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Author Topic: Keys, keys, keys  (Read 414 times)
KD7ZRO
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« on: April 03, 2004, 06:18:32 PM »

What key is accualy the best? a straght key, a set of paddles. or those "sideswipers"??

Thanks,
KD7ZRO
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AG4RQ
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« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2004, 07:30:25 PM »

A paddle is the least fatiguing. It will also enable you to send code the fastest. A straight key will tire you fast, and you will never be able to send as fast with a straight key as you will with a paddle. It wouldn't hurt to know how to use a straight key, though. I notice from your eHam profile that you're into homebrew keyers. How about a homebrew paddle to go with it? Mine is at http://www.eham.net/articles/7114, and KA8VIT's is at http://www.eham.net/articles/7863.

73 de Mark
AG4RQ
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N7DM
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« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2004, 08:48:37 PM »

"BEST"  ?   ...You want 'BEST' ?   Best in what way?' No, I am not trying to be a wise guy, your question is so personal that there is NO answer.  I'm sorry, it is true.

YOUR 'best' will be just that. Mine will likely not be yours.

I vote for Iambic Keying and Bencher paddles  every time. Many wont...
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KE4MOB
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« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2004, 03:01:55 AM »

Best for beginners: straight key.

Best for over 15 WPM or so...I *prefer* a bug.  Most prefer paddles and keyer.

The bug might be a little more difficult to learn at first because you have to learn the timing, not leave it up to a chip.  But after you learn a bug ad get the adjustments down, bugs and paddles/keyer are pretty much even.  
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N7DM
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« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2004, 11:30:06 AM »

I concur..to a point. I used a bug for quite a while. A good bug fist goes up at around 25 WPM. The weight [balance between dits and dah lengths] is easy to control up to about there. Much above 25 and the bug fist 'often' deteriorates to a Buzz of dits followed by ridiculously slow dahs.  At that point, a good keyer runs away with the prize.  Further, a keyer with Iambic action makes sending SO much easier. The seven Iambic letters [C-Q-R-K-L-Y-F] usually require a bug op to hold down the base of the bug, the 'slapping' being so fast and strong.

I suggest that the Lion's share of CW operation is conversational, at between 24  and  34 WPM.  That 'may' sound fast, to you....but it really isn't.  Code that speed is read in the head, and produces the effect of a foreign language being spoken.

Lastly...and most importantly, the transition from bug to Iambic was  **THE** hardest thing I ever learned, period!  Unfortunately for me, there WAS no Iambic when I started Morse. You are luckier...

That said, within the speeds I suggest, there are some beautiful Big Fists out there...
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NJ0E
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« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2004, 10:49:38 PM »

i agree that it is best to start with a straight key.
you can use a straight key for a year or two then move
on to paddles+keyer or a bug.

one advantage of a keyer over a bug is if you plan to
operate while on backpacking trips. there are some
lightweight paddles and keyers around, but i haven't
seen any lightweight bugs.
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KD7ZRO
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« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2004, 02:29:15 AM »

Thank you, This has all been helpful. And just a note, there is a discrepincy on my profile. Insted of keyers it should say Straight Keys. I just quickly filled the form out.

I made them for my homebrew Oscillator.
Thanks
Rod KD7ZRO
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N6PEH
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« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2004, 05:11:22 PM »

I am back into CW after a 6 year break.  I was using a straight key 6 years ago.  Now I am using the MFJ-KP200 paddles, $60.00.

I suggest, if you can, start with the paddles.  That is more than likely where you'll end up anyway.  Anyone can work a straight key without much difficulty.  But using the paddles took some getting use to for me.  I think it probably would have been easier if I hadn't had so much time behind a straight key.

The MFJ paddle is a knock-off of the Bencher model at about half the price and works very well once adjusted.  But it is personal and the price of keys can be very expensive.

The Kent T-1 and the Bencher are probably the most popular medium priced paddles going now.
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