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Reviews Categories | Keys & Paddles | Bencher RJ-1 Handkey Help

Reviews Summary for Bencher RJ-1 Handkey
Bencher RJ-1 Handkey Reviews: 17 Average rating: 4.3/5 MSRP: $100.00
Description: Straight Key
Product is in production.
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KN6SU Rating: 5/5 Jul 13, 2013 20:12 Send this review to a friend
Bomb Proof  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Got the basic (black base) model from HRO. It's a bit pricy. On the plus side: 1) Heavy enough to stay put on the table by itself; 2) Precisely machined parts and in particular no sideways slop on the arm pivots; 3)Precisely adjustable and stays put when adjustment screws are tightened; 4) Good gold-plated contacts; 5) Has a Navy style knob...I like it but YMMV; and, 6)It looks great (if you like the classic solid Bencher look). Some one described it as a Kharman-Ghia of keys...I'd say more like a Jeep.

Negatives: 1) Some may find the Allen-head adjustment screws a pain, but the key comes with a small wrench that stows in a clip under the base; 2)There is no side pivot adjustment (as on J-38's), and, 3)It needs adjustment before you use it, but what straight key doesn't? I was worried about #2. The key arm has no side play now, but if it loosens with use I'm not sure how to take up the slop. It looks like the lateral arm supports can be loosened and adjusted, but I'm not sure. I guess I'll cross that bridge if I ever come to it.

For now, however, it looks like the best straight key I've used.
NZ5L Rating: 4/5 Jan 15, 2013 10:32 Send this review to a friend
The Karmann-Ghia of hand keys  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
The RJ-1 is a thing of beauty, deseving a place on any ham's desk. However, the actual feel of the key is strictly J-38 - not bad, but not great. The Chinese made K-4 has a better, more precise feel, but looks rather pedestrian next to the RJ-1. My ideal key would combine the precise, clipped feel of the K-4 with the RJ-1's tuxedo-like presence. I wish they had gone with a heavier base, and softer, more gradual spring. I rate it a "4" for appearance and quality of build.
KB5PRZ Rating: 5/5 May 16, 2012 07:51 Send this review to a friend
Wonderful key.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I started my morse tutoring as a child with a cheap radio shack oscillator kit. Straight keys always felt right to me... so when I got a Bencher paddle, I enjoyed it for a while but soon realized I couldn't express myself the same way as I could with a straight key. I like Bencher products for their quality, design, aesthetics, engineering, materials, function and American origin. The RJ-1 was a natural fit for me and it felt wonderful right out of the box. It can be identified by the layman as a straight key without being cluttered by the various knobs and supporting components of other fine keys (the VIZ Key Camelback comes to mind--great quality and aesthetics in its own right, but too cluttered with adjustment knobs for my tastes). I have not had any issues with the spring, and my fist does not fatigue with this key.
K5RIX Rating: 5/5 Mar 15, 2012 06:04 Send this review to a friend
Excellent Modern Key  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought my RJ-1 new in 1991. At first I didn't care for the stiff spring, so I wrote to Bencher and they sent me a softer spring free of charge. After several months I reinstalled the original (stiffer) spring and I really like it now. I have a couple rigs set up for HF and VHF so I get to use more than one key. My other straight key is a Viking Speed-X I just love. The Bencher is solid with no side-to-side wabble at all. I like that it comes with the hex wrench clipped on the bottom, and that the key gets hard wired to the connector of my choosing. Overall this is a very solid key that can send some very good code. My J-38 is fragile in comparison. I wonder about the four versus three rubber feet, but mine is flat and is steady on the operating desk. A straight key is a very personal thing, and I expect there are those who would not like this much rigidity. It works for me, and I really like it.
KK9D Rating: 5/5 Feb 4, 2012 18:52 Send this review to a friend
My Favorite  Time owned: more than 12 months
This key is heavy, does not move around on the desk, I have had no problems adjusting it and it is well made and looks good. I too have the one with the Red knob which another reviewer on here referred to as the "Know Code" model. I am considering buying another one to have around, that should be enough of an endorsement for this product right there. Although I would like to try one of those Vibroplex straight keys as well. Thanks for reading my review and have a great day, 73, cheers!
KE0Q Rating: 5/5 Jul 3, 2010 23:28 Send this review to a friend
Excellent Straight Key!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I recently ordered a Bencher RJ-1 from Morse Express. I live in the Philippines and had a friend bring the key into the country for me. The quality of the RJ-1 is excellent, there is no lateral movement, the base is heavy enough so it doesn't move on my desk, and adjusting the key was very easy. The RJ-1 will probably last a lot longer than I will. I also want to commend Morse Express for excellent service. Their service was prompt and accurate. Tim -- DU9/KE0Q
NC2F Rating: 4/5 Aug 3, 2009 15:40 Send this review to a friend
Good solid straight key for the masses  Time owned: more than 12 months
This was my only straight key for many years and I wouldn't hesitate recommending it to anyone. Admittedly, I did find myself spending extra time with it to get that "just right" feel and spacing.

I recently had the chance to spend more time with the Vibroplex Straight Key and decided to order one in the unique red being called the "Know Code Key". The adjustment for the Vibroplex I found to be a bit more precise, but I am not going to split hairs as they both work well for straight key night, etc...

N1YE Rating: 5/5 Dec 30, 2008 08:34 Send this review to a friend
Spring Mod turned ok key into great key!  Time owned: more than 12 months
Time has passed since I wrote my initial review of this key. After reading about what other hams had said about the spring, I replaced the spring in mine. The spring is not chromed and it is not as pretty as the one that came in the key, but...then, its just a spring. Works like a charm! It brought the adjustments back into the range that I was use to and now I really like this key. Try it if you like. :)
W4AIN Rating: 5/5 Oct 19, 2008 14:21 Send this review to a friend
Super Key  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have been using an RJ-1 for several years (8+) and absolutely love the action on this key. Great looks, great performance. This key is very well-built and a pleasure to use. I don't have the 'fist fatigue' with this key as I do with many other hand keys I have used. Very good response at low speed (5-10wpm) and even better at high speed (25-35 wpm).
Bencher has a permanent spot in my shack!
N7RV Rating: 3/5 Jun 22, 2008 13:54 Send this review to a friend
Questionable Quality Control  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owned this key since new for more than 10 years now. Unbeknownst to me a large burr remained inside one of the pivot blocks during manufacture. One day it finally let go and solidly jammed the pivot, requiring disassembly of the key. There sure is a lot of slop in the fit of those pivot parts.
I also discovered that the base is not particlarly well balanced for my fist. The front side of this RJ-1 will occasionally pitch down during use. To its credit it does look pretty sitting on the shelf. However, I long ago returned to using the venerable J-38 at 1/4th the cost of the Bencher RJ-1.

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