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Reviews Categories | Keys & Paddles | AC7AZ Magnetic return paddles Help

Reviews Summary for AC7AZ Magnetic return paddles
AC7AZ Magnetic return paddles Reviews: 4 Average rating: 4.5/5 MSRP: $(missing—add MSRP)
Description: These keys are no longer available. I have the parts to complete a few more, but they are reserved for close friends. I originally set out to make a paddle for myself, but some friends showed interest when they saw mine so I made some more of them. I never intended to compete with the more expensive keys and I think I offered a fair paddle at a fair price. I've moved on to other endevours now and no longer make the paddles. There were 18 large ones and 14 small ones made in various brass/ chrome configurations. I made one with oil-lite bronze bushings and another completely out of stainless steel. There were also a few straight keys and a single lever. I used to know where they all were, but I've noticed a few for sale on the web, so I guess they're starting to scatter.Thanks to all of you who bought one and if anyone ever needs one repaired, I'll be glad to do it. 73 Mark Johnston AC7AZ
Product is in production.
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K6SDW Rating: 5/5 Mar 22, 2011 18:52 Send this review to a friend
One of the best  Time owned: more than 12 months
I'm fortunate to have bought one of Mark's magnetic double-leveer keys before he stop making them....contrary to DJ8GO review (who, by-the-way, has a vested interest in Begali keys and forgot to mention this in his review) this is one of the best magnetic Iambic keys I've ever owned and I've owned a few.

If you can find one, grab it, you'll never sell it for sure!!

Oh, and for DJ8GO -- next time you call me names, do it to my face pal if you got the you-know-whats!!!
K0HBZ Rating: 5/5 Feb 17, 2004 11:41 Send this review to a friend
Fantastic!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I was looking for a good mobile Iambic paddle when I came across Mark's mini-paddle on E-Bay. I like quality handcrafted equipment and was intrigued. I won the auction. When the paddle arrived I was absolutely astounded. I had never encountered magnetic action before and it took me about 2 minutes to prefer it over the spring action of my full-size Schurr paddle.
The workmanship is outstanding, design unique, but the feel and responsiveness is what sold me. I've always had problems with spring-action paddles sliding all over the desktop. I've had to put anti-skid material under them (full-size keys, mind you). I started adjusting and using Mark's paddle, and found that by adjusting the magnetic action down low, they are extremely responsive, quick return, but virtually no effort required to operate them -- so despite the tiny 2" x 2" footprint and light weight, it doesn't slide all over the desk.
I was so impressed, that I immediately ordered two more. I have found that Mark is very responsive, interested in suggestions, and very conscientous.
If you're looking for a quality paddle that will last you a lifetime, this is the one!

73 Wes K0HBZ
N2DE Rating: 3/5 Oct 24, 2003 23:52 Send this review to a friend
Skin Deep Beauty  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Several people have asked my opinion about this paddle, and although I really didnít need another one on my desk, I bought it because of its good looks. Out of the box this paddle really looks very nice, the chrome finish is flawless, and the workmanship is perfect. The choice of chrome and stainless steel for the hardware makes sure that it will stay beautiful and resist corrosion. The hexagonal central bearing block is reminiscent of the Hensley paddle, but Mark told me that it helps to hold the base at different angles while working on it.

Apart from good looks that would impress visitors to your shack, how does it stack up technically? The field of paddles that cost between $120 and $200 has some formidable contenders, and a closer look shows that Mark had to compromise to achieve his price. (I wonít compare this paddle to others that cost more, but only assess it by characteristics that you can expect to find in this price range.)

First and foremost, it doesnít use precision bearings. Mark will probably tell you they are not required because a paddle rotates only by a minimal amount. Well, the purpose of bearings is, of course, not only to facilitate smooth rotation, but also to provide axial stability so that the shafts donít wobble and the levers move only in the intended direction - and in this respect the simplistic adjustable point bearings of this paddle are a severe compromise. If you have used quality paddles before you can feel the lack of precision right away, and this paddle is certainly not in a league with the top-notch paddles that other reviewers have compared it to. I sincerely hope that Mark will one day upgrade his design with Ąreal" bearings, and Iíd gladly pay the higher price for that.

The design of this paddle uses massive T-shaped arms fashioned from two pieces of stainless steel; so the moving mass is relatively high, and the geometry is sensitive to temperature changes. You have to adjust this paddle more frequently than others if you prefer narrow settings, and at higher speeds the moving mass limits responsiveness. Also, since the adjustments use standard 32 tpi threads, tight settings are not easily achieved and further complicated by the imprecise bearings. Again, dreaming of a future improved version, I could envision the arms made of a single piece of a light weight alloy, and micro threaded adjustments.

The adjustable contacts are just the adjustment screws, stripped of the thread and flattened at the tip. While this works, you can typically expect silver contacts in this price range. There are certainly valid reasons why no device with precision contacts, like a relay or a switch, would use stainless steel for that purpose.

The finger pieces are made of polished aluminum, and they go nicely with the overall design. The spacing was perfect for my personal preference and can even be adjusted within a narrow range. However, the high temperature conductance of metal, compared to wood or plastic, makes them feel cold to the touch, and you may prefer a warmer feeling material. I personally value the better tactile feedback that normally results from metal finger pieces higher than that temperature gradient, but I know operators who would choose otherwise. In this case, however, improved tactile feedback is of minor importance since the other flaws that I mentioned negate great benefit from it.

So whatís the bottom line in my opinion? If you want a good looking American-made paddle with excellent workmanship and a price tag below $180, and you are not a high speed operator who demands precision: go for it. If, however, top notch performance is your goal, then paddles like the Kent TP1 or the Begali Simplex are clearly better choices and cost less. Iím hoping that, over time, Mark will improve his design to become competitive with the established contenders in this price bracket.
KK4DW Rating: 5/5 Aug 20, 2003 09:57 Send this review to a friend
Super Bargain - Hidden Secret  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I bought one of Mark Johnston's magnetic return paddles on Ebay awhile back. I want to tell you, as an owner of both the Schurr Profi II and the Begali Magnetic Professional, this paddle is every bit as good and does everything that they do fo a hundred bucks a throw less guidas.

Take the extra money you were going to spend on one of the "name brand" off shore makers andd put it into a good old USA product that you will love to use. Here is his email address:

Mark Johnston

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