Hi! I'm Walter, DJ3FY, got my Call back in 1956 and I am probably one of the older if not the oldest sideswiper operator among the EU SSN participants and here is in a few words my story how I got hooked on sideswipery: Back in the fifties, when I got started in ham radio most of the CW enthusiasts had a semi-automatic key or were at least looking for a not too pricy one. As far as I remember I heard of course about the possibility of sending CW with a so-called double contact key but in the same breath I was told: "forget about, it's totally obsolete". Well, that's what I did, I forgot about it. The years passed and in the mid sixties I bought a German sideswiper called "Markgraf" (it's a title of nobility and don't ask me why this paddle is called Markgraf) in connection with one of the first transistorised el-bugs. Never ever it came to my mind that this paddle could be used as a classical cootie. Using el-bugs for CW was super, but always, through all these years I was missing a certain softness or let me call it, if I may say so, a human touch. But this perception changed a few short months ago when I heard Eddi, DK3UZ, in QSO on eighty explaining SSN in relatively slow speed and a rhythm which left me like being mesmerised while thinking, wow, that's how CW should sound, that's telegraphy in its purest form. Of course I may have heard cootie-CW before but only now, I don't know why, I got hooked whatever being hooked means. Screening my boxes in the attic and finding a few single lever paddles from previously used el-bugs was the easy thing. Sending acceptable CW with a cootie.........well, it needs a little bit of time and patience, but believe me, you as eventual sideswiper aspirants, it is not difficult and the result of your mastering the sideswiper technique will be loads of most enjoyable QSO's.
To conclude my "sermon" on sideswipery, below are four pictures of my favourite cooties.
The "Markgraf" made its first appearance around 1966 to be used with an el-bug . It came from the then famous hamradio shop Hannes Bauer, Bamberg, Germany. As a sideswiper it's a fine piece of equipment. [DJ3FY].
That's my favorite. It is a so called INTERPOL (International Police Radio) paddle. About fifty pieces were made by a gifted fine tool mechanic in the early sixties. A peculiarity of these keys is that they were used really as sideswipers. All the police-traffic handled at Interpol, Zuric, was exclusively in sideswiper Morse until the closure of the station in the eighties. According retired op's sending speeds were quite high and were usually in the range of 120 to over 150 BPM. [DJ3FY].
Hi-Mound MK-702 Sideswiper.
It shows a Hi-Mound MK-702 from Japan. I dug a little bit in its history and found out that these paddles were made in the mid-fifties to be used as sideswipers. It's needless to say that working with a 702 is sheer pleasure. [DJ3FY].