.

Editor.... so nice video


Cootie Corner.

From Mike Pilgrim, K5MP, SKCC # 1537S

    This new topic is for all Cootie users and those who might have an interest but need information or guidance to join the growing numbers here in SKCC.

I encourage your questions, suggestions, or any related information of assistance to the entire community.

    The introduction of the Sideswiper key dates back to the early 1930's as a keying methodology which employs a side-to-side motion not unlike that of operating a Bug, except that characters are formed by alternate left/right motion to manually generate the dits and dahs rather than relying on electronic keyers to complete the signals.

    In recent years that form of manual keying adopted affectionately the nick name 'COOTIE".......(for reasons never explained to me).

I adopted the Cootie keying methodology a year or so ago after 50+ years of CW using old fashioned straight keys and the ever-popular Iambic paddles and electronic keyers.

Since my discovery of this keying methodology, i have thoroughly enjoyed the art of CW (even more than before), have found it to be much easier on the hands and wrist, and therefore has become my key of choice.

    Volumes of research data on Sideswipers and/or cooties exists on the web beginning with information found at the following website

From that web site, other than my first views and impressions of this then new-to-me CW key, i personally found of great interest (and recommend to new enthusiasts), the article by N1EA titled "How to Send with a Sideswiper or Cootie Key".

Other internet resources include new product announcements, homebrew construction ideas for Cootie keys, and uTube demos of their usage.

    i am hopeful this intended introductory discussion on this topic will help to respond to questions in the minds of new, experienced, or prospective new enthusiasts.

Otherwise, i hope people will use this forum to share your thoughts, questions, or ideas .

    As a reminder for those who are not familiar, I have created a Cootie users List for SKCC members.

A link to that list is found at the bottom area of my QRZ page.

As of today there are 70 entries on that list. interestingly it reveals Begali and kent SP-1 as the leading commercially manufactured keys exceeded only by the number of homebrew hacksaw blade keys.

if others of you out there have failed to request your entry on that list, or if you recognize missing data, please respond appropriately from that link at my QRZ page.

    i encourage open interaction to this topic so that all can have benefit of your knowledge or ideas.

In closing, i have a personal curiosity about the Kent SP-1 modified for Cootie use.

If you have used this application of that popular key, i wish to hear your assessment.

    I have a similar question of the Pros and Cons of the VIZ Key Cootie key.

For my own reasons of comparative curiosity i would be interested to acquire either or both of the above-mentioned commercial keys.

let me know if you have one available for sale.

    I'm encouraged by the rising interest within the SKCC membership of this unique mode of CW keying.

I look forward to offering any assistance on the topic as needed.

Sincerely, Mike Pilgrim, K5MP SKCCGROUP

Editor...... signup needed for:

List at:

A Cootie tale

Since Mike stirred up a lot of interest lately, I hope this little story will interest some.

    I started into the world of the Sideswiper using a Vibrokey, practiced till I could form the dots and dashes in traditional cootie fashion, and soon looked for a better "feel".

My first attempt was a rather crude hacksaw blade affair followed by a slightly better attempt with the venerable hacksaw blade.

My fist improved with extensive practice and I was hooked.

    Next, I found a good deal from a Dayton tailgater, buying a Kent SP-1, which to this day is my travel key.

The following year at Dayton I happened spot a Sculpture Swing at the Begali booth Friday morning.

Naturally I had to put my hand to it "just to try it".

My lovely Bride of 50 years accompanied me.

Well, I played with the Swing till she hinted that we should move along.

Later in the day I was passing the Begali booth and again had to stop and play with the Swing!

Funny how centrally located the Begali booth seemed to be.!

Every time I passed by it I again stopped to feel the Swing, that happened several times again on Saturday!

Sunday morning we were passing the Begali booth once again ( Did I tell you how amazingly centrally located their booth was? )

When I again put my hand to the Swing, my wife said "Just get it !" I told her the Swing was far too pricey for my pocket book, and she said "Just Do it!"

I learned many years ago, Do Not argue with this lady!

Anything I could say after she has the last word in an argument, would be the start of a new argument!

So I can honestly say I have a Begali Swing today because...She made me do it !

    i did it, I am so glad I did it, I never looked back.

It is my favorite key, and I'm still working it, trying to achieve the proficiency it deserves!

Haven't gotten there yet, but the journey is Wonderful !

Rich W4RQ SKCC #8699s

There are two ways to put a hole in a hacksaw blade.

Well, three if you count "shoot it" - but the neighbours tend to get annoyed over that one.
    The first way isn't far off, though.

Take a piece of mild steel bar about 1 inch wide, 1/2 inch thick, and maybe an inch or so wide.

Drill a hole through it just a tad larger than the hole you want to punch.

Then saw a slot down the edge so that a piece of thin steel inserted in the slot will have the axis of the hole passing through it.

In other words, when you put the hacksaw blade in the slot, you should be able to line up where you want the hole in the blade to be, by moving the blade under the hole.

Now take a drift punch of approximately the correct size (preferably square-ended) and place it in the hole, resting on the spot in the blade where you want the hole.

Now smack that sucker with a hammer.

This works just like a paper punch.
    Surprisingly enough, method two is actually more dangerous to yourself and the piece, but here goes: got to a good hardware store and buy a cobalt bit in the size you want.

It's a small hole, so you'll use a high spindle speed on the drill press.

Then drill as normal.

Cobalt bits are the absolute bomb for drilling in hardened tool and stainless steels.

They're also not cheap, and they have the added bonus of blowing up like little fragmentation grenades if you hit them with too much pressure or torque.

Aside from the chance of snagging the work and spinning it like a saw-edged propellor, that is.

So make sure to wear your eye/face protection and use a good clamp to hold down the work.
Chuck VE7PJR

Hello friends,

Please have a look at Brian's - G4CJY latest sideswiper:

Well done Brian, it's sometimes worth attending a Radio Rally, a nice find indeed.

My new cootie

Hi SSN pals!
As promised, I post photos of my new cootie.
You can see that it is not as nice as the HST :-P but I did it myself!
I have ideas to make it nicer and more easy to use, but I wish first to experiment with blade flexibility, distance between fixed post and contacts, and place of finger pieces.
Blade is from a polished hacksaw.
Contacts are made with "ecrou borgne" (I do not know exact term in english "blind nut" ??) which offers a spherical shape for a good contact.

It's not my invention, I found this somewhere in another key.
I would have preferred brass screws, they are nicer ad have a better electrical contact, but they are difficult to find.
May be I should go in a model shop.
Also angle pieces are not well machined, with a straight angle which is far from 90°
Wing nuts are convenient to experiment with gaps.

In a final version I will probably replace them by normal nuts.
Anyway, I will use it first time this evening for the European net on 3566.
So thanks to be forgiving if you think I'm too much QSD/QLF!!!

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CUL 73 de Gerard, F6EEQ

Yes, as a key maker myself, the level of finish has a great deal to do with the cost of a key.

72/73 Steve, W1SFR

Darel AA7FV asked me to upload this link, which we both enjoyed very much it took me back to my first experience of radio back in the late 60's early 70's, good times.

I remember 80 Metres in particular were full of hams who were on straight keys or bugs each man you could recognize by his fist before you heard the call,

Vy 73 Rich G4FAD..

Picture of Yo san's homebrew sideswiper is attached. (below)
I've been listening to Reg 3 20m session today.

It didn't take long for Yo san to master the cootie, amazing indeed.

The sending is fluid and I only noticed 1 or 2 minor errors across all transmissions.
I've had rare opportunities to listen to your sending Allen but I can tell you you also have a very nice cootie fist.

The Begali Sculpture Swing is in good hands over there...
Keep up the good work fellows, BCNU.

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Have a nice day gents, BCNU.

73, Yann, F5LAW.


73, from the town at the rivers "De Bergsche Maas" and "De Dongen" Geertruidenberg (800+ years city rights) at: 51.702211N 4.853854E

Editor Jan Pieter Oelp PA3CLQ



My simple website about Gigantic DF-Antennas

Part 1 "DF-Antenna Wullenweber Array"

Part 2 "DF-Antenna USSR Variants"

Part 3 "DF-Antenna USA Variant"

Next Part 4 "USSR OTHRA DUGA 1,2 & 3" at: