Monday, September 18, 2006


I've got a bad habit that I picked up as a kid and have never quite outgrown. (Truth be told, I've got many bad habits that fit that description, but I'm thinking specifically of one such behavior.) I will take an object meant for one purpose and use it, often inappropriately, for a completely unrelated purpose. Sometimes the results are remarkable; other times the results are downright embarrassing. My defense for those times things do not turn out well is the experience of thinking things through and trying this crazy combination allowed me to learn something new.
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).
foot switchHeil Traveler Dual headset
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!


Blogger Mal said...

Foot switches designed for use with music keyboards are a great alternative. Cheap, light and also wired with 1/4 inch phono plug. Try the local music store.

73 de VK3ZDD

September 20, 2006 10:51 PM  
Blogger NE1RD's Blog said...

Great idea! Thanks!

September 21, 2006 9:31 AM  
Blogger Joe - N1QD said...

If you have a schematic for the Traveler adapter cable you came up with, I'd be very interested to see it. I just purchased the single sided traveler without realizing that it doesn't allow for a footswitch out of the box.

Also, the presentation you gave to BARC on the 20th was excellent, I thought. I think you sold the BuddiPole on a few people there.


Joe - N1QD

October 30, 2006 9:42 AM  

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