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Reviews Categories | Keys & Paddles | N5QVF Magnetic Iambic Key Help

Reviews Summary for N5QVF Magnetic Iambic Key
N5QVF Magnetic Iambic Key Reviews: 12 Average rating: 5.0/5 MSRP: $750. USD
Description: Iambic Magnetic Key
Product is not in production.
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N9YB Rating: 5/5 May 31, 2006 19:14 Send this review to a friend
Exquisite  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I read VA5SAM's review when it was posted on May 3, 2006. I then read through all of the other reviews as well. On a lark, I sent Dario an e-mail asking if he was accepting orders and if so, may I be put on the wait list. He promptly replied and added my name to the list. Two days later he writes back and says that he has a chrome model with sterling silver contacts available in a week and that it is the last piece he is planning for 2006. I jumped at the opportunity and comitted to the purchase. A couple of years before I had planned to take delivery, but hey what are you going to do.

We nailed down the details over a couple of e-mails and 10 days later I am the proud owner of N5QVF key #0014.


The key arrived via FedEx ground in a one cubic foot box stuffed with packing peanuts. In the center of which was a soft styrofoam block with a space carved out for the key. The key was wrapped in a soft heavy cloth, the similar to the type 3M uses for their high end lint free car wipes. The wrapped key was then taped into the styrofoam block.

You could have dropped the whole thing from a two story building and the key would have been perfectly safe.


Upon removing the soft cloth wrapping, I was greeted by a serious hunk of metal with perfectly chromed finish. It is something to behold. The base is round and substantial ala the classic Mercury, I have yet to weigh it, but I would estimate it to be in excess of 3 pounds. It isn't going to be going anywhere on you operating desk unless want it to move. All surface areas of the key are flawlessly chromed to a mirror finish. It is truly a beautiful work of art. The only down side to this lustrous finish is that it will proudly display each and every finger print you put on it. A small price to pay.

Additionally, Dario provides a cable with a 1/4" jack all soldered on and ready to go. The cable is about 30" long and there is a strain relief on the underside of the key.


One set of thumb screws to adjust the contact spacing. One set to adjust the magnets. So far, the settings stick where you put them and don't wander even a bit. I have only had the unit 15 days or so, thus I will report more on this after more on the air time.


After spending sometime to find settings that work for me, I put it on the air and made a couple of QSOs. The paddles are very responsible and move, rather glide effortlessly. I still some tweaking to do with settings to find my optimum adjustments, but that comes with time and experience. Did some operating in the CQ WPX contest last week as well. It is smooth and responsive.


In the short time I have operated this key, I must say it is joy both operationally and aestitically. It is a key that should be passed on to someone (hopefully a child or grandchild) who enjoys CW - it is a keeper and an heirloom. It should be enjoyed by its owner as working art on the air, not kept on a shelf.

The only fault (if you can even call it that) I can find with it is one of personal preference. I prefer the paddle tabs on my Frattini magnetic iambic. They drop down closer to the table than the sideways tear drop style that Dario provides and that better suits the hand position I prefer.

Cheap, Dario's work is not. But you get what you pay for and with the N5QVF paddle you are getting a world class instrument for sending CW.

After several more months of air time, I will post a follow up review concentrating on more of the operational aspects of this key.

best 73
VA5SAM Rating: 5/5 May 3, 2006 05:56 Send this review to a friend
A Very nice addition to my collection  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
After reading the reviews here on e-Ham about Dario's key, I decided to contact him to see if he would make me one. This was close to 2 years ago. He informed me at the time that he was no longer making them because it was a very time consuming job. I was pleasantly surprised this year when he sent me a e-mail and said that he was going to make another one and wanted to know if I was still interested. You bet I was.
I am pleased to say that I now have one of his keys and am very pleased with it. The chrome finish on it is excellent and it is a beauty to look at. The overall workmanship is excellent and is very obvious that this man takes a great deal of pride in his work. He is a real gentleman and a pleasure to deal with. The key itself functions flawlessly and is easy to adjust to your liking. It is very heavy and there is no chance of it moving around your desktop. In my last e-mail to Dario I suggested that he should perhaps consider making one or two keys a year as I am sure there are many CW ops out there that would be as proud to own one as I am. He e-mailed me back and said that he was going to take my suggestion. So, if you want a very fine key from a man who takes pride in his work, contact him . It might take you a few years to eventually get one, but, it's worth the wait in my opinion. I am getting a very nice collection of fine keys and his ranks right up there with the best
W6QR Rating: 5/5 Dec 19, 2003 18:06 Send this review to a friend
Flawless workmanship, great performance  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
This key is a bargain at the price. The chrome finish is flawless, it is easy to adjust and stays in adjustment.

Dario was a pleasure to work with, we had a long dialog before I decided to buy a key and he kept me informed during the construction process.
W0XV Rating: 5/5 Jun 8, 2003 11:49 Send this review to a friend
Simply The Best!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have owned many different medium and high end paddles. This is the best for form, function and just overall appearance and workmanship. The old saying " You get what you pay for" is certainly true with this paddle. The workmanship and overall presentation is the best that I have seen and it is a joy to use....feels high quality and "right". I may well order a second one and sell my other paddles!
KJ0M Rating: 5/5 May 27, 2003 14:06 Send this review to a friend
As nice as they come!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This key is as well made as any Iíve seen. The only thing I have to compare it to is my original N2DAN Mercury, serial number 150, from 1992, and in fit and finish, this key is flawless.

Both these keys have a magnetic tension adjustment and if you ever get the chance to experience them, youíll not want to go back to a spring tension adjustment. The adjustments can be fine tuned to satisfy any fist. All the machining is excellent and the finish is perfect. Iíve got the gold finish on the key I purchased.

Dario was excellent to work with and very responsive to my requests and wishes.

I donít think you can go wrong with this key. Dario said he may quit making them since the effort to build them takes so much time away from his family. Get one while you can! You wonít be sorry.
W5HQ Rating: 5/5 Apr 22, 2003 12:35 Send this review to a friend
Highly Recommended  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I have the nickel plated version. The operation is silky smooth, and it looks gorgeous. It's one heavy chunk of metal! I've begun to really appreciate the magnetic tension, as it is variable over a wide range, and can offer a lighter, smoother feel than most paddles with springs that I've used. Dario, N5QVF, has been fantastic -- making suggestions, customizing the grip, and offering to do anything that I want to make me a happy customer. You can't ask for more!
W6THW Rating: 5/5 Feb 5, 2003 12:30 Send this review to a friend
The Very Best  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have the N5QVF Iambic keyer that is a piece of workmanship like no other key I have
And I do have a QHD keyer with the optical contacts a Vibroplex deluxe keyer and a
March Iambic keyer. The N5QVF keyer is like a piece of Jewelry I have never seen
Such a flawless finish. The keying action is so smooth that I wonder what the other manufactures are thinking of. I have been a CW operator for over 40 years and 6 years of
That time I spent in the Navy as a CW operator. I know the price is high but still donít know how he produces such a quality keyer for the price. I would recommend this keyer
To anyone who loves CW and wants the top of the line. My N5QVF Iambic keyer has
The gold finish with the paddles in a clear gold color Plexiglas finger pieces. The magnets
Are fully adjustable to any strength that you could want. My keyer came with the variable mechanical paddle spacing. I would not change anything on the keyer. If you love CW this
Keyer would be your last one you would want. Even the cord for plugging it in is top of the line
With a gold plug connector and is long enough for plugging into any rig on a desk. You have to
See it and use one to understand how nice it really is.

KH2QL Rating: 5/5 Dec 11, 2002 19:18 Send this review to a friend
EXCELLENT Paddle, Get ONE!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Its operation is smooth, solid construction,extremely well made with a high degree of craftsmanship.This makes our hobby more enjoyable.Highly recommended,if you love CW,GET ONE.
KC6D Rating: 5/5 Dec 8, 2002 20:01 Send this review to a friend
A great key  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
It is flawlessly made, beautiful to look at and a pleasure to use. The magnetic "springs" give a crisp break which I find helpful in my sending. Highly recommended.
N2DE Rating: 5/5 Oct 25, 2002 12:19 Send this review to a friend
Perfection and unbeatable service  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This paddle, like the Hensley paddles, is similar to the original Mercury design by N2DAN. Having owned a Mercury and a Hensley for some time I was curious to find out how it would compare against that formidable competition. Out of the box my golden serial # 002 looked stunning and performed flawlessly, but I didnít like the spacing and the shape of the plexiglass finger pieces, and the magnets were a bit too strong to allow adjustment for the light touch that I prefer. At this level of performance the differences and design parameters of a paddle are obviously highly subjective. I discussed these issues with Dario via e-mail, and as a result he provided a set of perfectly shaped finger pieces made of aluminum (so I could even change the spacing if I wanted to), and weaker magnets - I canít speak highly enough of his responsiveness and the perfect workmanship that is evident in every part of these paddles including the new finger pieces. These aluminum finger pieces not only solved any potential issue with spacing and flex, but they also look better to my eye than anything else. The result is a iambic paddle that comes closer to perfection than anything I have tried so far, including the Mercury and the Hensley. None of these paddles is inexpensive, but a paddle like the N5QVF is a life time investment that provides a sense of perfection that you will rarely find. It will probably relegate my other paddles to the showcase for now and be my paddle of choice, and should I ever find anything that comes closer to perfection it will certainly be a highlight of my showcase.
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