I kinda like the idea of being able to mount your paddle to your radio when operating portable. You can use the weight of the radio to help prevent the paddles from moving around and it frees your off hand for other tasks. We see examples of this with the Elecraft KX series of radios and there are some adapters for radios such as the Yaesu Ft-817/818.
I really like my IC-705. It is probably my best radio for POTA/potable operation. I think the only time I would leave it home is if weight became a problem or I needed to exercise one of my other radios. Recently, Begali came out with a mount to attach their Adventure paddle to the IC-705. It is a sweet set-up; however, the approx. $400 USD price tag got me looking for other alternatives. I have nothing against Begali, I own three of their paddles, and they are superb instruments. I think I wanted to tinker, and this gave me a good excuse.
For paddles, I have a set of Larry’s (N0SA) SOTA paddles. I love these paddles. When I go on an activation/Portable Operation, I bring these and my Begali Travelers. If I was going to do a SOTA activation, I would just bring Larry’s Paddles. Next was a trip to Tractor Supply Company (TSC) for a sheet of 16 ga. Steel. That set me back $16. I cut it to 3″ by 3 1/2″ using a cutoff wheel on my grinder.
I already have a stand I made out of 1″ x 1″ angle aluminum so I cut this to fit behind it.
The blue on the metal is Dykem Blue which is a layout fluid. In creating this project, I am only using hand tools. Power tools consisted of a grinder with a cut-off wheel. a hand drill, and my trusty Dremel tool. Here is a picture of me giving the mount a rough finish with a file.
My next step was to install the mount on the radio. I left the tail that will hold the paddles a little long to see where I wanted the paddles.
I am right handed so I mounted the paddle to the right of the radio. As a child, I broke my right wrist and lost a little range of movement so for me, I cannot use a paddle straight on. I found an angle of about 40 degrees to be about right. I also bent the mount down a bit to get the paddles close to level.
I turned one of the machine screw holes into a slot. That way I only have to remove one screw to install and remove the mount.
Next is a coat of primer, followed by a coat of flat black. I also added a clear coat to increase the durability of the finish.
Here is the finished product installed on the radio with the paddles.
The screws that hold the paddle to the mount are #4-40 x 1/4″. I am going to change the hex head bolts that hold the tilt stand/paddle mount to the radio with M4 x 10mm knurled head bolts so I can remove/install without tools. The mount itself weighs in at about 1 ounce.
This was a fun little project. The radio could move around on a smooth surface so something like a silicone mat would cure that, but on something like a wood picnic table it should be just fine. Except for the sheet metal this was built using whatever I had around the house. How does it play…
I got the final pieces in the mail. One thing I tried was to mount the paddles on the top of the mount. This also works very well and may even be better in some cases. The only button that the paddles get in the way of is the autotune button. It can still be reached fairly easily.
I also replaced the hex head bolts with knurled head bolts so I can install/uninstall the mount without tools. I got them in red, just in case I drop one. As you can see I only have to completely remove one bolt and loosen the other to remove the paddle mount. This allow the tilt stand to remain with the radio.
The bolts will tighten down with either one or both pieces; however, I only snug them down. That’s the completed project and overall I am pleased with the results. Next field trip is in a couple of weeks. 73 Scott