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Author Topic: Any sites explaining the different keys?  (Read 6171 times)
W9KDX
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Posts: 770




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« on: August 16, 2011, 06:06:15 AM »

I am slowly getting the differences between straight keys and others and I figured out what the Vibroplex key does, but I would like to get some more accurate information dealing with some of the other keys.  Terms like "sidewinder" and "single paddle" and just what differentiates electronic keying still confuse me.

I am hoping to finally learn code this year.  I have tried and failed too many times before and this time I'm going to keep at it until I succeed.

Anything would be helpful, thanks.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2011, 06:08:34 AM by CHAS0039 » Logged

Sam
W9KDX
KC9TNH
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« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2011, 07:02:51 AM »

I am slowly getting the differences between straight keys and others and I figured out what the Vibroplex key does, but I would like to get some more accurate information dealing with some of the other keys.
I just happen to have some information kindly provided to me awhile back courtesy WA2WMR, who put up with my initial QRP/QRS efforts.

Still much to do; Vibroplex as a company makes a variety of things.
http://www.vibroplex.com/
Top pic is bug, 2nd pic iambic paddle, 3rd pic a regular paddle.

'Bug' is early version of what a Vibrokeyer does now with aid of keyer. 2 wires; "semi-automatic" key.
Manual dahs, continually repeating dits available based on magnet settings.
Cool animation demo from AE4RV here.
Homework fun extra-credit; etymology of "bug" going wayyyyyyyyy back (hint, not the dead moth behind the original vacuum tube computer, not the Vibroplex logo)

Modern paddle (vibrokeyer and similar), 3 wires, plugged into the rig/external keyer; provides continually repeating dahs-dits depending upon how long you hold it to the contact, and speed you set for the keyer.
 
Cootie basically a sk function using horizontal movement.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gIBGAx6frAY&NR=1

Iambic paddle (also 3 terminals) 2 finger pieces. Each paddle piece independent; function like a paddle based on the keyer settings. One direction makes dahs, the other dits.

Something I've found doing CW marathon type things (well, marathon for an older guy with real-life getting in the way) is the same thing the old Army manuals said about a bug or other non-straight key device. They were designed originally for people who were literally pounding hours upon hours a day for their livelihood - they are meant to make sending easier, not necessarily faster. In the military, bugs were issued to fixed bases where ALOT of traffic was passed to/from.

I have a couple of J37 straight keys I love because of their leaf (vs. coil) springs, and a Vibroplex Vibrokeyer that isn't going anywhere either. I use the V-keyer ALOT, one of the J37's is in the field bag to go with the QRP radio the other is for doing slow-speed stuff, true straight-key events, and just because.

Regardless of how you do it, it's just closing a contact. You'll learn a boatload of stuff along the way if you dive into CW. You will not be sorry.
Good luck!
 Grin
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Wes -KC9TNH
"Don't get treed by a chihuahua." - Pete
N2EY
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« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2011, 09:00:37 AM »

First, some nomenclature:

A "Key" or "Paddles" is the thing you actually touch to send with.

A "Keyer" is a device used to generate dits and dahs electronically.

Straight key - Basic single-lever key going back to the days of Morse and Vail themselves. A simple SPST spring-loaded normally-open switch with a knob that moves up and down. Dits, dahs and spaces made manually. The term "Navy knob" or "Navy key" denotes a straight key with a skirted knob. Most ops cannot send good code faster than 20-25 wpm with a straight key. Up and down motion can be a source of carpal-tunnel problems, called "glass arm" and "telegrapher's arm" back-when. No electronics, will key anything.

Sideswiper, cootie key - Simplest form of speed key. Key lever moves horizontally right and left, spring-loaded to return to center (open) position. Dits, dahs and spaces made manually. Side to side motion avoids carpal-tunnel problems and can permit higher speeds. No electronics, will key anything.

Bug, semiautomatic key, "vibroplex" (actually a brand name) - Most common form of speed key before electronic keyers. Key lever moves horizontally right and left, spring-loaded to return to center (open) position. Dits made automatically by mechanical means, dahs and spaces made manually. Side to side motion avoids carpal-tunnel problems and, with automatic dits, permits higher speeds. For a right-handed op, thumb makes dits, first finger makes dahs. Left-hand op needs left-handed key. No electronics, will key anything. Speed adjustment is mechanical.

Single-lever paddles: Single key lever moves horizontally right and left, spring-loaded to return to center (open) position. Both sides cannot be closed at the same time. Dits, dahs and intra-letter spaces made automatically by electronic keyer. Electronics may be stand-alone or built into rig. Side to side motion avoids carpal-tunnel problems and, with automatic dits and dahs, permits higher speeds. For a right-handed op, contacts are usually wired so that thumb makes dits, first finger makes dahs, but some ops prefer reverse. Left-hand op can use same key. Interface relay or other system may be needed when external electronic keyer is used to key certain rigs. Speed adjustment is electronic. "Paddles" name comes from shape of key knobs.

Double-lever paddles, "iambic" paddles: Two key levers move horizontally right and left, spring-loaded to return to (open) position. Both sides can be closed at the same time for "iambic" or "squeeze key" operation. Dits, dahs and intra-letter spaces made automatically by electronic keyer. Electronics may be stand-alone or built into rig. Side to side motion avoids carpal-tunnel problems and, with automatic dits and dahs, permits higher speeds. For a right-handed op, thumb usually makes dits, first finger makes dahs, but some ops prefer reverse. Left-hand op can use same key. Interface relay or other system may be needed when external electronic keyer is used to key certain rigs. Speed adjustment is electronic. "Paddles" name comes from shape of key knobs.

"Iambic" or "squeeze" operation is a feature of the keyer, not the key. With double-lever paddles, both sides can be closed simultaneously by squeezing, hence the name. An electronic keyer set up for iambic or squeeze operation will generate an alternating series of dits and dahs when both paddles are closed at the same time; the series starts with whichever side is closed first. This permits many letters with both dits and dahs to be sent with a single squeeze of the paddles.

There are two common iambic modes: Mode A and Mode B. They differ only in what happens when the key levers both are released after both being closed.

In Mode A, the keyer finishes the dit or dah being sent and stops.

In Mode B, the keyer finsishes the dit or dah being sent and then sends the opposite (dah or dit) once.

Mode A is far more popular.

73 de Jim, N2EY
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W5ESE
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« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2011, 10:02:14 AM »

I'll go out on a limb.

For a new CW op, there are really only a couple key types you need to consider at first.

One is the straight key (which have changed little since the 1880's Bunnell "Triumph").
Popular ones are made by Ameco and Nye-Viking.

The other key type is the iambic paddles. The most common iambic paddles are the Bencher BY-1 and MFJ 564.

The "side-swipers" (also known as a "cootie key") and the bugs (from vibroplex or
others) are probably best to pursue after you have been operating morse for a while
and are looking for new things to try.

73
Scott W5ESE
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W9KDX
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« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2011, 11:45:15 AM »

Thanks guys, I really appreciate all the effort people go into here to help out.  To put your minds to rest, I would never start with anything other than a straight key, I just get really enthusiastic about everything ham related and I want to understand as much as I can about the mechanical side of CW.

This information is great, see I would have assumed a cootie and a bug were the same (both insects).  I passed my tests up to General level yesterday and I am looking forward to getting my call sign next week (after 50 years of trying on an off) and I love the idea of code.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2011, 11:48:44 AM by CHAS0039 » Logged

Sam
W9KDX
NK6Q
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« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2011, 11:57:31 AM »

If you're a newbie to CW, I would recommend either a straight key or a keyer: wait awhile to soak up the "music" of morse before venturing to a bug.

I personally love using my various bugs.  Having some kind of "bug tamer" attached to it, in my opinion, is a "must" to slow the device down to a reasonable code speed.  For me, most, if not all, of my QSO's on my bugs are with a tamer, unless I'm working the bug in a contest.

Bill in Pasadena, NK6Q

In my opinion, the reason they were called bugs is that they look very "bug-Like".  Ever see a praying mantis up close?
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KC9TNH
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« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2011, 01:43:41 PM »

This information is great, see I would have assumed a cootie and a bug were the same (both insects).  I passed my tests up to General level yesterday and I am looking forward to getting my call sign next week (after 50 years of trying on an off) and I love the idea of code.
Congratulations! You will have fun & don't lose your enthusiasm. Looked over my log the other night and there were times when many were lamenting band conditions and CW sure seems to work for me. Light reading.

There are alot of good folks here who really love CW and have taught me much. No matter, find a straight key & start pounding, listening to good code. I would also recommend becoming a member of SKCC; lots to do, with as much energy as you feel like applying to it.

Bad handling of a bug (device) led some to equate with old derisive term of a bad opr; "he's buggy", which apparently came from olden times when there was alot of current on contact and a bug (insect) might actually walk across and put sporadic signal on the wire. That's as far back as I was able to take the term. Probably different versions of this.


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Wes -KC9TNH
"Don't get treed by a chihuahua." - Pete
WA7RBC
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« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2011, 05:50:25 PM »

You might want to check out

   http://www.mtechnologies.com/keys.htm

There's quite an assortment of keys and paddles there.  I would have to agree with the others, starting on a straight key is probably the best bet.  73,  Ron.
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W9KDX
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« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2011, 06:39:16 PM »

Thanks for the links guys.  That article is great reading, I have a book coming fron the library called "The Victorian Internet" that I can't wait to read; the article will keep me bust until then. 

That site with all the keys has me drooling!  I very much admire high quality mechanical things ( my other hobby is building Italian bicycles).  I am this close to ordering the Kent straight key from England just on looks alone.
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Sam
W9KDX
WA7RBC
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« Reply #9 on: August 16, 2011, 09:53:21 PM »

If you like Italian bicycles, then you might like this site:

  http://www.i2rtf.com/html/keys_paddles.html

I own the Spark, but after checking them out at Dayton I think I like the Blade better.  In any case, the choice of key or paddle is highly personal, like choosing a religion.  73,  Ron.
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PA0BLAH
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« Reply #10 on: August 17, 2011, 01:53:49 AM »



I am hoping to finally learn code this year.  I have tried and failed too many times before and this time I'm going to keep at it until I succeed.

Anything would be helpful, thanks.

Congratulations with your general license!

Everybody working with CW started with planning to do that, so that is OK.

Next you immediately make 2 (TWO) severe errors.

1. You are going to look for keys, investigating and looking for code practice oscillator in your set.
2. You say that you hope to learn it THIS YEAR and you start TALKING abt it on this net.
Don't talk, DO it. "RES NON VERBA"

What you have to do is take a calendar, put it within handreach of your computer, log in at www.lcwo.net
subscribe there, no identification required, and start with Koch lesson one. EXERCISE a full quarter of an hour EACH EACH EACH day, NEVER omit a day, put a mark on your calendar that you did it that day.  Do it early in the morning in order to prevent omission that day.
You will  NOT learn code this year, forget about that, but before the end of next year you can possibly start on the air with 12 wpm. At least at that time you can estimate how much extra time you need.

Don't start exercising with a key, wait till you finish successful lesson 36 before you start touching a key.
When you do else then I write here you are working on your next failure. Remember that when you fail again.

Please don't reply on this message but spent the time on performing the login and doing your first exercises on www.lcwo.net.
 
Bob


« Last Edit: August 17, 2011, 01:56:55 AM by PA0BLAH » Logged
N2EY
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Posts: 3879




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« Reply #11 on: August 17, 2011, 04:17:04 AM »

Don't talk, DO it. "RES NON VERBA"

What you have to do is take a calendar, put it within handreach of your computer, log in at www.lcwo.net
subscribe there, no identification required, and start with Koch lesson one. EXERCISE a full quarter of an hour EACH EACH EACH day, NEVER omit a day, put a mark on your calendar that you did it that day.  Do it early in the morning in order to prevent omission that day.

Make it half an hour a day. Break it up into two sessions if you don't get time in large blocks but do it every single day.

Do not limit the practice to lcwo. Do other things too - but the formal practice lessons come first always.

You will  NOT learn code this year, forget about that, but before the end of next year you can possibly start on the air with 12 wpm. At least at that time you can estimate how much extra time you need.

How long it takes depends on the person and how they study. It is now mid-August; the end of the year is more than 4 months away. Most people can learn code in less time than that IF they do it EVERY day.

Don't start exercising with a key, wait till you finish successful lesson 36 before you start touching a key.

I disagree. Learning to send helps. But learning to send does not replace the receiving lessons.

Remember that Morse Code is a series of skills, not just one. Learning sklills is not like "book learning" - it is something you actively DO, not something you read about or write about.

It is similar to learning how to ride a bike, play a musical instrument, dance or sing, etc. It can only be learned by doing. A lot of doing.

Did you practice today?

73 de Jim, N2EY
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W9KDX
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« Reply #12 on: August 17, 2011, 06:28:17 AM »

Thanks for all the ideas and support and the link to Bengali.  I have run across them and their reputation.

I agree with every day, and yes, I practiced today.  K and N.  And don't worry.  I am not shopping for keys, I just enjoy learning about hardware.  I am starting with a K-4 AMECO.  No sense putting the cart before the horse.
« Last Edit: August 17, 2011, 06:33:40 AM by CHAS0039 » Logged

Sam
W9KDX
PA0BLAH
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« Reply #13 on: August 17, 2011, 12:28:29 PM »

I don't see you in the recently registered users list?

Actually you did exercise K and M not N.

N is dah dit and M is dah dah.
« Last Edit: August 17, 2011, 12:31:47 PM by PA0BLAH » Logged
W9KDX
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« Reply #14 on: August 17, 2011, 06:06:48 PM »

I don't see you in the recently registered users list?

Actually you did exercise K and M not N.

N is dah dit and M is dah dah.

Sorry, my typo.  I am waiting to register until I get my call sign, probably next week.
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Sam
W9KDX
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