eHam

eHam Forums => CW => Topic started by: K6MMS on August 20, 2012, 04:52:03 PM



Title: Best all-around keyer??
Post by: K6MMS on August 20, 2012, 04:52:03 PM
I've been told that the Bencher BY-1 is the best all around key.

True? False?

I personally don't have enough experience to agree or not. I do have one, and I think it's great.

In your opinion, what is the best do-everything, last-a-lifetime key being made today, and why?


Let the games begin!

K6MMS


Title: RE: Best all-around keyer??
Post by: K7KBN on August 20, 2012, 08:57:43 PM
I've been told that the Bencher BY-1 is the best all around key.

True? False?

I personally don't have enough experience to agree or not. I do have one, and I think it's great.

In your opinion, what is the best do-everything, last-a-lifetime key being made today, and why?


Let the games begin!

K6MMS

Which is it you're looking for?  The subject is "Best all-around KEYER but then you ask about the KEY.  Two different animals. 

A KEY is nothing more than a single-pole, single-throw switch or a pair of them on a common base.  Some of them are called "paddles".

A KEYER is an electronic device that is connected to the KEY and to the transmitter.  It translates what the operator is doing with the key into Morse code dits and dahs which the transmitter then sends over the air.

Personally, I like the BY-1 paddles.  I use them along with a variety of keyers that all work very well.


Title: RE: Best all-around keyer??
Post by: K7MH on August 20, 2012, 11:50:53 PM
The best key out there is the one YOU like.
Everybody likes something different in a key.
Many have several, I have six of them.
Two Iambic keys, single lever, hand key, touch key, and a double speed or "cootie" key.
I have had two Bencher BY-1 keys and sold them, I just didn't like them. It is a popular key though. Many buy it as a first key and never buy a different one. The MFJ copy (sort of) is pathetic.
The favorite is my Hamco Scotia, it's much the same as a Vibroplex Brass Racer.

Bencher and Kent keys are marketed widely so they have an advantage in becoming popular.


Title: RE: Best all-around keyer??
Post by: KU7I on August 21, 2012, 01:17:35 AM
Agree, whatever KEY you like is the best one. I have two Bencher BY-1s and they just work. They are not the best action in the world but for Plain Jane cw they are good enough for me. I use an old Daiwa KEYER in lieu of the built-in keyer in the FT-890 ONLY because the built in keyer potentiometer is so touchy on the FT-890 when adjusting keyer speed....plus this old Daiwa KEYER is rare....older solid state Daiwa gear is classy.

Lane Ku7i/JH1JCM


Title: RE: Best all-around keyer??
Post by: PA0BLAH on August 21, 2012, 01:43:23 AM
http://www.eham.net/reviews/detail/43

When you use a key (your keyer is built in your appliance) you get used to it, just as a car.

In order to decide about the quality
you have to watch:

-The material of the contact points,
- independent adjustability of left and right paddle spring,
- range of spring adjustability
- magnetic or spring
- if magnetic: repelling or attracting
- sponginess
- path of current, through bearings, trunnion screws (nil ok) , or just separate
- stability of adjustments over time (and temperature)
- adjustability
- behavior with real very tiny contact spaces as test
- weight of the base
- height of paddles above desk
- distance between left and right paddle
- dust cover
- availability of parts for repair guarateed for at least 10 years
- The price, which is often ridiculous, don't pay for a name, expensive milling only to distinguish the looking (such as 'sculpture'), hollow phrases,   such as limited edition, a "secret coating" or engravement of a call sign or some signature


gdluck
Bob



Title: RE: Best all-around keyer??
Post by: WB2WIK on August 21, 2012, 11:08:46 AM
Yep, the BY-1 or any other paddle device is a key, not a keyer.

But anyway, I have three BY-1s for many years and like them.  Properly adjusted they do the job perfectly for me at any speed, but then I have a very "light" fist and probably don't use more than a couple of grams of pressure on them.  For those who have a "heavier" fist (more pressure), a more stable key is good.

I love the Begali keys:  http://i2rtf.com

I do have one of his, called the "Signature."  It's small but heavy and feels great, but it's also over $200.  I guess there's a lot of hand labor in those, and they're just expensive to make.  I leave that one in the shack, but have no problem packing a BY-1 for travel and have done that hundreds of times.

If you go to hamfests, there are often people selling all sorts of paddles which can give you an opportunity to try some out and see what you think.  It's a personal issue, like the driver's seat adjustment in an automobile. 


Title: RE: Best all-around keyer??
Post by: N5XM on August 21, 2012, 02:55:31 PM
Kent Single Lever for me!


Title: RE: Best all-around keyer??
Post by: N9KX on August 21, 2012, 03:12:36 PM
Brown Brothers BTL for me, but my straight key (Brown Bros. ST-A) gets 99% of the work here.  ;D


Title: RE: Best all-around keyer??
Post by: K6MMS on August 21, 2012, 03:30:48 PM
Yes, yes. I meant "Key" as shown in the body of the post.

I didn't catch "keyer" in the heading of the post. It should be "key", not "keyer".

Best "key". Not best "keyer"


Title: RE: Best all-around keyer??
Post by: N3JJT on August 21, 2012, 04:36:25 PM
The key would be a personal issue, and everyone elses are their opinions, based on what they like in their keys.   What ends up happening over time, something will catch your eye, and you may find you like the new key better, and maybe not.  Like some of us we have keys on the shelf that see little use, and get put in the rotation if we get the urge.  I also have 2 BY-1s, and like them, and those are the keys I started with.  I have since grew a small collection of hand keys and paddles. So with that said, here is my opinion; My favorite keys are the Begali Simplex, and the Simplex Basic.  I also like my K8RA P2.  My favorite hand key is the Begali Spark. 

73, and enjoy..De N3JJT..Scott


Title: RE: Best all-around keyer??
Post by: K4ELO on August 21, 2012, 04:45:42 PM
I have about 6 keys here, including Bencher and Begali.  The absolute best in my opinion is the N3ZN without a doubt.
Super quality and the finest adjustment capability.

73
Wayne
K4ELO


Title: RE: Best all-around keyer??
Post by: PA0BLAH on August 22, 2012, 02:38:37 AM
K6MMS

You are looking after a black widow.

When I only see the picture, it should certainly be not my choice.

1. Paddles are wide spaced.
When you will do something precious, you always work with thumb and direction finger close together. Wide space  requires a hand setting that is in contradiction with this.
You always can increase paddle space by a layer of cork, but you can't decrease the distance of a wide spaced design..

2. An adjusting screw in screwthread has some play. That is undesired when adjusting and when the adjustment is done.
Some methods to solve the problem:
= a contra nut
= a saw cut with adjustable width that narrows the hole.
= Black widow method: as it looks like to be on the picture: a second screw perpendicular on the adjusting screw.
Any idea what happens with the precious thread of the adjusting screw, when you secure it that way?


Title: RE: Best all-around keyer??
Post by: K6MMS on August 22, 2012, 01:05:02 PM
Thanks Bob.

I never thought about the importance of small spacing before.

Lenny B.


Title: RE: Best all-around keyer??
Post by: AB9NZ on August 22, 2012, 01:42:46 PM
Bob said
Quote
= Black widow method: as it looks like to be on the picture: a second screw perpendicular on the adjusting screw.
Any idea what happens with the precious thread of the adjusting screw, when you secure it that way?
   Good thoughts Bob. Often times a little plastic plug is supplied under such a screw to remove back lash and secure it from turning. I don't know if that is true in the case of this paddle though. 73 de Tom ab9nz


Title: RE: Best all-around keyer??
Post by: K3STX on August 23, 2012, 06:40:08 AM
There is no such thing as a best all-around key. My best might be better than your best, and how can even I know it is the BEST for me if I have not tried them all?

I love my Kent TP-1 paddles. I had a set of Begali Simplex paddles; I did not like them. I love the Kents, as do almost everyone who has them. And they are not THAT much more money than the Benchers but the Kent is solid/heavy as a rock.

paul


Title: RE: Best all-around keyer??
Post by: S51M on August 23, 2012, 06:52:54 AM
After using several home made paddles and Bencher, Schurr profi, for me is now the best I1QOD Alberto Frattini iambic paddle:

http://www.i1qod.it/iambicchrome.htm                              http://www.eham.net/reviews/detail/4034

Alberto I1QOD is member of the Extremely High Speed Club EHSC:  http://www.morsecode.nl/ehsc%20club.html

There is also excellent P1PAD touch paddle          http://www.cwtouchkeyer.com/P1PADW.htm


73 ES GL DE Bruno, S51M


Title: RE: Best all-around keyer??
Post by: KA2DDX on August 23, 2012, 08:52:35 AM
My Begali magnetic classic is the best I own - I also have the Kent tp-1, the mfj bencher knockoff, and the Fuller paddle - the Begali is better because it is magnetic return but also costs a lot more money. Of the spring returns, the Fuller paddle is the best, followed by the Kent. The mfj is ok, but tends to go out of adjustment often (pain in the neck).


Title: RE: Best all-around keyer??
Post by: PA0BLAH on August 23, 2012, 11:39:57 AM
There are electronic home made paddles, just touching them the capacitance or leak to ground make the contact. I am afraid that, when your antenna feed is on voltage instead of current, and you have RF in the shack, they pick that easily up.

Another way is to use pressure sensitive pads. They have a resistance that is dependent on the pressure of your finger. Probably never a problem with RF pickup. You even can coat them with grounded Aluminum foil. A  dual (or quad) comparator IC and 2 reed relays, and you are all sat.

Advantages: hardly any cost, easily homebuild, paddle movement zero, adjustment of springworking with a resistor trimpot that adjust decisionlevel of comparator, with hysteresis they show the same behavior as attracting magnets as spring. usable in all modes with one fixed 2 sided paddle. (piece of PC board or the wooden stick from an ice cream)

Remember that Iambic is for easy sending to say 30 wpm, when you go real fast the timing is too critical for iambic and you have to go over to single paddle with left side dots and right side dashes.

So this kind of paddle is the best, but generally no suited for the official photo of the rooster-shack with the mike hidden  in the waste paper basket.


Title: RE: Best all-around keyer??
Post by: S51M on August 24, 2012, 12:54:29 AM
Remember that Iambic is for easy sending to say 30 wpm, when you go real fast the timing is too critical for iambic and you have to go over to single paddle with left side dots and right side dashes.

Of course with good iambic paddle is excellent CW keying at speed 60 wpm possible, but it's really more difficult like with single paddle.

73 DE S51M, Bruno


Title: RE: Best all-around keyer??
Post by: PA0BLAH on August 24, 2012, 11:18:32 AM


Of course with good iambic paddle is excellent CW keying at speed 60 wpm possible, but it's really more difficult like with single paddle.

73 DE S51M, Bruno

You , as I think to understand, agree that the best paddle is an electronic touch paddle, you mentioned P1PAD. Above the quality of mechanical designs like Schnurr. That is just as the first digital wrist watch Xtal controlled, outperformed the expensive Rolex and other brands of extreme priced mechanical wrist watches.

You are talented for Morse code, only a handfull in the world are able to meet the requirements of the EHSC.

I know that because I was personally exercising for years on a daily basis in order to pass the minimum requiremets for VHSC.

I make a lot more errors in transmitting at over 40 wpm Iambic B then just in the single paddle mode. That must be due to the critical timing of Iambic keying. So may be that talented guys can sent 60 wpm iambic, but as far as I know all the HST guys go over to single paddle mode when low error high speeds are involved in the HST competitions.

Please say so when my statements are wrong.

Bob


Title: RE: Best all-around keyer??
Post by: S51M on August 25, 2012, 11:37:49 PM

I make a lot more errors in transmitting at over 40 wpm Iambic B then just in the single paddle mode. That must be due to the critical timing of Iambic keying. So may be that talented guys can sent 60 wpm iambic, but as far as I know all the HST guys go over to single paddle mode when low error high speeds are involved in the HST competitions.

Please say so when my statements are wrong.

Bob

I agree with you, Bob.
I still prefer Iambic keying. Yes, it's more difficult, but it's more elegant.   

73 DE S51M, Bruno


Title: RE: Best all-around keyer??
Post by: PA1ZP on September 13, 2012, 03:31:06 PM
Hi to you all

First I have to agree with Bob and Bruno.
They are so right

Iambic is not working on very high speeds.

As I can read morse- code more quickly as I can give the code, that is due to the very bad motoricaly control of my fingers.
I always am on the lookout for a better key.
I tried many keys but still use my homebrew paddles.
Why just as Bob said the key is something that grows on you like an old dog or a car.
You will get used to it, even the bad sides.
 Also found that the height of the paddles is very important and for example the Kent paddle which is mechanically a very strong and neat paddle is to low on the desk for me.
Also the distance between the paddles is indeed very important it has to be narrow enough.

On my homebrew paddles which are so strong I can adjust the paddle spacing with a pair of pliers.
I never use Iambic keying and I am quite happy with the single lever use of my paddles though they are capable of Iambic use.
The advantage of this is that I also can switch without problems to a Vibroplex bug , and both the bug and paddles are connected parallel to my rig as the paddles use a N0XAS keyer for keying the rig.

One of the most beautiful keys I have ever seen was the wide based and in height adjustable Begali Graciela.
But that is more of the finishing and design then the keying itself, though I found it a great pleasure to use it.
And it was much much better then my homebrew paddles.
But only the appearance and look and even the name is beautiful.
If you say the name of it three times in a row, you will think you are dealing with a beautiful lady hi hi.
The name fits the product perfectly a very gracious and beautiful key and even less expensive as a beautiful lady hi hi.

I do not like the Benchers and MFJ's as the moving parts look very tiny and small and vulnerable build, with the tiny flimsy plastic paddles, I do not think that these will survive a fall to the floor in my shack, or a fall in the field on fieldday use.

I also like the Vibrokeyer de luxe as the mechanics are very similar to my Vibroplex bug and I like the way it works, though the Vibrokeyer is not Iambic, but as I told before I only work all keys as they are single lever keys.

For my own homebrew key , I didn't adjust it the last 2 years it will not get out off adjustment.
It is 12 yrs old now it does not have a dust cover , but because it is all stainless steel I can clean it with thinner or what ever there is available there is no paint or anything that can be damaged.
getting rid of dust is easy just blow the thing with 8-10 bar (atmosphere)  of compressed air, even that mistreatment will not change the adjustment at all.
I only have to watch out for the plexy glass base that the thinner will not ruin the Plexiglas.
If absolutely needed I can just take the key appart and glass pearl blast all parts again and it will be completely like new 12 yrs ago. 
It fell on the floor in my shack a few times and after some realigning with a plastic hammer and pliers it still works like the day I first build it and finished it with glass pearl blasting.
 


Title: RE: Best all-around keyer??
Post by: W0WCA on September 14, 2012, 07:42:17 PM
The Bencher BY-1 is a very good key.  You will not be disappointed.


Title: RE: Best all-around keyer??
Post by: PA0BLAH on September 15, 2012, 05:32:10 AM
The Bencher BY-1 is a very good key.  You will not be disappointed.

You have an explicit call. I remember the MD said to me W0W CA, however still alive.

Just resistance enough to meager Hein, to answer you. I hold you  you at your word. So I could buy a BY-1 Over 100000 sold that is more then the average wrist watch that makes 50000 sold at most, much more complex and selling for 25 bucks.

BY-1 still over 120 bucks + shipping + handling + sales tax  + customs. That Bencher is the cover up of a guy of the right wood, hence not a radio amateur, because they may not have pecuniary interest in their hobby.


When you sell over 100k Benchers BY-1 you can't be wrong, can you? Only rich, can't you?

I was eager to follow your advice because you guarantee  that I will not  be disappointed.

I believe you so I ordered one, because you took the risk in your posting above. Nevertheless  the fact  I read on the website of Kees PA0DEB that he slammed it against the wall, as being the worst key he ever tried. Not good: money lost, that's easy, he said..

I am not disappointed when:
- a slammer can use that key,
- there are Begali metal fingerpieces, not cutoff coffeespoons,  
- the contacts are solid silver 100 mu gold plated,
- the distance between the paddles is adjustable down to zero,
- the return current is not through pivots,
- the height of the paddles is adjustable
- and the return spring of both paddles is independently adjustable.

None of those all. I am disappointed, as expected, and warned for by PA0DEB. Can I send under your guarantee the new key to you, under the condition that you make your guarantee true, by reimbursing me with the amount I paid for the key inclusive handling and shipping and customs and again shipping to you?


A duplicate of the key of PA1ZP will be far better, I assure you (guarantee under the same conditions as you gave me)
Bob


Title: RE: Best all-around keyer??
Post by: PA1ZP on September 15, 2012, 09:26:42 AM
Hi Bob

There are only 2 of the exact same key's that I have in use now.
There are 15 keys I have build, but 10 of them have a wooden base that is the same size as my plexi-glass base.
5 are around with laser cut paddles and 3 are also with plexi-glass base but without the LED lighting in the base.

One of these 2 with lights and plexi are mine and the other one is my sons.
These are not on the market not even if you would trade it for a new Begali Graciela.
My keys are not for sale , and everybody whom has one of about 13 or 14 keys I gave away, recieved it as a personal gift for free as a token of friendship.
They didn't have any warrenty or garentee but as they are all with goofd friends they are maintained and repaired for free , but no one had any problems up untill now, I only had to put on stronger springs for one ham but he worked the key so hard he needed sa few briks on both sides to keep the key in place on his desk.
I am now very buisy designing and building the soyuz ATU , and for now and in the near future no new keys are in my mind to build

My keys bounce and have return currents through paddles and pivots , but that problem can be solved with a piece of wire between the paddle and the base, and all keys have an unused M3 screw in each paddle for this wire and 2 screws in the base to connect this wire, I had these wires for 10 yrs on my paddles and when they broke I did not place new wires as I couldn't say any difference between working with wires or without.

The paddles can be adjusted in spacing for each paddle independent and the return springs can be adjusted independently on both paddles.
Contacts are louzy just a sharpened and polished stainless steel screw on a stainless steel plate and these contacts bounce very good, some keys have copper plate contact plates and screws can be changed for brass screws with silver plated tip, and even the bouncing can be solved when using contacts wich I can order at Vibroplex.
But it makes the key design vulnarable and the nice clean simple looks are ruined, so I did not make these changes.

As for the paddles themselves, I do like the anodized red or bleu aluminium finger pieces of Begali, that is one of the fine features of the Begalis , that even such small details are worked out perfectly with very good eye for design and beautiful craftmenship.
These finger pieces are looking so much better as the cheap triangle plexi spoons on the Benchers or MFJ's or even the spoons on the Kent

But back to the basics do not forget that a good electronic keyer is as important as the key itself.
This is also a personal issue but I have a N0XAS Pico-Keyer on both the paddles of me and my son and I like these little things a lot, they clean up my bad singing a lot, and work so much better for me as the MFJ 401 series, or as even the build in keyers of the FT920 TS590 Ft450 or FT857D.
But I only work CW in ragchew and never participate in contests.

And as PA3DEB concerns he is also still on the lookout for that perfect key, but still has not found it as most of the CW fans I know are always looking or a better key.

maybe one day we will find it, but it will be the best key only ntill someone else decides to even build a better one .

73 Jos