Call Search
     

New to Ham Radio?
My Profile

Community
Articles
Forums
News
Reviews
Friends Remembered
Strays
Survey Question

Operating
Contesting
DX Cluster Spots
Propagation

Resources
Calendar
Classifieds
Ham Exams
Ham Links
List Archives
News Articles
Product Reviews
QSL Managers

Site Info
eHam Help (FAQ)
Support the site
The eHam Team
Advertising Info
Vision Statement
About eHam.net

   Home   Help Search  
Pages: [1]   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Help with key terminology.  (Read 2369 times)
W9KDX
Member

Posts: 770




Ignore
« on: February 03, 2013, 01:40:14 PM »

Hi,

I get what a straight key is but I am unclear as to what an electronic key is and I also am confused about what the internal key system is in my Yaesu.  I read the Yaesu instruction and they assume I know what I am plugging in and that I will figure it out when I plug it in and see what happens.

I thought I knew what Vibroplex bugs were but it appears that some keys they produce use a chip which leaves me in a fog and I am guessing that paddles are electronic but some clearly look as though they are mechanical.

If you can explain or point me to a web site, I would appreciate it.  I hate to be so ignorant in this area.

Thanks
Logged

Sam
W9KDX
VA7CPC
Member

Posts: 2375




Ignore
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2013, 02:45:45 PM »

There are probably previous posts, but here's yet one more:

a _key_ or _straight key_ is an on/off switch -- the person pressing the lever has complete control over making each dit and dah.

a _bug_ or _Vibroplex_ or _semi-automatic key_ makes dits automatically (with a swinging pendulum); the person controls the timing of dah's.  It's a mechanical device, and can be used interchangeably with a straight key.

A _double-lever paddle_ (also called "iambic paddle") has two independently-controlled switches -- one for dah, the other for dit.  The thumb presses one, the index finger presses the other.   Both switches can be closed at the same time.  It is a mechanical device -- no electronics.

A _single-lever paddle_ (also called "non-iambic paddle") has two switches (like an iambic paddle), but _only one switch can be closed at a time_.   

For use, either kind of paddle plugs into a _keyer_ (an electronic device).  The keyer translates the paddle's switch closures into strings of dits and dahs (and spaces).   It's a _keyer_ that's built into your rig.  There are also free-standing keyers -- lots of different designs.

The output of a free-standing keyer can be plugged in wherever you'd use a straight key.  So, in a "systems analysis":

. . .     Paddle + keyer  ==  straight key

I hope this is helpful.   For more information on iambic keying, try Google "iambic paddle technique".

.            charles


Logged
K7MH
Member

Posts: 334




Ignore
« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2013, 11:55:40 PM »

There was a time when rigs did not have an internal electronic keyer so if you wanted to use a single lever or double lever paddle you had to have a stand alone electronic keyer as an accessory. Most rigs do these days and the rigs can often be configured for any type of key you would want to use in a menu.

Some prefer the greater flexibility and various functions of an external keyer so still use them with newer rigs.\

The keys themselves are a personal taste thing and you can end up owning several before settling on just one and some will have several. I have six different keys and one or two favorites among them.
Logged
N7SMI
Member

Posts: 326




Ignore
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2013, 10:44:14 AM »

An electronic keyer makes it much easier to send well-formed CW by converting the dit/dah signals from your key into perfect dits and dahs of the appropriate length. It also enforces minimum spacing. With an iambic key you don't have to worry about tapping the paddles at the exact right moment or holding them down for the exact length of time. The keyer fixes this for you (up to a point, of course).

For example, with my two-paddled key, if I want to send an "N", I can quickly tap the dash paddle and the dit paddle just milliseconds apart and the keyer will send a perfectly formed and spaced "dah dit".

A keyer can also allow iambic mode, which repeats dits and/or dahs by holding down the appropriate paddle. To send an H, I just hold down the dit paddle to make "di-di-di-dit" and release during or right after the last dit. It can also automatically toggle between dit and dah if both paddles are held down. To form a "C", I hold both paddles down (touching the dah paddle first) and the keyer sends "dah-di-dah-dit" and I release during or right after the last dit (which brings up Mode A or Mode B sending of the last dit/dah, which is a different topic).

For comparison, my call sign (N7SMI) with a straight key requires 14 key presses. With an iambic keyer, it takes 7. One "CQ" takes 8 activations with a straight key, but only 3 in iambic mode. This allows much faster and less effortful sending.
Logged
K3STX
Member

Posts: 973




Ignore
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2013, 11:52:57 AM »

The output of a free-standing keyer can be plugged in wherever you'd use a straight key.  So, in a "systems analysis":
. . .     Paddle + keyer  ==  straight key

What this means in practical terms is you can get a Y connector (or several Y connectors) and have many keys hooked to the same input. For example I have an external keyer/paddle combo (essentially a "straight key") as well as two different bugs hooked up to my rig. I don't use the internal keyer on my rig at all. It would limit my flexibility.

paul
Logged
W9KDX
Member

Posts: 770




Ignore
« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2013, 05:02:02 PM »

Thanks guys, that really helps a lot.  Now I see why they still sell external electronic keyers and what the differences are between paddles.

Last question, I have heard that Vibroplex bugs will just not work for slow sending, but I have heard there are mods or even some bug models that allow slow sending.  I don't know if my sending will ever get fast (old dog learning new tricks problem).  I can't help but appreciate the bugs and yet I would hate to buy something that I would never be able to use.

Again, thanks
Logged

Sam
W9KDX
K3STX
Member

Posts: 973




Ignore
« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2013, 07:36:55 PM »

This is a simple and relatively inexpensive way to show bugs down,

http://www.extendadot.blogspot.com/

Vibroplex also sells a device called a Bug Tamer, more pricey.

I have no idea of your skill level, but as many will tell you: master a straight key first. Bugs are indeed fun, but knowing how "perfectly" spaced code is SUPPOSED to sound is the key to sending with a bug.

paul
Logged
KD8IIC
Member

Posts: 154




Ignore
« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2013, 09:51:32 PM »

Hi Sam ; Even though your Yaesu, like my Icom, has a CW Keyer, you will be able to start off using your straight key to learn how to properly send individual characters and letter/word spacing.This is of the utmost importance.A bug or paddles are for use up the road after we gain experience on the air.Take it slow and easy and enjoy learning Morse.It's a lotta fun!I suggest a Signal Corps J-38 straight key to start with. They're commonly found on e-bay or ham fests for $35 or less. 73 de n8aft.
Logged
W9KDX
Member

Posts: 770




Ignore
« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2013, 02:53:45 PM »

Thanks for all the support.  I am following all your suggestions and learning on a straight key first well before I even think about anything more complex.  The reason I am asking specifically about Vibroplex is that I just found out that they have changed from their long history of brass nameplates to a rather odd looking aluminum silk screened plate.  After all the years of appreciating these keys from afar, I do not want to miss the chance to get the keys I want (eventual use, after my straight key skills are good) before all the old style keys are gone.

Fortunately, a bit of digging and I found a straight, a vibrokeyer, and a bug all new with the old plates.  Now I not only have exactly what I have always desired, but I have a strong financial incentive to keep up my practice, especially with the upcoming down sunspot cycle.

Logged

Sam
W9KDX
K3STX
Member

Posts: 973




Ignore
« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2013, 06:11:16 PM »

Sam,

When it comes to Vibroplex keys, eBay is both your friend and your enemy. Don't ask me (or my collection) how I know. I have never had a bug made before 1963, oldest I use regularly is from 1918 and I love it. That alone is reason to learn how to send with these beasts.

paul
Logged
Pages: [1]   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!