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Surfin': Mastering the Keys of Amateur Radio


W. R. Smith, W4PAL, builds telegraph keys…very cool telegraph keys! You can view his beautiful work on his Telegraph Keys by W. R. Smith Web page and wonder in amazement how W4PAL built these keys, especially the miniature ones.

In addition to building keys, W4PAL restores them and you can see before and after photos of "basket cases" transformed into handsome pieces of communications equipment. W4PAL is also a master clockmaker and watchmaker, and some of his fine work in those areas appear on his Web site, too.

"Life was hard but simple" is a quote from W4PAL's biography that appears on his Biographical Information for W. R. Smith Web page that is worth the price of admission. Among W4PAL's life accomplishments are books about restoring keys and building clocks that he self-published -- and when I say self-published, I really mean it self-published, with emphasis on the self.

According to W. R., "I do the design, the drafting, the machining, the camera work, the darkroom work, set type on the computer, make the halftones, make the 8-1/2" × 11" master pages, copy them to full size negatives on my 14" × 18' Process Camera, burn the plates for my offset press, print the pages, collate them, and punch and bind them -- all in-house. For the book on key restoration, I also printed it on my own color printer."

According to me, "Wow!"

Thank you Mark Scheuer, W9MV, via Zack Lau, W1VT, for suggesting this week's featured Web site.

Until next time, keep on surfin'!

Editor's note: Stan Horzepa, WA1LOU, has an old Vibroplex that can use some tender loving care. To communicate with Stan, send him e-mail or add comments to his blog. By the way, every installment of Surfin' is indexed here, so go look it up.


Stan Horzepa, WA1LOU
Contributing Editor



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