I recently purchased a Heil BM-17 headset to help out with my portable operations. But I needed a switch to operate the headset. Heil makes a trigger switch for that purpose. While a nice product, I figured I could do something myself and save some money. Using a bicycle handlebar grip, a momentary single pole single pole switch, and a 1/4 inch phono plug, I put together this inexpensive switch in about an hour.
Bicycle Handlebar Grip: https://amzn.to/3aJ6C10
Single Pole Single Throw (SPST) Momentary Switch: https://amzn.to/3nrrWNF
1/4 inch Mono Phono Plug: https://amzn.to/32SkLEU
1/2 Inch Schedule 40 PVC
1/2 Inch PVC Cap
PVC cutter or saw
Drill with step bit or sized standard bit
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To make the trigger switch we will first need to cut the PVC. Measure the handle, as you will want the PVC to stick out about an inch. For my handle that was about 5 inches. Cut the PVC and insert it into the center of the handle. This was the hardest part as it will be a tight fit. I ended up pushing on it on the floor to get it fully inserted.
Next drill a hole into your PVC cap. Check your switch to see how big of a hole you will need. Mine requires a 13/32 inch hole. Make a mark on the center of the cap and clamp the cap with your vise grip. Using the step bit, drill a hole into the cap until it is the right size for it to fit.
Next, cut about a 6 foot piece of wire, or however long you want it to be, and thread it through the bottom of the handle up through the PVC. My handle had a little vent hole in it that the wire fit through. If yours doesn’t, make a little hole with the utility knife.
Now here’s the important part. Pull the cable through the little nut then washer for the switch and then the cap. I didn’t the first time so I had to resolder my switch. Now trim the outer jacket of the cable and strip two of the wires. If there is braid or shield, trim that away so it doesn’t short circuit the switch.
Solder the wire to the leads of the switch. It doesn’t matter which direction as this is a single throw switch. You only have two positions, on and off.
Once the wires are soldered, you can assemble the switch in the cap and tighten up the nut. After doing that, I added a zip tie about 5 ½ inches down on the wire. This will help protect the wires from being torn off the switch if the cable gets pulled.
Now do the same thing with the plug end. Run the wire through the cap of the phono plug, strip the wires and solder them to the tip and the ring connectors on the plug. Again it doesn’t matter which goes to what as we are using a single throw switch. You only need to complete the circuit. Once that is done, screw everything together and lets test it out on the radio.
And that is pretty much all you need to do. If you are thinking about building a trigger switch for your headset, you can do this in about an hour. And like I said the parts cost was minimal, the most expensive thing was the handlebar grip, everything else I was able to scrounge around in the shack. Looking online I found a 10 pack of switches for about 8 bucks. Pick those up and in no time you’ll have a junk box as diverse as mine. Or ask a fellow ham if they have some little switches in their stash. Or even watch the hamfests for a switch and plug. That’s how I amassed my parts collection.
And that’s how to build your own custom trigger switch for a headset microphone. Do you have questions or comments about this project? Please leave it in the comments below. I’ll filter through the comments and follow up with them. Who knows, you may end up on my next Your Questions Answered livestream.