About Steve Roberts


4 Gram Straight key

Well, I added a small paddle thinking it would be cool as a swiper, but alas, the travel is too much to my liking. It sort of works as a paddle, but there are better alternatives out there. I decided to make it into a straight key so added clear rubber bumpers. It really works great now and just holding it down on any surface, the travel of the lever is just right. Had a few QSO’s last night to try it out and it works great. Please don’t ask me to make one for you though….:-)


Nano Straight Keys

Well I just made this key yesterday and it turns out it makes a great straight key used on its side. My thought was that it might make a great sideswiper, but I need to do some work on the lever itself before that happens. I also makes a passable single lever paddle once you get used to the relatively long travel of the lever.


I did a search for “nano” keys and found

W4PAL straight key

W1SFR Portable Torsion Bar Key…the i-KeyYa

Here’s a key I just finished that I thought I would share with you. I wanted to make a small portable torsion bar sideswiper that I could throw in my go bag and not worry too much about it getting out of whack. I started milling out a base from some left-over ebony I had. I wanted a design ( get it? IKEA) that was sleek and modern looking so I went with the sort of squared off look including the very thin ebony finger pieces. My first attempt at making this key was an abject failure, but after some deliberation and further machining, I was able to get the torsion bar to twist just enough to make it work. The action is really great and I’m looking forward to using my new key when I’m out and about with my KX3 and my trusty end fed. 73, Steve, W1SFR

Torsion Bar Portable Key



CQ WW CW 2014 Results

Man, you have to wait a long time for the results for this contest. A certificate just showed up in the mail a couple of weeks ago. I always run contests QRP which is a great deal of fun. It will be interesting to see how I did in 2015…the wait begins. 73-SteveCQDX2014Cert

Vermont to Australia with 1W QRPp quite the adventure

Well, I’m a sucker for those little QRP rigs and I’ve built a few. I’m not boy genius when it comes to electronics and whatever I’ve learned has been self taught in the last few years…but I press on because I’m hooked on that moment when I turn on the power and actually hear CW streaming through the headphones.

I’ve worked all states with QRP and 220+ DX stations, so I’ve been into QRP since I got my ticket. Recently I was at a local hamfest hawking my wares, and Rex Harper from QRPme.com was there selling his extensive line of QRP kits and stuff. He had the most recent version of the RockMite series with some very cool custom enclosures, so I got the 20m version. I can tell you that I had some problems with the kit, but in the end folks on the Yahoo RockMite group came through and I got it working and functional.

These critters are not for the weak of heart. They are fixed frequency so you can’t tune them at all. If someone is on your freq, well, you just have to wait until it’s clear. You also have to realize that most folks that you hear on the very sensitive receiver will not hear you when you transmit, because you’re not exactly burning up the ionosphere with your 1W!

My first QSO was with a station in Indiana which I thought was pretty awesome. He gave me a 559 and said the signal was fine and he could copy me well. Ok…well then I thought “I should try to get WAS with 1W”.

Last night I fired up my KX3 and set it at one watt and got on 30m thinking I’d start my WAS quest. And then I heard a VK station in Australia with a very strong signal. I answered and he responded right away with a 529 report and indicated that even though my signal was weak, he could copy me 100%! I told him I was using 1W and he was very excited since he was also into QRPp. We had a great QSO and will be exchanging QSL cards.

Don’t be afraid to turn down your power and see what happens. It’s a lot of fun and can be very exciting when you hear that distant station answer your call.


Steve, W1SFR