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Reviews Categories | Keys & Paddles | Elecraft HexKey Help

Reviews Summary for Elecraft HexKey
Elecraft HexKey Reviews: 13 Average rating: 4.4/5 MSRP: $179.95
Description: High performance Iambic paddle, gold plated silver contacts, molded acrylic finger pads, magnetic tension adjustment, adjustable contact spacing, powder coated steel base. Unique Elecraft serial number (Exxxx).
Product is in production.
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W0BBI Rating: 5/5 Mar 14, 2014 17:59 Send this review to a friend
Excellent Key  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I purchased a previously owned Elecraft HexKey (by Bencher)and it was in pristine condition thanks to care given it by original owner. I have had a BY-1 for over 35 years as I always enjoyed it's feel more then any other key I have owned. The first thing I noticed here was the weight of the HexKey. It has a heavy base that keeps it where you place it on the desk. I further found adjusting the key to be very easy and precise. I am a 30 to 40 WPM CW op that does more "squeezing" as opposed to "slapping" and this key responds very well to my style. I would recommend this key to anyone.
NR4C Rating: 5/5 Jul 7, 2011 08:48 Send this review to a friend
I like this one a lot.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I rec'd mine on Tuesday, and didn't get it wired up till late that night. I've only had one evening to play with it so far. And, I'm very pleased.
I'm not seasosned cw operator, but I am working on it. I have used other paddles including some I made myself. I found the Bencher BY series to be a little light, and the arms too springy. And mine doesn't stay in adjustment very well. If it isn't right, just push hard on the arms and make small adjustments.
I next tried a "Brass racer". I like the magnetic tension, but hard to get smooth action and not have verticle play in the pivots. Also, the magnets don't stay put very long. And, like the BY, the arms are flexible.
The Hex Key is heavy, it stays put. And it feels solid, no play in the pivots, no flex in the arms. The little timne I've had with it has shown that it is the easiest I've tried to send clean code. Puttiing my K3 in 'test' mode and sending text, it just works better.
This is a keeper.

...bc nr4c
KD5OM Rating: 2/5 Dec 5, 2007 18:38 Send this review to a friend
Poor Adjustments  Time owned: more than 12 months
Received this paddle several years ago as a present. It came mail ordered so I didn't get to try it before we bought it. It's nice and heavy which is what you want so you're not chasing it around the desk. It stays put. But...... Who was the dim whitted rocket scientist who chose to use such course threads on the adjustment screws? Just a tiny amount of turn makes a huge difference on the amount of play on each paddle. I would have given it a little higher rating if only the machinist would have used a finer thread on the adjustments. Also, I think the magnets could be a little stronger. I have rubber bands adding more tension to each contact. I get that ever so present "bounce" in the dit side that weak magnets give you.
N4LQ Rating: 5/5 May 19, 2007 20:13 Send this review to a friend
One heavy paddle  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This thing is great. It's gotta be the heaviest paddle money can buy. I've had dozens of paddles including the Schurr Profi, which had sticky contracts. This Bencher/Elecraft is very smooth and I like how the finger pieces hang way down low so you can vary your finger position to keep from getting the "glass arm" syndrom.
I got his one at the Dayton Hamvention yesterday. Bencher had the hex key next to their $500 version of the Mercury key. The Hex key felt about the same but was heavier so I ran to the Elecraft booth and bought one! Good job Bencher.
WB2PJH Rating: 4/5 May 5, 2007 11:33 Send this review to a friend
Excellent for the price  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I've owned a number of paddles and the Hexkey is my favorite. You need to have patience while you set it up since the adjusting screws are coarse and a light touch with the supplied allen wrench is needed. The "feel" is just right for my fist and the heavy base stays where it's put. The clip that holds the allen wrench in place is a nice touch. If I could make any changes, I would be to change the pitch on the adjusting screws, just as several of the other reviewers have mentioned. Overall, I think it is an excellent key and a good value.
WI5F Rating: 3/5 Nov 8, 2006 14:23 Send this review to a friend
Disappointed in cable hook up  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I just received my HexKey this afternoon, so I am only prepared to comment on the set up, not on performance and feel (except for a cursory test with my keyer off the air).

It was very frustrating trying to put the cable on. It takes at least three hands. Who in their right mind would have you remove the screws that hold the thing together in order to attach the cable? The cable attaches on the bottom of the base to the screws that hold the contact posts in place. You loosen the screw and, if you are lucky enough not to loosen one turn too many and have a bunch of part fall on the desk, the contacts on the top side rotate out of position and it becomes a three-handed job to hold them in place with a straight screw driver on the top side, while you tighten the screw on the bottom with a phillips screw driver, while at the same time trying to keep the ring lugs from rotating as your turn the screw.

The ring lugs do not have insulated necks so if they rotate out of position they can short to other active parts of the unit.

Although adjustment is pretty straight forward, I think their instructions could have been accompanied with a drawing pointing to the various screws that need to be used. It is easy just reading the text to miss the fact that before you can adjust the spacing you have to loosen an additional set screw. Not a big deal; you know something is amiss pretty quickly when you attempt to change the spacing on the second set of contacts and the adjustment won't budge even though the first set adjusted without ado (because the locking set screw was already loose.

Due to the layout on the bottom including the one the screw that holds the cable clamp, it is very difficult to get the wires postioned so that they are not in danger of shorting something.

As to feel and operation, I have only spent a few minutes with it so far and have not yet been on the air with it, (because most of the hour I could devote to it at the time was consumed putting the cable on - what should have been a five minute job took 30 - okay, I'll get off my soapbox)....but it feels good and expect it will be good performer and, as long as I don't have to go through the excercise again with the cable (oops, I said I would get off the soapbox), I think I will be very happy with this key.

I would not let the cable setup keep you from buying this, just prepare for putting it on by having a helper assist you.

Paul, WI5F
N4ST Rating: 5/5 Jul 22, 2005 20:16 Send this review to a friend
A very nice paddle  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have only been using this paddle for a few days, but am very pleased with it. Pros: Cable clamp on the bottom with spade lug connections, very heavy base won't move even for the most ham handed, looks good without the hi-polished base that shows every fingerprint. Cons: Coarse threads on the contact spacing adjustments make it difficult to achieve perfection when 1/8 turn makes a big difference in the feel, the three rubber feet are a little thin and are hollow tipped to boot which allows the key to flex them slightly under heavy handed keying. I own several paddles in the $100-$250 price range and this looks like it will be one of my favorites.
W2LJ Rating: 5/5 Mar 2, 2005 08:59 Send this review to a friend
Beautiful!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Some things you have to wait for a time to evaluate properly before you can write an honest review. These paddles ... I fell in love with them the first time I used them. I bought mine "pre-owned" as "used" is not a proper term. SN #E016 arrived in beautiful, mint condition shape (Thanks, Roger!).

As soon as I used them the very first time, I was immensely pleased. The touch is silky smoothe; and there is no problem with accidentally "falsing" the paddles and sending when you didn't intend to.

I have had no problem adjusting them to my taste, either. A small adjustment does make a big difference; but once you're used to it, it's no problem. You just need to use a light touch.

I've used a lot of different paddles over the years .... regular Benchers, Vibrokeyers, Vibroplex Brass Racers, K8RA's paddles, CT's, etc, etc, etc. Those are all good paddles - but this Hex Key ..... I will NOT part with!

73 de W2LJ - 99.5% CW
N3DRK Rating: 3/5 Jan 21, 2005 09:07 Send this review to a friend
average paddle  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Lot of money for an average paddle. Difficult time making small adjustment for paddle contact. Just an ok paddle but overly priced. Spend another 100 bucks and go with a Schurr Profi 2. Now that is a paddle.
W1EUY Rating: 5/5 Jan 21, 2005 07:13 Send this review to a friend
Excellent paddles  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
In paddles, I like a very light touch, barely perceptible motion, no clicking. My first paddles were the Bencher BY-2s, which, when so adjusted, were inexcusably unreliable. So I got a set of WBL V22s (among the last made), which have got to be among the very best paddles ever. I was, therefore, in no need for more paddles when I read Eric's notification about the Elecraft edition of the Hexkey. But I was interested, because I wanted to see what was all the fuss about magnetic return, and I was not about to shell out the outrageous price for the Mercury paddles.

So I got the Elecraft Hexkey, and I really love them. It took me some time and effort to find the proper combination of contact spacing and magnet gaps. These paddles do not have the bearing quality of the WBLs, but they are good and they can be set very nicely and behave very reliably. It is hard to compare them with the WBLs because they are so different. They are softer and the levers are longer. But once I got used to them, I enjoy using them just as much as the WBLs. The massive weight of the base removes all possibility of movement, and that is very nice.

My only complaint is that the adjustment screws are too coursely pitched. When you get near the optimal adjustment, very little physical changes can make big (usually not good) differences in behavior, and that makes the proper adjustment more difficult to attain than need be. Overall, however, these are a wonderful addition to the choices hams now have for really fine, not horribly expensive paddles.
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