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Reviews Categories | Keys & Paddles | Bencher Hex Key Help

Reviews Summary for Bencher Hex Key
Bencher Hex Key Reviews: 28 Average rating: 4.8/5 MSRP: $195
Description: Iambic Paddle, gold plated silver contacts, molded acrylic finger pads, magnetic tension adjustment, adjustable contact spacing, powder coated steel base.
Product is in production.
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KQ4MK Rating: 5/5 Jun 18, 2008 18:18 Send this review to a friend
I like it!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have used a number of keys and paddles over the years, and I tried the Hex Key, and liked it enough to buy one. Mine is S/N 502, and I love it. I can't say that it is the best, but it is among the best in all respects. Considering that my CW comfort zone peaks at about 30 WPM, I might be missing some magic feel delivered by other tools that happens beyond that speed range.

For me though, this setup rocks. I highly recommend it, and I think the magnets and contacts are correctly placed from a mechanical engineering standpoint. To switch locations would create a heavy handed, sloppy disaster of a paddle set.

NN0B Rating: 3/5 Oct 7, 2007 21:37 Send this review to a friend
Attractive, but not much more  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have serial number 16, from the first lot made and sold. It didn't work when I received it, and I discovered that the holes in the base for mounting the contact posts were powder coated through their full length. Since the key relies on contact between the post mounting screws and the base to complete contact, there was an open circuit, even when the contacts were closed. I notified Bencher, and I hope that they resolved the problem in subsequent runs. After fixing the problem, the key worked well enough, but it is definitely not in the same class with the Begalis, Schurr, Frattini, GHD, or even the Kent and Brown Brothers paddles that I own. In fact, the Brown Brothers paddles feel much better, and you can usually get them cheaper.

I do understand that the Hex key was intended to be an affordable imitation of the N2DAN Mercury key, and I applaud Bencher's efforts. But having used both, I can see where the difference in price went. The Hex key cannot compare with the Mercury in terms of feel or adjustment.

If you want a key that is more attractive than the other Bencher keys, and that doesn't come apart in use like some of them do, by all means buy the Hex key. However, the other bencher keys work just as well, and they don't cost nearly as much.

I consider the Hex key to be a very attractive, and expensive, mid-level key which will work well for most users and should last a long time. I keep mine in the box as part of my collection, but I use the Brown Brothers CTL-B on the air.
W5LXG Rating: 5/5 Sep 29, 2007 09:39 Send this review to a friend
Wondeful action  Time owned: more than 12 months
Mine is the very early Bencher model.After 50 years of spring keys/paddles, finally graduated to magnetics. Superior feel. Easy, smooth adjustments. My two old Bencher spring paddles seem to have taken a "set" and refuse to adjust anymore. I endorse all the previous positive reviews, they are true.
KI0Z Rating: 5/5 Dec 16, 2006 15:18 Send this review to a friend
Finally a Great key for Me.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Hi I Ordered The Hex key and have used it for almost 2 weeks now and I must say that it is the Best key I have ever used for my cw. I find that I can send faithfully at 22 wpm with out making mistakes. (Most of the time ) and I am really impressed with it. Thanks for a Really fine product,but then with your reputation that is what we have grown to expect
K4ELO Rating: 4/5 Sep 19, 2006 06:45 Send this review to a friend
Good paddle, but...  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I purchased the Elecraft version of the Hex Key.
Ordering and shipping was very efficient.
This is a beautiful key. Very well made and rugged.
Only two problems with it for me - the rubber feet are just a little too soft so although it is quite heavy, it does wiggle a bit with my fist. Most importantly, the adjustments are too coarse for my taste. I like very close spacing and it is difficult to achieve. I found myself continually readjusting it.
It is definitely a good paddle, and it will always have a place in the shack, however, for daily use, I have switched to a Begali Magnetic Classic. A world of difference in adjustment and feel.
You would have to use both keys to get a feel for the difference.
F5NZY Rating: 5/5 Jul 6, 2006 21:22 Send this review to a friend
A key of dream...  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
If you want to get an excellent key and to be sure to well spend your money, the Bencher Hex Key is just right for you. You can believe me, I am a very demanding CW operator and this key is a pure joy to operate. The base is very heavy, it will not move any more on your desk and the key is very easy to adjust, even if you can take your time to adjust very precisely for yourself. I also own a BY1 for almost 20 years and a schurr profi2 for 5 years and this is the best key in my shack, so far. My wife offered it me for my Birthday. This is a very nice present...
73, Steph, F5NZY
KE3JH Rating: 5/5 Apr 22, 2006 07:42 Send this review to a friend
great key  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
i was told about this bencher hex key buy a friend w3ceb and thought id try it out. didnt think id like magnets and when i got it was happy with the construction of the key. i bought it used and two posts were stripped so i called bencher to replace them and they shipped them to me free of charge. now that inpressed me. i have 7 keys and well this hex is my favorite key money well spent, 73 de jim..
N2DE Rating: 3/5 Dec 12, 2005 10:53 Send this review to a friend
So - so  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This key is an attempt to create something more affordable than the Mercury but with a similar architecture. It is a robust key with good finish and workmanship, and it makes a nice sight on your operating tabble.

Like most offspring of the Mercury, it inherited the weaker aspects of that design and added some of its own. The major flaw is readily visible if you just look at the photo: the contacts are mounted very close to the pivot point which creates a very high leverage ratio. The slightest variation in the contact gap translates into a much larger difference in the distance that your fingers have to travel. This is compounded by the fact, as the previous reviewer already noted, that the adjustment with a hex key and fairly coarse threads is difficult and - the leverage ration makes sure of that - doesn't hold very well over time or with temperature variations.

A consequence of the contact placement is that the magnets are mounted far away from the pivot, where they add significantly to the moving mass. This results in bounce and vibration effects that are readily apparent at higher speeds.

This key is ok if you work with a larger contact gap at medium speed, but for the price you can get keys with a better architecture. Too bad - just switching the placement of the contacts and the magnets could have made this a significantly better key without increasing the cost.

N7ESE Rating: 5/5 Dec 11, 2005 13:25 Send this review to a friend
High Performance-low cost  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Tested and sold more than a few paddles. Some rather expensive keys have visited and my shack. This is a very nice paddle for the cost and represents a very good value. The feel is harder(less flex) than the traditional Bencher. Adjustment is very difficult because of the coarse threads. With some patience, this paddle performs very well and I recommend it to all interested in the small world of affordable magnetic paddles. I am a CW only operator(not a paddle collector) and work with machines for a living.
KILOWATT Rating: 5/5 Oct 1, 2005 21:58 Send this review to a friend
The perfect paddle!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Up until about a week ago, I was running a Bencher BY-2 paddle, with which I was very happy. Then one day at HRO/Sunnyvale, CA; I bought myself a Hex Key after slapping around on one that had been displayed at the store. All I can say is, "Wow!" It took me a couple of days to get it adjusted to my liking but once I did, sending cw became completely effortless. This is a very high quality piece of equipment. I can't imagine EVER buying another key/paddle.

A little expensive but well worth it. The BY-2? It went up for auction on Ebay. It's a lovely little paddle but doesn't even come close to the quality and feel of the Hex Key. Highly recommended.

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