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Author Topic: paddle or straight key  (Read 907 times)
VK4TJF
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Posts: 93




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« on: November 18, 2007, 06:25:51 AM »

hello just wondered what would be the best for a beginner just learning morse a stright key or a paddle
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KB9CRY
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« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2007, 07:15:43 AM »

Paddle
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GU4CHY
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Posts: 1




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« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2007, 09:45:20 AM »

I would always recommend a paddle as this is the easiest to use once you have your reading speed up. Use a twin paddle if possible. Have confidence, other CW users will welcome a newcomer to the fold.

73 Dick GU4CHY
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AE5I
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Posts: 124




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« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2007, 01:37:19 PM »

Definitely a paddle!

The paddle/keyer combination forms the bits and spaces between the bits properly for you, so you can concentrate on spacing between letters and between words etc.

Top flight code can be sent with a straight key, but I have to say that the worst code I've ever heard almost had to be sent with a straight key as well.  The paddle/keyer can be a real help when you're starting out.  Plus, you don't have the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome, which was one reason the bug was such a success, and you can send much faster and more effortlessly as well, which were also reasons for the bug's success.

The Vibroplex Iambic would be a good one to consider...

Good luck!

Tom AE5I
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N3EF
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Posts: 247




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« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2007, 03:53:48 AM »

  Another vote for paddle
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KA3CTQ
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Posts: 28




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« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2007, 08:27:40 AM »

Paddle is a good way to start.

Please don't forget the straight key.

When you feel comfortable and have some QSO's under your belt, think about breaking out a straight key and giving it a try. There are plenty of ops out there who use them. They will understand and work with you if you ask.
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KI4PRK
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Posts: 81




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« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2007, 10:32:12 AM »

I've never had a paddle. I've used a Straight for a year and a half and can do 30 WPM at my absolute best.

Still, I recommend paddles. Why? They go faster, and can be hard to get used to after using a Straight Key for a while. I found that out when operating at 4U1WRC where no SK was available.

73, Brennen
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WQ3T
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Posts: 209




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« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2007, 11:22:03 AM »

I agree, paddle is the way to go for starting out.
Next you'll want a straight key, and for the pro, you'll want a bug. Even for paddle users, a straight key is good for leaning on with elbow while zero beating. I can't zero beat with paddles (that didn't come out right for some reason)
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WA2DTW
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« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2007, 11:40:24 AM »

I must say that this surprises me.  I would have thought that the consensus would be that the straight key was better for beginners, since it is simpler, and one learns how to form the letters.  So if you start with paddles, why go to a straight key at all?  And why go to a bug?

I started with a straight key.  Then progressed to a bug (paddles didn't exist). Then to paddles.  There was a significant learning curve from straight key to bug.  Less of one from bug to paddles.  I crack out the straight key for SKN, or to use a simpler rig. I fully endorse the SKCC.

Admittedly, haven't cracked out the old vibroplex in many a year.

I guess the bottom line is- with a straight key you can send at any speed up to about 20-25 wpm.  With a bug, it is difficult to send slower than 20 wpm.  And with paddles, you can send at just about any speed.  When you master paddles, your code is perfect.
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NI0C
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« Reply #9 on: November 19, 2007, 02:16:32 PM »

My thoughts (and experience in learning code) are more along the lines of what WA2DTW said.  

My advice would be to learn to form the letters as perfectly as one can with a straight key first until achieving a copying and sending speed of about 15 words per minute-- then transition to the automatic keyer and paddles.  

BTW, it's very difficult to send perfect code using paddles.  Even discounting errors made, there are subtle timing differences between code sent using paddles and code sent by a buffered keyboard.

73 de Chuck  NI0C

 
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W4YA
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Posts: 317




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« Reply #10 on: November 20, 2007, 03:02:43 AM »

This topic has been discussed too many times on this forum. My answer is still the same. I do not believe that one should own ANY key until one can copy code at a reasonable speed!!!

How can you possibly send good code properly if you don't know what good code should sound like?

So, forget about keys and paddles until you have learned to copy good code. Then it won't make any difference what you send it with.
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W5RKL
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Posts: 889




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« Reply #11 on: November 20, 2007, 01:25:05 PM »

Recommending using a paddle to a person just starting
to learn the code is a bad idea.

A person must first "know" the code and be able to
receive it before thinking of sending. Anyone can
send code but send it well so people can copy it
is an entirely different story.

A new person just starting out does not have the
experience to properly control a set of paddles.
This is something that is not learned over night,
or over a weekend. Learn the code first.

The paddles and a keyer do not send good code, the
operator does! Start with a straight key first.

73's
Mike
W5RKL

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KE4MOB
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« Reply #12 on: November 21, 2007, 07:30:23 AM »

"A new person just starting out does not have the experience to properly control a set of paddles."

I'll disagree with that statement.  I knew a guy who was licensed at the same time as me.  My elmer loaned him a set of Benchers before we got licensed (back then it was 5, 13, and 20 WPM tests).  He walked around with those paddles for three weeks trying to "learn the code".  

At the end of those three weeks, he could send the code at about 17 WPM flawlessly...but couldn't copy worth a damn....

On the other hand....I really didn't begin to comprehend code--you know, when you no longer have to concentrate and it just "comes" to you--until I started training with a bug.  

I think that learning code at 5 WPM on a straight key is just atrocious--an abomination even.  It's like trying to speak a sentence letter by letter.  All it does is ingrain that damnable "dot-dash" mentality that will take years to undo--or even worse, fru-fru psychobabble like "the dog did it"...
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NI0C
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Posts: 2383




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« Reply #13 on: November 21, 2007, 08:44:15 AM »

"At the end of those three weeks, he could send the code at about 17 WPM flawlessly...but couldn't copy worth a damn...."

Your phrase "couldn't copy woth a damn" is pretty vague.  Probably what you meant was that this person was sending a little faster than he could copy.  I'd also question the word "flawlessly."  Who was the judge of his sending?  

"On the other hand....I really didn't begin to comprehend code--you know, when you no longer have to concentrate and it just "comes" to you--until I started training with a bug."

I doubt that the bug had much to do with it.  I think what you describe is pretty common, though-- your overall code comprehension-- both sending and receiving-- was improving at a rapid rate at the time you tried the bug.
 
"I think that learning code at 5 WPM on a straight key is just atrocious--an abomination even. It's like trying to speak a sentence letter by letter. All it does is ingrain that damnable "dot-dash" mentality that will take years to undo--or even worse, fru-fru psychobabble like "the dog did it"... "

Again, I disagree.  There are thousands of hams (including myself) operating CW daily who began with a straight key at around 5 wpm who went through the all the learning curves and "humps" within a period of months (not years as you claim), and without psychological trauma.

73,
Chuck  NI0C
 
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W5ESE
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Posts: 550


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« Reply #14 on: November 21, 2007, 11:26:30 AM »

I agree with W5RKL and NI0C.

The advice in the 'Radio Amateur's Operating Manual'
for years recommended beginning to send using a
straight key, then switching to a speed key (paddles
and keyer or a bug) only after reaching a level of
proficiency of about 16 wpm. I still think that's
good advice.

I also agree that at first, it's most important to
learn what good code sounds like before fiddling
with any sending device. The mp3's from the ARRL at

http://www.arrl.org/w1aw/morse.html

are good to listen to.

73
Scott
W5ESE
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