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Author Topic: Do you currently use a straight key?  (Read 51615 times)
K0OD
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Posts: 2556




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« Reply #15 on: July 11, 2013, 10:49:11 PM »

W0AAA sending with both hands simultaneously:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MCTj_N6dAts

W0AAA at 60 wpm:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_icJLmsFNU

Belarus YL sending high speed:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LjON-9ZyIn8
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GW3OQK
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« Reply #16 on: July 12, 2013, 01:20:24 AM »

I only use straight keys. Marconi 365A and WT8 Amp being favourites. Reason because I like them and can easily send error free morse at 22 wpm.
Andrew
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W4TRJ
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« Reply #17 on: July 12, 2013, 05:09:19 AM »

The question is about which tool to use.

The end result of a given tool usually isn't the responsibility of the tool.

If the man wants to learn how to send good code with a straight key, it would seem that it would good to encourage it. You are correct in saying many ops don't send good code with a straight key. The same can be said for guys using keyers or whatever you're proposing. Dits and dahs perfectly formed by a computer or other machine doesnt mean an op knows how to send good code.

The man asked for a straight key recommendation. Do you have a recommendation? Why belittle his question?
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W1JKA
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« Reply #18 on: July 12, 2013, 05:33:17 AM »

Re:W4TRJ

There's always a few in every crowd that have a difficult time reading the topic heading not to mention comprehending the words contained there in.
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W4TRJ
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« Reply #19 on: July 12, 2013, 05:43:05 AM »

I believe you are right about the comprehension issue, sir.
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K0OD
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Posts: 2556




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« Reply #20 on: July 12, 2013, 06:23:36 AM »

His question--yes, I've read it-- assumes that a lot of hams use straight keys, at least some of the time for other than SKN.  I doubt that's true of experienced CW ops. I haven't owned a straight key since I bought a used vacuum tube Eldico keyer (four 6C4 triodes and noisy mechanical relays)  50 years ago and tossed out the then-ubiquitous J38s.

Top speed with a straight key is mostly limited to brief bursts around 25 wpm. That's below where most popular events begin.... contesting, DXing and traffic handling when that was common. Competitive contesting pretty much begins at 30 wpm. Plenty of DXpeditions run above 40 wpm. 

And if you love CW, why use such an exhausting method of sending it?   
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AE4RV
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« Reply #21 on: July 12, 2013, 06:54:52 AM »

"Do you currently use a straight key?"

No. I did use a straight key for years and dismissed the very idea that I might use a paddle someday. Long story short, a few years ago finally tried out a Vibrokeyer that was just laying around in my collection and have not looked back since. It's now hard for me to imagine using a straight key although I do sometimes use a bug.

After you get good at Morse code in your head it is just natural to want/need a better tool to send it. I was once a die hard straight key enthusiast but so glad I did away with that.
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KC2MJT
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« Reply #22 on: July 12, 2013, 06:44:16 PM »

I'm not about to read this entire thread, but I will answer the question. Yes, once and while. When I feel nostalgia. When I feel like I desire a very slow QSO. Otherwise, I have nothing nice to say about the straight key. It is hard on the tendons (carpal tunnel), it is painful, it becomes weirisome after a time. Once in a while you have to go back to the roots of ham radio to fully enjoy our advances. With that said, learn the straight key as it will teach you 1) how to send proper code, 2) how to listen to code. Then go to a paddle and bypass the horrendous bug entirely. In my 10 yrs. of listening to code I can honestly say there was only one bug op I have been able to read with confidence. And, a bug op who claims to have great wpm skills, acknowledges he's never known a bug op that could cpy more than 50 percent of what is sent. I don't doubt it given the one sided conversations I've had with bug ops.
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W1JKA
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« Reply #23 on: July 13, 2013, 03:03:54 AM »

Re:K0OD  reply #20

Congrats on your 30-40 wpm code proficiency with paddle /auto keyer. I am looking forward to seeing your picture on eHam's version of Better Shacks and Antenna Gardens, the wall paper must be beautiful.
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N4OI
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« Reply #24 on: July 13, 2013, 06:39:19 AM »

"Do you currently use a straight key?"

No. I did use a straight key for years and dismissed the very idea that I might use a paddle someday. Long story short, a few years ago finally tried out a Vibrokeyer that was just laying around in my collection and have not looked back since. It's now hard for me to imagine using a straight key although I do sometimes use a bug.

After you get good at Morse code in your head it is just natural to want/need a better tool to send it. I was once a die hard straight key enthusiast but so glad I did away with that.

My experience was a little backward, but ended up in the same place.  I taught myself using a paddle and keyer; then after some years wanted to see what I was missing in the straight key world...   It is OK, but man, the work...  I found I was choosing not to send certain comments because I just did not want all that sausage-making!  But I did go middle-of-the-road and bought an old Vibroplex bug that is kind of fun, although my speed is limited to about 22WPM or so...   

I ended up my journey in a pattern of using my nice Begali paddle for effortless chats at 30WPM, and then switching to the bug to match the speed of someone a bit slower.  My Begali Spark straight key is essentially a pretty paperweight...

73 ES GOD BLESS U ES URS DE KEN N4OI  Grin
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K0OD
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« Reply #25 on: July 13, 2013, 10:49:21 AM »

Quote
Congrats on your 30-40 wpm code proficiency with paddle /auto keyer. I am looking forward to seeing your picture on eHam's version of Better Shacks and Antenna Gardens, the wall paper must be beautiful.

I'm actually ashamed of that moderate speed after using code for 50 years. Fellow St Louisan NI0C has broken the sound barrier on CW!

My shack walls were covered with contest awards until I ran out of space. More are stuffed in drawers or tossed. I've never been a CW ragchewer which is perhaps the best way to get good. And I never said I was proficient at 40 wpm. My memory keyer is!

You can Google my call. (I've had it since 1977 when Extra tests required a minute of perfect copy at 20 wpm). Many contest results are available online. I almost never bother to submit contest logs nowadays where I mostly dabble with QRP.   
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K0OD
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« Reply #26 on: July 13, 2013, 11:51:22 AM »

Re:K0OD  reply #20
Congrats on your 30-40 wpm code proficiency with paddle /auto keyer. I am looking forward to seeing your picture on eHam's version of Better Shacks and Antenna Gardens, the wall paper must be beautiful.

You seem to be doubting me. That's bizarre

Just one example: Will this post showing my 108 countries worked in a CQWW weekend on 40 suffice instead of a photo?  First in the zero call area, Top-10 USA. Try that from the Midwest while limited to straight key speeds when many of the goodies are going twice as fast:
http://lists.contesting.com/_3830/1998-12/msg00039.html

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K7RNO
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Posts: 279




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« Reply #27 on: July 13, 2013, 12:05:01 PM »

So what! Does that mean your opinions and personal preferences on all things CW are law?
Actually, they are. For you alone.

Ours are none of yours. Have a good one.

Re:K0OD  reply #20
Congrats on your 30-40 wpm code proficiency with paddle /auto keyer. I am looking forward to seeing your picture on eHam's version of Better Shacks and Antenna Gardens, the wall paper must be beautiful.

You seem to be doubting me. That's bizarre

Just one example: Will this post showing my 108 countries worked in a CQWW weekend on 40 suffice instead of a photo?  First in the zero call area, Top-10 USA. Try that from the Midwest while limited to straight key speeds when many of the goodies are going twice as fast:
http://lists.contesting.com/_3830/1998-12/msg00039.html


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73,
aRNO
NAQCC #6870, SKCC #11131
K0OD
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Posts: 2556




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« Reply #28 on: July 13, 2013, 01:31:11 PM »

Quote
Does that mean your opinions and personal preferences on all things CW are law?

Any more Generals want to chime in? No kids, lids, space cadets, multiple choice CW experts --or worse-- need apply  Smiley
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W7ASA
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« Reply #29 on: July 13, 2013, 03:42:31 PM »

For me personally, I love a straight key.  It's what I use up to the low 20-something WPM when I to switch to my Vibroplex original for higher speed code.

On a straight key, I PERSONALLY prefer a Navy knob, long handle pump, but having used an Army knee key for so many years (decades) I have been told that I  send code that others enjoy listening to with just about anything, for which I am grateful.  I urge hams to learn with a straight key so that they actually learn to produce good code themselves, rather than let an electronic keyer make the decisions for them.  There is a 'touch' which should be learned. However, it's entirely up to those who are doing the learning.

As for key choice,  the Junkers keys of any kind are wonderful and will last for several lifetimes.  Though they do no have my preferred Navy knob, they have a wonderful feel.

Remember: speed is never the goal - accuracy and the enjoyment that sending good Morse brings is what you'll be looking for. Having a fine instrument for sending code makes that all the more likely.


73 es GL de Ray
W7ASA ..._  ._


Ps. Vizkey has a wonderful reputation and sight-unseen, I'd be happy to buy anything from their stable of fine Morse instruments.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2013, 03:48:17 PM by W7ASA » Logged
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