This is an easy afternoon project to switch multiple cw keys between
several rigs. If you've ever wanted to change keys on one rig or use one
key on several rigs, this gadget makes it easy. Plug
keys into the box inputs, and plug each of the box outputs into a rig. No
need to fumble around behind the rigs to move a key from one to
another or to swap paddles for a bug. Conceptually, this is what the box
No power is needed to the switch box since this project is purely
Now it's a snap to jump into a dx pileup at 30 wpm on the paddles, followed
by a leisurely straight key chat. Hope you find it as useful as I do.
(1) Rotary Switch.
I used 2 poles of an old 2 pole/6 position/2 deck rotary switch I had.
A 2 pole/4 position switch would be enough for me, but I used what
I had on hand.
(10) Stereo 1/8" / 3.5 mm panel mount connectors.
10 = 6 outputs + 4 inputs.
I use stereo connectors because my Elecraft
rigs require them. Depending on your rigs, mono might be ok.
The number of inputs can be any number since they'll be wired together. The
number of outputs is determined by the number of positions your rotary
switch has. I don't have 6 rigs, but now I certainly have room to grow!
See the schematic below.
(1) Project box.
Approx. 5" x 2.5" x 2.5" or larger will work.
Here's the (nice & simple!) schematic:
Holes. Drill holes as desired. I put all connectors on back with just the knob of
the rotary switch on front. I grouped 4 connectors together as inputs and
6 as outputs.
Input Connectors. Daisy chain the four input connector rings together and then tips
together as shown in the schematic.
Switch Inputs. Connect any input tip and ring to two rotary switch inputs as shown in
Switch & Connector Outputs. Connect each output connector tip/ring to switch outputs. The
schematic shows just one pair to reduce the clutter.
Shields. Connect together all shield connectors.
Assembly. Mount hardware in box.
Plug in your favorite paddles, straight key, bug, side swiper to any of
the input connectors.
Hook each output connector up to your rigs' key connectors.
The keys are switches themselves, expensive ones, so there's no
need to use another switch to select one. That's why they're all wired
together at the input connectors. Simply use the rotary switch to choose
a rig and then tap away on whichever key you like. (Don't forget to set your
rig for keyer or hand key!)
2004 English Kent paddles, 1980s Soviet Army key, World War II US Lionel bug