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Author Topic: Do you currently use a straight key?  (Read 49879 times)
WA8UEG
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Posts: 339




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« Reply #45 on: July 23, 2013, 03:01:34 PM »

I use only a straight key on 6 and do a lot of 6 meter CW. I also hunt for slow hams learning the code on 10 and other bands and use a straight key as I have a very hard time running a paddle. I like the SpeedX it's a fine key but my favorite is a Mcelroy.
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WA8UEG
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Posts: 339




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« Reply #46 on: July 25, 2013, 11:08:08 AM »

Last response was supposed to read run a paddle at slow speeds. Tongue
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M3KXZ
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Posts: 8




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« Reply #47 on: July 30, 2013, 11:48:50 AM »

Bit late to the party here, but my experience has been that using a straight key has greatly increased my rate of becoming proficient. It seems to produce a much better linkage between the code and the brain, as if the process of actually forming the code sounds is reinforcing what the brain is doing.
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KA0HVE
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Posts: 117




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« Reply #48 on: July 31, 2013, 07:42:09 AM »

M3KXZ,

I think I know what you mean.  A straight key seems to be a more direct and definite way to key the transmitter.  With a keyer I feel like I'm trying to satisfy its demands.

The squeeze key/keyer combination may be cleaner and more correct but I'm not a robot and it makes me sound somewhat more like one.

When hearing a straight key I frequently hear people expressing themselves by drawing out the dits and dahs of certain words or phrases for emphasis.  But then again, I also hear some really bad keying but that happens with keyers too.
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M0LEP
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« Reply #49 on: July 31, 2013, 09:40:47 AM »

I don't use a straight key. I did start with one, but it aggravated my already over-worked tendons well into painful territory, and that's not fun, so it's paddles and keyers for me.
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AB8ZX
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Posts: 42




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« Reply #50 on: July 31, 2013, 11:57:33 AM »

I use a variety of bugs and straight keys. haven't used a paddle in ages.

I typically have whatever bug and whatever straight key both wired up, so if I gotta go fast I can get on the bug or slow on the straight key.

Most of the straight keys I use are WW2 era. J38, a couple British ones and a Japanese one. the J38 is new to me since Hamvention, got it for a great price and it is SO NICE. effortless sending.

Other current favorite straight key is my Czech key. I take that one camping typically because it is so quiet, it doesn't go KNOCK KNOCK like some of the other ones. Plus it has a cover which keeps the contacts safe in case of rain or dew.
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K7JBQ
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Posts: 80




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« Reply #51 on: August 13, 2013, 10:43:22 PM »

Just got my first straight key in over 50 years -- the Czech Army key. Takes me way back to the days of the DX-40 and crystal control. Great fun.

Gives me the perfect instrument for slow speed stuff, goes with the Vibroplex Champion I bought as my pass-the-general present in 1959 and which is great for medium speed, and the K8NA P4 paddle for DX and contest work. All side by side and wired in parallel, ready to go.

Now, back to the question of why anyone uses a straight key. Hell, why do we use radio, when we have cell phones?

You either get it, or you don't.

73,
Bill
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ZENKI
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Posts: 906




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« Reply #52 on: August 16, 2013, 05:23:29 AM »

I use some nice ex Marine straight Keys. The Amplidan  and some nice high end Himound Keys.
These marine keys like the Amplidan, Swedish and Marconi are my favorite straight Keys. Remember these are the keys that were used by professionals
all day long sending long pages of text. I cant ever  recall radio officers complaining about wrist injury or RSI even when using a straight key all day.

Frankly speaking if you learned proper straight keying technique,  manipulating your wrist all day is less stressful than paddling with 2 fingers all day especially when sending continuous long pages of text. The ham QSO style you have nice breaks  in a QSO to relax your paddle fingers.

 I am a single lever paddle guy 99.99% of the time. However when I hear QRP operators or other straight key op's I generally reply  on the straight key. I cant  be bothered wasting my time on a 5nn 73 qso on the straight key. It takes a minute to get your rhythm  into a relaxing swing on the straight key so i prefer rag chewing on the straight key.

Straight keying at high speed is just a matter of using a good  key and technique. I have know many ex coast station operators and have visited these stations. Paddles were strictly and American thing or  just an individuals preference. Most coast station ops used straight keys. If you every visited great maritime coastal radio stations like Portishead you would have found many straight keys still on the RO's desk even when they closed the station! There are still coastal station active in China and Korea and those op are all still using straight keys. So despite what all the paddle guys say, dont be  dismissive about the effectiveness of straight keying. Sure if you want to blast off at 60 wpm all day long then a paddle might be better suited  to that task.  In the marine world that kind of speed was never used  routinely, it was about getting the message through not showing off.

At the end of the day do what you  you prefer and feel comfortable with. There is no penalty using a straight key for CW. If you do want to  transmit high speed you can use a keyboard like 100% of contest operators and there is no shame using  keyboard especially these days if you getting into CW.
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KU3V
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Posts: 4




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« Reply #53 on: August 16, 2013, 08:12:17 PM »

I use an Iambic keyer wired as a straight key.  I only use one of the two keys.  Sending code horizontally as a straight key is very nice.I just use my index finger and barely touch the key. 
73
KU3V
Bill
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N5RDE
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Posts: 16




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« Reply #54 on: August 21, 2013, 02:45:59 PM »

I use my Navy Flameproof Key in the 10-20 wpm range, and a Vibroplex Original Deluxe for speeds higher than that (topping out at about 28 wpm).   

I have the NFK mounted on a 12" x 2.5" oak board.  I find that by holding the board to my chest with the body of the key horizontal, I can brace my sending arm against my chest and my sending hand against the foot of the board and operate for long periods without becoming tired.  My xceiver has a built-in electronic keyer, but I have never used it and don't need it.

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K2MMO
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Posts: 4




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« Reply #55 on: August 29, 2013, 05:56:51 AM »

Nye master key and a bencher straight keys.The Nye is my novice key which I still use The bencher for a change of pace. love them both
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WB6BYU
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Posts: 13020




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« Reply #56 on: August 29, 2013, 09:29:50 PM »

I usually keep a straight key connected to the rig along with the Bencher paddles (at least
when using an external keyer.)  They come in handy for working slower stations, tuning, etc.
I have several, from my father's J-38 that he brought back from the Navy to a Russian key
with covered contacts.


I've been clocked at 22WPM on a straight key in competition while pretty rusty.  But UA0CDX
always beats me at 30+ WPM, which is not surprising as he is a former Russian national champion.
(The Russians bolt the key to the edge of the table, with the arm hanging below it, and
do the work with their elbows.)

For those who are interested, there are regular High Speed Telegraphy (HST) competitions
in Europe, though I don't know the official rules since we've generally just had friendly
competitions instead.
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AC6CV
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Posts: 33




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« Reply #57 on: September 04, 2013, 04:00:40 AM »

Don't really understand why any active CW operator would use a straight key, except possibly on SKN for nostalgia purposes.

Kind of hard using those fancy iamics and speed keys mobile. I use a WW2 straight key that clamps to my leg for CW mobile. Yep, I love CW.
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KU4RN
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Posts: 5




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« Reply #58 on: September 07, 2013, 09:00:15 PM »

I use a Bencher straight key, J38, and army leg key.  I used a leg key while in Army.  I worked with the Korean SF that could send code with a straight at around 30 wpm. They did only send numbers which is a little different then send words.  I do also have a few paddles that I use when there is a pile up and the exchange is call sign and rst.  For rag chewing a straight key and slower speeds for me.   
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AC9FM
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Posts: 47




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« Reply #59 on: September 13, 2013, 07:48:47 AM »

A "leg key"... wow that brings back memories. Many years ago my uncle had one and would send code while driving. That always amazed me.
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