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eHam Forums => CW => Topic started by: KA0HVE on July 11, 2013, 08:40:03 AM



Title: Do you currently use a straight key?
Post by: KA0HVE on July 11, 2013, 08:40:03 AM
Why and which one do you use?

I got out my Speed-X last night and it took a few minutes to get used to it again but I like it.  I'm thinking of getting a 'nice' straight key and I'm looking for recommendations.

Thanks.


Title: RE: Do you currently use a straight key?
Post by: AD9DX on July 11, 2013, 08:45:23 AM
Begali


Title: RE: Do you currently use a straight key?
Post by: WA9CFK on July 11, 2013, 09:39:15 AM
I use a brass key I borrowed from a friend when he moved onto a Bug.

That was fifty years ago when we were High School buddies.

It still works and it still look nice.


Title: RE: Do you currently use a straight key?
Post by: W5ESE on July 11, 2013, 10:20:05 AM
I would consider a Nye SpeedX a pretty nice key.


Title: RE: Do you currently use a straight key?
Post by: N3HEE on July 11, 2013, 10:21:14 AM
I built two straight keys this year following instructions from WB9LPU.  They came out better than expected and work great.  Nothing like using a homebrew key.  https://sites.google.com/site/wb9lpu/ECI-KEY9.pdf  You can see my keys on my QRZ page.


Title: RE: Do you currently use a straight key?
Post by: NK6Q on July 11, 2013, 10:55:16 AM
I'll put my vote in for the Junkers key.

Bill in Pasadena, NK6Q


Title: RE: Do you currently use a straight key?
Post by: W1JKA on July 11, 2013, 11:07:35 AM
Yes, my great grand dad's Signal Electric and my uncle's WW11 Navy flameproof. Only keys I still use since the 60's. Reason: I guess I don't know any better.


Title: RE: Do you currently use a straight key?
Post by: KH6AQ on July 11, 2013, 11:15:10 AM
The speed-X is a fine key and it's about as good as it gets. I recently sold my Begali straight key because it is the typical clunky European pump handle style. That is, it takes more work to send with.


Title: RE: Do you currently use a straight key?
Post by: N4MPM on July 11, 2013, 11:36:50 AM
Check out Vizkey. He makes excellent keys. You can find them listed in e -ham reviews.


Title: RE: Do you currently use a straight key?
Post by: N3DF on July 11, 2013, 11:57:15 AM
Don't really understand why any active CW operator would use a straight key, except possibly on SKN for nostalgia purposes.


Title: RE: Do you currently use a straight key?
Post by: KA0HVE on July 11, 2013, 01:05:58 PM
Check out Vizkey. He makes excellent keys. You can find them listed in e -ham reviews.

Yep, I've been looking at the Camelback.


Title: RE: Do you currently use a straight key?
Post by: KA0HVE on July 11, 2013, 02:35:52 PM
Don't really understand why any active CW operator would use a straight key, except possibly on SKN for nostalgia purposes.

It's a long story and, no offense, I don't want to go into it.


Title: RE: Do you currently use a straight key?
Post by: K7RNO on July 11, 2013, 04:54:02 PM
I've only used straight keys, and I still (again) use one now: the only one I know, a Junker in navy gray.

When you start with the best, you will be forever spoiled  :P

73,
Arno K7RNO/AG


Title: RE: Do you currently use a straight key?
Post by: W4TRJ on July 11, 2013, 07:06:20 PM
To the original questioner: you won't go wrong with a Vizkey Camelback. I'm sure there are other good ones, but having gone from a speedex to Vizkey I can tell you that you will be very happy with the key and the man who makes it. If you have or wish to develop a light touch ask Tom to talk with you a spring on front adjustment screw.

To the gentleman who can't understand why anyone would use a straight key:  You would be absolutely astounded at all the dumb things people do involving time-honored traditions, arts, and true skills.

DC


Title: RE: Do you currently use a straight key?
Post by: K0OD on July 11, 2013, 10:25:23 PM
Quote
To the gentleman who can't understand why anyone would use a straight key:  You would be absolutely astounded at all the dumb things people do involving time-honored traditions, arts, and true skills.

Yeah, lots of "true skill" going 20 wpm, 25 max. I've heard a few good straight key ops.... a very few. 


Title: RE: Do you currently use a straight key?
Post by: K0OD 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


Title: RE: Do you currently use a straight key?
Post by: GW3OQK 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


Title: RE: Do you currently use a straight key?
Post by: W4TRJ 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?


Title: RE: Do you currently use a straight key?
Post by: W1JKA 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.


Title: RE: Do you currently use a straight key?
Post by: W4TRJ on July 12, 2013, 05:43:05 AM
I believe you are right about the comprehension issue, sir.


Title: RE: Do you currently use a straight key?
Post by: K0OD 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?   


Title: RE: Do you currently use a straight key?
Post by: AE4RV 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.


Title: RE: Do you currently use a straight key?
Post by: KC2MJT 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.


Title: RE: Do you currently use a straight key?
Post by: W1JKA 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.


Title: RE: Do you currently use a straight key?
Post by: N4OI 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  ;D


Title: RE: Do you currently use a straight key?
Post by: K0OD 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.   


Title: RE: Do you currently use a straight key?
Post by: K0OD 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



Title: RE: Do you currently use a straight key?
Post by: K7RNO 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




Title: RE: Do you currently use a straight key?
Post by: K0OD 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  :)


Title: RE: Do you currently use a straight key?
Post by: W7ASA 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.


Title: RE: Do you currently use a straight key?
Post by: W1JKA on July 14, 2013, 02:37:36 AM
Re: Reply #28

Interesting? I always get a kick out of folks whose mentality makes them think that class of license held and a ham's operating ability and experience are some how related, especially when they occasionally add the number of eHam lookups of a particular individual to the mix as something meaningful.


Title: RE: Do you currently use a straight key?
Post by: K7RNO on July 14, 2013, 01:58:42 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  :)

Ever thought of the possibility of any professional, pre-ham experience?

I didn't think so  ::)


Title: RE: Do you currently use a straight key?
Post by: PA1ZP on July 15, 2013, 10:02:59 AM
Hi to you all

I sometimes use a straight key, in a very rare moment I use the old straight key of my SK friend PZ1AP , just to remember him and to honour him.

I usualy work the homebrew paddles and or the single lever key of HA8KN  or the Vibroplex bug.
And I am a very bad operator in CW TX because of my terrible clumsy hands.

And the man with the tip for the W0AAA links , I had great fun and admiration for his skills on the paddles with left and right hands.

I also worked a few times with an Autronic key when I needed to repair it and make it working again for a friend of mine.
Very strange key looked and worked a lot like the Vibrokeyer, or might it be that the Vibro keyer works a lot like the Autronic hihi.

I think I heve 5 straight keys or so and I use them so very few times that I even have troubles to even count how many I have.
But they all heve very different and good memmories atached to them so i will not part with these keys.


Title: RE: Do you currently use a straight key?
Post by: K0EWS on July 15, 2013, 05:13:21 PM
I use a straight key sometimes. I got an "old" one a few years back from my Dad, who had bought it from an old ham. It looked old but worked (and still does) very well. Turns out after doing a little research, it was a 1st generation Mac Straight Key from the Ted McElroy Key company, manufactured in 1937. Still works great!


Title: RE: Do you currently use a straight key?
Post by: KD8IIC on July 15, 2013, 09:07:59 PM
 I enjoy doing Morse using my old Signal Corps J38. I found it had a better "feel" to it compared to other straight keys. Presently am having fun with an old Lionel J37 which I have setup to use as a side-swiper. I'm not ready to bug yet.
  I have been doing CW exclusively since November. I have a keyer in the rig but I like the idea of developing a proficient fist. At this point I am not a contester or speedster and will likely never be either but I am learning to copy high speeds.
   73 from Lane in Columbus, Ohio de  n8aft  sk  ..


Title: RE: Do you currently use a straight key?
Post by: KA0HVE on July 17, 2013, 11:24:59 AM
So here's what I'm doing.  I bought a Nye Viking Key Base Plate from MorseExpress that's on its way.  It's supposed to raise the key about 1/4" which is 1/2" lower than what I have now with it attached to a 3/4" thick piece of pine board.  That will put the top of the Navy Knob at about 2".  That should be much better.

The more I use the Speed-X the more I like it!

In the mean time, I'll keep looking at nicer keys although that Heavy Duty Speed-X (114-320-001) is pretty dang nice.  Right now I'm still drooling over the VIZ Camel Back.

I'm surprised by the current price of my key - $75.  On 2/1/1980 I paid $10.95 for it.  I got it to get by until I could pick out a nice key and I'm still looking for that 'nice' key.   ;D


Title: RE: Do you currently use a straight key?
Post by: W4FO on July 17, 2013, 01:16:53 PM
Why and which one do you use?

I got out my Speed-X last night and it took a few minutes to get used to it again but I like it.  I'm thinking of getting a 'nice' straight key and I'm looking for recommendations.

Thanks.

I think you have the perfect key. When I use a SK the Nye Speed x is the key for me.
95% cw.
Pat w4fo


Title: RE: Do you currently use a straight key?
Post by: NO2A on July 17, 2013, 03:36:50 PM
I use the Nye Viking Master Key. It`s very quiet and comfy. I must say though,that looking at the specs for the GHD `501MIL,all I can say is "wow." Very tempting indeed. No side to side movement and rock steady. I think there`s one in my future...:-).


Title: RE: Do you currently use a straight key?
Post by: N9AOP on July 17, 2013, 04:17:59 PM
When using a straight key (which is not often) I use a speed-X.  I am shocked at the current price since I bought mine at a 'fest for $4.  At the time I believe that AES was selling them for 9 or 10 dollars.


Title: RE: Do you currently use a straight key?
Post by: AF3Y on July 19, 2013, 10:39:01 AM
I'll put my vote in for the Junkers key.

Bill in Pasadena, NK6Q

And I will second that.... ;D
73, Gene AF3Y


Title: RE: Do you currently use a straight key?
Post by: AF3Y on July 19, 2013, 10:40:57 AM
I've only used straight keys, and I still (again) use one now: the only one I know, a Junker in navy gray.

When you start with the best, you will be forever spoiled  :P

73,
Arno K7RNO/AG

The Junkers key is a good as it gets.
73, Gene AF3Y


Title: RE: Do you currently use a straight key?
Post by: STAYVERTICAL on July 19, 2013, 10:14:37 PM
I use a straight key about 90 percent of the time.
The reason?
Very simple - convenience, and laziness.

Since I use a few old rigs without an inbuilt keyer, a paddle is not possible and I don't feel the need to buy a keyer just for
these rigs.
So the quickest option is just to grab the straight key and pump out some morse.

I also use a homebrew paddle with my more modern rigs and their built in keyers, and that is less tiring and more speedsome.
Also enjoyable - a different type of muscle activity.

And occasionally (shock horror!!!), I will even use CWTYPE and an RS232 optocoupler interface with my notebook.

I really don't care which system I use to send CW, but I have made some interesting observations.

1. Most contest operators seem fixated on speed, but will answer slower replies.
    It does not matter anyway since your contact will be lucky to last 5 seconds.
    Many contest operators have trouble reading morse at the speed they are sending, so obviously they are using PC's.
    I have fun with them by sending back to them at 40 wpm (their sending speed) and seeing them flounder until I slow down.

2. The vast majority of hams seem to send around 18 to 20WPM, and that is easily done by hand key.
    Many newbies send at around 12 wpm and a hand key is good to regulate my speed to their receiving ability.
    Quite a few newbies say good hand key sending "sounds better" than PC generated CW.
    I would attribute this to variable spacing between words etc, giving it a slightly different feel to machine morse.

3. Bugs in the hands of experts sound fantastic - in the wrong hands they are terrible to copy.

4. Your own personal credo and attitude to sending will determine how good your morse sounds.
    A good hand key will make it easier and perhaps more enjoyable, but the tool is only as good as the craftsman using it.
    My hand key is an old J38 bought for a few bucks at a hamfest, and it is still going strong.

So, if you do a lot of ragchewing, a paddle or bug will make it a bit less tiring, but if you only mainly have short contacts,
a hand key is quick and easy to use and will give you a chance to really hone your skills in producing excellent cw.
Speed of sending with a paddle or bug is not an indicator of skill, although by hand key it certainly is.
Speed of receiving is the real measure of CW skill, and in the end, hand key sending is the purest form of the CW art.

In practice, it does not matter which key or keying method you use as long as it makes you happy, and gives enjoyment
to your practice of the hobby.

73 - Rob



Title: RE: Do you currently use a straight key?
Post by: W1JKA on July 20, 2013, 06:10:54 AM
Re: STAYVERTICAL reply # 41

You nailed it on all counts. I just relate a straight key as to driving a standard transmission auto and all other keying methods to an automatic transmission. Straight key folks like to take part in the process while the others are content to sit behind the wheel and enjoy the ride. Of course there are both good and bad drivers using each.


Title: RE: Do you currently use a straight key?
Post by: VE5EIS on July 21, 2013, 04:28:42 PM
Re: STAYVERTICAL reply # 41

You nailed it on all counts. I just relate a straight key as to driving a standard transmission auto and all other keying methods to an automatic transmission. Straight key folks like to take part in the process while the others are content to sit behind the wheel and enjoy the ride. Of course there are both good and bad drivers using each.

I prefer to drive a stick - I wonder if that means I will prefer a straight key.  I am probably a year or so away from knowing the answer.


Title: RE: Do you currently use a straight key?
Post by: K7KBN on July 21, 2013, 05:58:16 PM
I prefer to drive a stick - I wonder if that means I will prefer a straight key.  I am probably a year or so away from knowing the answer.

Just an observation, but while you're learning code, you should devote about the same amount of time to sending as to copying.  The straight key is perfect for training your arm and wrist muscles how to make the periods of key closure AND of key openure (feel free to use the word  ;D ).


Title: RE: Do you currently use a straight key?
Post by: WA8UEG on July 23, 2013, 03:01:34 PM
I use only a straight key on 6 and do a lot of 6 meter CW. I also hunt for slow hams learning the code on 10 and other bands and use a straight key as I have a very hard time running a paddle. I like the SpeedX it's a fine key but my favorite is a Mcelroy.


Title: RE: Do you currently use a straight key?
Post by: WA8UEG on July 25, 2013, 11:08:08 AM
Last response was supposed to read run a paddle at slow speeds. :P


Title: RE: Do you currently use a straight key?
Post by: M3KXZ on July 30, 2013, 11:48:50 AM
Bit late to the party here, but my experience has been that using a straight key has greatly increased my rate of becoming proficient. It seems to produce a much better linkage between the code and the brain, as if the process of actually forming the code sounds is reinforcing what the brain is doing.


Title: RE: Do you currently use a straight key?
Post by: KA0HVE on July 31, 2013, 07:42:09 AM
M3KXZ,

I think I know what you mean.  A straight key seems to be a more direct and definite way to key the transmitter.  With a keyer I feel like I'm trying to satisfy its demands.

The squeeze key/keyer combination may be cleaner and more correct but I'm not a robot and it makes me sound somewhat more like one.

When hearing a straight key I frequently hear people expressing themselves by drawing out the dits and dahs of certain words or phrases for emphasis.  But then again, I also hear some really bad keying but that happens with keyers too.


Title: RE: Do you currently use a straight key?
Post by: M0LEP on July 31, 2013, 09:40:47 AM
I don't use a straight key. I did start with one, but it aggravated my already over-worked tendons well into painful territory, and that's not fun, so it's paddles and keyers for me.


Title: RE: Do you currently use a straight key?
Post by: AB8ZX on July 31, 2013, 11:57:33 AM
I use a variety of bugs and straight keys. haven't used a paddle in ages.

I typically have whatever bug and whatever straight key both wired up, so if I gotta go fast I can get on the bug or slow on the straight key.

Most of the straight keys I use are WW2 era. J38, a couple British ones and a Japanese one. the J38 is new to me since Hamvention, got it for a great price and it is SO NICE. effortless sending.

Other current favorite straight key is my Czech key. I take that one camping typically because it is so quiet, it doesn't go KNOCK KNOCK like some of the other ones. Plus it has a cover which keeps the contacts safe in case of rain or dew.


Title: RE: Do you currently use a straight key?
Post by: K7JBQ on August 13, 2013, 10:43:22 PM
Just got my first straight key in over 50 years -- the Czech Army key. Takes me way back to the days of the DX-40 and crystal control. Great fun.

Gives me the perfect instrument for slow speed stuff, goes with the Vibroplex Champion I bought as my pass-the-general present in 1959 and which is great for medium speed, and the K8NA P4 paddle for DX and contest work. All side by side and wired in parallel, ready to go.

Now, back to the question of why anyone uses a straight key. Hell, why do we use radio, when we have cell phones?

You either get it, or you don't.

73,
Bill


Title: RE: Do you currently use a straight key?
Post by: ZENKI on August 16, 2013, 05:23:29 AM
I use some nice ex Marine straight Keys. The Amplidan  and some nice high end Himound Keys.
These marine keys like the Amplidan, Swedish and Marconi are my favorite straight Keys. Remember these are the keys that were used by professionals
all day long sending long pages of text. I cant ever  recall radio officers complaining about wrist injury or RSI even when using a straight key all day.

Frankly speaking if you learned proper straight keying technique,  manipulating your wrist all day is less stressful than paddling with 2 fingers all day especially when sending continuous long pages of text. The ham QSO style you have nice breaks  in a QSO to relax your paddle fingers.

 I am a single lever paddle guy 99.99% of the time. However when I hear QRP operators or other straight key op's I generally reply  on the straight key. I cant  be bothered wasting my time on a 5nn 73 qso on the straight key. It takes a minute to get your rhythm  into a relaxing swing on the straight key so i prefer rag chewing on the straight key.

Straight keying at high speed is just a matter of using a good  key and technique. I have know many ex coast station operators and have visited these stations. Paddles were strictly and American thing or  just an individuals preference. Most coast station ops used straight keys. If you every visited great maritime coastal radio stations like Portishead you would have found many straight keys still on the RO's desk even when they closed the station! There are still coastal station active in China and Korea and those op are all still using straight keys. So despite what all the paddle guys say, dont be  dismissive about the effectiveness of straight keying. Sure if you want to blast off at 60 wpm all day long then a paddle might be better suited  to that task.  In the marine world that kind of speed was never used  routinely, it was about getting the message through not showing off.

At the end of the day do what you  you prefer and feel comfortable with. There is no penalty using a straight key for CW. If you do want to  transmit high speed you can use a keyboard like 100% of contest operators and there is no shame using  keyboard especially these days if you getting into CW.


Title: RE: Do you currently use a straight key?
Post by: KU3V on August 16, 2013, 08:12:17 PM
I use an Iambic keyer wired as a straight key.  I only use one of the two keys.  Sending code horizontally as a straight key is very nice.I just use my index finger and barely touch the key. 
73
KU3V
Bill


Title: RE: Do you currently use a straight key?
Post by: N5RDE on August 21, 2013, 02:45:59 PM
I use my Navy Flameproof Key in the 10-20 wpm range, and a Vibroplex Original Deluxe for speeds higher than that (topping out at about 28 wpm).   

I have the NFK mounted on a 12" x 2.5" oak board.  I find that by holding the board to my chest with the body of the key horizontal, I can brace my sending arm against my chest and my sending hand against the foot of the board and operate for long periods without becoming tired.  My xceiver has a built-in electronic keyer, but I have never used it and don't need it.



Title: RE: Do you currently use a straight key?
Post by: K2MMO on August 29, 2013, 05:56:51 AM
Nye master key and a bencher straight keys.The Nye is my novice key which I still use The bencher for a change of pace. love them both


Title: RE: Do you currently use a straight key?
Post by: WB6BYU on August 29, 2013, 09:29:50 PM
I usually keep a straight key connected to the rig along with the Bencher paddles (at least
when using an external keyer.)  They come in handy for working slower stations, tuning, etc.
I have several, from my father's J-38 that he brought back from the Navy to a Russian key
with covered contacts.


I've been clocked at 22WPM on a straight key in competition while pretty rusty.  But UA0CDX
always beats me at 30+ WPM, which is not surprising as he is a former Russian national champion.
(The Russians bolt the key to the edge of the table, with the arm hanging below it, and
do the work with their elbows.)

For those who are interested, there are regular High Speed Telegraphy (HST) competitions
in Europe, though I don't know the official rules since we've generally just had friendly
competitions instead.


Title: RE: Do you currently use a straight key?
Post by: AC6CV on September 04, 2013, 04:00:40 AM
Don't really understand why any active CW operator would use a straight key, except possibly on SKN for nostalgia purposes.

Kind of hard using those fancy iamics and speed keys mobile. I use a WW2 straight key that clamps to my leg for CW mobile. Yep, I love CW.


Title: RE: Do you currently use a straight key?
Post by: KU4RN on September 07, 2013, 09:00:15 PM
I use a Bencher straight key, J38, and army leg key.  I used a leg key while in Army.  I worked with the Korean SF that could send code with a straight at around 30 wpm. They did only send numbers which is a little different then send words.  I do also have a few paddles that I use when there is a pile up and the exchange is call sign and rst.  For rag chewing a straight key and slower speeds for me.   


Title: RE: Do you currently use a straight key?
Post by: AC9FM on September 13, 2013, 07:48:47 AM
A "leg key"... wow that brings back memories. Many years ago my uncle had one and would send code while driving. That always amazed me.


Title: RE: Do you currently use a straight key?
Post by: N9KX on September 20, 2013, 03:00:52 PM
Don't really understand why any active CW operator would use a straight key, except possibly on SKN for nostalgia purposes.

I use a Brown Brothers ST-A.  I tried many before I settled on this gem.  It is beautiful and one great key.
(http://www.wj1b.com/uploads/8/4/0/9/8409204/4761530_orig.jpg?0)

The Nye Viking Master Key was the one it replaced. I almost never use a keyer and am thus quite poor at it.  With a decent straight key, I can send at least 25wpm comfortably.   

I also use a manual can opener (the newer ergonomic type) and drive a car (2010 model) with a manual transmission and hand crank windows.  Sure it is more work, but the body needn't atrophy -- i for one am not in favor of evolving into a brain and a finger tip.

I do sometimes get a tired fist now that I am getting older, maybe I will learn to use that pretty Brown Bros BTL keyer
(http://www.k7qo.net/p4250003.jpg)


Title: RE: Do you currently use a straight key?
Post by: WB6BYU on September 20, 2013, 04:42:00 PM
Quote from: AC9FM

...Many years ago my uncle had one and would send code while driving...



I did this a few times, but found I couldn't go over about 50MPH on the freeway
while on keying or copying code in my head.  Seemed I could work the key or the
gas pedal, but not both at once.  I'd need a lot more practice before I felt comfortable
doing it.


Title: RE: Do you currently use a straight key?
Post by: NU4B on September 21, 2013, 04:52:49 AM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vOqbjbzC9V8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=59a-yLIJLyQ


Enjoy!


Title: RE: Do you currently use a straight key?
Post by: WA7SGS on October 09, 2013, 09:50:28 PM
I currently have one of the Chinese military keys.  It looks good, it's heavy and has plenty of adjustment for me.  So far it fits me fine.  Having used a straight key 40+ years ago and not being a fast op, a straight key today makes sense to me for now. 

What happens later on I don't know!  The nearly $600 Japanese straight key would be something I would love to experience.

http://www.mtechnologies.com/ghd/index.htm#keys

The one I refer to is the GT501MIL. 

Rick   


Title: RE: Do you currently use a straight key?
Post by: 9V1VV on October 11, 2013, 02:46:26 AM
Rick,

I have that GHD GT501MIL key. I use it sometimes. The price is for the appearance and craftsmanship,  and any straight key is the same as another, excluding minor factors such as armature length. Adjustments on all straight keys are essentially the same. Tension and gap, those two only.

I like the key and it gives me a buzz to use (normally I'm a bug key op), but my cheap straight keys do the same thing.

John


Title: RE: Do you currently use a straight key?
Post by: N4OI on October 12, 2013, 04:22:28 AM
A "leg key"... wow that brings back memories. Many years ago my uncle had one and would send code while driving. That always amazed me.

One of my early years in the hobby, I had a great CW chat with a guy driving a gasoline tanker...  Be afraid, be very afraid!

73