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Author Topic: What key did you start on  (Read 2086 times)
W8ZNX
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Posts: 1




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« Reply #15 on: February 29, 2008, 09:57:51 AM »

uggerumph, whoff hong, rettysnitch
and J-38
what do these thing have in common

they are all instruments of pain

back in 1964
i started with a $2 nos J-38

my arm still hurts
hear J-38

it nearly made a hard core
fone only op out of me

wonder how many young novice ops
decided to become fone ops
because of the dam thing

simple hate is not strong enought
its a horrid thing
designed to cause pain

yes
telegraph key one op loves
can be the very same key
another can not stand

see morse express web site
there is a world of better straight keys
from the Nato and Swedish style pump key
to Soviet mil surplus cherassy key

my favorite straight key
the German mil surplus  Junker

paddles Shurr Profi II

bug 80 year old Vibroplex Lightning Bug

now if i could just get my hands on a
big NATO pump handle key

mac




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N3QE
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Posts: 2187




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« Reply #16 on: February 29, 2008, 06:39:53 PM »

My first key was a J-38 given to me when I was 9 years old. It was from my Elmer, my hometown's jeweler. He was also a big CW user, and loved working QRP. I got my novice license and all my first few years' contacts were with my J-38.

A few years after that, in Junior High, I built my one and only Heathkit that I built myself, a HD-1410 keyer. I still use it today.

I also have the J-38, although it gets not much use other than SKN. Sometimes I will plug it in and use it for a few days at a stretch, but I have a hard time going above 15 WPM or so with a decent fist. I prefer to go faster... just impatience I guess. Everybody is plenty patient with me on SKN.
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N3QE
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Posts: 2187




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« Reply #17 on: February 29, 2008, 06:46:06 PM »

To be honest, I am completely perplexed at those who learned on a gold-plated Vibroplex or advise learning on a paddle.

I learned to send on a straight key and I can't imagine doing anything else.

95% of the CW users on the bands have pretty good fists - mostly probably because they're using a keyer :-). But every so often there's the complete idiot using a Vibroplex who doesn't know how bad his fist is, but brags on and on and on about his Vibroplex. Sorry, nothing against the 95% of folks with bugs who do know how to use them well, but it's that 5% of chronic losers who somehow set my mental model. (Same goes for contesters...)
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W2DAB
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Posts: 70


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« Reply #18 on: February 29, 2008, 07:23:20 PM »

As I said before there is a wide variety of opinions on this. Obviously many operators have used straight keys for years, especially in the military. oh well*

Talking of "fists", are there any pictures or instructions on how to hold the key. Ergonomic considerations?

thanks/73
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VA7CPC
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Posts: 2383




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« Reply #19 on: March 01, 2008, 02:20:33 PM »

Find a copy of "The Art and Skill of Radio Telegraphy" online.  There's material there on key adjustment, hand position, etc.  It's a good read.

I believe the Morse Express website also has some information.

FWIW (this opinion is worth what you paid), I have little use for a straight key.  I have a tendency toward carpal tunnel syndrome.  Since my rigs all include keyers, and I can send "perfect fist" code with them using a paddle, that's what I do (except that I've been using a keyboard recently).

    Charles
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W5ESE
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Posts: 550


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« Reply #20 on: March 01, 2008, 03:13:53 PM »

> Talking of "fists", are there any pictures or
> instructions on how to hold the key. Ergonomic
> considerations?

There's a picture here

http://www.geocities.com/scottamcmullen/Texas_Slow_Net

The principal thing is to relax; carpal tunnel
syndrome was a significant issue for early
telegraphers, and you don't want that.

Here are tips on properly adjusting your key

http://www.mtechnologies.com/misc/keyadj.htm

Have fun with it, and consider participating
in the the Straight Key Century Club

http://www.skccgroup.com/

73
Scott
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W8ZNX
Member

Posts: 1




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« Reply #21 on: March 02, 2008, 10:54:24 AM »

there are for the most part
two styles of straight telegraph keys

low profile most used in North America
like the J-38

and
high profile pump handle straight keys
mostly used in Europe and Japan

see morse express
High Mound, Lennart Petterssson Swedish keys
big GHD GT501, and the German Junker

go a google look up NATO key

to go with these two different style of keys
there are different sending styles

American as taught to North American hams
for over 75 years

key well away from edge of table
elbow on table for arm and wrist arched over key

works for many ops
but not for me

first inkling
that there was a different way of sending
using a straight key

was seeing a photo
of the Japanese Imperial Navy radio school 1935

row of tables and at each table was
a big big pump handle key bolted to the very
edge of the table

i thought man
who could send with a key
right at the edge of the desk

my arm got tired within 10 min sending
as shown in the ARRL how to booklet

few years later got a pump handle key
set it right at the edge of the desk
and started playing with it

all of a sudden i could send for 30 min
without my arm getting tired and hurting

want to know more about sending
just do a dog pile search lots of web sites

also see yahoo user group brasspounder

mac

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W9OY
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Posts: 1298


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« Reply #22 on: March 04, 2008, 07:50:51 AM »

get another one and mount them back to back on an L bracket and you have J-38 iambic paddles

73  W9OY
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W4HAY
Member

Posts: 7




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« Reply #23 on: March 05, 2008, 06:23:18 AM »

I started with a J-38 in 1954 and still use it, along with a J-37 and early 20th Century Western Union "Legless" for about half of my QSOs. The rest are divided between Bencher and Brown Bros, paddles.
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N1UK
Member

Posts: 1427




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« Reply #24 on: March 09, 2008, 05:49:42 PM »

"There seem to be many opinions and likes and dislikes, as I am left handed I guess it's fine to start with a straight key,as they are essentially for either hand."


I am left handed and if are like most left handed people then you are probably fairly good with your right hand as well.

As I said I am left handed but learnt to send morse code using my right hand. This works really well for me since I am able to hold a pencil in my left hand and jot down notes without removing my right hand from the key - that is a great bonus. So I would recommend learning to send right handed. I have never tried sending left handed by the way. When I started cw I simply learnt this new skill right handed.

Mark N1UK G3ZZM
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W2DAB
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Posts: 70


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« Reply #25 on: March 09, 2008, 06:37:54 PM »

That's a great point. In fact when computers became a tool of my office in the 80's I just learned to use a mouse with my right hand and didn't think about it.

I will pursue your advice as soon as my key from eBay arrives.

thanks and 73.


David
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N1UK
Member

Posts: 1427




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« Reply #26 on: March 10, 2008, 07:49:35 PM »

If you learn right handed you will always have a great edge by being able to jot notes down without letting go of the key. Like you I also learnt to mouse right handed

I am glad that I learnt to key right handed although I didn't realise how useful it would be when I made the decision to key using my right hand.


Mark N1UK G3ZZM
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K0HWY
Member

Posts: 1




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« Reply #27 on: March 14, 2008, 11:54:01 PM »

I started on A J-38 in 1986. Today, I use ... a J-38.

They're great starter keys and to me at least, a lot of fun even for seasoned operators. You're not going to break any speed records with a J-38 but I'm not in a hurry when I'm on the air.
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