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Author Topic: New to CW...want advice for a KEY  (Read 11078 times)
W0DV
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Posts: 200




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« Reply #15 on: February 28, 2012, 06:14:49 PM »

I passed the 20 WPM test many moons ago, but never used it on the air.  I went inexpensive for my first key with an Ameco K-4 and UKB.

Hopefully I can build my speed to 20 wpm, that is the goal I set for myself.

Thanks for the advice,

Dave
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W5LZ
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Posts: 477




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« Reply #16 on: March 03, 2012, 03:59:58 PM »

Why not a J-38 type key?  Mounting one is something that you can do for yourself, using just about anything you can think of.  Want a heavy base?  No problem, what do you have handy, or what can you think of that might be heavy enough?  No point in making it more complicated than necessary, that first key is very seldom the only one you'll ever have.  Unless you are using some really older equipment, there's just no call for inch thick contacts, spark proof housings, etc.  Want a different kind'a knob on that key?  Got an old poker chip?  Put a hole in the center of one, then place it under that supplied knob.  That's where the first ones came from you know...
 - 'Doc
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SM4XUW
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Posts: 14




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« Reply #17 on: March 04, 2012, 02:54:24 AM »

Hi Dave!

The Chinese key is a very nice key. I own one myself and maybe you have read my review here on eham. The only thing that is a bit off about it is the tension spring, it's quit stiff so I cut of about 2 turns on the bottom end of it.

I also have a J-38 and a J-37 .
The 38 is the better one of these American keys. But if I had to chose between these three keys it would be the K-4 for sure!

73;s Klas SM4XUW
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K0TF
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Posts: 1




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« Reply #18 on: March 04, 2012, 09:01:23 PM »

Why not a J-38 type key?  Mounting one is something that you can do for yourself, using just about anything you can think of.  Want a heavy base?  No problem, what do you have handy, or what can you think of that might be heavy enough?  No point in making it more complicated than necessary, that first key is very seldom the only one you'll ever have.  Unless you are using some really older equipment, there's just no call for inch thick contacts, spark proof housings, etc.  Want a different kind'a knob on that key?  Got an old poker chip?  Put a hole in the center of one, then place it under that supplied knob.  That's where the first ones came from you know...
 - 'Doc
Don't waste your time, he wanted a piece of "furniture", rather than keyer. BUT can't afford too much, so he stuck with something in the middle... Guy has a slightest if any, idea about style of keying, and necessity to chose proper key and knob for different techniques. Which ultimately affects selection.
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PA0BLAH
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Posts: 0




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« Reply #19 on: March 05, 2012, 09:58:46 AM »


Don't waste your time, he wanted a piece of "furniture", rather than keyer. BUT can't afford too much, so he stuck with something in the middle... Guy has a slightest if any, idea about style of keying, and necessity to chose proper key and knob for different techniques. Which ultimately affects selection.

I think that's just the problem, people want to show they can afford it and buy Begali designs and what have you for stupid extremes highly polished, secret coating, gold plated, call engraved, signature of producer, limited numbered edition, that are  build part by part with love and extreme dedication blah blah, handcrafted with his glasses on a cord around his neck.

When you learn biking it it has of no sense to buy a bike of 10k$ because it is the type the champion selected to became worlds best.

There are a handfull of guys, interested in HST, that have your selection ideas. A regular ham,  as  W0DV presented himself, just wants to make straight key QSO's and rag chewing at utmost 20 wpm. That's fine.

Everything is OK is the conclusion, every ex army or professional key is fit.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2012, 10:05:10 AM by PA0BLAH » Logged
K0TF
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Posts: 1




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« Reply #20 on: March 05, 2012, 11:19:17 AM »

There are a handfull of guys, interested in HST, that have your selection ideas. A regular ham,  as  W0DV presented himself, just wants to make straight key QSO's and rag chewing at utmost 20 wpm. That's fine.
Everything is OK is the conclusion, every ex army or professional key is fit.
Bob, you're very ignorant person, having computer at your disposal you didn't even bother to do little research, so-called "homework", before blasting away on the keyboard, I guess there is a reason for PA0BLAH. HST has NOTHING to do with it. If you learn "european" style, then your keyer mounted on the side of the table, lever and knob protrude beyond the base of the keyer, and table most of the time. Your knob can not be flat, because you have to hold it. Your hand does not have a support and actually hanging in the air. Thus you have to have VERY heavy base or actually attach key to the table, springs have to have much more tension, and spacing should be more visible. On other hand in so called "american" style your hand actually rests on the table, and you use your fingers, (wrist at most) mo make your motions, thus flat knob much more convenient and actually preferable for operation, does not require heavy base or attachment, and puts much less strain on your hand, spring and spacing requirement also different. It doesn't matter what speed you using, BTW relatively higher speeds much easier to handle than really slow. Thus it is paramount to select "right"  key at the beginning, because learning anew is much easier, than "breaking" "glass" hand after awhile. When you learn that...oh, my hand get cramps, and i can't move my wrist, its probably my arthritis... No its your stupidity, or ignorance fighting you back.
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PA0BLAH
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Posts: 0




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« Reply #21 on: March 05, 2012, 11:31:12 AM »

OK K0TF, thanks for your text, actually it sounds straight and logical, and I did not realise that.

However about the glass arm, I didn't do my homework, OK, but I have never heard of a ham that got it by casual QSO-ing.
Is was a syndrome of the past when telegraphers had long duties and working high speed for hours under stress, day in day out.

When I am wrong correct me please.

Furthermore I don't know the number of occurrence of that glass wrist, for European and US keys.

The Junker is a European key and the knob is American like?
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K0TF
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Posts: 1




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« Reply #22 on: March 05, 2012, 12:31:06 PM »

OK...When I am wrong correct me please...
I used that term due to the lack of proper translation, and closest available by the meaning to the readers. (It is not exactly, "glass hand" in western understanding of such.)
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AK7V
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Posts: 249




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« Reply #23 on: March 05, 2012, 12:47:59 PM »

I hold my Palm Mini Paddles in my left hand and key them with my right.  What style is that? Smiley

Or sometimes I put my "Black Widow" paddles or Speed-X straight key on the armrest of my couch and use them there.  Kinda squishy base, but it works.

I suppose when sending HST speeds or sending for many many hours in a row, ergonomic considerations are important.  For what I do, and being relatively young, I haven't had any sorts of aches or pains sending in weird ways. 

I don't see what the big deal is here.  A straight key is a switch.  Buy what you like.  I wouldn't spend too much, though, because I don't really like using straight keys, and assume you'll eventually progress to paddles -- and the straight key will gather dust.
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K0HEA
Member

Posts: 10




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« Reply #24 on: March 08, 2012, 05:15:52 AM »

Go look at vibroplex keys... they have everything from  a standard brass key all the way up to bugs and keyers... have used my bug exclusively since in the CG 40 years ago...
« Last Edit: March 08, 2012, 05:17:55 AM by K0HEA » Logged
PA1ZP
Member

Posts: 214




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« Reply #25 on: March 08, 2012, 09:30:34 AM »

Hi All

We do have a Junker and they are good, still you can buy them even new from factory in Germany.
We have the Tsjech army key and these are a bit different but very good fun nd they work very smooth.
Also have a Japanese remake of the J-38 fine key also, nd a few others to coose from hihi.
We do have a Vibroplex bug and some paddles.

For a straight key I woold suggest a swedish postal key that has no bearings or leavers or hinges but a very nice different system. that operates on a blade spring.
They are the best in my opinion.

For other work I would suggest a paddle that will not get you tired so fast as a straight key will.
But we will leave that up to you.
A key is so personel it would be better to try a few at hamfriends before you want to buy one.

Allmost never work with straight key and work the Bug and paddle a lot.

Good luck with the difficult choise
We are just lucky to have 2 CW ops in one house as my son and I both can operate CW.

73 Jos
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K3STX
Member

Posts: 961




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« Reply #26 on: March 08, 2012, 10:19:33 AM »

We are just lucky to have 2 CW ops in one house as my son and I both can operate CW.

Maybe some day I will be as lucky as you. Taking my son on vacation to the Caribbean for CQWW CW DX contest; now THAT is my idea of heaven.

But to the point of the post, I bet I am an outlier. My first and only straight key was plastic, like the Ameco K-4, that I bought new for 79 cents in 1976. I migrated to paddles quickly, used them exclusively for 30 years, and never used the straight key again. Get SOMETHING, not too expensive, and see how you like the motions of a straight key (and the speed limitations). You just might find that straight keys are not really for you.

Just my 2 cents; I am primarily a bug guy now.

paul
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VA7CPC
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Posts: 2358




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« Reply #27 on: March 08, 2012, 05:57:56 PM »

Quote
Get SOMETHING, not too expensive, and see how you like the motions of a straight key (and the speed limitations). You just might find that straight keys are not really for you.

Amen. 

            Charles
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PA0BLAH
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Posts: 0




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« Reply #28 on: March 09, 2012, 01:38:51 AM »

A third possibility is a sideswiper or Cootie key.

They are invented in the start of the previous century. The movement is sidewards, You never make too many dits or that kind of bug errors and due to the efficient movement you double the number of sigs per second, Therefore it is also known as double speed key.

Straight key a dot is down and up. Double speed key makes then 2 dots with left and right.

Guys using it are very relaxed after hours, and the carpal tunnel syndrome (glass arm) never happened with prof. users of that kind of key.

You can easily make one yourself, but there are models new and antique for sale on ebay. There is even a group hams that maintain a net, european and intercontinental. They have a web site www.sideswipernet.org

Excuse my American English when it is far from perfect.
gd luck
Bob
« Last Edit: March 09, 2012, 01:43:24 AM by PA0BLAH » Logged
W0DV
Member

Posts: 200




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« Reply #29 on: March 10, 2012, 09:54:11 AM »


Don't waste your time, he wanted a piece of "furniture", rather than keyer. BUT can't afford too much, so he stuck with something in the middle... Guy has a slightest if any, idea about style of keying, and necessity to chose proper key and knob for different techniques. Which ultimately affects selection.

No, I am not looking for a piece of "furniture", lol. The sole reason for purchasing a KEY, is to learn how to send code, period. If the KEY selection turns out to be a bad one, I will purchase another. I will learn by doing.

How would you know how much I can afford?

Keys are not expensive. I decided against getting an expensive KEY to start out with until I gain more experience. When I gain experience with using a key, I might decide to buy a more expensive model, or perhaps a cheaper one. Maybe I'll end up with a collection of keys. Anyways, I will have fun in the process. Then perhaps I can pass on what I have learned.

If you don't have anything positive, or productive to add, keep your little fingers off of the keyboard, child.

Dave - W0DV
« Last Edit: March 10, 2012, 01:15:51 PM by W0DV » Logged
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