Thursday, January 16, 2014

Pico Paddle

A few months back I ordered a Pico Paddle from Palm Radio. It is very small paddle, weighing only 12 grams by itself or 27 grams with the magnetic quick mount. The paddle is extremely well engineered and comes in a nice travel case with two quick mounts and cable. I have recently been using the paddle on my SOTA expeditions and have found it to be a very good paddle to have in the field. There are a few oddities about the paddle that are worth talking about, but overall it is a very well made, functional paddle.

Pico Paddle

Magnetic Quick Mount

 The cable used to interface with your rig is a little unique, in that it is a 2.5mm - 3.5mm and it is reversed with the tip being the dah. So it is a little different than the typical set up. If you are using the paddle with an FT-817 or a KX-3 or similar commercial transceiver, a simple adjustment in the menu will fix the reversed cable issue. If you are left handed, then it's perfect. The problem comes if you use the Pico paddle on a home-brew radio that doesn't have the ability to adjust the dits and dahs. You can do you own fix by cutting and reversing the wires and I suppose if you are using the paddle at a home station this would be sufficient, but the cable wires are thin and the solder job doesn't  hold up well with portable use. There is a pre-made reverse wired cable available from MTechnologies that is a much better alternative.

One nice feature of the paddle is the quick mount. It a very strong magnet that allows you to mount the key on the radio. In the field this is a nice feature and prevents you from having to hold a small paddle and log at the same time. I recently used it in combination with my MTR on a SOTA  trip and I really liked the way the radio and paddle were integrated.

Pico Paddle Mounted on MTR w/magnetic quick mount

Another nice feature of the Pico is that the paddles retract into the housing when not in use. I'm always in search of an efficient, light portable solution for SOTA Operations. These set-up works very well. 

I have no financial interest in this product, I'm just sharing my experience with it. If you Google it you will find the dealers who carry it.


  1. Good morning Mike, this is a great paddle I have had 2 of them (still have one) I had a project were I mounted one on my Elecraft KX1 (it'a on my blog under projects) I find the paddle as you said is very well made and has fantastic feel.

    1. Hi Mike, I believe you are refering to the Mini Paddle, not the new PICO Paddle. This one is even smaller and the paddles are a bit more rigid, plus it has a 2,5mm stereo jack, not the 3 PIN connector.

      73 Hannes, DL9SCO

  2. Hi Mike,
    I use one all the time on activations, be mindful that the cable is likely to fail, mine is now wired with red and black power lead.. would appear it's a common fault.. however they key is brilliant..

    Steve MW0BBU.

  3. Steve,
    Thanks for the information. Can you send me a picture of you wiring set-up. Cheers.

    Mike AD5A

  4. I just replaced the supplied with Red and Black... the supplied broke down on me on MW-033 and I had to use a straight key.. geeshhh!!! that was a lash up..