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Reviews Categories | Keys & Paddles | MFJ-564x Dual Paddle Key Help

Reviews Summary for MFJ-564x Dual Paddle Key
MFJ-564x Dual Paddle Key Reviews: 45 Average rating: 3.3/5 MSRP: $49.95
Description: Nice beginner's key. Needs adjusmentt quite often though. Again a good starter key. Did not take me long (1 yr) begin looking for an upgrade.
Product is in production.
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K7QO Rating: 5/5 Sep 6, 2013 00:13 Send this review to a friend
Great Paddle/Great Price  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Sept 2, 2013. I went to the local HRO and bought
a new MFJ-564B paddle for a course that I am
teaching in the next two months. Looking for a
great paddle for beginners.

I bought the paddle with the black base as I
am not a fan of the chrome base on paddles.
They show dust too easily (I live in the
Arizona desert) and finger prints. I don't
need the shiny base to use as a mirror.

I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the
manufacturing that went into this paddle. The
chrome was almost flawless on the yoke and arms.
The base was nicely finished.

Alignment was excellent. The contacts were
aligned properly from the factory. The contact
spacing was set to zero to prevent movement
during shipping. I first wired up the paddle
to a 3.5mm stereo plug for use with a K1 keyer
or QRP rigs. Hooked up the paddle without
making adjustments. Loosened set screws on the
two binding posts and then using CCW turn and
phillips head screwdriver loosened the contacts
until each side ceased contact and then loosened
another 1/8 turn for close spacing.

Tension is too much to my liking, so will move
the tension post towards the yoke a little more
than half-way to reduce the tension. Yes, I know
about moving the spring about the post to reduce
the tension to each paddle, but I prefer doing
it with movement of the post. Requires careful
drilling of the base, but for the price of the
paddle I don't worry about hurting anything.

I own a number of expensive paddles including
several Begali manufactured paddles, but I
like a inexpensive paddle for everyday work.
This paddle fits the bill. I recommend it for
beginners to let them get the feel and practice
of doing dual lever keying with an Iambic keyer
like the CMOS 3 or K1EL K9-K12 series uP based
keyers for working with rigs without a keyer.

I will do a complete video in the next week
for to illustrate the results and
just how nice the paddle is. I note that
previous reviews are old by more than a year,
so I think that MFJ may have changed their
Chinese manufacturer or installed quality
control procedures that have eliminated a
number of previous problems in reviews.

This paddle is a paddle similar to the Bencher
BY-1, but with a cheaper price tag. I find this
to be of importance to beginning CW operators
that do not want to break their budget until
they are sure of just how much they need or
will use a dual lever paddle.

The paddle construction by both MFJ and Bencher
is not for the heavy handed operator. You can
use a very light touch, this is not a mechanical
semi-automatic paddle (aka bug) and does not
need a heavy force to operate. There are two
safety screws, one per lever, to prevent the
arms from flying across the room when heavy
forces are applied or the paddle is dropped.
This is not recommended for any piece of
equipment anyway. :-)

I give the paddle a 5 of 5 for its functionality,
quality and ease of use and adjustment. It does
not come with a hex wrench or phillips screw
driver for adjustments. These are provided
by the buyer and should be in any radio
amateurs toolbox.

If you can find a dual lever paddle for under
$75 US that is as well manufactured, I and
several thousand other radio amateurs would
sure like to hear about it. As far as I know
there is no such animal on the planet.

I humbly submit this review without prejudice
or financial gain. I paid for it and I use
it and will be using it for some time to come.
If you do not like yours, then send it to me
(for free) and I will see that a deserving
student gets it and uses it. :-)


chuck, k7qo

VK4JAZ Rating: 4/5 Mar 28, 2012 22:44 Send this review to a friend
I love this paddle.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have been using this paddle, which was bought new from a dealer in Hong Kong, for about a month now and haven't touched a microphone since. It took me about half an hour to get the settings right and I haven't had to touch them since.

This key produces smooth keying and has had a good impact on my sending ability. I will hang on to it.
WA7NCL Rating: 3/5 Jan 21, 2012 17:36 Send this review to a friend
The usual MFJ quality  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Whenever I buy MFJ I always consider it a "partial kit". You can always count on having to modify it a little.

I bought this for camping and Fielday -- something I could take into the woods and not worry about beating it up.

When you get it, all the screws are loose. You need to tighten the ones in the base. The contact adjusters and set screw need to be removed and the split pedestal needs to be squeezed gently with a vise grips to get the locking screws to clamp the adjuster screw. The throw adjusters were threaded too sloppy so for them the only thing is to use some sort of thread locking compound after adjustment. I used clear nail polish.

After modification, it works nearly as well as my Bencher. So I am happy enough.
KI4GJV Rating: 5/5 Nov 20, 2011 18:30 Send this review to a friend
This is a great paddle for the money.  Time owned: more than 12 months
Some folks seem to have problems with just about everything. This $70.00 paddle works. It don't cost $200. + and doesn't pretend to. MFJ is a easy target I guess.
KF7YN Rating: 2/5 Jun 8, 2011 16:09 Send this review to a friend
Disappointed  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Bought this new intended for camping, field day, etc on a "buy it now" price too good to pass up, knowing full well MFJ quality is iffy these days.

When I got it, it keyed my radio all by itself! I took it apart and noticed there was metal shaving imbedded in the right hand plastic sleeve that holds the contact post. It was obviously left over from drilling and the post hole was never cleaned out or inspected.

After prying the piece of metal out, it still continued to key my radio. I measured from post to ground and read <100K ohms. Apparently the entire plastic sleeve is impregnated with metal bits. So I cleaned it up best I could and put nylon thread tape on the screw to make it work. All-in-all, a poor copy of the venerable Bencher BY-1.

Having been a commercial CW op on a merchant ship for many years, I know CW gear and the MFJ 564 is a pile o' crap.
N4UE Rating: 5/5 May 27, 2011 15:58 Send this review to a friend
Works fine!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Not being a CW 'expert', but a lowly 13 WPM Extra, I can't believe some of the negative reviews of this paddle.
I have a 'look alike' Bencher and the MFJ is a great copy.

After reading the reviews below, all I can say is:

"If you can't adjust this paddle, PLEASE don't work on your own car or anything else mechanical!!!".

This thing could NOT be more simple.


(been hamming for 50 years)
M0JHA Rating: 4/5 Oct 4, 2010 08:39 Send this review to a friend
does what its supposed to  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have only just got this today, i did a bit of searching re the unit and was met with mixed reviews. There were reports of the pivot screws being loose which is indeed what i found.

Ok now some would slate mfj for this , why? its not a 400 paddle. i simply put a very small blob of resin on the thread of the pivot stop screw , set it up and job done.

iv used the unit today and works as it should , no issues as yet. So any complaints from me ? No the slightly loose screws was a 1 min fix and if thats all thats going to be wrong with it i think i got an ok deal..

WA7KGX Rating: 4/5 Aug 18, 2010 17:44 Send this review to a friend
Still learning.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought one the other day on a whim.
It was only twenty bucks. It started me on a project to get going on the code.

I think I learned a few things about it when I "customized" the cord. There wasn't anything wrong with the cord that was on it; I just didn't quite like it. I got a 6 foot "guitar cable" with a limp black wire and cut it in two.

Changing the cable involved a major tear-down of the key. Parts fell off and the spring poppped out.

Two screws serve double duty as electrical connections and mounting the contact posts to the chassis. If they are not tight the contact adjustments will wander. If they are too tight one can't adjust the contact orientation. Some of the problems with drifting adjustments may be caused by these screws not being tight enough.

When I reassembled the key I set the contact spacing very tight. I didn't like it so I reset the spacing to about 1 mm.

Almost 50 years ago (arghhh!) I learned the hard way that some contacts need a certain amount of current through them to keep working smoothly. Adding a transistor to lower the switching current actually caused some contacts to lose signal. I don't know if some paddles need more current than an electronic keyer provides to keep working their best.

With a professional looking cable and plug my 564 now looks as if it cost twice as much.
KA2DDX Rating: 4/5 May 18, 2010 04:14 Send this review to a friend
Good for the price  Time owned: more than 12 months
I had one of these on the air for 3 years or more and used it extensively. The only complaint I ever had was that it won't hold it's settings and tends to get a little sloppy. But, it's performance was relatively consistent and I enjoyed it for quite awhile. It has been replaced by a Kent TP-2 (which I liked a lot) and that has been replaced by a Begali Magnetic Classic. The Begali is by far the best. For the money, the MFJ does the job reasonably well. But for higher performance, you go with something else.
W9CPI Rating: 5/5 May 17, 2010 17:20 Send this review to a friend
Works fine  Time owned: more than 12 months
I took a much more expensive paddle off the air because of reliability problems in the heat and humidity. The MFJ-564 has worked very well these last two years. Just a bit of something on the threads of the adjustment screws to hold the setting. I think it is a great value, and would recommend it to anyone who wanted an inexpensive way to go iambic. The chrome model looks good on the desk.
Steve, ZP9EH/W9CPI
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