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Author Topic: Best cw key..both iambic and straight?  (Read 6010 times)
AI0F
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Posts: 40




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« on: December 19, 2011, 12:41:41 PM »

I was wondering if those with significant cw experience could give their opinions on this subject. Curious as to which (iambic) paddle gives an extremely light touch but won't go into "stuck" mode sending either dits or dahs. I am using a Bengali Magnetic Pro (nice key), but even it will have spasms if set too close. As for the straight key, one that stays put, again the feather touch, probably the bent arm so as to not suffer pain in a long qso :-) I guess another consideration is dollars (to and extent)..I know Alberto Frattenini has some magnificent straight keys..anyone have ideas on any of this?
Tnx,
Tom KF0K
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KQ6Q
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« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2011, 01:46:34 PM »

If you're going for super-light touch, you might want to look into the paddles that have no mechanical movement, the work on the capacitance of your finger touching the paddle. With mechanical, if you try to maximize lightness, you're right on the edge of 'stickiness'. I had the capacitive paddles in a heath Micromatic keyer in days of yore - didn't like them, prefer paddles with detectable movement and a bit of resistance, so I can feel what I'm doing - I make fewer mistakes that way.
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WB0FDJ
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« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2011, 04:51:50 PM »

Quote
prefer paddles with detectable movement and a bit of resistance, so I can feel what I'm doing - I make fewer mistakes that way.

I would agree. Back in the day all of my novice buddies set their keys so that if you sneezed on them you could send CW. It never seemed to result in "good" CW operation. My mentor (an old high speed CW op from WWII) advised me that having the key just a "little" stiff would result in better CW and I now set my paddles the same way. The result is fewer mistakes. Still, occasionally a rare callsign makes my hand spasm..... Grin

DOC WB0FDJ 73
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N5XM
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Posts: 242




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« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2011, 09:32:04 PM »

The top of the line Vibroplex staight key is just wonderul, smooth as silk and heavy enough to stay put on the desk.  It looks nice, too.  I use the Kent single paddle, and while it is a bit of a pain to get set exactly as you want it, once you do get it set, it stays there for a long time.  I like the settings close and light, and with a small hand the low profile fits my hand like a glove.  The paddle I really want to try is the Begali Mono.  If it's as good as it looks, it must be a dandy. 
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AI0F
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« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2011, 04:58:54 AM »

Thanks for the input guys, all good info. I've run many contests over the years and now don't really mind settling down for a a nice chat...keeps my tension level in tact, not to  mention my hearing! Anyone that has sat down for 36 hours or so with headphones during a contest (Novss) knows what I mean! I understand what you mean Doc, about having a little resistance. As I mentioned, I'm using a Begali right now and even though it's got some weight to it, it will still move on the desk if I get a bit carried away :-) During contests I use to "stick" them in place with double sided tape..don't really want to have to do that just for a qso! Seems maybe it's me more than it is the paddle..that's always a possibility. I haven't had any experience with the optic key, sounds like it would be something to think about. Just wouldn't want to have to purchase one to find out...one thing they aren't is affordable...at least for the common laborer :-)
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N5RWJ
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« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2011, 12:17:03 PM »

In the EU, most fast speed ham's use an single lever paddle for cw.
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N4OI
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« Reply #6 on: December 24, 2011, 05:21:23 AM »

My old Begali Signature is set for no perceptable movement -- I believe it is the closest mechanical equivalent to a capacitance paddle.  I did the gold contact upgrade several years ago and settings have been rock solid ever since....

73 ES MERRY XMAS TO U ES URS DE KEN N4OI   Grin
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W9OY
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« Reply #7 on: December 26, 2011, 05:38:01 PM »

I use a N3ZN single lever SLR.  Heavy key great feel

73
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K4PP
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« Reply #8 on: December 31, 2011, 05:03:05 AM »

I also have a Begali Magnetic Pro and it also seems to get stuck occasionally with narrow spacing. I like the key but have to admit I am using an N3ZN ZN-9a I got about 6 months ago. It took me awhile to get used to the lighter feeling paddles but it's been highly robust. I swap the keys out occasionally because I like them both so much.

K4PP
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KB2FCV
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« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2012, 01:50:07 PM »

I have a begali signature and I leave just a little bit of "click" in there. I'd be curious to try out one of those capacitive touch keys someday to see what that is all about.
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K5JYD
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Posts: 7




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« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2012, 06:14:49 AM »

I just bought a touch paddle and so far I like it  a lot but I make mistakes when trying to run at 25 wpm so keep it down around 22 wpm. At 25 wpm (my max sending) I switch to the Kent paddle and do ok. The Kent is glued to a lb. of steel and does not move at all and has very tight spaces. My rig allows me to keep two paddles plugged in at all times so I switch between the two . I prefer the touch at lower speeds and the Kent at my max. They are both great paddles.
k5jyd
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