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Reviews Categories | Keys & Paddles | Bencher BY-1 Help

Reviews Summary for Bencher BY-1
Bencher BY-1 Reviews: 153 Average rating: 4.3/5 MSRP: $110 to 395 rrp
Description: Iambic paddles
Product is in production.
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K3MD Rating: 5/5 Apr 8, 2011 18:12 Send this review to a friend
My lever  Time owned: more than 12 months
Fragile, not for DXpedition. Good for QRQ. Prefer over Vibroplex dual lever, Begali simplex, Vibroplex brass racer, touch keyer, bulldog. American Morse mini-lever almost as good.
Have 210,000 QSO's with the BY-1, just got another one on EBay for $60.
K4TIN Rating: 5/5 Feb 8, 2011 19:36 Send this review to a friend
Like My Old Comfortable Shoes  Time owned: more than 12 months
I don't understand the few negative reviews posted here. Um, a "lighter touch" is a consequence of developed skill. This isn't a bug.
It's just the "claw hammer" of paddles. I own pricier paddles, but always seem to want to grab the old BY-1 I have owned for 30 years. A smooth, beautiful flow of crisp cw notes that even makes me look good!
KB3TUO Rating: 4/5 Nov 23, 2010 09:28 Send this review to a friend
Fine Paddle  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I bought this paddle along with a Kenwood TS-450 about 6 months ago. I am a technician as of yet and don't do much CW OTA, but I practice a hell of a lot!. My Sister always complains "He won't shut up with those beeps!" Upon reading some reviews, I came across one that said he would dislodge the paddles from the bearings when he was sending. How freaking hard is he hitting it? I give it a 4/5 because although it is a solid paddle (with a base heavy enough for an elephant's touch) I don't like the use of rivets on the paddle surface. They can loosen over time and then you'd have to drill them out and replace them with screws. It's not a big deal but the older models had longevity in mind. Another reviewer said you have to hit the paddles exactly in the center or it will break apart. This isn't exactly true with my experience. I hit them any which way I want and the dits and dahs still flow forth.

Overall it's a solid paddle and a great looker too.

K8CPA Rating: 5/5 Nov 9, 2010 09:41 Send this review to a friend
The Bencher BY-1 is Great! Now, my fist on the other hand....  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've owned mine now for 9 years! Holy catfish does time fly....

Anyhow, It still works great. I do wire mine like the Russian ops of old. Backwards! With the Dah's on the thumb and dits on the index finger. I've got mine set up for feather touch. But, I've been known to hit it a little hard. It works fine and tends to make me sound like I know what the heck I am doing! Which is saying much....for the paddle! :-)

Anyhow, if you happen to hear me on 7.042 or so, please, try not to laugh! ...and know that I am running the best thing outside of a Vibroplex or a kent paddle...

Best of 73!

-Chuck K8CPA or as I am known on CW as "Pat"
Lincoln Park, Michigan
KG6QNK Rating: 5/5 Sep 2, 2010 15:48 Send this review to a friend
Very Pleased  Time owned: more than 12 months
First of all, I am not an authority on the subject of "Iambic Sending"; my "Terminal" speed is 25 wpm. Seems to me when considering price/ performance this is a fine key- least for me. I do use the "Squeeze Keying" technique described by Chuck Adams- slightest of contact openings and the lightest touch. As others have said, no need to sweat Squeeze Keying if it's not your cup of tea- whatever works for you. I get the sense that those with a heavier "Slap Keying" technique, might be better off with a different Key. Craftmanship is pretty good, perhaps not as polished as the units produced years ago. Holds Adjustments well. I bought mine from Morse Express; If you have deep pockets, he has those hand made German and Italian units, might be more to your liking.
KA4WJB Rating: 5/5 Aug 19, 2010 13:09 Send this review to a friend
Great Buy  Time owned: more than 12 months
I gave myself a gift of a new Bencher when I passed the General exam in 1982. I have a medium touch but have not had any problems with the key coming apart. The paddles have held up quite well through the years and kept its adjustment. Take the time to adjust to your liking and you will see how effortless CW can be. I drag a business card past the contacts once in a while and I'm good to go. Also heavy enough to stay on the table. I've tried other paddles but the BY-1 is my favorite and will always be in the shack.
W6UV Rating: 3/5 Aug 9, 2010 23:14 Send this review to a friend
Okay, but not Great  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought a BY-1 shortly after becoming a ham 30 years ago. While it's an okay key, I've found the fit a little too loose and sloppy at times. When I get excited, such as when I hear a country I need working a pileup, I tend to bash the key a little too hard in my haste and this sometimes results in dislodging the paddle arms at the bearings.

The contacts on my BY-1 are silver plated and they tend to corrode quickly necessitating a cleaning with a piece of paper. Gold plating the contacts would have been a better choice.

I think it's time to retire my BY-1 and replace it with a Begali.
KD6LM Rating: 5/5 Jul 21, 2010 11:48 Send this review to a friend
KD6LM  Time owned: more than 12 months
Great looking and a good value. Love the way it feels. I've had mine about 10 years or so, and bought it used. Set it up once, and holds adjustment forever (and it has been through 9 Field Days at this point). I always laugh when I hear people talking about the paddle "flying apart". Ya gotta wonder what century they are living in. Here are some quotes from the 1980, yes 1980 ARRL review:

"Bencher, Inc. has brought out a significantly improved version of the original paddle...crimped spring ends which pinch the adjustment screws and hold the spring captive;...and lastly, elimination of the Achilles' heel of the basic FYO paddle design-the tendency of the mechanism to fly apart when the paddles were accidentally bumped or pushed in the wrong direction. Bencher has added pinion screws which act to limit the movement of the parts so they can NEVER (emphasis mine) disengage from the pivots."

So guys, if you paddle is flying apart, or won't hold adjustment, join the 1980's and get a newer one, I think you'll like it a lot, just like hundreds of thousands of other hams do.
KC7YRA Rating: 3/5 Jul 20, 2010 21:13 Send this review to a friend
Not the best but perfectly usable  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have used several of these keys over the years. They all suffer from the same problems.

They are too weak for me. I have a heavy fist and find that I bend the arms. I also sometimes slide my fingers off the paddles which can make the arms pop off the pivots. You really do have to hit these in the correct places or they can fly apart.

Short of that, they also go out of adjustment often. If it sits idle and goes through extreme temperature change, it will need adjusting. And putting it in a vehicle and transporting it (or hiking with it) is just begging for damage.

WITH ALL OF THAT SAID, it is a usable key. I have made many QSOs with mine and I will continue to use it from time to time. If anything, it has taught me how to have a more gentle "relationship" with my keys. For the price, they are not bad and I think they are great for newcomers as you must take care of it and get used to adjusting a lot LOL.
VK2BNG Rating: 1/5 Apr 9, 2010 15:52 Send this review to a friend
Worst Paddle I ever used  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had this paddle for many years, but I hardly used it since I moved on to a Kent Twin Paddle Key.
BY-1 has too much adjustments. Sometimes the spring comes off. If all these happens if you are in the middle of a pile-up... Oh no!!!
I prefer my homebrew paddle (<$5) made of old telephone reley contacts over BY-1.
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