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Author Topic: Iambic vs. single paddle keying myth?  (Read 6976 times)
K3STX
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« on: May 27, 2010, 06:14:01 AM »

Having read again "Iambic keying- debunking the myth" it is clear that many do not see the "increase in efficiency" afforded by iambic keying over single paddle keying. But what exactly are the drawbacks of iambic keying? It is the only form of keying I have ever used with paddles in 30 years, so I am curious what "gain" I would see in trying to switch to single lever paddles. Is it simply that I would make less mistakes? I can not imagine any other reason. Certainly it is MORE efficient in terms of hand movements required to send code,  the "period" jumps out as a prime example. It is curious that "Iambic keying- debunking the myth" says it is NOT more efficient, then shows a table revealing that iambic IS more efficient, but then goes on to say "well, it is not THAT much more efficient".

link www.morsex.com/pubs/iambicmyth.pdf

I am honestly serious, since this is a CW Forum I wonder what defenders of each side say. Should I bother switching from iambic to single lever?

paul
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DJ1YFK
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« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2010, 08:47:44 AM »

I switched from IAMBIC to a single lever key because I noticed that most mistakes I made at high speeds were caused by squeezing. Especially additional dots and dashes at the end of a squeezed character like the period.

Sending with a single lever key requires a little more mechanical effort, but for me the improved sending accuracy outweighs this drawback.

YMMV. For relatively "low" speeds, below 40wpm or so, I am pretty indifferent about the key.
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AA4PB
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« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2010, 09:47:56 AM »

Well, if you don't squeeze the dual lever paddle then it will work just like a single lever paddle.
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2010, 10:11:30 AM »

Well, if you don't squeeze the dual lever paddle then it will work just like a single lever paddle.


Exactly right.  I use a squeeze (dual lever) paddle exclusively and every time I am forced to use a single lever key (like visiting someone else's station who doesn't have a dual lever paddle), I'm really annoyed.  It's quite a lot more work and I can't send as fast.

But someone who uses a single lever paddle exclusively and never "squeezes" shouldn't even notice the difference if presented with a dual lever paddle.  Just use it as always and it will work just fine.

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DJ1YFK
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« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2010, 10:31:36 AM »

Well, if you don't squeeze the dual lever paddle then it will work just like a single lever paddle.

That's true, but you can do more with a single lever key.

When I send e.g. a period on my single lever paddle, after the initial dot, thumb and pointer are both pressed against their respective sides of the paddle and the movement comes from my wrist. While sending a K, the pointer also stays on the dash-side, but I give the lever a little kick from the thumb to put in the dot. Same with many other letters. If I tried the same with a dual lever paddle, I'd actually be squeezing, but the danger of producing "suprious" additional dots and dashes is higher than with a single lever key. At least that's what I personally experienced.
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AF4XK
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« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2010, 02:22:02 PM »

Iambic requires very precise timing. At higher speeds (probably varies from person to person) that timing coordination and dexterity becomes more difficult (for lots of folks). Therefore it seems to me a 'single lever' is more straight forward in this regard and probably takes less concentration once you learn it.

BUT, at my moderate speeds (18-25) and with the characters/words/call signs i send a lot (i have 2 Cs in my name) iambic is less work.

I also agree using a dual paddle as a single is just not the same; it's much easier to accidentally go into 'squeeze mode'.

Should you change: probably not unless you find yourself making lots of mistakes... you'd probably find the single lever too much work.

FWIW, I still go back and forth as to which method i prefer.

73
chuck
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AA1BN
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« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2010, 06:19:37 PM »

I think I was sending over 50 wpm, but I'm not sure
because I can't copy that fast.......


I worked CW/m using a Bencher and found it fine. Now after
10 years absent from hamming, and old fingers, that damned
Bencher wasn't doing what wanted.... So I bought a single
paddle 1950s El-Key.

It's a little easier, not having to worry about a lazy index finger
causing Ks, periods and commas when you least expect it...

I do think I was sending cleaner code with the Iambic Bencher,
but ya'know.... do we worry about all this too much, or what?

Find what suits your mood best and stick with it, perfect it.
Speed is nice, but being comfortable is more important.

It's just a freekin' hobby.

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VA7CPC
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« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2010, 11:46:31 PM »

Quote
Should I bother switching from iambic to single lever?

FWIW --

If you're happy with iambic keying, I can't see any reason to switch.  As you point out, Emm shows that iambic keying isn't _much_ better than non-iambic -- but it's better.  Especially if your name has lots of C's, or you use periods a lot.

The coordination required for iambic keying is more complicated than the "dits right, dahs left" of a single paddle.  If you can handle it, at the speeds you want to send at, there's no reason to 'fall back' to single-paddle technique.

If you're not happy with iambic keying, a single paddle would be worth trying.  Using a single paddle isn't quite the same as using double paddles without "squeezing".  [I have both kinds on my desk; you'll have to believe me, or try it yourself.]

As the previous poster said, it's a _hobby_ (and a passion), and we can all disagree on just about everything and still have fun.

             Charles



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W9OY
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« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2010, 06:42:48 AM »

The guys I know who are true QRQ (60+) ops all use single lever paddles, mostly Vibroplex.  I think if you get so tuckered out sending a period or a C that you NEED a dual lever paddle you are a weenie.  I think if you just like iambic paddles that is a perfectly rational reason to use them. 

I used iambic paddles for years, and then switched to single lever after working the 40M CW station of a 90 year old ham during one field day.  He had his vibroplex set up perfectly and the code just rolled off the paddle hour after hour racking up the contacts and I wasn't the least bit tired.  Better code, less mistakes, no difference in fatigue, case closed.

My favorite paddle now is the N3ZN SL series with the true single blade lever as depicted below

http://www.n3znkeys.com/

73  W9OY
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KB2FCV
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« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2010, 10:14:49 AM »

I learned to send with iambic paddles, but using the single lever method. I tried sending iambically but never quite got the hang of squeeze keying. I find it easy to switch from single lever to dual (iambic) paddles when sending single level method. That's what works for me. Do what works for you best.
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K7MH
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« Reply #10 on: May 28, 2010, 12:59:35 PM »

The really high speed guys use single lever keys is what I have always heard.
I find I make less mistakes with a single lever key although I don't own one. I have used some that friends have at their stations.
I have no problem at all switching between them.
I am much more slap happy with a single lever key. I believe it doesn't require as precision hand movement and is just plain simpler to use.
I have never really used a lot of true iambic keying but did a fair amount of it when I was contesting much more in the past.
When you do a lot of CW I think you just pick up on it.
At most speeds we usually use it probably doesn't matter either way all that much.
Use what you like in a key and one that makes you want to use it!
It does amaze me how much people will spend on one!
I like my old Hamco Scotia just fine.
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AF4XK
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« Reply #11 on: May 28, 2010, 01:40:45 PM »

  I think if you get so tuckered out sending a period or a C that you NEED a dual lever paddle you are a weenie. 
73  W9OY

Has nothing to do with getting 'tuckered out'..... has a whole LOT to do with arthritis in the thumb.,,  in fact so much so, I use pre-programmed macro buttons when suitable.
 AND, if that's not weenie enough, frequently I use a straight key since no thumb action is required.



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AD7WN
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« Reply #12 on: May 30, 2010, 06:04:11 PM »

Use of an iambic paddle is more efficient if the operator learns to use it properly.

That being said, I learned to use a bug before I used a keyer paddle.  The technique of rolling the forearm while not flexing the thumb or forefinger can also be used with a single-lever paddle, but not with an iambic paddle when it is properly used.

Contrary to conventional wisdom that says, "You can't teach an old dog new tricks," you can, but it takes a long time to teach that old dog.  I like to switch back and forth between a bug and a keyer.  Therefore, I choose to use a single-lever paddle.  Obviously, an iambic paddle could be used the same way, but without the benefits possible with the dual-lever paddle.

GL de John/AD7WN
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AE6Y
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« Reply #13 on: June 03, 2010, 11:11:52 AM »

I really think this is a question of personal preference.  I've never really gotten used to iambic keying, and end up using my iambic paddles as dual lever paddles that I don't squeeze at the same time.  Unfortunately, late in a contest when tired, this can cause really bad cw due to sloppy coordination.  I found that with a single lever Begali mono simplex, my code sending is just more accurate, even when tired.  (plus it's a gorgeous work of art, but then so is my Profi iambic paddle).  But YMMV.
 73, andy, ae6y, p49y
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VE3GNU
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« Reply #14 on: June 04, 2010, 06:23:42 AM »

Doesn't the 'iambic' squeeze-of-the-paddles style really only apply to the 7 letters---i.e. c,f,k,l,q,r, and y?  I, too, have a Bencher and with the exception of the above letters I never squeeze the paddles---but use them independently for the other letters.  My particular 'beef' with the double-paddles is that I start off working them very lightly---but I tend to 'hit' them harder as 'time progresses'---and yes, in view of that---maybe I should be looking at or considering a 'single-lever' paddle!
Ernie
VE3GNU
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