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Author Topic: Iambic Keying - Debunking the Myth  (Read 4840 times)
VK5EEE
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Posts: 939




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« on: August 03, 2017, 06:10:17 AM »

The idea that iambic keying is more efficient has been around for a long time, and few operators ever question it, even if they are having trouble doing it. They might blame themselves, or the paddle, and it stops being fun. At first it does seem to have a certain “cool” factor, and no doubt that’ s why it was invented to start with. Some computer programmer looked at an electronic keyer, realized that he was looking at lgic states (dot is on or off, dash is on or off) and decided to fill in the rest of the truth table– he was using “either a or b ,” and he was using “neither a nor b” but he wasn’t doing anything with “both a and b.” I n other words there was a third “switch” that wasn’t being used. Not a bad idea on the face of it, and we’ve been paying the price ever since.

Iambic keying be came all the rage, and manufacturers got to make a bunch of new-fangled dual paddles. Somewhere in there electronic keyer designers decided to offer “refinements” of the basic principles, giving every body Iambic A vs Iambic B to argue about, and distracting them from any consideration of whether Iambic Anything was worth bothering with. It’s like saying the emperor has no clothes, but I ’ll say it any how– iambic keying is clever, and fun, but of very little practical value. Worse, it can impose a speed limit on your sending.

Find out why in this excellent article by Marshall G. Emm, N1FN:

http://www.cwops.org/pdf/iambicmyth.pdf
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Long Live Real Human CW and wishing you many happy CW QSO - 77 - CW Forever
OZ8AGB
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Posts: 296




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« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2017, 06:23:32 AM »

Still being a CW newbie (2 years on CW) I like my paddles and glad I learned to send well spaced on it.
But when I see videos from the HST competition it is clear that they do not use paddles.
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AC2EU
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« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2017, 06:25:56 AM »

dit dit dit;

This is the first bit of esoteric, non-standard CW sending that you HAVE NOT supported!
I'm SHOCKED and agree that it's more trouble than it's worth.

As you say, it's the "cool factor" that someone can show off with, but has little practical value.

When I was first introduced to the Iambic mode, I immediately wondered why anyone would bother with it. I still don't see any benefit other than having an extra motion available.
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VK5EEE
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Posts: 939




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« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2017, 08:00:56 AM »

dit dit dit;

This is the first bit of esoteric, non-standard CW sending that you HAVE NOT supported!
I'm SHOCKED and agree that it's more trouble than it's worth.
Roll Eyes Grin Grin

Yes, I'm sorry to say, I wasted decades using iambic on dual paddles, never realizing what I was missing out on, and why I could not go faster. Silly me. Now, late in life, I have a single paddle, and if anyone is wondering if it is difficult to go from iambic to single paddle, let me say that to my surprise there was no learning curve at all. It took me weeks to be comfortable with bugs and side swiper and to be able to swap between them at will and back to keyer, but not to single paddle. Easy. And I don't miss iambic one little bit. Not even for CQ. We've been HOODWINKED.

Long live Don, Kim Il, err, I mean, All Standard and Non Standard CW except Iambic.
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Long Live Real Human CW and wishing you many happy CW QSO - 77 - CW Forever
G4LNA
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Posts: 125




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« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2017, 09:37:10 AM »

Welcome to the enlightened,  I ditched my Iambic a long time ago and now use either a Kent single paddle or my home brew bit of PCB board between two contacts that cost me nufink to build.
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N9AOP
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Posts: 569




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« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2017, 11:03:14 AM »

I make less mistakes with the HST single lever but still feel more comfortable using an iambic.  Talking to a bunch of club members, its 50/50 as  to where the comfort zone is.  Of course, the bug guys are not gonna change.
Art

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VK6IS
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Posts: 298




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« Reply #6 on: August 03, 2017, 08:43:55 PM »

ahh yes - - whilst my SK is still the preferred method,
I've recently obtained a VIBROKEYER and was very comfortable,
in using it, after just 30min or so, of practice,
whereas the Iambic Keyer always was difficult to use,
and I've never really mastered that method.

so, now I'm alternating between the VIBROKEYER & the SK,
& which are connected to two different radios.
 Cool
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K0UA
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Posts: 921




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« Reply #7 on: August 03, 2017, 09:04:19 PM »

Wow, something we agree upon. I first learned electronic keyer on a old vibroplex single lever keyer at a college club station.  I now have an Iambic of course. I wish I had that old single lever vibroplex.  Maybe I will get one some day and ditch my bencher.  A good single lever would fit me just fine.
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VA7CPC
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Posts: 2798




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« Reply #8 on: August 03, 2017, 09:45:43 PM »

Still being a CW newbie (2 years on CW) I like my paddles and glad I learned to send well spaced on it.
But when I see videos from the HST competition it is clear that they do not use paddles.

Look again (or maybe I should look again) --

. . . I'm pretty sure they're using single-lever paddles (which are still "paddles"),
. . . . . but not iambic (dual-lever) paddles, or iambic keying (if you prefer).

.     Charles

PS -- that article by Marshall Emm is a classic, and well worth reading.  OTOH, every time I send "CQ" with a single paddle, I wonder if I'm just being crotchety. Grin
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VK5EEE
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Posts: 939




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« Reply #9 on: August 04, 2017, 12:07:42 AM »

Wow, something we agree upon. I first learned electronic keyer on a old vibroplex single lever keyer at a college club station.  I now have an Iambic of course. I wish I had that old single lever vibroplex.  Maybe I will get one some day and ditch my bencher.  A good single lever would fit me just fine.
OM I'm using a nail file or is it a hacksaw blade, a friend made it, very simple, and I love it. A single lever can be made very easily if one has wood, brass screws, nut, bolt, and a few tools. I'm just terrible at home brew so lucky got as a gift!
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Long Live Real Human CW and wishing you many happy CW QSO - 77 - CW Forever
OZ8AGB
Member

Posts: 296




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« Reply #10 on: August 04, 2017, 06:14:39 AM »

Still being a CW newbie (2 years on CW) I like my paddles and glad I learned to send well spaced on it.
But when I see videos from the HST competition it is clear that they do not use paddles.

Look again (or maybe I should look again) --

. . . I'm pretty sure they're using single-lever paddles (which are still "paddles"),
. . . . . but not iambic (dual-lever) paddles, or iambic keying (if you prefer).

.     Charles

PS -- that article by Marshall Emm is a classic, and well worth reading.  OTOH, every time I send "CQ" with a single paddle, I wonder if I'm just being crotchety. Grin


Ah yes it is a paddle but not iambic paddles.
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DL8OV
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Posts: 731




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« Reply #11 on: August 04, 2017, 01:24:32 PM »

Looks right, three straight keys and one set of paddles.

I use both methods, a straight key for 'normal' operation and the paddles to relax.

Peter DL8OV
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KE6EE
Member

Posts: 1763




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« Reply #12 on: August 04, 2017, 04:11:01 PM »

Maybe, or maybe not, it needs to be pointed out that just because you have an iambic (dual lever) paddle, doesn't mean that you have to use iambic (squeeze) methods.

An iambic paddle will work fine as if it were a single-lever non-iambic paddle. Just don't squeeze the levers.

An iambic paddle can also be used like a cootie key.

I think a competent op can send good code using any on/off device of reasonable quality.

Not every op can send using iambic methods. I can't. I have never tried. I have never
felt the need.
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VK5EEE
Member

Posts: 939




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« Reply #13 on: August 04, 2017, 05:30:47 PM »

That's true KE6EE problem is if you are having many years habit of using iambic on paddle, the only real way to undo that without any sweat is to go single lever. It's very hard to not send iambic on twin paddle if you are very accustomed to that.
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Long Live Real Human CW and wishing you many happy CW QSO - 77 - CW Forever
KE6EE
Member

Posts: 1763




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« Reply #14 on: August 04, 2017, 07:14:56 PM »

The only real way to undo that without any sweat is to go single lever. It's very hard to not send iambic on twin paddle if you are very accustomed to that.

That's why I recommend not bothering with iambic sending.

On the other hand, a few days' sweat in relearning how to use a paddle would be well-worth it.

I stopped driving a manual shift car for four years until recently due to a back injury which made using three pedals a problem.

I'm back to a manual shift now. Much superior to an auto transmission. It took me no time at
all to get back into the swing of the shift lever and the clutch.

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