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Author Topic: Dahs on the left, dits on the right?  (Read 1243 times)
KF6IIU
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« on: June 07, 2003, 07:27:29 PM »

I'm just getting stsrted using a sideways keyer. (Bought a couple of RMK keyer chips - only $10 for 2!) I don't want to learn to key backwards from the rest of humanity - from the few references to this here or on Google it looks like the convention (for right handers, of which I am one) is to make dahs by moving the wrist to the left and dits my moving the wrist to the right - correct?  

I promse not abandon my veberable J-38 but using a keyer looks like a lot 'o fun.


Thanks....-Wiley KF6IIU
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W5HTW
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« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2003, 09:25:53 PM »

Nope ... using the right hand (if you are right-handed) the thumb makes the dits and the finger makes the dahs.  Push midt das thumb (to the right) to create gobs of dits (but do the right number of them, please) and push midt das fingers to das leften to make gobs of dahs.  (Easier to make the right number of them)   Thumb makes dits, finger makes dahs.  

Happy keying.  And yep, keep that J38 warm and well-oiled for the fun times.

Ed
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W5HTW
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« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2003, 09:27:14 PM »

rereading -- yep you said move "wrist" and that is correct.  Wrist to left makes dahs, wrist to right makes dits.  Oh well,  I gotta read these things better.  Getting old

ed
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W4YA
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« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2003, 05:11:36 PM »

I'vr been doing this for 50 years but had to think about it. W5HTW is correct. My wrist never moves - just the thumb and first finger - regardless of speed. Actually, my thumb and finger slide along the paddles; they don't "push" against them. I set the contact spacing to absolute minimum.

Remember to PRACTICE OFF THE AIR until you make no errors. It is very bad manners to practice in a QSO.

I doubt if you will keep the J-38.
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ADAM12
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« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2003, 02:13:15 PM »

The generally accepted standard is that for right-handed people, the thumb makes the dits and the forefinger makes the dahs and that's the way you should learn to do it to save you having to unlearn it later!

This would appear to have its origins in the early (mechanical) semi-automatic keyers (bugs) which had this configuration. Have a look at one, the large paddle is for the thumb (dits) and the small paddle is for the forefinger (dahs).

I went from an Ameco K4 straight-key to a Ten Tec single-paddle and from there to a Heathkit iambic keyer-paddle and from there to a mechanical bug! Hmmm... I'm not sure I see the reason in that last step other than just wanting to be able to use a bug, but the transition from straight-key to single-paddle keyer to twin-paddle iambic seems to make the most sense to me.

Don't be frightened-off using a twin-paddle iambic (squeeze) keyer. You don't have to learn the squeeze technique in order to use them but once you get some experience under your belt, you will want to. I.e. you can use them in a similar fashion to a single-paddle keyer by holding thumb and fore-finger on the paddles and  moving your hand (pivoting at the wrist) to make either dits or dahs. The more correct technique for an iambic keyer/paddle though, is to not move the hand or wrist and just move the thumb, fore-finger or both (squeeze) together.

So once you've learned to play them all, you can pick whichever one suits your mood. Iambic for speed, straight key for laid-back ragchew or whatever...
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KA0W
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« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2003, 02:13:04 PM »

I have been actively keying (paddle, iambic) with dahs on the thumb and dits on the index finger for 27 years. Guess I never had a CW elmer to show me the orthodox method. Always made more sense to me to send the heavy character (dah) with the thumb and the light character (dit) with the finger. I am right handed. There will be no difference in performance either way. Just have to get on and use it.

Hope to hear you on the bands - 73,

Ken, KA0W

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W4YA
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« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2003, 02:43:54 PM »

Ken - KA0W

I think the "orthodox" method goes back to the right-handed bug where =
the thumb always sends dits. It doesn't matter with an iambic key how =
you do it as long as it sounds good. There is no right or wrong way.

Some right-handers learned to send left-handed so they could write with =
their right. If you ever get to watch a guy use a side-swiper to send =
code, it will blow your mind.

73 Jim W4YA
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ADAM12
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« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2003, 04:00:32 PM »

It *does* actually matter that you learn the orthodox way of doing it, as if at some stage, you buy a new keyer, it is more likely to be wired for dits on the thumb than the other way round.

That's not to say that you can't relearn to swap fingers but why not start out learning the most often used implementation.
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W4YA
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« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2003, 07:34:21 PM »

Wouldn't it be easier to swap the keyer wires than to relearn how to send "backwards" after 27 years?
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ADAM12
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« Reply #9 on: July 03, 2003, 02:16:22 PM »

Yes, you could swap the wires, but wouldn't it just be easier to learn the "orthodox" way from the start?

Also, if you were using someone else's paddles/rig, the owner might take exception to your wanting to re-wire their equipment.
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W4YA
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« Reply #10 on: July 03, 2003, 10:44:28 PM »

OK Wiley,

After all this advice and discussion, you have to give us a report on how you have implemented your keyer. And how you are doing learning how to use it. I hope you are learning off the air.

I notice that you didn't ask the real important questions like: Which is the best key? Spring or magnetic action? Triangle or oval shaped paddles? Contact spacing? Single or double paddles? Base weight? Dot & dash memories? Message memories?

Thanks for a good question. Enjoy your new keyer!

73, Jim W4YA
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WA9SVD
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« Reply #11 on: July 04, 2003, 12:18:24 AM »

Although there's a "De facto" standard, (and I've never met a "de facto")  you will find MOST keyers set up so that the right hand thumb send's the "dits" (or is that dots?) and the finger on the right hand of the keyer sends the DAH's.  BUT, that's IF you are right handed!  IF you are left handed, some keyers (or some operating positions, particularly in club stations) will allow switching so that left handed operators can use the left hand paddle for dahs, and the right handed paddle for dits.  Being ambidexterous, I can only use a straight key...
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N0XAS
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« Reply #12 on: July 06, 2003, 07:37:20 PM »

Most electronic keyers will let you swap paddles anyway, so you can use them either way without rewiring anything.  It's especially nice when a rig may be shared among left and right handed ops, like during Field Day or at a club station.

73,
Dale (thumb dit, finger dah)...  8-)
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WA9SVD
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« Reply #13 on: July 11, 2003, 12:57:20 AM »

KA0W,
    Ken, what's right for you is right for you, with electronic keyers.    And with electronic keyers, you can usually revrse the leads from the key to accomodate "left hand keying."   But when you have a mechanical "semiautomatic" keyer, it isn't that easy! I have such a key, and pressing the (single paddle) to the right gives a string of DITS, and holding the paddle to the left just gives a constant"DAH."  And I think that's the way the original "BUGS" operated.  The electronic paddles gave us the option of right or left handed operation.  (I'm trying to modify my "BUG" clone to work with electronic keyers.)  Until then, I'm stuck with a  straight key.
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N0SG
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« Reply #14 on: July 14, 2003, 11:39:45 PM »

I have noticed that most PIC keyers (including the RMK and the other Jackson Harbor Press keyers) can switch the dit and dah in a menu, so you don't have to unsolder wires.
73,
Jason N0SG
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