Questions and Answers

In this section, we present a few Frequently Asked Questions that were actually sent to us by email:

PPK:

Q: My PPK works fine for me on the FT-817 since many years. Now I tried to use it with my new KX3 but it doesn't seem to work right and is »key down« even though the Key 1 input is set to »Hand«?

A: Some radios detect the connected key or paddle through an auto-detect mode. Examples are the Elecraft K2, where this feature is selectable, or the YouKits HB-1B where the auto-detect mode cannot be switched off. Current PPKs are wired so the auto-detect mode on these radios will work. On some rigs this wiring can lead to a malfunction, but the PPK wiring can easily be changed to meet the requirements of these radios. See: PPK wiring.


Paddle housings:

Q: What is this »ABS« that you use in your new paddle housings?

A: ABS is generally a low-hazard material which is ideal for structural applications when impact resistance, stiffness and strength are required. It maintains its useful characteristics over a wide temperature range (-20 to 80 °C or -4 to 176 °F).
ABS is used in many household and consumer products, automotive applications, electrical or electronic applications and in toys (e.g. in the famous LEGO bricks).


Mini Paddle:

Q: What are the 3 screws on each paddle good for?

A: The front screws are responsible for the contact spacing, the middle ones for the spring tension of the paddles. When you turn the front screw all the way back, you can set the contact spacing with the rear screws. You get a »softer« touch. With this setting, the electrical contact closes first, while the paddle still has some »over-run« before it hits the mechanical end position.


Q: Two double sided tape pads are supplied with the Mini Paddle. What is their purpose?

A: If you want to attach, for example, the QuickMount on a device on which the magnet can not be used (e.g. an aluminum housing), you can use these pads to glue the QuickMount on the surface. Simply use them on top of the anti-slip rubber pads - it holds rock solid, but also can be removed later easily if desired.


Q: I would like to buy a Mini Paddle, but I recently heard from a fellow HAM, that there were problems with the connection cable of Mini Paddles in the past. Have you improved this issue in the meantime?

A: In the beginning, we actually had some few cases where the cable wire broke inside the cable. Once we became aware of this, we immediately changed the cable supplier. In addition, we improved the stability of the 3-pin plug by using two heat shrink tubes with special glue inside. Since then we have hardly received complaints anymore. However, any cable can be broken by applying pure force and being careless with the cable connection. Some people even manage to tear off the mains power connector of their vacuum cleaners!
If you want to unplug the connector from the Mini Paddle for transport, always grip the 3-Pin plug and not the cable. Some people obviously never unplug the cables and just wrap them around their Mini Paddle. The resulting torque force can rotate the cable coating relatively to the 3-pin connector, and naturally stresses the inner wires and the soldering connections. Logically, no cable can stand such treatment for too long!


Q: With the design of the Mini Paddle why have you not considered to use a 3.5mm stereo jack? I personally find this much more convenient, I would appreciate it if you would provide the mini paddle with 3.5 mm connection!

A: With the design of the mini paddle we could not use a standard 3.5mm stereo jack because of the limited space, and secondly it was the only way for us to be able to plug the Code Cube keyer directly into the Mini Paddle.
The 3-pin plug contact is always a reliable contact, and it is through the insertion of the plug into the socket it is even self-cleaning!
For those who prefer to use a 3.5mm phone plug cable with the Mini Paddle, we offer a special adapter from the 3-pin connector to a 3.5mm female jack (-> »Palminator«)


Code Cube:

Q: I have some problems storing text into the memories. I have the impression that the space length between two words is exactly the same as between two characters. When I enter a text, it seems that the memory does not keep up the speed with the recorded text. For example when I record the letter N, there is first the DAH, then pause, then the DIT.
On the other hand, entering my call sign inthe the call sign memory works flawlessly!
What am I doing wrong ?

A: There is a good reason for your difficulties: As described on page 5 (quite below), »automatic spacing« is always active when entering texts. This feature can not be turned off when storing texts for technical reasons!
This means that if the spaces between letters are entered inaccurately, errors occur.
See also the Note on »AU« on top of page 16.
Tip: Keep the speed as low as possible when you make the text entries, then it will surely work.

Feedback: I have tried it as you suggested. It did work out. Thank you!


Q: Setting the minimal and maximal speed.
  I use a Code Cube with the Mini Paddle. For demonstration purposes, I wanted to set a very slow speed. After a reset and calibration of the speed setting wheel I set it to a minimal speed of 5WPM. The speed pot was set to minimum speed, but I realized that the actual speed was still around 16 WPM. An increase of the minimum speed to 10 resp. 15 WPM did not change anything. Only above the speed of about 16WPM, an increase was noticeable. My question is what I'm doing wrong?

A: Probably your CC has no problem if it worked prior to your setting attempts. I think the pot was just not set to the leftmost position during calibration. Please try the following:

  1. Set the speed pot all the way to the left (important)
  2. Activate Menu 1 (MEM + DIT)
  3. By pressing the MEM button, navigate to »C« via »SH«, »SL«, »W«
  4. Press the DIT paddle: a few characters might be heard, and then the CC returns back to the normal operating mode. The left position of the pot is now 16WPM, and 32WPM at the right. Does it work again?
Comment: It's funny - I tried it a few times as it is described in the manual, but the CC always behaved the same. A few times with reset and everything and calibration. When I tried it based on your email, I made it. It worked right away! Presumably, the problem was between key and chair?
Thank you for your support!

If you have a problem with setting the min and max speed, please try to enforce a reset before calibrating again.
Reset: Calibrating: Setting the minimum speed: Setting the maximum speed:


Q: Code Cube generates unpredictable characters.
I have a Code Cube that is a few years old. Now I have the problem that the characters are not always correct. What I mean is that sometimes some words appear as normal, sometimes not. It looks like there are some dropouts or contact problems. Unfortunately, I don't know if this happened just now, because the CC was not in use for a very long time. Could you please tell me what to do, or if you had similar problems before?

A: This problem is not know so far. I guess that the key that is connected causes the problem, and not the Code Cube itself. Are you using a Mini Paddle or another key? Please execute a full reset of the CC  (take the cell out, short circuit Code Cube +/- contacts, put in the battery with pressed MEM button again, you will hear »fb«) and then test it again. Maybe you activated a dot or dash memory, which is responsible for the effect?
Comment: Hi, great it works again fb, thank you - is simply a brilliant piece of art. 73


Q: No transceiver keying, although the CC side tone is heard. What can I do?

A: Probably the practice mode is activated, what means that the keying transistor of the CC is disabled. This can be changed through the appropriate menu setting. Please go to Menu 4, »PR« and hit the »DAH« paddle.  


Q: Can the sidetone be disabled?

A: Of course you can switch off the side tone (Menu 2a, item »ST«) as described in the manual
The procedure:

in menue 2a: The sidetone is now turned off.


Q: I have an old tube transceiver, I would like to use with the Code Cube. What should I do?

A: The older type transceivers are often keyed with negative voltage. You should connect a grid block keying adapter between Code Cube and the transceiver, e.g. like this one: wb9kzy.com/gridb.pdf?


Peg Leg

Q: For what purpose is the Peg Leg EXTRA bag?

A: These are spare parts, just in case one of the small parts get lost while installing the Peg Leg.


Palm Radio Infrared Link Technology

Q: When does it make sense to use your Infrared Link Technology?

A: Generally nothing is wrong using cables to operate. But there are always use cases where it makes sense to operate »wireless«.
Case a) Your Mini Paddle should work with multiple stations, without having always to connect a cable, e.g.: Rig in the vehicle, the IR receiver is mounted »visible«, simply use the Mini Paddle with Code Cube through the wireless IR solution. Then change to the Home Base, or club station.
Case b) field day where a Screw Driver antenna is used. Simply take the keyer to the antenna, adjust antenna, then press Tune and check SWR (hopefully the meter is in visible sight).
Case c) It is easy, cable free and feels pretty »magic« to be able to operate CW with the transceiver wirelessly.


Q: Can I operate several infrared lines simultaneously in a contest for example?

A: No, unfortunately not. There is no multi-key solution available.


Q: My laptop »transmits«. What can I do about it?

A: Yes, with older laptop models, which are equipped with IR, may cause interference. Just check that the IR receiver is not "looking" at the laptop's IR interface directly.


Q: Can I use the IR solution, even in direct sunlight?

A: We use filter shields, which filter the IR portion of the sun. The operating range is limited to about 5m, but that should be sufficient for most cases.


Q: I am CW newbie and just train hard working with a hand key. However, I travel a lot, looking for a space-saving way to practice with. What do you recommend me?

A: The PPK-IR is very well suited for practicing! It provides the feel and the flair of Junker straight key. With the built-in sidetone you can setup 7 different frequencies and the side tone can also be turned off. An external side tone generator is not required! And if you are well trained in CW later on, you can use the PPK-IR and key your radio through our IR Link Technology.