Call Search
     

New to Ham Radio?
My Profile

Community
Articles
Forums
News
Reviews
Friends Remembered
Strays
Survey Question

Operating
Contesting
DX Cluster Spots
Propagation

Resources
Calendar
Classifieds
Ham Exams
Ham Links
List Archives
News Articles
Product Reviews
QSL Managers

Site Info
eHam Help (FAQ)
Support the site
The eHam Team
Advertising Info
Vision Statement
About eHam.net

   Home   Help Search  
Pages: [1]   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Adjustments to straight key?  (Read 613 times)
W2DAB
Member

Posts: 69


WWW

Ignore
« on: July 24, 2009, 06:47:46 PM »

OK guys (and gals):

I got a straight key and built myself a little code oscillator and I am going about practicing my technique and learning the fine art of CW.

Here's my question, is there any info out there on how to adjust the various screws on the standard straight key to optimize an operators specific preferences?

I know that is a fairly broad question, I am looking for thoughts on what I should consider in using this thing.

Thanks for feedback, as always 73!

David
Logged
VA7CPC
Member

Posts: 2377




Ignore
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2009, 11:13:25 PM »

From the pen of a master:

http://www.morsex.com/misc/keyadj.htm

Note that two critical adjustments -- contact gap and spring force -- are completely subjective.  You set them so the key feels good _to you_.  Marshall Em's "rules" are good starting points.

You need to have a solid base for the key.  The key needs to be either (a) screwed to the table, or (b) the base needs to be really heavy, or (c) the base needs to extend farther toward you than the knob.

Otherwise, the key will rock when you press the knob -- not good.
 
            Charles
Logged
AA4N
Member

Posts: 109




Ignore
« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2009, 07:40:56 AM »

I agree with VA7CPC.  Just set it up so that you are comfortable and you minimize errors.

Having said that, I hear that there are two basic schools for straight key operating, and each requires a different set up.

The american style (as taught by the US military?) involved a low key with a flat top (ie J-38).  The idea was that you rest your forearm on the table and send from the wrist.  This style generally favors a smaller gap on the key and a lighter spring setting.

The european style involved a higher key with a knob type handle.  It was commonly mounted on the edge of the table so that your arm didn't touch anything, and sending was done with a little more bounce.  This style generally favors a bigger gap and heavier spring setting.

The type of key that you have might suggest one style over the other.

Just food for thought...

mike AA4N
Logged
W7ETA
Member

Posts: 2528




Ignore
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2009, 12:57:03 PM »

Plus ten on having the key stay put.

I spent a lot of time trying to find the perfect settings for a straight key-it never felt perfect; but I was able to blame it not being perfect fpr a;; pf the operator errors.

73
Bob
Logged
WB2WIK
Member

Posts: 20574




Ignore
« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2009, 07:27:00 PM »

I haven't used a straight key in many years, being a keyer/paddle addict.

However, I do remember the following:

Key knob height is important.  It can be too low, and it can be too high.  It's most comfortable if you push the key back 18-24" from the front edge of the bench or desk so your elbow is firmly seated on the operating surface, and when you send, your forearm rocks up and down from the elbow.  The fingers shouldn't even move.

Trying to send with a key that's too close to you is very difficult.

The knob height should be comfortable for you.  I found in most cases, the right height was about 2" above the operating surface.  If your key is lower than that and it's uncomfortable, try raising it.

Many hand keys have adjustments for spacing, tension, and alignment (side-to-side).  If you overtension the alignment nuts, the key can be difficult to use.  I preferred not much tension at all, and very close contact spacing, maybe .050" or so.  But, preferences vary and you should set it up for what feels good for you!

I used to be pretty good with a hand key back in the 60s but when I discovered keyers and paddles, that ended that!

WB2WIK/6
Logged
N2EY
Member

Posts: 3877




Ignore
« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2009, 04:01:43 AM »

If you have access to old QSTs, or the ARRL archive (free to all members), look up this article:

"How To Adjust A Key - And Send Good Code"

by W1ICP. November, 1957, starting on page 28.

Tells all you need to know, in pictures and descriptions.

73 de Jim, N2EY
Logged
Pages: [1]   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!