The other thing this penchant has brought me is an alertness to possibilities. For example, I have grown accustom to using a foot pedal to trigger the PPT, allowing me to keep my hands free for logging (usually on the computer). In fact, for contesting, this arrangement is almost mandatory. I find VOX to tricky, and taking my hands off the keyboard makes logging too error-prone. What is needed is a very light, inexpensive, and reasonably small foot pedal that I can make part of a 100 Pound DXpedition kit.
Sure, you can buy foot pedals sold specifically for ham use, but what is the fun in that? Figuring the use of a foot pedal must be handy for more than just hams and contesters, I did a little poking around to see if I could find something even remotely appropriate to the task. I did. Consider the foot switch I just picked up on eBay for use with my Heil Traveler Dual headset (also pictured).
This little foot switch was advertised as an accessory for a TATTOO MACHINE. Well, that's about as far away from ham radio as you are likely to get! You can find the item here: Foot switch for a tattoo machine. I placed the order and within a few days it appeared in my mail box from Jolly Ole England. It weighs just a few ounces and even has the right connector already attached (a 1/4 inch mono plug). It is so nice, I confess I just popped an order for two more!
The last piece of the puzzle is a small deficiency in the Heil Traveler Dual Headset system: there is no standard fixture sold by Heil to accommodate a foot switch. No matter. I'll make an adapter cable to allow for this. Of course this foot pedal will work with my Heil Pro-Set Plus headset, too.
Keeping the total weight of your traveling station within 100 pounds (or whatever goal you have set) will always be a challenge. My advice is keep looking for that feather-weight part that makes things work, no matter where you find it, and no matter what it was originally designed to do!