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Author Topic: Cost  (Read 16401 times)
LB3KB
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« Reply #45 on: August 16, 2014, 10:14:06 AM »

That was an odd post.

No, that was #42, which is an EVEN post.  Yours is #43... Grin

You're both odd.  I guess that makes you even.
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K3STX
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Posts: 983




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« Reply #46 on: August 16, 2014, 05:54:43 PM »

Jeff (KD2FAR),

Why not make your complaint concrete. In your opinion, specifically which paddles or keys are over priced?

Ray AG6WT

Jeff, The MFJ copy of the Bencher BY-1 runs $65.

A "real" Bencher BY-1 runs $135. You can use the Bencher your whole life, many do.

Do you think the Bencher BY-1 is overpriced? (I do not)

paul
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VA7CPC
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« Reply #47 on: August 16, 2014, 11:10:47 PM »


. . . All that aside the more I send, the more I start to think a straight key will do more to speed up my code and build consistent rhythm anyway, so not being in the market for a set of paddles I'm content to stop crying about the cost. I worry a bit that if I get fast enough on a key I won't have the muscle memory to make a smooth transition to a set of paddles when conditions warrant, but oh well.

Thanks for all the differing points of view everyone, I don't know that I would have recognized the genuine state of things without you folks Smiley

FWIW --

I doubt that you will have a serious problem switching from straight key to paddle.  "When conditions warrant" might be somewhere around 15-20 wpm.  That's reasonably slow, for a paddle, and doesn't require a lot of "muscle memory".

So if you know the sounds of the characters (which you should), you'll just manipulate the paddles to get the right sounds out of the keyer.  And that manipulation will be fairly easy.

At 15-20 wpm, it doesn't matter _what_ paddle you use.  I can send at that speed with two microswitches, sitting next to each other -- one for dah, one for dit.

If you want a cheap, usable "paddle", try this one (which I copied from another source -- I apologize for the plagiarism of the idea):

http://www.eham.net/articles/13722

The "converted mouse" idea comes up in the "comments" for that article, and it's also appeared in QST magazine.

You're not the first person who has looked at a commercial paddle, and said:

. . . "I can make something for pennies that works as well as that!"

It probably _won't_ work as well as that, but it'll work well enough to get you on the air.

.        Charles
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W7ASA
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Posts: 238




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« Reply #48 on: August 17, 2014, 08:01:37 AM »

Expensive?!?! 

Look, you can send decent code with just about ANYTHING, as this video shows, using some bananas...

http://youtu.be/aJKZ76Npo-o

My favorite is probable the paper coffee cup and paper clip paddles.  I haven't seen any Vibroplex 'bugs' made from fruit, but bugs and fruit are ordinarily considered a poor combination.


73 de Ray
W7ASA ..._  ._
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K2ZA
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Posts: 16




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« Reply #49 on: August 19, 2014, 06:57:22 AM »

As someone who uses a bug rather than paddles, I spent a couple of hours at Signore Begali's booth last month. I fell in love with the Intrepid, a much more finely crafted instrument than my Vibroplex original deluxe. If I had the funds at the time, I would have left with it, but €455 is a significant investment. My ham radio piggy bank is about a third of the way there, so hopefully this year.  Grin

John K2ZA
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SHORTWIRE
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Posts: 24




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« Reply #50 on: August 19, 2014, 07:23:28 PM »

[quote
All my angst could just be because I'm too new to all this. Growing up when one can buy an ax or a cheap cellphone for the cost of a couple gallons of milk may have skewed my perspective but I will likely never understand the price that is currently commanded by a set of paddles.
[/quote]

A few words to consider:

Craftsmanship

Reliability

Pride of Ownership (caused by the two first words)

These are some of the words that separate a Mercedes Benz from a KIA, and a Kent from an MFJ....

Personally, I have never understood or approved of Disposable Garbage Culture, and I hope I never will..!

I have long ago learned that cheapskate'ism contains the punishment in itself.

My KT-1 will likely outlast me... :-)
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AA7RX
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Posts: 41




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« Reply #51 on: August 19, 2014, 08:28:10 PM »

As someone who uses a bug rather than paddles, I spent a couple of hours at Signore Begali's booth last month. I fell in love with the Intrepid, a much more finely crafted instrument than my Vibroplex original deluxe. If I had the funds at the time, I would have left with it, but €455 is a significant investment. My ham radio piggy bank is about a third of the way there, so hopefully this year.  Grin

John K2ZA

Oh, so YOU were one of the booth hogs who made it difficult for others to squeeze in to play with the Begali goodies on display. I practically had to throw my money at Ulrich to buy my CW Machine.   Grin

All kidding aside, I'm glad I was able to try their equipment before I bought it.
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KD2FAR
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« Reply #52 on: August 20, 2014, 08:23:20 AM »

As someone who uses a bug rather than paddles, I spent a couple of hours at Signore Begali's booth last month. I fell in love with the Intrepid, a much more finely crafted instrument than my Vibroplex original deluxe. If I had the funds at the time, I would have left with it, but €455 is a significant investment. My ham radio piggy bank is about a third of the way there, so hopefully this year.  Grin

John K2ZA

Having actually handled a bug (think it was a Vibroplex lightning-bug) I am confident that my sticker-shock is a product of my slow code, those automatic dit's where just so quick! As I work at building my speed I find that I am considering the code a letter or two ahead of the one I am currently sending, and decoding a letter or two behind the one I am hearing. In light of that I've begun to recognize that the failure of a contact point to complete the circuit or of a lever to spring back open would be disastrous to the flow.

I had wondered about bugs too, particularly as my focus being QRP many circuits do not integrate keyers. Is there a lower WPM limit at which bugs become impractical? This is purely curiosity as I have come to terms with sticking with an inexpensive (yet to me reliable) soviet surplus straight key for the foreseeable future, if not forever!

Jeff (KD2FAR),

Why not make your complaint concrete. In your opinion, specifically which paddles or keys are over priced?

Ray AG6WT

Initially, all of them seemed quite expensive to me. I've come to terms with the fact that certain products from specialized artisans are priced in accordance with their quality, and that I simply lack the objectivity (or required speed) to recognize it.

I've avoided specifics as I have no desire to start any sort of conflict with fans of particular brands etc. I'm sorry but do think that pointing to any specific example would contribute nothing to the discussion and in any case would represent only the opinion of one who has not yet earned the right to point fingers.
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For dinner on May 27, 1844 S.F.B. Morse had mutton chop and strawberries.
K3STX
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Posts: 983




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« Reply #53 on: August 20, 2014, 08:40:37 AM »


I had wondered about bugs too, particularly as my focus being QRP many circuits do not integrate keyers. Is there a lower WPM limit at which bugs become impractical? This is purely curiosity as I have come to terms with sticking with an inexpensive (yet to me reliable) soviet surplus straight key for the foreseeable future, if not forever!

A stand alone keyer kit sells for $20, it is called a PicoKeyer and sold by N0XAS.

As someone who uses bugs, not sure I would recommend it to beginners. In the old days the progression was straight key>> bug simply because there weren't keyers yet. I think from about 1970's-now the progression is straight key>> paddles. I did the straight key>> paddles and THEN to bug for the "novelty" of it. But my code quality is much better and faster with paddles. I don't think a bug has any real advantage, besides they are pretty BIG compared to many paddles. My "standard" bugs with "standard" weights do not send below 25 wpm. I have a "bug tamer" on them to slow it down to about 15 wpm or so (at the slow end). I think you can use your straight key to about 20 wpm, and then after that you will decide where to go next (if you even want to).

paul
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K2ZA
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Posts: 16




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« Reply #54 on: August 26, 2014, 04:52:35 AM »

I had wondered about bugs too, particularly as my focus being QRP many circuits do not integrate keyers. Is there a lower WPM limit at which bugs become impractical? This is purely curiosity as I have come to terms with sticking with an inexpensive (yet to me reliable) soviet surplus straight key for the foreseeable future, if not forever!

What drove me from exclusively using a straight key was rag chewing. After 45-60 minutes my wrist gets pretty sore. With the bug I can go all day (not that I ever get that kind of opportunity to sit in front of the radio).

I had to buy a custom weight for my Vibroplex Original Deluxe, about 2 oz. if I recall correctly. After some fiddling (OK a lot of fiddling) with the adjustments I have it working reliably from about 14 to 25 WPM, which is my CW happy place.

73,

John K2ZA
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N6GND
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Posts: 379




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« Reply #55 on: August 26, 2014, 04:46:37 PM »

What drove me from exclusively using a straight key was rag chewing. After 45-60 minutes my wrist gets pretty sore. With the bug I can go all day (not that I ever get that kind of opportunity to sit in front of the radio).
John K2ZA

And there are other alternatives available. Some examples: instead of using a straight key American style with the forearm resting on the desk, you can use a key European style with the key at the edge of the desk. Euro style is less demanding on the lower arm structures.

There are also sideswipers or "cooties" which make manual sending less demanding.

Where there's a will, there's always a way.
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N4OI
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Posts: 208




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« Reply #56 on: August 27, 2014, 05:13:32 AM »


. . . All that aside the more I send, the more I start to think a straight key will do more to speed up my code and build consistent rhythm anyway, so not being in the market for a set of paddles I'm content to stop crying about the cost. I worry a bit that if I get fast enough on a key I won't have the muscle memory to make a smooth transition to a set of paddles when conditions warrant, but oh well.

Thanks for all the differing points of view everyone, I don't know that I would have recognized the genuine state of things without you folks Smiley

FWIW --

I doubt that you will have a serious problem switching from straight key to paddle.  "When conditions warrant" might be somewhere around 15-20 wpm.  That's reasonably slow, for a paddle, and doesn't require a lot of "muscle memory".

So if you know the sounds of the characters (which you should), you'll just manipulate the paddles to get the right sounds out of the keyer.  And that manipulation will be fairly easy.
[...]

Not to get off subject (BTW - My early Begali Signature is worth every Euro!), but this idea that one should start with a straight key to be able to use a paddle later on just does not make sense (the reverse approach would be more plausible).  You can hear the sounds of good code from ARRL practice .mp3 files.  How is trying to get the element spacing right on a straight key going to help you when the dits and dahs are automatically generated by a keyer?  Get the paddle first.   And good code will flow so much easier.  And you can send so much longer.  And faster.  And have a real CW conversation.....  And don't look back.

Just saying'  73   Grin
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KD2FAR
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« Reply #57 on: September 04, 2014, 10:35:33 AM »



And there are other alternatives available. Some examples: instead of using a straight key American style with the forearm resting on the desk, you can use a key European style with the key at the edge of the desk. Euro style is less demanding on the lower arm structures.

There are also sideswipers or "cooties" which make manual sending less demanding.

Where there's a will, there's always a way.

I have found there isn't a great deal of theory as far as it goes, on the various methods of using a key. I recently finished a really great biography of Samuel Morse and it lead me to perusing some of the old guides from archive.org for telegraph operators. Most of those old books described something of how to properly sit (there was a great deal of emphasis on posture and muscle groups) and adjust ones key (contact spacing, lateral play, etc.). I've seen people mention different styles and even talk about loyalty to Navy Knobs or what have you, I just can't seem to find any contemporary text on the matter that goes beyond "bolt the key down" and "don't tap it lightly like on the movies".

Is there a good guide to the different methods or what not or is this one of those things that's just too deeply built around personal preference to lend itself to a guide of any but the most basic kind?

After 45-60 minutes my wrist gets pretty sore. With the bug I can go all day (not that I ever get that kind of opportunity to sit in front of the radio).


I don't think I'm at the point yet where I'm confident enough to go for a good long rag chew. I know everyone laments short contacts on CW, and listening in on cookie cutter contacts for practice drives me to tears at time as well, but I at times wonder how many of those are for want of ability rather than want of interest. After a few minutes sustained decoding I still start to feel a bit stressed you know? but so far the novelty of the entire thing keeps me from feeling any fatigue in my arm rather than just the stress in my head!

Get the paddle first.   And good code will flow so much easier.  And you can send so much longer.  And faster.  And have a real CW conversation.....  And don't look back.


Part of what keeps me from getting a worthy set of paddles (I have a cheap portable horror from MFJ that I find utterly useless, no fault to MFJ) is the cost (duh, I'm a whiny cheapskate! I know it, I've come to terms with it) but the other part is, to be perfectly honest, the concern that I'll find myself sending way faster than I can receive and end up begging QRS all the dang time. Maybe I should go back and try to re-learn the code in one of the methods that claims to avoid plateaus to try and get my speed up? Or should I just set the AA0ZZ EZKeyer to 10wpm and thereby throttle back the sending with a paddle until the ol' wet modem catches up?

When I have the aforementioned EZKeyer set to a speed I find comfortable for receiving it's so easy to hold the contact closed too long and end up sending an extra dit or dah. That's part of why I find it easier to work on the rhythm with a straight key, but I wonder if you aren't actually representing the majority opinion? The argument in your favor seems so self evident, I wonder how others would weigh in.

So, thoughts; if you had it do do again would you begin with a straight key or a set of paddles? If a straight key something like the giant J-5-A or a more traditional J-38? If a set of paddles would you worry about weight, tension, springs, magnets, and what not or just get a functional one with good solid contacts?
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For dinner on May 27, 1844 S.F.B. Morse had mutton chop and strawberries.
N6GND
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« Reply #58 on: September 04, 2014, 12:45:29 PM »

I just can't seem to find any contemporary text on the matter that goes beyond "bolt the key down" and "don't tap it lightly like on the movies".

Is there a good guide to the different methods or what not or is this one of those things that's just too deeply built around personal preference to lend itself to a guide of any but the most basic kind?

The maker of high-end GHD keys has a youtube video of how to send Euro or Japanese or Unamerican style with a straight key.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ncOcgarGJHI

There are also many other youtube videos of sending with many different kinds of keys.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2014, 12:49:36 PM by N6GND » Logged
K3STX
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« Reply #59 on: September 05, 2014, 07:06:28 AM »

to be perfectly honest, the concern that I'll find myself sending way faster than I can receive and end up begging QRS all the dang time.

That's usually the way it worked for all of us! The only "cure" for this is to increase your receiving speed and the simple "cure" for that is getting on the air and having QSOs. It's really that simple.

If I had to do it all over again I would do it exactly how I did it 35+ years ago. Buy a cheap plastic straight key from Radio Shack for $2.99 (or any other straight key), and use THAT key daily until i would copy as fast as I can send (probably max out about 20 wpm with a straight key). Then I got a set of cheap red "Ham Key" paddles that I used for the next 20+ years.

Don't overthink this, you will certainly increase your speed by day to day QSOs.

paul
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