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Author Topic: electronic or mechanical paddles  (Read 950 times)
AE5EK
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Posts: 53




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« on: April 10, 2009, 09:28:29 PM »

I am learning the code and I would like to know opinions on mechanical paddles vs the capacitive touch electronic ones.

tks

Dennis
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W7ETA
Member

Posts: 2528




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« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2009, 11:20:13 PM »

Few people that are drawn to the Dark Side get charged up with capacitance paddles.

73
Bob
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W7ETA
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Posts: 2528




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« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2009, 11:25:58 PM »

Oh.  I forgot to mention.

Have FUN with The Code. :-)

Best from Tucson
Bob
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VA7CPC
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Posts: 2358




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« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2009, 07:33:15 AM »

I suggest that you read the reviews of the CW Touch Keyer, if you haven't already done so.  One user, teaching Morse to 7-year-old kids, said:

"
The Touch Keyer is not only the easiest iambic keyer to use; it is also the only one I've seen that a careless student isn't likely to break. It is precise without being delicate. It needs no adjustment. It has no contacts. It has no tiny screws or springs to get lost. It's tough. You can wipe it off with a sponge. It's self-contained. The Touch Keyer has revolutionized my Morse-code teaching. If you or your ham club conduct(s) Morse-code classes, consider Touch Keyers for your classes, too."

I have three mechanical paddles.   After reading the reviews, I'm tempted to build a $20 kit touch paddle just to try one out.  

I also suspect that "personal preference" plays a large part in "touch vs mechanical" arguments, and the only useful answer to your question is:

. . . "Try both"

If you're starting out in CW, below 20 wpm, _anything_ works well.  People have used guitar finger-picks, tapping on a small metal plate.

        Charles


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KB9CRY
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Posts: 4284


WWW

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« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2009, 01:12:42 PM »

mechanical
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N3OX
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Posts: 8853


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« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2009, 07:50:31 PM »

"The Touch Keyer is not only the easiest iambic keyer to use; it is also the only one I've seen that a careless student isn't likely to break."

It's worth noting that this glowing review is from someone who isn't generating any RF around the touch paddle.

Sensitive electric field probes might be a little irritating in a live ham environment.

Probably OK if you have good separation of antennas and shack, etc, but it's worth thinking about.

Don't know how RF immune they are.

73
Dan

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73,
Dan
http://www.n3ox.net

Monkey/silicon cyborg, beeping at rocks since 1995.
KC9HOZ
Member

Posts: 103




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« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2009, 01:59:54 PM »

Never tried a touch paddle, but I'd worry about accidental touches sending unintended elements.  With my mechanical paddle, my fingers can be left touching the paddles or they can hover nearby and I don't send elements until I actually press the paddle.

I'd like to try a touch paddle one day just to see if I like it.  Hmm... maybe it's time to price some kits!

Scott
kc9hoz
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K7MH
Member

Posts: 328




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« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2009, 07:22:26 PM »

I have an iambic touch paddle, A cootie key, and a couple of iambic paddle sets, spring and magnetic. I prefer the magnetic action of the Scotia (Vibroplex Brass Racer) the most. A touch paddle just has a different feel than the others to get used to. You could make a pretty nice one for not much investment as the basic kit is only about $18. Building a nice housing is a challenge. Mine is a copy of N8EPE's D104 touch key with an FT-243 case for the touch pads. I do not think someone would have a difficult time using a touch key with some practice but it might be hard to jump in with  mechanical paddles on short notice once you were used to the touch key or vice versa.
A single lever key is undoubtedly the easiest to learn to use. Iambic keying is overrated. Most people probably do not use true iambic keying. I know I don't. It is my understanding that most really high speed cw ops prefer a single lever key.
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N3QE
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Posts: 2094




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« Reply #8 on: April 14, 2009, 07:24:09 AM »

I think capacitive touch paddles have a very real niche in portable operation because of their lightness and immunity to dirt, grease, mechanical jarring, etc. I've used them up to 15 or 20 WPM before I notice that it's not the force being applied but the presence of the finger that matters.

But for my home station I'll always prefer mechanical paddles. Above 20 or 25WPM I can't actually lift my fingers off a capacitive sensor fast enough, but the feedback of mechanical force is good for me up to at least 50WPM (where I can't comfortably copy anymore anyway.) I love my Begali paddles.
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K5WOB
Member

Posts: 4




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« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2009, 05:23:45 PM »

Remarkable points you made about single lever keys, Mike.  I thought I was an oddball to prefer single vs iambic, but after reading your comments, I now realize I was right all along!

73 de K5WOB
Alan
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AD7WN
Member

Posts: 113




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« Reply #10 on: June 19, 2009, 06:50:42 PM »

I would vote for mechanical and a single lever paddle in particular.

Tried a touch keyer once but was frustrated by sending too much incidental garbage.

When I got out of the army I decided on a bug.  Much later, the natural forearm roll action fit in nicely with a single lever paddle.  Maybe if I'd started out with iambic the outcome would have been different.

73 de John/AD7WN
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N1BBR
Member

Posts: 22




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« Reply #11 on: July 08, 2009, 09:32:34 AM »

Hi Dennis,
I have had a large number of mid-cost paddles over the years.  Alot depends upon the cw speed at which a ham wants to work.  The mid-cost paddles all seem to be very usable for speeds below 20wpm.

I have not owned the Begali paddles, but I currently keep a schurr, a kent and a modified touch paddle near the rig.

I must say, the modified touch paddle is the one for me when working cw speeds 30 wpm and up.

Having said that, I hated the plastic box and plated paddles.  I found one of the great features of the touch keyer was how easy it is to create your own personalized configuration for paddles.
No more "one-size-fits-all".

I took a vibroplex blue racer and dismantled the keyer section off the plate.  The plate is designed to mount on top of a wooden base.  I mounted two metal paddels  through the wooden section, and put the circuit inside along with a battery and a toggle switch on the back.

The paddles are 1/2 inch in size, about an inch off table-top and 1/2 inch spread apart.  The braze plate of the vibroplex racer is around 1.5 lbs.  This holds it down on the table pretty good.

Once my fingers got used to it, there is nothing that compares!  The slightest touch is all it takes.

Someday some smart ham is going to catch on to putting a touch circuit into a super cool base, and its going to become the rage paddle, especially for high-speed cw.
N1BBR
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