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Author Topic: finger tap iambic vs squeeze style keying  (Read 776 times)
KB1OOO
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« on: June 12, 2007, 08:11:03 PM »

Wonding what people's experiences/thoughs are with finger tap style iambic keying (i.e. a 2 button mouse type arrangment where you tap instead of squeeze.   Examples are finger tip tapper http://www.fingertiptapper.com/ and touch tapper http://www.cwtouchkeyer.com/TT1.htm) vs traditional style squeeze iambic keying.   I'm wondering if there is something physically optimal about the traditional paddle style or if it simply emerged naturally in the evolution of keys/bugs etc.  I'm thinking specifically about being able to send clean morse at high speeds.  

Thanks,
Marc
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KE3WD
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« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2007, 10:49:29 AM »

I'm sure I can do highspeed much better with the two paddle iambic keyer set up the way I like it, which is pretty doggone tight as far as paddle movement goes.  

Never tried that fingertip tapper device, but equate it to those all-in-wonder radios like the Icom that will allow you to access the radio's keyer via the top two mic buttons -- handy in the mobile sometimes if no keyer available but I had to slow down.  

Perhaps practice is the real issue here, someone who spent a lot of time with the two-finger tap would likely increase speed.  

I do have reservations about the non-adjustable contact stroke of that credit card filmswitch, though.  There is likely a mechanical speed limit imposed by it.  

Also think my hand muscles would last longer using the standard Iambic key paddles, would be concerned about those wrist/muscle issues like carpal tunnel, etc. in long sessions repeated with the fingertapper.  This might be alleviated by a fingertapper design that allowed for adjustable contact depth, tension, etc. as found on a good set of Iambic paddles.  

If you are learning, I'd suggest using the standard Iambic paddles for that first.  


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WB2WIK
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« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2007, 02:58:09 PM »

The 2-button "mouse" type arrangement has already been proven to accelerate carpal tunnel syndrome and other stuff you probably don't want.  It relies on not just one, but two fingers having excellent dexterity; and unless you machine something very special yourself, it won't be nearly as adjustable as an ordinary inexpensive paddle.

The sideswipe paddle design did logically follow the electromechanical "bug" key, of course.  But for good reason; experimenters tried all sorts of stuff, and determined this is what works.

Remember, code was the *only* mode for wireless communications for a couple decades, and for 4-5 decades before that it was used for wired telegraphy -- so there used to be a lot more code operators 100 and even 150 years ago than there are now.  Many were scientists, experimenters, engineers: For certain, they tried everything logical, and probably a whole lot of not-so-logical ideas.

WB2WIK/6
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KB1OOO
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« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2007, 03:32:41 AM »

Thanks WB2WIK, I hadn't thought about the carpal tunnel issue.  I have a finger tip tapper which I actually don't think works as well as a plain old computer mouse.   I've been making contacts online via cwirc and I find that people who can send at 40wpm+ with a paddle can barely do 15wpm when trying out their mouse.  I wasn't sure how much of it was lack of practice or limitations of the method.  Probably a bit of both.   I can copy real conversation at 20wpm (still not there yet with head copy) but can only send cleanly at 15wpm with the mouse.  

I'm going to get a paddle.  What do you think about the "no moving parts" capacitive touch paddles at http://www.cwtouchkeyer.com/HOME.htm?

Thanks,
Marc
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KB1OOO
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« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2007, 03:41:18 AM »

Should clarify that I've been really referring to a *two* paddle key.

Marc
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KB1OOO
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« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2007, 05:43:16 AM »

Thanks also KE3WD.   I agree about the mechanical switch in the finger tip tapper.  I think that the touch tapper http://www.cwtouchkeyer.com/TT1.htm is probably better for that reason.

73,
Marc
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2007, 08:22:10 AM »

The capacitance paddles are a nuisance if you want to send proficiently, and fast.  I've tried them.  They false trigger too much.  ESD drives them positively nuts!

I prefer good old ordininary paddles with a few moving parts.  They are adjustable from wide spacing to just about zero spacing, from high pressure to almost no pressure, etc.  They don't false trigger and don't care about ESD.

WB2WIK/6
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KE3WD
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« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2007, 09:32:06 AM »

I built a homebrew touch-sensitive Iambic keyer and also found out that they can be tricky to use and generate mistakes needlessly over using the standard Iambic paddles with contacts.  

Also, there is no way to "rest" your thumb and fingers on the touch-sensitive paddles between characters.  

I ended up developing a "slap-slap" technique which doesn't lend itself to even character generation or spacing without a lot of practice.  

Would highly recommend that you first get and use a standard contact type of Iambic keyer.  If price is an issue, search for some of the kits out there.  

Also, I used to homebrew Iambic keyers using two pieces of hacksaw or bandsaw blade for the main levers/springs.  Some 6-32 to 4-40 machine screws and a few pieces of AL or other conductive rod mounted on a base and you may be surprised at the level this design can work.  

I like to use plastic guitar picks for the handles.  Everything from big triangles to tiny shapes are available at music shops nowadays for not much money, varying thicknesses, too, I like the "hard" ones for this, drill one hole in the right place and use a machine screw to attach them to the business end of the keyer.  


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KB1OOO
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« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2007, 12:04:58 PM »

I appreciate your help guys.  I ordered a paddle today!  Also interested in the hack saw homebrew so I'll probably try that at some point.  

Thanks again,
Marc
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AK7V
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« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2007, 05:27:05 PM »

KB1OOO,

I've been away from CWIRC lately - hope to catch you there again soon, though.

My take on this is that squeeze paddles are easier to use than the mouse-style paddles.  Of course, I've spent many many more hours using paddles than a mouse for CW, but the squeeze motion, coupled with the much better feel of iambic paddles, leads me to believe that accurate sending will always be easier and more comfortable with squeeze paddles.

I learned CW on a straight key and then moved to a bug, so the whole "thumb dit, index finger dash" thing was ingrained when I later moved on to iambic paddles.  The mouse sending style isn't as easy of a transition.

I use Iambic mode "B" keying and a Palm mini-paddle.  I "squeeze" for characters with alternating dits and dahs, but some paddle users don't - personal choice.  I think that if you learn to send clean code using iambic paddles in mode "B", you'll never regret it.  You will be able to sit down at most operating positions and work CW.

A great set of paddles is something to behold.  Much, much better than a mouse!

73,
Jason
AK7V
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N3OX
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« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2007, 10:55:51 PM »

"I hadn't thought about the carpal tunnel issue"

The old telegraphers did... I think it was called "glass arm" back then...
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73,
Dan
http://www.n3ox.net

Monkey/silicon cyborg, beeping at rocks since 1995.
KB1OOO
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« Reply #11 on: June 17, 2007, 07:24:45 PM »

Thanks for your input Jason.  My paddles should be coming next week.  I was originally hoping that the "mouse" style configuration would be good because the finger tip tapper is so trail friendly given it's small size and weight.  It's so cheap also.  I think that you've recommended the palm mini in the past and I'll probably try that as my next paddle.

Just missed you on cwirc friday.  I was a little slow to call CQ.  

73,
Marc
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