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Author Topic: Vibroplex Vs bencher  (Read 1848 times)

Posts: 212

« on: August 18, 2007, 10:32:01 PM »

I would like to hear some comemmnts for people that has udes Vibroplex code warrior, and benchers BY, so which one would you recomend?

Posts: 2806

« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2007, 02:15:07 AM »

It's up to you which is "better".

The Code Warrior has poorly-designed bearings -- they're plain sleeves, and they may be loose.  The arms are pretty rigid.  The tension is magnetic -- has a different feel from springs.  Bare brass, no plating.

The Bencher has nicer bearings -- steel points on plastic pivots.  Tension is easy to adjust.  The arms are very light, and _will_ "give" a bit if you have a heavy fist.   Chrome plating on the metal parts (except the base).

If you're operating QRP, the Code Warrior is more compact  and more rugged than the Bencher.  

If you're at a base station, _my_ nod would go to the Bencher -- but I have one, and I have a light fist, and I'm biased.

Alternatives (if you're buying new) would be the Kent or the Begali Simplex.  _Nobody_ finds fault with the Begali.


Posts: 653

« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2007, 12:05:08 PM »

The best answer is:

"Try before you buy"

I do not believe that there is a better or worse in paddles. The IS DIFFERENT though. When I first started I was lent a Bencher by Elmer W1ARE (SK). I then, through the years tried about 15 different paddles. (I was able to do this when I worked in a Ham Radio store.) I used Vibroplex, both the iambic paddle and the Brass Racer. I had a Kent for a while and a marble based Hi Mound also. Pehaps it was because I started with the Bencher, the Bencher is on the bench today. I found something with every one I tried that the Bencher did more to my fist than the others. The long arm Vibroplex seemed "klunky" to me. That is the paddle took more effort to get started than it did to keep going. The Brass Racer I chased all over the desk because it was too light. The Hi Mound was beautiful but the paddles were too high for my liking. The others were not notable enough to remember I guess.

This sounds like a great idea for a Ham Radio Club meeting. Have everyone bring their paddles, and one keyer with a speaker and have a paddle try out night.

I hope you find one you like without having to try 10 or 15 and paying for them all.

Clint - W5CPT

Posts: 21758

« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2007, 01:59:34 PM »

I work a lot of CW and I agree, there is no "best."  This is like asking which is better, a Chevy or a Ford.  Or even a VW and a BMW.  One might be a lot more expensive, but that doesn't necessarily make it "better."  It's very subjective.

I have a light touch on the paddle also (just grams) and the Benchers work perfectly for me.  They're not very heavy-duty keys, so people with a heavy hand (some who literally apply a pound or more of pressure to the key while sending -- and that's a lot) often believe "Benchers fall apart" or "come out of adjustment when you use them."  There's probably some truth to that, if you really bang the key around.  I've used Benchers for 25 years and it's never happened to me, but I adjust them to be very sensitive so I barely move my thumb or middle finger, maybe 1/16" maximum, when I'm sending and the pressure I apply is almost nothing.

True, nobody complains about a Begali, which is kind of like nobody complains about the handling or braking on a Porsche.  It's expensive.


Posts: 1146

« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2007, 07:59:54 AM »

WB2WIK:  I work a lot of CW and I agree, there is no "best." This is like asking which is better, a Chevy or a Ford. Or even a VW and a BMW. One might be a lot more expensive, but that doesn't necessarily make it "better." It's very subjective.

I have to disagree a little.

I have a Chevy Silverado HD2500 Crew Cab 4WD short bed pickup truck, and it's black, the best kind.  It is built like a "rock".  Much better then any ordinary Ford.

I did have a BMW 535iS (1987) with the race-tuned engine (precursor to the M5 which came out the next year).  It was the worst car I have ever owned.  Electronics failed all the time and I wasn't even a ham radio operator at the time so I could not blame radios.  And, I had a 1966 VW bug, a 1959 VW bug, and a 1971 VW Super-beetle (in that order) and they were some of the best cars I have ever owned.

And, I have a Begali 'magnetic' paddle plus a bencher BY paddle plus a K8RA paddle plus an old Vibroplex speedkey (I bought to replace my original Vibroplex original I owned in the 1960s), and a variety of straight keys.  I like them all (I collect them obviously) but I think the Begali comes to being near perfect as a paddle.  I remember when I started using that I could 'head copy' 40 percent better :-).

Posts: 501

« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2007, 03:41:53 PM »

Observation - I bought a Vibroplex paddle (S/N 380868) back in 1975 and its still going strong.  

Bought a second in 2003 (S/N 106480) and its working flawlessly too.  They had changed ownership & location (from New York to Iowa or someplace) and the design changed slightly.

Never tried a bencher.

Posts: 81

« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2007, 08:35:30 AM »

Hello All Concerned
This looks like a Dual between Vibroplex and Bencher. I have both Paddles. I bought my Bencher in 1983 when I graduated from the Strait Key. The Bencher worked good but they have been gathering dust since I bought my Vibroplex Iambic Standard from a friend. I will take the Vibroplex any day over the Bencher. They are not Plug & Play you need to lube the Pivots on the Standard with a good Lithium Grease very lightly and adjust the bearings for just a little play you can see but not feel. That gives you the nice feel. The Springs then need to have the extra tension taken out by screwing the adjusters in and trying to squeeze the paddles or squeezing them with needle nose Pliers. They then can be set for a very light action if you want them that way. The Vibroplex Paddles are way more rigid and solid then the Benchers. I never did like the Spongy Feel of the Bencher. I recently got myself one of those Brown Bros BTL-A paddles Boy are they nice and outclass both mentioned in this Dual. I hope that helps settle this Dual
Gerry VE7BGP

Posts: 5688

« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2007, 10:35:21 AM »

I've never encountered a set of paddles that was "plug 'n play".  

Every one of them needs adjusted, sometimes lubed, etc. to fit your particular style of keying.  

Springs can be stretched, compressed, even clipped to get the feel that you desire, too.  

Magnetic action paddles often benefit by a little dab or two from the needle oiler also.  I've even tried changing magnets, adding magnets, etc. to get my favorite light and fast feel with little movement.  

This was a natural thing to do for me when moving to paddles, having come from an old tradition of tuning the various straight keys in order to make 20wpm with them, then the bugs, each of which model may take considerable study of the action, lubrication, adjustment and tweaking along with possible outright (slight) modifications to get what works for you out of them.  Mechanical keys are personal items IMO.  

As already mentioned, all of these things are subjective, too, to a certain extent.  

Like antennas, the only real answer for each individual is to make an intelligent decision on the first buy, use it for awhile and probably pick up another model later on, do the same, etc.  Along the way, you will likely find that there is a bit of human adjustment that happens, too.  

IMO it may really pay to learn the Bencher paddles if you are contemplating any type of work where the rig may already be set up for multiple ops -- Field Day, Contesting, DXpedition, etc. -- as this is likely the paddle you will encounter most often these days.  But not a necessity.  I gap my Bencher to the width of a dollar bill now -- that took a bit of tuning to be able to do.  


Posts: 189

« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2007, 05:38:58 AM »

I have used both. Better is your choice based on trying them and selecting what you like. I had a Bencher at home and enjoyed it. Then I went to a Vibroplex bug for my vintage station. The feel of the finger parts was very different so I went to a Vibroplex single lever paddel. Like it the same as the Bencher -- it felt different -- but was equal in quality and function. So I rate them equal and enjoy the bug and vintage station "feeling" like the modern rig. I even set my IC-746 to "bug" (Vs keyer) so that makes both stations easy to adjust to.

Portable/QRP I found the Bencher flew apart often. Didn't pack and travel too well. So I got the Vibroplex Warrier and like it. Magnetic Vs springs does make it feel "heaveier" and you may or may not like that. But I believe it's a better/more durable choice to pack and travel with and will be keeping it.

The posts that say "try -- then buy" are corret.

John  W4FID

Posts: 3524

« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2007, 09:02:09 AM »

Think about it:  if there were one true, universal BEST set of paddles, there wouldn't be so many differnt models made and sold.  All the competition would be out of business.

"BEST" is purely subjective; it's how YOU define it.


Posts: 124

« Reply #10 on: August 24, 2007, 12:36:52 PM »

I have both of those paddles and they are both excellent, in my opinion.

However, if I could only own one paddle, it would definitely be a Vibroplex Vibrokeyer single lever paddle.

Absolutely excellent feel and quality of construction, plus, I use a bug most of the time and the Vibrokeyer has about as much of a "bug feel" as a paddle is going to have.

As others have said, it's really preference and taste.  You could make a paddle out of two pieces of a Bud can and it would work and somebody would probably love it and others would hate it.  It would probably win out on price, though...  ;-)  Hmmm.... Instead of a "Bencher" it could be called a "Bender" (for Futurama fans)...  :-)

Another really cool paddle (that's unfortunately not made any more) is a Jones Key.  Made in England back in the 90s.  Seriously heavy so you don't have to chase it to use it and built like a tank.

As someone else said:  try as many as you can before you buy, unless you want to buy several (which is fun!) and swap around whenever you want to.


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