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Author Topic: Touch-paddle keyer  (Read 3724 times)
K3GHH
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Posts: 42




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« on: May 27, 2014, 08:40:58 AM »

Curious about this type of keyer with zero-motion paddles, I bought one at Dayton and am learning about it. Initially it was too sensitive, sending dahs and dits when my fingers were about 1/8" away from the paddles; adjustment of the internal pots has improved that a lot, though they're still probably too touchy so the pots need a few more degrees.

I'm enjoying playing with the keyer, but it isn't really clear that the paddles are easier to use than my classic Bencher.

Anyone else have experiences they'd care to report about these touch keyers? (Mine is the P1 cwtouchkeyer.com; it looks the same as the one marketed by West Mountain Radio.)

--John K3GHH 
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K7KBN
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Posts: 2784




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« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2014, 01:21:38 PM »

Like any other key, you have to adjust it to suit YOURSELF, and practice a lot.  I have tried these "zero contact" keys and they aren't for everybody.  If your hands/fingers shake, this type of key would be a non-starter, IMO.
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73
Pat K7KBN
CWO4 USNR Ret.
K8AXW
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Posts: 3739




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« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2014, 05:46:07 PM »

I echo what KBN says.  I built an IR keyer once.....just break the IR beam to send code.  After working with it for about a week, I decided the effort simply wasn't worth it.  YMMD.

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AE5QB
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Posts: 269




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« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2014, 07:18:31 PM »

I have the same key and it works fine for me.  I am no speed deamon but at 13-18 wpm I have learned to use it very well. I went from a straight key to the touch-paddle and it took me a little while to get used to it but I am pretty good with it now. Just give it a chance and keep working with it and I think you will adjust and learn to like it.
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WB2EOD
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Posts: 217




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« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2014, 08:18:36 PM »

I'm not a big CW operator but I had one of these for a while.  The touch paddles were a bit sensitive and I found myself sending the 8 dit string more than anything else.  I put some tape on the touch paddles and that helped a bit. 
Ultimately I sold the thing and picked up a Heathkit HD-1410 which struck a balance between ease and control. 

73
WB2EOD
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KQ6Q
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Posts: 968




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« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2014, 09:38:41 PM »

I built a heath 'touchmatic' keyer with the capacitive paddles. it would also send code practice. The touch paddles were too touchy, I sold it, was much happier with the paddles in an older HD-1410 - I use them with the internal keyer in my IC-746PRO. I replaced the headphone jack in the keyer with a switching stereo jack - if jack not used, the keyer is original; use a stereo patch cable, the paddles connect to the HRO's paddle jack - no power needed at the keyer. Cheap but effective paddles.
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K2QB
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Posts: 105




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« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2014, 06:56:06 AM »

I have one sitting right next to my Bencher paddles and find myself reaching for the Touch Keyer more often then not. I prefer as little movement in my Bencher as possible so that's why I probably gravitate to the Touch Keyer. I'm sure if you prefer a little travlel on your paddles, then the Touch Keyer seems a little difficult to get used to.
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KB4QAA
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Posts: 2332




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« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2014, 11:02:01 AM »

I built the Heathkit uMatic Keyer in 1983 and found the basic function to be inconsistent and unreliable.  The rest of its features e.g. memories, code practice etc are excellent though.

There are two basic failings:
-The idea that an operator can keep his fingers really close, but not touching the paddles for more than a few minutes without direct concentration.

-Unreliable actuation due to variation in humidity, skin dryness, paddle surface and contact oxidation.

I tried wetting my hands, using hand lotion, buffing the paddles and contacts befor each use, applying Brylcream to the paddles, applying contact enhancers to the paddle contacts.

If I was to experiment further I would try making paddles from copper PC board for better resistance and better conductivity.

A neat concept implemented in solid state was innovative for the early 80's, but just proved unreliable.  I love all the rest of the features it has.


photo courtesy boomerssupply.net

« Last Edit: May 28, 2014, 11:10:43 AM by KB4QAA » Logged
K8AG
Member

Posts: 351




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« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2014, 01:45:30 PM »

I had the Heath uMatic for years.  Never got it to function reliably enough to use.  I think the level of capacitance changes too much along with skin resistance and other factors to make it repeatable.  Never wanted a touch paddle again.

73, JP, K8AG
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VA7CPC
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Posts: 2375




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« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2014, 02:33:00 PM »

I never knew Heath made a touch-paddle keyer -- thanks!   Reviews (mostly glowing, some not):

http://www.eham.net/reviews/detail/5617

.            Charles
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