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Author Topic: K8RA P-4 Iambic Paddle: Spring or magnetic?  (Read 4874 times)
W4FLN
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Posts: 22




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« on: April 03, 2014, 09:42:24 AM »

A request for opinions and perhaps some insight for those who have used both spring and magnetic return iambic paddles: which do you prefer and why? Would especially like opinions from K8RA P-4 owners. I own a spring return paddle now and am curious about the difference in operation or feel between the two types of returns.
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KE6EE
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Posts: 398




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« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2014, 04:26:44 PM »

http://www.eham.net/ehamforum/smf/index.php?topic=8452.0;wap2
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W4FLN
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Posts: 22




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« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2014, 04:38:55 PM »

Mike,
Thank you for the link. I actually did do a search on both eHam and QRZ but somehow this thread didn't pop up. Much appreciated.
73
Frank, W4FLN
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KE6EE
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Posts: 398




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« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2014, 07:55:34 PM »

Frank--you're welcome. I thought the discussion very interesting. I have one key with magnets and a dozen without. There is a difference in feel but I wouldn't say one is "better" than the other.

By the way I did a google search rather than through eham.
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KI6LZ
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Posts: 587




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« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2014, 08:44:24 PM »

I really recommend that you test the feel of them. Some have real strong feelings about them. Consider them like a piano or other instrument, the feel varies considerably.
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N4OI
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Posts: 210




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« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2014, 05:24:48 AM »

I have both the Bencher BY-1 (spring) and the Begali Signature (magnetic) paddles, and prefer a very close, almost non-existent, paddle movement. I also value and use the iambic keyer features to minimize effort while enjoying long CW chats.   Therefore, the Begali is hands-down my favorite!  It is almost painful to return to the Bencher due to its spongy feel and the increased finger pressure that is needed.  I also use a Palm mini-paddle from time-to-time for QRP work.  The size almost makes up for its buttery feel...   

So, from a spring v. magnetic viewpoint, I suspect that comparing a Bencher BY-1 to a Begali Signature is like using a Yugo and a BMW 740Ld to compare gasoline and diesel engines!   My suggestion is to buy the best Begali paddle you can afford and not look back...

Just sayin'  73

 
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N4KD
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Posts: 139




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« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2014, 06:14:21 AM »

Once I've got either paddle adjust to my liking, it doesn't matter. But I find I can adjust the spring paddles much more quickly than the magnetic paddles. Because the magnets are always attracting/repelling, I find it difficult to set them in the spot I want. I bought the Kent TP-1 and it is a very nice spring paddle. I'm a little disappointed with the finish, i.e. tool marks on all the brass, but it works well. When it's time to clean it, I'll polish the marks out of the brass, too.

- Dave N4KD
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KL7CW
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Posts: 74




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« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2014, 11:58:29 AM »

For about 60 years I have been a CW op mostly ham, but also some shipboard and shore marine.  For at least 25 years a Kent TP1 was my main key.  It is rather heavy and has a very nice feel.  I was rather heavy fisted, so the Kent was a good match.  A few years ago I bought a N3ZN magnetic return paddle, partly just because the antenna farm and ham shack were complete, and I wanted to spend some money before I send my final 73's.  Was the new paddle necessary ? NO.  Was it a good purchase?   YES in my case.  I am now learning to refine my sending style to really take advantage of the new key.  If you are a heavy fisted operator who uses wide spaced contacts, then probably either type of key will be satisfactory, and you may not even notice the difference.  I believe MOST hams (myself included) would be happy with either type of key, however some have definite strong preferences for magnetic or spring return keys. Another suggestion, look into a good (at least Kent quality) single lever paddle.  Many very high speed operators prefer and use single lever paddles. After decades of slapping a bug, then years of something similar to Ultamatic keying, Iambic keying was not easy for me to master.....however I was too stubborn to quit and go to a single lever paddle.  Just something to think about.....not trying to say any of these methods or keys are best.  I was able to borrow some  high end and mid range (magnetic return) paddles, and try others out at Dayton.  I liked their feel, so this led to my purchase of my mid price range N3ZN paddle, which I continue to enjoy after several years. 
             Rick   KL7CW   Palmer, Alaska
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K9AIM
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« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2014, 11:17:06 PM »

For about 60 years I have been a CW op mostly ham, but also some shipboard and shore marine. 

that is a great callsign that fits you well!  Cool
73
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K7MH
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Posts: 339




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« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2014, 10:56:00 PM »

I have found that usually magnets will provide for a lighter touch throughout their range of adjustment.
Springs can be adjusted for a light to rather heavy touch. It may depend on the specific key. I have both types
and don't consider either to be a problem. If I were to buy a brand new iambic key, I would prefer magnets.
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WA7PRC
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Posts: 224


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« Reply #10 on: April 06, 2014, 12:46:14 PM »

My Vibroplex paddles (Vibrokeyer and Iambic) have served me fine for four decades, from contesting, to ragchewing, to mobile in motion. Changing now would be silly.  Find what works for YOU, and stick with it.

vy 73 es gud dx,
Bryan WA7PRC
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W4FLN
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Posts: 22




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« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2014, 10:45:24 AM »

I want to thank all of those who responded. My take-away is:  magnetic or spring return makes little difference and the choice is largely a matter of personal preference. I especially enjoyed hearing from Rick and Brian who collectively have 100 years of experience in ham radio. One day I will learn to master the Vibroplex bug, but for now I think my key will be a magnetic-return iambic paddle. Thanks again for the input!

73,
Frank W4FLN
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