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Reviews Categories | Keys & Paddles | Chevron Morse Key Help

Reviews Summary for Chevron Morse Key
Chevron Morse Key Reviews: 12 Average rating: 5.0/5 MSRP: $£375 - £465
Description: "The Chevron Morse Key - Built With Passion For Great Morse Code"
Product is in production.
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N3ND Rating: 5/5 Oct 27, 2006 18:21 Send this review to a friend
Simply the best  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have been fortunate to have owned or used many, if not most iambic paddles in my 43 year amateur career. They range from the smallest and least expensive to some of the most expensive paddles manufactured. The Chevron paddle falls somewhere into the latter category, but you will understand by the end of this review that, in my opinion, it was a small price to pay for the value you receive.

These remarkable paddles are manufactured, one at a time, by master machinists, and its expert craftsmanship is outwardly identifiable by its outstanding good looks. They have such a beautiful luster that even a jeweler will admire. Indeed, they are a piece of jewelry whose “eye candy” appeal is second to none. But the real refinements are those which are not necessarily visible to the naked eye.

Attention to detail is something that many manufacturers overlook whether it’s a concern for production costs or a general lack of awareness of the end user’s true desires. Certainly the Chevron key is built by those who love, cherish, and understand CW and the CW operator, but it goes much deeper as evidenced by their manufacturing criteria. Even the smallest detail has been met with keen observation and thought. Quite honestly, I believe these are built as a labor of love.

• Each paddle lever’s weight distribution is balanced perfectly to the opposing lever. The same is true to the external dimensions of those levers. There is simply no variation between the two levers on any single key – they are impeccably matched.

• The alignment of the ball bearing block is done by CNC machining. This process eliminates variations that could possibly disturb the fragile rotation of the levers.

• Most other manufacturers of paddles rely on the bearing assembly or spring to commute the ground return for the paddle output. This has proven unreliable for some type of electronic keyers which require a very low resistance closure. Not so with the Chevron. The Chevron uses a small, silver-braided and flexible tie between each lever and the ground-block, or base in this case.

• All adjustments are made through fine-threaded, close tolerance screw assemblies. This allows a person to easily make very minor adjustments without having to go back and forth, and back and forth to get the right setting to their individual tastes.

• Cable connections to the key are done with very small banana plugs. Why? So you can change the dit and dah lever without having to unsolder and re-solder either a plug or a connection to the key. I was equally impressed with the supplied cable (plug style of your choice) sent with the key. It is a small diameter, shielded, rubber covered audio cable. The choice of rubber insulation allows this cord to be extremely flexible and lie flat on the operating table. Try that with PVC covered cable.

• The lever paddles are made from acrylic. These fairly thick “finger pieces” exhibit no give or over-travel when you are keying, unlike many paddles out there. Over-travel gives a mushy feel. Additionally, the “finger pieces” are designed to allow a person to raise or lower them independently and upon personal preference to where their hand / fingers wish to rest. Available in several colors of your choice, and this is cool, the gold color is actually gold burned into the acrylic.

• Even the feet. Yes, the feet on the base. Even as heavy as these paddles are, the way some people aggressively attack a key, enough sideways exertion may cause paddles to “walk” on the operating desk. Not so with the Chevron. Remember, we’re talking about attention to detail. The Chevron uses rubber feet that have been designed to eliminate such a concern. They really hold.

Of all magnetic tension keys I have used, I prefer the type that repels the lever to its resting point. This means that the lever requires more weight to activate it, but it snaps back to its resting point quicker. The immediate snap-action back to the resting point means that the lever is fully prepared to be exercised again for the next character formation. I find this works best for me to send accurate Morse QRQ.

So, that’s a lot of detail, but how does it work? I deliberately waited six weeks to use the Chevron before I wrote a review. Why? Because I wanted to make sure that I was not falsely enamored with them when I was really only trying to justify the expense.

Quite simply, the Chevron has the best feel, the most perfect touch of any key I have ever tried or owned. I can only conclude that it’s because of all the attention to detail; thus the reason for citing that early on. Its feel is something which must be experienced; no written description can adequately express the exhilaration you get when you sit down with the Chevron. These keys can take all the pounding you want to dish out, but I challenge you that to caress the Chevron will reveal its hidden qualities. There is nothing finer.

There is no need for me to own another set of paddles. My collection is complete. I own Chevron #16.
K1JD Rating: 5/5 Oct 10, 2006 10:50 Send this review to a friend
Outstanding New Paddle  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
There are some very nice paddles here in the shack (Mercury/Bencher, Begali Graciella, and previously a WBL V22) so Chevron SN #005 had stiff competition when it arrived a short time ago. Kevin, M0AGA, a good friend, and Alan G4HCD have done an outstanding job leading the design, prototype and fabrication efforts. Right out of the box, I was able to run the code speed up and send relatively error free whereas most new paddles have required a (sometimes extended) period to adapt.
Personal preference adjustments are very easy. The contact spacing adjustment screws have super-fine threads which I’ve set to about 0.1 rotations from contact closure - VERY close. Happy to say, the Chevron has not shown any tendency to close by itself when set like this, a problem realized in many keys due to thermal instability and/or other design issues. The magnet gap settings allow greatly variable closure effort from very slight to heavy. The wide range of adjustment should accommodate most operator preferences.
Magnetic paddles like the Mercury have a very distinctive feel when breaking the magnetic field. Although also a magnetic design, the Chevron feels completely different; “neutral” is the word that comes to mind. One definitely gets the impression that the levers are perfectly matched and balanced and tolerances are held tight.
Heavy-fisted telegraphers (like me) hit paddles hard while sending which can cause contact bounce-induced errors, especially when the contact gap is set very close. I have not been able to induce ANY contact bounce errors with the contacts set near the closure point. Based on experience with otherwise excellent paddles, this is an astonishing achievement. Also, even with my heavy fist the paddle stays put on the desk.
The key’s clear protective coating in no way alters the natural hue of the metals. My key has bronze levers and base with other parts in brass. The subtle contrast between the pinkish bronze and the brass parts is beautiful. Don’t be surprised to see a few swirl marks in the finish as the keys are hand polished.
I would not elect to gold plate this particular key but believe that gold plating is now being offered as an option.
Measured in terms of enabling faster and cleaner CW right away, this paddle sets a new standard. It is an exceptionally fine key. In an era when telegraphers seem to be an endangered species, it’s comforting to know that the drive to achieve ever higher standards in key design and assembly is still very much alive.
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