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Author Topic: Recommendations for a key?  (Read 30091 times)
AC9FM
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Posts: 49




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« on: September 16, 2013, 06:49:34 AM »

Looking to get back into CW (and ham in general ) after a long time and want to buy a key. Need not be iambic but not a straight key. Budget is limited and I may end up doing a homebrew. MFJ made some but reviews are not flowering  Wink

I can't afford one of those beautiful custom paddles ( pauses to wipe away the drool ) but there must be some used keys that are of reasonable quality.

Recommendations anyone?
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K3STX
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« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2013, 07:04:55 AM »

Price range?  Kent TP-1 s a great key, workhorse.

paul
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AC9FM
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« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2013, 07:22:03 AM »

Paul, thanks.
The TP-1 looks good and solid but I was hoping to stay under $100.

I'll put it on my list of used keys to watch for.

Ernie
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WX7G
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« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2013, 08:25:47 AM »

I had an MFJ-564 paddle and it was rather delicate and would self destruct in the middle of QSOs.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2013, 08:29:29 AM by WX7G » Logged
AC9FM
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« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2013, 08:36:21 AM »

 Roll Eyes The read the reviews on MFJ-564 and ruled it out.

Anybody use a HAMKEY? I see a used one for sale for $50
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AK7V
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« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2013, 08:43:48 AM »

I have an old Speed-X key.  Cheap and works fine.  Got me through my straight-key period until I upgraded to iambic paddles.  Still use the key for straight key night or when having a very slow QSO.
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N3IG
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« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2013, 08:55:33 AM »

     You can usually find a Bencher BY-1 used anywhere from $50 to $80 depending on condition. These iambic keys do not have the precision of a $300 key but have way better quality and feel than the MFJ clone (had one) and seem to last forever. Best bang for the buck in a paddle.

     If you want magnetic you can look for a used code warrior jr. Mine has a pretty nice action but even on a piece of rubbermade drawer liner it will slide if you get a little heavy handed.
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KB4QAA
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« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2013, 10:12:28 AM »

Speed-X key with a Navy Knob.  They have been made for 80 years.  Solid, reliable, a classic that handles great.   Morse Express is the present vendor, but they are readily available used.
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KA0HVE
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« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2013, 12:07:47 PM »

Nye Viking Heavy Duty Speed-X is what I bought in 1980 and still use.  My next key will be a VIZKEY Camel Back.  Check the reviews here on VIZKEY keys if you're interested in a straight key.
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NI0C
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« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2013, 01:36:39 PM »

Looking to get back into CW (and ham in general ) after a long time and want to buy a key. Need not be iambic but not a straight key. Budget is limited and I may end up doing a homebrew.

I don't think much of the Ham Key, which was made here in St. Louis around 30 years ago. It's stiff and clunky. Much better were the Brown Brothers paddles (also made in STL).  If you have a solid way to mount it, the miniature Palm paddle works well, and costs around sixty bucks.
73,
Chuck  NI0C 
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KA0HVE
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« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2013, 02:10:05 PM »

Anybody use a HAMKEY? I see a used one for sale for $50

They made an iambic key, a straight key, and they put both on one base.  Which are you talking about?

I use the iambic key and it's fine but it's the only one I've ever used so I don't know any better.  I also use the Ham Keyer with it.

I bought my iambic key and keyer from the Ham Radio Center (?) or Store (?) in St. Louis in 1980.  I bought it and the Speed-X I'd mentioned before so that I could decide which I liked.  I still have them both and they're both good enough for me.

$50???  Even if it were new-in-box I'd pass it up.  I definitely wouldn't pay that for a used one.
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K9IUQ
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« Reply #11 on: September 16, 2013, 05:59:23 PM »


The TP-1 looks good and solid but I was hoping to stay under $100.

I'll put it on my list of used keys to watch for.


Used Benchers BY-1/By-2 are for sale regularly at $75.

Check out the China Key at $80 new. Drool over the other ones..  Cheesy
http://www.mtechnologies.com/keys.htm

Stan K9IUQ
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K0ZN
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« Reply #12 on: September 16, 2013, 08:36:12 PM »

The Bencher BY-1/BY-2 are very good keys for the money.  I used one for years....and had no complaints/enjoyed the key.  Check out Ebay or ham fests, you should be able
to find one at a reasonable price.  There are some very nice, very expensive keys out there, but what nobody will admit is that those are as much works of art or
status symbols as good keys. For simply sending CW in a hobby, there are a LOT of keys that will work just fine for you. If you were a commercial radio telegraph operator and on the key many hours a day, then you probably would be happier with a more sophisticated key.....and maybe NOT !  Chuckle....

73,  K0ZN
« Last Edit: September 16, 2013, 08:40:49 PM by K0ZN » Logged
KD8IIC
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« Reply #13 on: September 16, 2013, 09:36:52 PM »

 One can still find a J38 reasonably priced... They are pretty much the standard of straight keys.
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VA7CPC
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« Reply #14 on: September 17, 2013, 03:59:00 AM »

     You can usually find a Bencher BY-1 used anywhere from $50 to $80 depending on condition.

+1.

The Bencher -- either single-paddle or iambic -- is a reasonable paddle.  And there are lots of used ones to choose from, on eBay and ham online sources.

A used Kent -- either single-paddle or iambic -- would be another good choice.

.                   charles
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