OK, so saying “DCP Paddle” is redundant. “DCP” stands for “Dirt Cheap Paddle.” While this paddle is inexpensive compared to a lot of morse/CW paddles out there, I would definitely not call it “cheap.” It is exquisitely designed and expertly machined by Doug W6AME of American Morse Equipment. I don’t remember where I first heard about his paddles and keys, but I knew I had to have one as soon as I saw it. The DCP is the least expensive paddle he makes (hence the name) but doesn’t lack quality. I have a pretty tight budget for my ham activities and equipment, so I was holding off on getting one until I really needed it.
I like running, hiking, summits, and ham radio. Well, lots of other things, too. But this is about those four things. Since I started doing SOTA, I’ve wanted to try to put together an HF summit activation kit for use on trail runs. I’ve done a a few SOTA activations while trail running, but it had always been with just a hand-held radio—usually my tiny Yaesu VX-2R with a 12-inch ultra-flexible whip antenna, or an MFJ “Long Ranger” telescoping antenna.
On most of my activations, I’ve used a SOTABeams “Band Hopper” with my FT-817. It’s a resonant dipole for 40 and 20 meters, with a nice convenient bag, stakes, guy lines and 1:1 balun. It’s a very nice antenna, easy to set up. But it’s a bit on the heavy side compared to an end-fed half-wave (EFHW) antenna. And not quite as easy to throw into a tree. Continue reading →