Paddles Made by Amateur Hobbyists

A Lot of Innovation and Skill is Shown in the Efforts of Talented Paddlemakers


     The paddles in this section are the products of talented craftsmen with a desire to create functional and elegant instruments for other amateurs.  Actually, the line between amateur and professional is one of degree - many amateur paddles, which are made individually or in small groups, are of quality as high as (or higher than) those mass produced in factories.  Unfortunately, my collection of them is small, and there are many beautiful paddles out there.


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    This elegant iambic paddle is the R3a, made by Mike Marsh of Winchester, VA.  These paddles are well known and highly prized by the hams who own them.  They are made with a variety of finishes and decorative accents.  As with all such premium instruments, getting one may take a rather long wait (and one that is surely worth it).

 

 

 

 

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This small and sturdy iambic paddle was obtained in a trade with another ham, who attributed its construction to Mike March (maker of the R3a above).   It is made on a small steel base, with brass arms and Lucite fingerpieces.   Tension is supplied by  magnets that attract the ends of each paddle arm.  It works well and is of a size that makes it quite portable. 

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    A very talented craftsman in Brazil made this very elegant little paddle, which he calls the "Vespa Dourada."  It is finished in very high quality chrome plating, with black plastic fingerpieces.  The pivots appear to be small steel pins supported above and below - there is no detectable play in the action.  Tension is supplied by coil springs. 

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  Another fine example of an individually crafted iambic paddle.  This one, called the P-1, is made by Jerry Pittenger (K8RA) of Powell, OH.  It is made of satin-finished brass and is mounted on a brass base that contains a piece of lead for greater weight.  This is one of a number of models that he offers.  It action is quite free and precise.

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     There are many one-of-a-kind paddles made for personal use by amateurs.  This example is made from brass and is mounted on a steel base that is below two layers of a plastic material that was also used for the fingerpieces.  The paddle arms are held in alignment by small brass pins, and the rear edge of the center brass block serves as a fulcrum for the paddle arms.  This mechanism, which uses spring tension, is similar to that used in the non-iambic Kent paddle.

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      Yes, it really is made from a paper clip.  This is the well-known Bulldog Paddle, made and sold by Louis Petkus, K9LU, of Batavia, IL.  The paddle is very light and is held to a smooth surface by three suction cups.  It is available in several configurations and takes up little room in a QRP traveling kit.

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