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Author Topic: Moving from a straight key to a paddle key.  (Read 1460 times)
2E0NCB
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Posts: 1




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« on: March 26, 2007, 01:33:00 AM »

Hello all
         A very warm welcome from over the pond, i have been learning morse since nov of last year and my tutor had advised me to look at a paddle to move too eventually. I have been using a junkers straight key which i love but i like the idea of a paddle and whilst i am still learning as well. I like the idea of a simplex mono but the thought of a iambic scares me to death hi hi.

        The rigs i use are an Yaseu ft-847 and a k-1, also to practise with i use a kent oscillator would i have to buy a keyer to get use to a paddle?

72 and thanks for any information.

Dave 2E0NCB
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KC2CT
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Posts: 26




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« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2007, 02:49:16 AM »

Hello...

My personal preference has always been a dual paddle CW instrument.  With experience you can learn to "squeeze" off Morse characters which minimizes effort.

One of the most ubiquitous iambic paddles is the Bencher BY series. A good starting point.  I still have my original, working BY-1 bought 25 years ago.

If you Google for the Vibroplex Story you will gain an understanding as to why and how "Side Slappers" came into being.  It is good reading.

You can spend a small fortune on sending instruments looking for CW Nirvana.  Experienced CW ops will tell you that it is all in the feel and agility of the machine which becomes an extention of one's fingertips.

It's fascinating; both the mode and the myriad of equipment that continues to be available for a method of communications that has been deemed by many as obsolete.

Hope that this helps a bit.

73,

Jan - KC2CT
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WO7R
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Posts: 694




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« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2007, 10:41:57 AM »

Re:  The keyer part of your question.

Most rigs nowadays have a keyer built in.

Your documentation should make it clear enough.  If it talks about "iambic" versus "noniambic" somewhere in the documentation, it supports paddles.

It boils down, in practice, to whether the rig's keyer accepts stereo plugs and electronically keys the rig for so-and-so length of time based on which "channel" is grounded (one for dot, one for dash, obviously).  That would be your paddles.

If the rig's plug is monoral only, you'll need to add a keyer to your paddles.

If it supports paddles directly, it will be well-documented, because it will have to have some sort of interface to set the keying speed.

You can even run a keyer set for "iambic" non-iambically and usually, you can turn off the whole "iambic" thing, too, if it bothers you.  Not everone does the iambic bit.

So, don't let that put you off.  In my experience of several different keys and paddles, you can be on the air for much longer periods of time with any sort of dual paddle keyer, iambic or not as you please.
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K7PEH
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« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2007, 09:54:37 AM »

Welcome to the land of paddles.

If you do want to spend a small fortune, about 230 Euros I think, buy the Begali Magnetic Classic paddle.  I love this key.  It is a purchase you will never regret -- well, at least I don't regret it and I am thinking of buying a second one for my truck.

I just started learning the paddle this year (January) and I am already more comfortable with the paddle then a straight key.  I run about 20 wpm or so -- I am not sure as I am certainly not clocking my keying speed.  But, only recently, last two weeks I guess, I have started some iambic motion.  I started with the Q on the CQ call.  Using iambic keying the Q is very easy to do -- it is sort of three dashes interrupted by a dot.  The Y is like that too but I have not started on Y yet.  And, I think that is the way of iambic keying is that you slowly pick up a letter at a time and get used to it.  At least, it seems to work for me.
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WQ3T
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Posts: 209




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« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2007, 07:18:09 AM »

Try a bug. I have problems sending with my iambic paddles- the timing is tricky for my head to figure out. I don't have the same problem with my bug. One big difference is, with paddles, you send perfectly spaced code, even if it's wrong. With the bug, the erroneous dit or dah is cut short because you catch your error in mid dit or dah. I'm sure the guy on the other end can also figure out the error. Also, the visual swinging of the bug pendulum shows you what is being sent. The bug can be used for hours without fatigue. I think the bug is the ultimate combination of speedy sending with a manual feel. I do go back to iambic on occasion to firm up my bug spacing.
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KC2CT
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« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2007, 02:04:05 PM »

I tend to use a bit of weighting with my keyers.  The stretching of the dot to dash ratio seems to make for easier copy of code and adds a distinction or style to my fist, with myself receiving many compliments.

Then there are the two Iambic modes to deal with; Iambic A and B.  This as most other parameters are operator preferences.  I prefer Iambic A as that s what the early Curtis-based electronic keyers used.

The Vibroplex Bugs are lovely pieces of CW equipment.  Unfortunately for me, I have never been able to get the hang of using one.  Many adjustments, the clacking, which I find is a distraction coupled with the fact that I am a Southpaw have made it very difficult for me to use the device.

My current preferences in dual paddles are the Kent TP-1 and the K8RA K2.  Both are reasonably priced and provide good tactile feedback.

73,

Jan - KC2CT
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WQ3T
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Posts: 209




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« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2007, 07:51:01 AM »

For the bothersome clack, use the same solution as the loud fan in an ICOM switching power supply: Wear cans on your ears. For left-handed folks, simply take the bug apart and re-assemble with the parts upside-down. I think Vibroplex sells ready-made left-handed bugs also. With practice, you can send with either hand. I can send one word with the right, and the next word with the left. Good if you have pencil in right hand and coffee in left hand, you need to switch. It takes time, like a few months, to get a readable bug fist. The effort pays off when the bug becomes an extension of your arm.
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W2RDD
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Posts: 191




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« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2007, 08:19:40 PM »

Welcome to cw. I was trained on a straight key and later a bug when in the USAF. As I had the bug habit, when much later I became a ham, I continued using it with a brand new TS-520S. Later purchased an electronic keyer and a Vibroplex single-paddle unit. Liked the single-paddle it as it felt much like the bug though automatic. I use both today, though mostly the bug.

So, I would go with a bug if you find yourself in a classic frame of mind, and the Vibroplex single-paddle if you feel more comfortable using that device.

Good luck and hope to hear you on upper 20M cw.
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WA0LYK
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Posts: 85




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« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2007, 05:02:44 PM »

I have a Kent dual paddle but I don't use it iambic.  I could never seem to get the hang of doing it.  I could  do the same with a single paddle but I just like the feel of the spacing of the dual paddle.

I would vote for a dual paddle in case you ever want to try iambic and end up liking it.  

Jim
WA0LYK
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