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Reviews Categories | Keys & Paddles | Bencher RJ-2 Chrome Hand Key Help

Reviews Summary for Bencher RJ-2 Chrome Hand Key
Bencher RJ-2 Chrome Hand Key Reviews: 19 Average rating: 4.4/5 MSRP: $120.00
Description: Traditional straight key
Product is in production.
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K5RIX Rating: 5/5 Dec 28, 2002 15:01 Send this review to a friend
RJ-1; A Serious Key  Time owned: more than 12 months
Mine is the standard black-finish version, S/N 003969. At first I thought the action too stiff. But after experimenting with the various adjustments I have come to really like this key.

I can only speak for myself. The weight of the base is ample, and the key doesn't slide around in use. Rubber feet of varying height and tack by others can be substituted to accommodate different wrist/hand geometry, technique, and operating surface. I use the stock parts.

The mechanism is superbly balanced, with enough mass around the fulcrum to effectively eliminate bouncing. The solid feel allows me to use fairly close contact spacing. Also, I can easily sense contact closure, which allows me to use this key without a side tone when required. For me, the nicest thing about the key's "stiffness" is that the key pushes back just about as hard as I push on it; after having got used to the stiffness I found I was able to operate this key for much longer time periods without fatigue. By comparison, my wrist gets tired rather quickly when it's doing most of the work, as is the case with keys which use very light springs or magnets.

The adjustments are all there, and they interact very well. The hex-drive set screws are great! Also great is the hex wrench keeper under the base which insures the wrench will always be there.

Everybody is different. I really like the RJ-1 because it "fits" me. Mine is not for sale.
W3ULS Rating: 4/5 Oct 31, 2002 16:08 Send this review to a friend
Solid & Smooth  Time owned: more than 12 months
As has been noted, the key comes from Bencher with an overly robust stainless spring. When I sent code, the front end of the base tended to rise up slightly each time I pressed down on the key. A solution I tried initially was to use a pre-drilled machine screw hole in the key's base to lock it down to my table with a suitable machine screw. However, this resulted in multiple holes in the table as I moved rigs around. Now I have cannibalized a spring from an Ameco K-4 key and this makes the feel of the key much more to my taste. With this adjustment, it is a solid and smooth piece of work. One of these days, a Bencher paddle I own probably will push the RJ-2 out of the way, but for now the RJ-2 is my choice.
KB0VCC Rating: 5/5 Oct 31, 2002 14:39 Send this review to a friend
Solid Feel!  Time owned: more than 12 months
Keys are a matter of preference, and I find the RJ-2 exactly what I prefer. I bought mine BEFORE I was licensed, as incentive. Since then, I've purchased others for various purposes (including the super-cheap Ameco AM-K4 for backpacking and a Nye-Viking KY320 "Ranger Key" for /M when the road is too rough for my Schurr paddles), but the RJ-2 is my main-station straight-key (paired with my Bencher BY-2 paddles). I appreciate the strong push-back of the spring and the positive feel of the beam on the contacts and stop. There is nothing "mushy" about it. I clip along at a solid 30wpm+ on this key and the stiff resistance lets the key keep up. Listen for me on SKN and hear for yourself!

VE7FXY Rating: 5/5 Aug 8, 2002 22:25 Send this review to a friend
I love it now  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought a RJ-2 on e-bay last month. I found it very stiff, even with the tension backed off. I followed KD6LME's suggestion about changing the angle of the arm. This made an amazing difference in the behaviour of the key. This is one of the few keys that has a seperate contact adjustment, and lever height adjustment. It has become one of my favorites. I wish there was a quick fix for my Vibroplex hand key.
N4UDE Rating: 4/5 Mar 16, 2001 13:47 Send this review to a friend
Solid Performer  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I, too, found a few problems with this key.
Spring Tension. Far too stiff. My solution was to cut off a couple of it's coils. That tamed it.
Knob Height. With the poker chip in place (which I like) the knob is just too high off the bench.
Wrench Adjustments. I'm often changing my adjustments to fit the mood of the day. Having to grab an allen wrench each time is annoying.
Chrome, Chrome, Chrome. My desk lamp’s reflection glares at me in the shiny chrome base and the mirror-flat top. I can’t seem to find a comfortable sitting/key position where the reflections are not blinding.

On the other hand, I do like:
Chrome, Chrome, Chrome. The looks are great. The flat-top; the under-base wire connections; the large base. Everything says “modern” on a device that screams “yesteryear.” A supreme anachronism!
Noisy. A lot of clicking and clacking going on. Pounding brass isn’t just a phrase in a Bencher-equipped shack.
Solid Contacts. Make and Break are sure. Never a missed dit or sputtered dah
KD6LM Rating: 5/5 Feb 18, 2001 16:18 Send this review to a friend
Light action-AFTER adjustment  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
The trick with the Bencher is not to just back the spring off all the way to lighten up the action, because as the key adjusted from the factory, that still leaves it a bit stiff. To make the action light one has raise the lever of the key just above horizontal (actually a very small amount) by lowering the adjustment point at the far end of the key to push the lever up. One then, of course has to adjust the contact points otherwise the gap is a bit large. The amount that the lever has to be raised is so small one really has to look quite closely to see that it is no longer perfectly level. The results, however, are amazing, the Bencher RJ-2 now turns into a beautifully smooth key with a light touch and a very solid feel. I hated mine before I did this, and now I love it. If you are attracted to the Bencher because of its great looks, raise the lever slightly, and you'll fall in love with it for its great feel. With its flawless chrome, great styling, and (once adjusted) fantastic feel, its quite a deal for around $100 bucks.
AC5AA Rating: 3/5 Feb 17, 2001 23:36 Send this review to a friend
Looks great - too hard  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I've tried this key dozens of times hoping each of my previous experiences were being remembered incorrectly. I like my hand keys set light and closely spaced. The Bencher will let you set it close, but the lightest weight is far too heavy to use it for any length of time. Last year at Dayton I spoke with one of the principals of Bencher, and he wasn't interested in making any changes. Too bad. Ill happily buy one when it can be adjusted for a light touch.
KC4TXR Rating: 4/5 Dec 11, 2000 19:24 Send this review to a friend
Solid Key  Time owned: more than 12 months
A well made straight key. Like most of these widgets, you love it or you don't. I've had the RJ-2 in chrome for about 2 years. It does have a pretty stiff spring even when backed off all the way. I pulled the spring and glued in some magnets that fit fairly well. Now it's just about perfect!
AA9QE Rating: 4/5 Nov 13, 1999 12:04 Send this review to a friend
Good Classic Hand Key  Time owned: unknown months
The Bencher RJ-2 Chrome hand key was the first key I purchased. It is well made in all respects, except that the base is not heavy enough to prevent tipping. I have used this key in many QSO's over the years and it has a fairly smooth tight feel. Mine is the "Pete Rose" serial number, number 000014. It has a Navy knob of black plastic, with a big "poker chip". A nicely made production key.
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