November 19th, 2020
Over the last few weeks, we've been working on two projects following feedback from customers.
Firstly, we have started the development of a single paddle version! It's still in development, but we have a finished prototype and it feels great!
Secondly, we have created some taller paddles for those wanting to increase the height of the paddles above the desk. These are currently for the Mark 2 version only.
Mark 2 Spirit Morse Keys with Taller Paddles are now available in the store.
November 5th, 2020
Mark 1 vs Mark 2
We have some pictures and a description of the differences between the original Mark 1 Spirit Morse Key, as developed for the Kickstarter campaign, and the new Mark 2.
Importantly, we would like to emphasize that there is no discernable difference in the performance between versions. The changes were made to streamline production and to standardize parts.
From the top and side views, things look identical.
Inside the Mark 2, you will notice a change to the top of the paddles - the top of the pivot posts are now visible. The paddles are machined to such tight tolerances that the trapped air stopped the paddles from going onto the posts properly and so we drilled a tiny hole to relieve the air pressure inside. For the Mark 2, we took the main pivot hole right through instead.
The paddles are also set very slightly further apart to remove the machined indent next to the center post on the Mark 1 paddles.
The magnet set screws have also been reduced in size to match the other set screws so make adjustment simpler.
We'll still carry Mark 1 parts should you need them, but please make sure to request parts for your specific model.
October 24th, 2020
We now have keys assembled, tested, and ready to ship out.
October 22nd, 2020
Great news! The parts are back from the anodizer and assembly and testing has started.
We should have keys ready to ship out by the end of this week!
Over the next few days, I'll photograph and explain the differences in this Mark 2 version from the original Kickstarter model.
October 16th, 2020
We are waiting for the next batch to come back from the anodizer. Hopefully, we will soon have fresh keys ready for shipping!
We've taken all the feedback from the first batches and made a few minor tweaks to the design as part of our desire to continually improve the Spirt Morse Key. More details to come soon...
October 6th, 2020
October 3rd, 2020
Paddles being machined
October 1st, 2020
September 17th, 2020
The new Haas CNC is installed and commissioned and it is doing a great job!
September 2nd, 2020
The last few keys from the Kickstarter campaign shipped today!
Erik is upgrading his CNC and soon we'll be making a new batch of Spirit Morse Keys to keep ready for online orders here on AF6L.com
August 31st, 2020
Erik has been working hard to get the final batch finished and it looks like they'll ship out this week!
Once that is done, we'll be all done with the Kickstarter campaign.
August 28th, 2020
Five more keys went out today!
August 21st, 2020
Great news - all the newly-anodized keys came out perfectly!
August 17th, 2020
Still waiting on news from the anodizer about the latest batch. Hopefully just a few more days.
August 8th, 2020
The third batch is packed, labeled, and ready to ship! The new pins arrived and they worked perfectly.
August 4th, 2020
The second batch is ready for shipping! The missing lid screws came early and it's so great to get a whole batch on their way to their new homes!
July 31st, 2020
The first batch of Spirit Morse Keys shipped out today!
July 30th, 2020
We had a great assembly day today, with a batch finished and tested, packed and ready for shipping.
More await some lid screws and a yet another batch awaits some correctly-sized pins.
We'll continue to finish up batches and get them shipped over the next few weeks.
July 21st, 2020
We have the key components back from the anodizer and most are excellent, but about a dozen have been damaged, some slightly and some more so.
This is pretty disappointing, as we had enough to fulfill all our Kickstarter pledges and website orders, but not too many extras before we start a second production run.
The anodizer is going to strip the finish, allowing Erik to complete some minor reworking, and re-anodize those we can save.
The rest will enter what we have called our "loaner program", where we will send them out for customers to use, to be replaced with fresh keys from the second production run. If the minor cosmetic faults are not an issue, we plan to refund $40 to those wishing to keep them instead of returning them for replacement.
I anyone would like to volunteer for the "loaner program", please contact us!
Meanwhile, we are starting final assembly, testing, and packing for shipping!
July 10th, 2020
The first run of Spirit Morse Keys is now being anodized and we expect them all back next week!
We then have pins to press-fit, wiring, and assembly, followed by packing and shipping.
We're almost there!
July 4th, 2020
Happy Independence Day!
About another week and we'll be done manufacturing for this batch!
June 21st, 2020
I'm working on cutting the wiring to length, soldering on terminals, and getting ready for when the machining is complete.
June 6th, 2020
The Spirit Morse Key is now available to preorder on the Store menu above!
Once we have all the Kickstarter orders fulfilled and shipped, we'll start shipping out orders taken through this website.
The order page uses Paypal and accepts most every credit/debit card as well as many other payment methods.
If you would prefer an invoice emailed to you, please contact me and I'll have it arranged.
June 2nd, 2020
The Kickstarter campaign is complete and we closed with almost 250% funding, 80 backers and 70 keys pledged!
Thank you to all you pledgers and supporters of our campaign!
May 15th, 2020
Bases after the first machining operation!
May 3rd, 2020
We're now 178% funded on Kickstarter!
The threaded magnet-holders are drilled:
The paddles are machined:
And Erik has purchased a deburring machine to make the parts extra smooth before anodizing:
April 27th, 2020
Josh from Ham Radio Crash Course showed the prototype key again!
Here's the link for the clip:
Josh said: "It's fantastic! It's not going to move on your desk at all."
April 22nd, 2020
We launched a press release today!
Modern Morse Paddle Design Taps into the Passion of Covid-Quarantined Radio Hams
April 20th, 2020
We are now at 150% funded!
April 19th, 2020
Supplies are turning up fast - today the 3 foot long 3.5mm audio connection cords and 1/4" adapters arrived. We will be including these with each key so they truly will be plug and play!
April 18th, 2020
The Spirit Morse Key was featured on Ham Radio Crash Course!
From his email: "I got it all setup tonight, it is AWESOME. Nicely done! Josh"
Here's the link to the clip: https://www.youtubetrimmer.com/view/?v=VFKLiowjNpo&start=581&end=695
April 17th, 2020
Production continues apace! We now have over one hundred paddle arms completed - enough for more than 50 keys.
April 12th, 2020
Good news from Erik - he has completed 60 key lids already, despite the campaign not closing until June 1st.
April 7th, 2020
We continue to monitor with amazement. We are now 135% funded and there are still 55 days to go!
April 4th, 2020
Our Kickstarter campaign is a success!
49 hours after launch, pledges flew through the 100% funded level and we are a go for manufacture! Such great news - thanks to you all for your support!
We did set it up for a 60-day campaign though, so there is still a while to go. In hindsight, a shorter campaign would have got things going quicker, but we erred on the side of caution to give the project its best chance of success.
April 2nd, 2020
Everything happened very suddenly and we launched the Kickstarter!
Here's the link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/af6l/the-spirit-morse-key?ref=727ayz
There are new photos, some video and every detail we could think of there.
Early-bird pricing too for early backers!
March 21st, 2020
The anodizing test on the prototypes was successful so we are ready for final product photos.
The design has been updated with magnets under the lid to make absolutely sure it stays in place!
"AF6L" has been registered as a business in Idaho, so that opens the way for all the financial reporting, bank/Paypal accounts and such.
The Kickstarter campaign is looking to start earlier, maybe as soon as early April, and probably as a 60-day campaign.
Live testing continues with cw contacts with an Icom 7300 on hf.
March 10th, 2020
Took the prototype key to our local KARS radio club meeting where it was met very positively. Our local "Mr. Morse" with over 50 years of CW experience gave it a good testing and a "thumbs up!"
Elsewhere, the Kickstarter preparation process is moving forward, with most of the writing work completed. I'm aiming at May 1st as the launch date.
The Spirit Key page was rewritten with more information.
March 7th, 2020
First public release of prototype pictures on r/amateurradio (Reddit) and Ham Radio Crash Course (FB Group). 724 page views in 2 days!
March 5th, 2020
Most of the content is now uploaded and many photos are in place.
March 1st, 2020
Today, the bare bones of this website are published! Over the next few days, I'll be filling in the content, adding photos and more...