- Amateur Radio (Ham Radio) Community

Call Search

New to Ham Radio?
My Profile

Friends Remembered
Survey Question

DX Cluster Spots

Ham Exams
Ham Links
List Archives
News Articles
Product Reviews
QSL Managers

Site Info
eHam Help (FAQ)
Support the site
The eHam Team
Advertising Info
Vision Statement

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

Reviews Summary for Bencher RJ-1 Handkey
Bencher RJ-1 Handkey Reviews: 19 Average rating: 4.1/5 MSRP: $100.00
Description: Straight Key
Product is in production.
More info: http://
Email Subscription
You are not subscribed to this review.

My Subscriptions
Subscriptions Help

You can write your own review of the Bencher RJ-1 Handkey.

<— Page 2 of 2

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.

W4BGN Rating: 5/5 Jun 15, 2008 12:38 Send this review to a friend
NICE...  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I had some adjusting issues with this key. The arm would not return fully after adjusting the spring all the way to the tightest setting. I used another stiffer spring that I cut in half and now the key returns properly.

I like a tight key, but that's just me.

The quality of this key is amazing...the chrome and machining are superb!!!

Definately would recommend this key, but if you like a tight key, better get yourself another spring as the one that Bencher supplies is a loose and easy spring...73
IK8VWA Rating: 4/5 Oct 29, 2007 15:55 Send this review to a friend
Very good key but...  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Thanks to the "super euro" I was finally able to get this key from an American dealer, The RJ-1 is a beauty to see, built with excellent materials and a pleasure to operate with. Unfortunately there are some flaws: the rubber feet are not perfectly aligned and it's not possible to adjust their height, so the key wobbles and I have been forced to add a layer of paper under one of the feet. It's a pity, considering that this key is such a beauty...All things considered, I recommend it.
K9MGY Rating: 5/5 Jul 4, 2007 20:41 Send this review to a friend
Great First Key  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I am just learning CW now so I am not experienced. I really like this key. Very simple, easy to adjust, and a great price. I don't have the knowledge or experience that the other reviewers of this key have, so maybe I will change my mind when I move up to a different key or paddle.

Time will tell!!!
W8ZNX Rating: 2/5 Jun 22, 2007 13:59 Send this review to a friend
clunky pile  Time owned: more than 12 months
so im very picky
about telegraph keys

had a RJ-1 for a few years
never took a shine to it

do not care for the looks
or the feel
its better than a J-38
almost any key
is better than a J-38

Mac dit dit

NC3S Rating: 4/5 Aug 13, 2005 19:34 Send this review to a friend
Still Good  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Still a good product after about 9 months. Solid feel and everything is tight. I'm approaching 40 years using straignt keys and impressed with the performance of this key. You'll do well with this key. I bought mine new, so I am sure it has never been mistreaded or worse yet tampered with. It is interesting to compare a key such as this that has rubber feet compared to one that would be screwed down to a desk. The screw down type straight key is always more tolerant of a heavy fist (typical of a new comer)than a model with feet. But as one that is still perfecting a fist (probably never to be perfect) I find it comfortable to use and allows me to use it for hours at a time without fatique.
KE4MOB Rating: 3/5 Jan 27, 2005 12:55 Send this review to a friend
Just OK  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This key is very pretty and has a lot of "eye appeal". The chrome/black combination looks great sitting on the desk. My key was purchased used, but is in excellent condition as far as I can tell.

Unfortunately, I wish Bencher had paid a little more the the mechanical details. The key displays side-to-side as well as vertical slop in the mechanism. The vertical slop is to the point where when the key is properly adjusted for a close gap, you can place your thumb on the back end of the lever and hold it down and still send code while tapping on the knob. Apparently, the pivot journals are bored out a tiny bit oversize. This contributes to the "clacky" sound this key makes as the pivots slightly move up and down in the sockets. This behavior also occurs in my RJ-2.

I think Bencher was forced to use the stiff springs to give the feeling of some sort of control over the wobbles. Speaking of wobbles, the rubber feet on mine was not uniform, and the key slightly teeter-tottered until I adjusted the compression on the feet by tightening and loosening the screws holding the feet on.

I don't like the allen head adjustments, and wish the base was a little longer.

This key would have been good as a prototype, but on a production key I would have liked to see the pivot ends coned and the stanchions bored and tapped, and the pivots held in place with set screws like on the J-38 and Vibroplexes...or maybe even ball bearings like on the Ameco K-4.

Like I said, this key is beautiful to look at. Unfortunately, it's 200% better looking than my Speed-X, but performs 30% worse. It will sit in my collection right next to the RJ-2. The Speed-X will remain tied to the rig.
NC3S Rating: 4/5 Dec 7, 2004 18:07 Send this review to a friend
Good quality product at a decent price  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have had the Bencher RJ-1 Handkey for about 3 weeks. I have found it to be a good product and is much nicer than the photographs appear. I own the black crinkle finish base version, that is handsome and of a high quality. I like the navy knob, and the spring on mine (the latest version) provides the proper amount of tension. Since purchasing it, I have used it every day and found no faults with it. One area of possible improvement would be a heavier base. Although the weight of the base is adequate, I feel that more weight is better for any key any brand.
<— Page 2 of 2

If you have any questions, problems, or suggestions about Reviews, please email your Reviews Manager.