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Author Topic: Recommendations for a key?  (Read 27500 times)
AD9DX
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Posts: 1472




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« Reply #15 on: September 17, 2013, 06:24:53 AM »

I started with a Bencher when I was a kid. It was fine, but lacks the "feel" of a better key but we all start somewhere. If I was you, I would start looking for a used Kent. They don't usually look very good (they oxidize easily) but they are worlds better than the Bencher.
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EX, KC9TRM, KB9IRZ
AC9FM
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Posts: 47




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« Reply #16 on: September 17, 2013, 01:33:45 PM »

It appears that Bencher and Kent are the general favorites so far. I'll be scouring Ebay and various sites for a used one.

Thanks All for your comments.

Ernie
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PA1ZP
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Posts: 214




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« Reply #17 on: September 18, 2013, 09:26:22 AM »

Hi to you all

I use a Hungarian made single lever key.
These keys are made by HA8KN.
It was 90 Euro's and I like it a lot.

This man makes all kinds of keys both spring return Iambic, magnetic return Iambic, single lever with 45 degree angled levers and single lever with straight levers. and I tested them all in a hammarket.

I could operate the best with the angled single lever.

Worked with a Bencher with a MFJ and with homebrew with Begali professional , and with a Kent iambic.

I Think that the one that will suit your needs best is your choise.
the only way to find that out is testing of several keys at hammarket or at colegue hams.

For me hight of the levers etc is as important as the perfectionisme of the build quality.
I use a very light touch and very close spacing so mechanicle stability of the construction is very important.

For info abt Hungarian keys look at:
http://www.amplitec.hu/jani_baratom%20_eng.html

But he makes many more keys.
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KB2FCV
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« Reply #18 on: September 20, 2013, 08:46:15 AM »

Another vote for the Bencher BY-1. I've had one for the last 20+ years and zero complaints about it. Simply a good, solid, reliable key.
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KL7CW
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Posts: 50




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« Reply #19 on: September 25, 2013, 12:05:04 PM »

I used a Kent TP-1 dual lever paddle (spring return) for about half of my 59 years as a CW operator.  I never had any issues with the paddle.  It has a rather heavy base (does not slide around the desk), is easy to adjust, and has a nice feel.  Only in the last 2 years did I "upgrade" to an expensive magnetic return paddle which is "very nice", but really not at all necessary.  Kent also makes a single lever paddle, the SP-1. A dual lever paddle is required for iambic operation, however iambic keying is not easy to learn for many folks.  Often hams use dual lever iambic paddles, but do not do the iambic "squeeze keying".  Another easy option is to use a single lever paddle.  I think most folks will find this very easy to learn.  In fact many (most ?) very high speed(>50 wpm) CW operators use single lever paddles.  I have good dexterity and am very stubborn so did not want to admit defeat, so I pushed myself to learn iambic keying, however if I was just starting CW now, I think I would take the easier (and less frustrating) route and give a single lever paddle a try.  The brass on Kent paddles tends to tarnish(cosmetic only), but possibly this would result in a much lower used sale price. Also Kent offers most keys in kit form....easy and fun to assemble...and you save about $10.  Check Kent prices from US distributors and also ordering directly from the UK.  It is very difficult to design a good single lever paddle, so a quality (at least Kent level) paddle is even more important if you go the single lever paddle route,
     Rick  KL7CW   Palmer, Alaska
 
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WX2S
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Posts: 690




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« Reply #20 on: September 26, 2013, 05:26:20 AM »

If you buy a used Bencher, make sure the seller packs it well. I bought one on eBay, and it came with the paddles smashed.  Sad

Wx2s.
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73, - Steve WX2S.
I subscribe to the DX Code of Conduct. http://dx-code.org/
N4MPM
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Posts: 66




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« Reply #21 on: September 26, 2013, 03:08:59 PM »

I can heartily recommend the Vizkey 90 degree single lever key.  First rate and very well  made.
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VA7CPC
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Posts: 2358




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« Reply #22 on: September 26, 2013, 10:19:06 PM »

One other possibility -- one of the paddles by K8RA.

They're brass, not plated, so they'll tarnish (unless he, or you, puts on a coat of lacquer.  But the bearings are good, the prices are reasonable, and the reviews are stellar.

.          Charles
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N4DSP
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Posts: 124




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« Reply #23 on: October 02, 2013, 05:32:42 PM »

Learn the correct and traditional way. If your new to cw-straight key. If you have cw under your belt-bug. And stick with it.
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AC9FM
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Posts: 47




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« Reply #24 on: October 04, 2013, 05:27:58 AM »

I first learned CW to pass my Advanced test some 35 years ago, so I'm not exactly new to it  Wink
Just out of practice .....
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ZENKI
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Posts: 906




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« Reply #25 on: November 11, 2013, 02:06:54 AM »

Kent Single lever

or

Himound MK701

This was my favorite HS CW key before all the expensive super engineering marvels  existed.
You can find these old keys for bargain prices but its an excellent key, that will key as well as any super expensive key that impresses you.

A good buy for value for money is the N0SA paddle, its as good as a K3ZN or Begali. I cant see the point in buying keys that are expensive  for
looks. All I am interested in is how the mechanism performs, not makeup! 

If you have attended a HST competition you soon realize that it has  more do with skill than the key brand. The keys used by the HST champions are so simple and primitive that it would make every Begali owner cry and they would wonder why they spent so much for a key.

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W4TRJ
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Posts: 16




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« Reply #26 on: November 21, 2013, 02:45:25 PM »

Vizkey Camelback. Great key. Holds adjustment. A lifetime purchase, handmade by a good man and artisan in Arkansas. Vizkey.com, call Tom, order it. Ask him about the springs instead of locknuts for adjustment screws, so you can get a really light touch.

Sure, you can try different keys. Many of them are good. If you are a collector of things, then buy a bunch of them. But if you'll probably only use one. You may have one tied together with a bug when you get to that point. But desk space often precludes having a wad of keys set up.

So, if you want a key to use, that you can count on, and have recourse if you don't like it for whatever reason or have a problem, get a Vizkey Camelback and be done with it.

DC
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