Homebrew Torsion Bar Key.
The Torsion Bar Key (referred to as the TBK) is a design for a single-lever paddle developed by Tom Leary W0VTP and published in the December 1982 issue of QST.
We'd been sitting around the club station cussin' and discussin' things when I ran across the plans for the TBK in an old Handbook. My friend Larry Davis (KI8FZ, ex-KB8SLU) was a machinist by trade, and examined the layout drawings eagerly.
A few weeks later, Larry said he had something for me, and presented me with a TBK. He said he'd done it to repay me for a favor I'd done him. I was suitably flattered and also slightly puzzled -- to this day, I can't remember what the favor in question was.
Anyway, one night I sat down at the station, plugged the TBK in, and twitched my fingers to set the keyer speed -- except I hadn't turned the keyer on yet. My left hand reached for the keyer switch, but just before it hit the button, my brain screamed "STOP!!!".
I sat there for a second, then reached for the paddle again -- and twitched the lever back and forth a few times. After about five minutes of practice, TBK went on the air as a sideswiper. That was better than twenty years ago -- and my TBK hasn't triggered a keyer since.
The note is very bell-like, and really stands out in crowded or noisy conditions. I've used it at more than one Field Day, and it's a real attention grabber on the air.
As I said, I really don't remember what it was that I did for Larry -- but considering all the fun I've had with the TBK sideswiper, I'm glad I did whatever it was... [KA8OQF].