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Author Topic: setting up a straight key  (Read 522 times)
K6TXD
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Posts: 10




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« on: January 04, 2008, 12:02:17 PM »

What is the proper way to set up a straight key? Or in other words what is the proper spacing on the cantacts?

tnx Gerry K6TXD
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WB2WIK
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Posts: 20613




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« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2008, 12:58:59 PM »

There is no "proper."

For easier sending with less wrist motion, which allows somewhat higher speeds, you'd want the contact spacing very close -- just far enough apart that the key isn't continuously shorted and sending a long daaaaaaaaaaah.  I keep them apart by a distance set by sliding a dollar bill between the contacts and then tightening the adjustments to set the spacing to the thickness of the bill.

That may be too close for comfort, for some.  It's a matter of personal preference.

WB2WIK/6
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KE4MOB
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« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2008, 12:11:49 PM »

I like two sheets of typing paper...
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WQ3T
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Posts: 209




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« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2008, 01:27:34 PM »

Whatever the adjustment, make sure you have a spare straight key connected. Sometimes a key will fall apart mid-qso, and you need to keep going. One guy I talked to managed to hand-key the QSO after his straight key fell apart. We didn't continue the QSO for long after that.

One of my straight keys is Chinese. I had to replace the stock spring with a ball-point pen spring. Much easer and works like a charm. Spacing should be 1/8 inch or less depending on how you like it.

Use Rubber Cement to glue the thing down to the desk. That really helps put out accurate code.
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KE3WD
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Posts: 5689




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« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2008, 11:03:09 AM »

If I had a straight key that fell apart mid-QSO I would toss it and find a good solid well built straight key...
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KE4MOB
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« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2008, 02:14:32 PM »

Yeah, really.  The only straight key I have ever seen fall apart was the Chinese/Ameco Speed-X clone with the ball bearings....get the trunions a little loose and the lever would fall right out of the yoke and scatter little ball bearings everywhere.

Yuck.
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WQ3T
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Posts: 209




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« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2008, 02:31:50 PM »

My Mae West J-37 fell apart mid-QSO, and I worked a guy whose J-38 fell apart mid-QSO. It can happen to any straight key, even good quality ones. Those trunion screws need to be kept snug enough to keep it together. My chinese key has yet to fall apart, but it might happen. I still have the J-37 key that fell apart. No ball bearings to pick up, I just put it back together and tightened the screws. I'm not talented enough to put a straight key back together mid-QSO.
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W8ZNX
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Posts: 1




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« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2008, 02:03:30 AM »

Hello Gerry

there is no one proper way

it all depends on your sending style
and what kind of straight key you use

American style sending
with a low profile key  ( like a J-38 )
is usualy done with fairly close spacing

Eurpean style sending
using a pump handle key ( like a Swedish key )
is often done with very wide spacing

i prefer sending European style
with a pump key

for me sending
American style with a low profile key
is a pain in the ( blank )

spacing is set up diffrently
on each of my keys

Soviet Mil surplus key very wide spacing
Swedish key less spacing
German Junker some place in between

side play
i like a bit of side play

spring tension depends on the key

play with it

what works for me
may not work for you

what works for you
may not work for the next op

took me 20 years to find out
that European style sending using a pump key
was the only way i could stand to use a straight key

oh see Yahoo user groups   " brasspounder"

yours truly
mac dit dit
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KE3WD
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Posts: 5689




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« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2008, 04:17:01 PM »

"My key fell apart."

"So did so-and-so's key, mid QSO."

etc.  


That's like telling a horror story about your brakes going out because you didn't maintain them.  


To each his own, I guess.


!
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KL7AJ
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Posts: 330


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« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2008, 03:02:40 PM »

I use one dander of a gnat for spacing.
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