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Author Topic: Learning to use a Paddles  (Read 503 times)
KC9ERZ
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Posts: 17




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« on: December 22, 2008, 04:07:13 AM »

I've been a Ham for 5 years now and do mostly CW.  However, I've always used a straight key.  I am now trying to learn how to use paddles with the built-in keyer on my rig.  I am also a "lefty".  Does anyone have any suggestions on the best way to learn?  Also, as a lefty should I attempt to learn to use my Right hand, or use my left-hand?  If I use my left hand, should I switch around the dashes and dits on the paddle (e.g. make the left paddle dashes and the right dits)?

Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Greg
KC9ERZ
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N0UY
Member

Posts: 158




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« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2008, 10:41:02 AM »

Here is my 2 cents worth.

Use either hand, whatever feels natural to you.  Don't change the dits and dahs.  Keep the dahs on the right and the dits on the left.  As far as learning to use the paddle, don't think about it.  I'm sure when you use the key you are not thinking dits and dahs.  If you want some practice, just go to your log book and send the last 30 calls you have listed.  In no time you will be used to the paddle and will have converted from the up and down motion to a side ways action required.  Try not move your individual fingers.  Just set them a natural distance apart and swing them both from the wrist.

GL   Ray
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N9GXA
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Posts: 119




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« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2008, 11:22:04 AM »

  I re-learned morse code this past year, and had similar questions. I am a right handed person with no recallable memory of my previous CW habits from 20 years ago so I felt I had a clean slate.

  I went with my left hand for the paddle because I felt I can write and adjust radio settings with my right hand. While I do operate in QSK mode I'm not copying while sending :-), but I can have the pen in my hand at the ready. In practice, so far, I am limited at what else I can do while sending code as far as making any radio changes, etc. I hope this will change someday, but not sure. I'd still go this route if I had to do it again because it is handy for a quicker response to a question from the other op.

  I also think you have to ask how you operate. I setup my paddle for thumb=dit in an attempt at what I think maybe some kind of standard. If I went to other op's stations often, I might not have went with the left thumb=dits simply because I feel right hand setup would be found more common and I could use their key easier without rewiring. I don't think I would operate at other's stations, so I went the way I described above. When I buy a set of paddles, it doesn't take much to flip the wires around for my use.

  Have fun... 73 - Paul - N9GXA
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VA7CPC
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Posts: 2386




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« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2008, 12:01:48 PM »

Use whatever is comfortable for you.  Nobody else cares, and there's no "right answer".

Most keyers let you go into "reverse paddles" mode, switching the "dit" and 'dah' paddles.

So using another ham's setup (or a club setup) just means changing a menu option, _not_ re-wiring the paddle.

I'm pretty sure that the "thumb = dit" convention arises from bugs.  To get a good pendulum motion on a bug, you don't "press" the paddle -- you _strike_ the paddle.  And the thumb works better for that, than the fingers.

Paddles, though, allow a much lighter touch.

     Charles


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K9NW
Member

Posts: 445




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« Reply #4 on: December 24, 2008, 09:15:20 PM »

Try to master iambic or "squeeze" keying with your paddles too.  (Left or right doesn't matter.)  Only your thumb/fingers should have to move.  I've watched some ops just slapping away at their paddles -- I can only imagine they need therapy on their wrists after a long QSO!

Good luck and have fun!
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SM5FLM
Member

Posts: 1




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« Reply #5 on: December 25, 2008, 06:54:30 AM »

About iambic paddles:
http://www.morsex.com/pubs/iambicmyth.pdf
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KA9KQH
Member

Posts: 13




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« Reply #6 on: December 25, 2008, 08:41:13 PM »

I paddle left handed using the thumb-dit standard. I do this by spinning my paddles around backwards and keying over the top. I can also paddle right handed depending on the station I sit at buy not spinning the paddles.  Again it is a matter of comfort. Most modern rigs/keyers will let you reverse the paddles or you can use a dpdt switch to swap the paddles (an exercise for the student).

Merry Christmas, Happy New year and 73
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