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Author Topic: Good keyer suggestion  (Read 5190 times)
KR4TH
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Posts: 45




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« on: July 17, 2012, 10:45:32 AM »

I am just getting back on cw and listening on the bands.  Some keyers are much easier to copy than others, something to do with the spacing, especially words.  I would like to get a good sounding keyer or kit that has options for weight, spacing etc. 
My current speed is 20 however, I want to ultimately be able to copy abt 30 comfortably and would like to build /purchase a good sounding keyer.  Your suggestions would be appreciated
Thanks, Jerry
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K3STX
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Posts: 971




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« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2012, 11:41:02 AM »

The Pico-Keyer kit by N0XAS.

http://www.hamgadgets.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=21&products_id=89&zenid=sqsi2kdecjfi72uc4rpoll2037

paul
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VA7CPC
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Posts: 2372




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« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2012, 11:53:31 AM »

Quote
...   Some keyers are much easier to copy than others, something to do with the spacing, especially words.  I would like to get a good sounding keyer or kit that has options for weight, spacing etc.  . . .

It's usually the hand on the paddle that makes the difference!  It's easy to get sloppy in your spacing, and run words together.

Many keyers (not all) have an option for "autospacing".  That helps -- but does not guarantee -- an even-sounding "fist".  Some people find that option useful, others find it maddening.  And it works differently on different keyers.

_Any_ keyer is capable of producing perfectly-spaced code.  And in the hands of a poor operator, _any_ keyer can produce garbage.  Even with autospacing, you must train yourself to produce clean, well-spaced CW.  Autospacing makes certain kinds of errors impossible, but can introduce errors of its own.

Depending on your budget, you might consider:

a) the PicoKeyer kit;

b) the K1EL "WinKeyer" (now the "Winkeyer USB") -- especially if you want to do CW contesting.  It's a full-featured keyer with very good computer interfacing.

c) the Idiom Press keyers (which have a religious following).

Reviews of all of them are in the "Reviews" section here.

Have fun --

           Charles
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AC4RD
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Posts: 1236




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« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2012, 04:13:03 AM »

[_Any_ keyer is capable of producing perfectly-spaced code.  And in the hands of a poor operator, _any_ keyer can produce garbage.... Depending on your budget, you might consider:

a) the PicoKeyer kit;
c) the Idiom Press keyers (which have a religious following).

I agree with Charles--any keyer will produce good code if you hold up your end of the process!  Smiley  For years I used a "Tick" keyer built from a very inexpensive kit--it worked just fine.  Those are still around; I've noticed someone in the classifieds selling a kit and a spare Tick chip.  And right now I'm using a very old Idiom Press keyer, and it's just dandy--very convenient and easy to use, though the one I have only has four memories, and more would be nice.

The good news here is that you can't go very far wrong with ANY new or used keyer or kit, really--as Charles said, "have fun" and GL!
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PA0BLAH
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Posts: 0




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« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2012, 08:20:31 AM »

I am just getting back on cw and listening on the bands.  Some keyers are much easier to copy than others, something to do with the spacing, especially words.  I would like to get a good sounding keyer or kit that has options for weight, spacing etc. 
My current speed is 20 however, I want to ultimately be able to copy abt 30 comfortably and would like to build /purchase a good sounding keyer.  Your suggestions would be appreciated
Thanks, Jerry

Jerry,

There is no good keyer in the sense you mean, because no keyer  is able to correct the sloppiness and stupidiness and lack of exercise of the average owner. Result: random number of dits, wrong letter and word spaces, and a lot of wrong even not existing characters generated. So beware of murdering the Morse code, by buying something much too expensive, in the hope that it will compensate for you lack of skill. East European HST competitors make above 70 wpm on a home build sloppy key. Think about that.

When an owner thinks that he can buy skill he is wrong.

So start with a budget straight key , and when your speed builds up, which is not likely because the askers of questions in a forum are sure  not the future QRQ guys, make some paddle of a few pieces of double sided printed circuit board.

When you want to make a photo of your shack, put the mike in the waste paper basket, a mike is a shame, fit for the dumbos,   BORROW or rent an expensive key for one hour, and after  taking the picture hand it back.

There are even hams that rent a well breasted model for an hour to picture her as xyl. So why not with a key, that you are not planning to abuse.

Whatever keyer you have: exercise before going on the air. Ignore stupid advice just like "call CQ with 3 wpm" when you only "master" 15 characters at 5 wpm.

Have a great day and think about being a ham. Are you still proud on being a ham when you look around and see who are your mates?

Bob
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PA0WV
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Posts: 105




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« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2012, 10:54:44 AM »

When you really want to sent the way everybody want to receive your sigs, take a keyboard.

Does hardly cost a penny, I designed one with a controller, easily reproducible, using an old PC-AT keyboard. Works excellent, also able to transmit Hell code. Look at my website http://pa0wv.home.xs4all.nl/zelfbouw.html under the link MKB 12-th link from top (MorseKeyBoard).

Wim PAoWV
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K8AXW
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Posts: 3722




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« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2012, 09:26:28 PM »

Quote
c) the Idiom Press keyers (which have a religious following).

I don't worship my Idiom Press keyer but I do recommend them.  They can emulate any kind of keyer out there.  With the auto-spacing, they're hard to beat.

But, as other here have said, you can't buy good sounding CW unless you use a keyboard. 

Al K8AXW
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AC4RD
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Posts: 1236




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« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2012, 09:06:57 AM »

There are even hams that rent a well breasted model for an hour to picture her as xyl. So why not with a key, that you are not planning to abuse.

Jerry, if you DO rent a well-breasted model for photos, give me a call and I'll come over to talk keyers with you in person.   Wink  Wink  Wink
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KF4ZGZ
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Posts: 278


WWW

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« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2012, 02:36:47 PM »

It's not the keyer ... unless it a poorly constructed homebrew.
Most of the decent speed bad sending you hear is op error.
A large part comes from the guys who "think" they can use a bug.
I've been around enough I can tell when most ops are using one.
They call it their swing .... I call it bad sending. Some guys
can do the swing thing and it sounds good, but when a really good
uses a bug correctly you can't tell.


Matt
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K7KBN
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Posts: 2782




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« Reply #9 on: July 20, 2012, 05:24:23 PM »

I can't remember exactly where it was (and Google so far hasn't been my friend  Sad  )but back in 1964 or thereabouts I was sending messages from my ship to a Navy shore station somewhere in the Southeast Asia area.  Talk about a perfect call for "swinging" with a bug:  NRJ.

The Communications Technicians ("CT"s - the Navy's answer to the FCC only with more authority, apparently) were just a few steps away from Radio Central, so we had to fight the urge.!
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73
Pat K7KBN
CWO4 USNR Ret.
K8AXW
Member

Posts: 3722




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« Reply #10 on: July 20, 2012, 06:34:47 PM »

KBN:  Our radio operators in southern Germany were issued J-38s for sending traffic on our military net(s).  Someone showed up one day with a bug and the next day someone else had a bug and first thing you know they were operating the net so fast that the military monitors couldn't copy them.  Guess what happened!   Grin  Some people just can't take a joke!
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K7KBN
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Posts: 2782




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« Reply #11 on: July 20, 2012, 10:05:29 PM »

AXW:  The Navy used to require you to have a "Speed Key Certificate" before you could use a bug on the various circuits.  My very first evening on the Kitty Hawk, one of the First Class RMs saw me shining my Presentation and asked me if I had a "Bug Ticket".  I said I hadn't yet, and didn't even know how to go about getting one.  He made a phone call and a couple minutes later he handed me a piece of paper with directions on how to get to the Comm Station on North Island (San Diego).  Told me I had an appointment at 1030 the following day.

The following afternoon I had the bug ticket, endorsed by the Captain, and found myself on the watch bill.  Never had to go on compartment cleaning or mess cooking!
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73
Pat K7KBN
CWO4 USNR Ret.
ZL1BBW
Member

Posts: 370




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« Reply #12 on: July 20, 2012, 10:29:59 PM »

Any key can soung good,but what is good? if it is a brrrrr of morse that is too fast for the other op to copy, then it does not sound good.

A really decent hand key is fine up 25wpm for several hour stretches, there is no need for anything more, a good hand key is fine for 30's if the op is good, the key is inanimate.

Put a poor op onto a bug or elkeyer and its a disaster.

So my two cents worth is a good up n down key, that has bearings and nice meaty set of contacts, always liked the RAF keys they had a very slightly sprung bottom contact.

Then when you have improved, go and get a el key or a bug, and learn how to use it.

We did not need a cert to use a bug or elkey at GKA but when you are sharing a TX with 10 or 15 other ops, all listening to the sidetone, you get told pretty quick if its not up to standard.

ZL1BBW, G3YCP, ex MN radio officer, ex Portisheadradio
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ex MN Radio Officer, Portishead Radio GKA, BT Radio Amateur Morse Tester.  Licensed as G3YCP ZL1DAB, now taken over my father (sk) call as ZL1BBW.
KR4TH
Member

Posts: 45




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« Reply #13 on: July 26, 2012, 06:42:28 PM »

Thanks for all of you good suggestions.

Jerry
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K9OJT
Member

Posts: 27




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« Reply #14 on: July 27, 2012, 12:02:55 AM »

I use the Bengali CW Machine.

Here is the link...take a careful look at this. It is a software defined cw keyer, but it is also much, much more!!!.

http://www.i2rtf.com/html/cw_machine.html

It has a trainer as well as a fully functional and well featured CW operating platform. The trainer is an invaluable tool for increasing speed, spacing, and readability.

The regular CW Machine contains way too many features to mention here...give it a look.

Everything is software upgradeable.

Its capabilties far outshine the cost. A USB cable is offered on the site, it is the one I use.

The developer (Ulrich Steinberg, N2DE) will answer inquires quickly and accurately...regardless of the question...and trust me I had a few. Ulrich was in Eastern Europe when mine was delivered and my queries were answered in a very timely manner and that in itself speaks volumes when taking into account the quality of the internet connection available at his location.

Customer service is top notch, but we would expect nothing less from any product with the Bengali name.

Read the manuals thoroughly to get an idea of what this hardware/software package has to offer. It is well designed (just try to fool the damn thing!!! Grin) and well thought out.

Here are some reviews...

http://www.eham.net/reviews/detail/6670

Then buy it...it will be last 'keyer' you ever need!

IMHO this is probably the most under marketed product in the Bengali line.

Michael AC8IR

« Last Edit: July 27, 2012, 12:12:43 AM by AC8IR » Logged
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