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Reviews Categories | Keyers & CW Keyboards | Begali CW Machine Help

Reviews Summary for Begali CW Machine
Begali CW Machine Reviews: 53 Average rating: 4.9/5 MSRP: $295
Description: The CW Machine is a unique software-defined keying device which combines the functions of an advanced iambic memory keyer and a keyboard keyer with the functions normally performed by a logging program. The CW Machine will collect the information for a log record from the signal that you are sending out and store up to 12,000 log records. The firmware in the device can be updated with a few mouse clicks in a Windows program to let you stay up-to-date as enhancements are provided. This update capability also lets you load the optional CW Trainer, a combination of Windows software and firmware that runs on the CW Machine device. It lets you improve your copying skills, no matter what level you are currently at, with a great variety of techniques, and the CW- over-IP function even lets you connect to another CW Trainer over the Internet to practice QSOs off the air.
Product is in production.
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K2UM Rating: 5/5 Oct 17, 2016 07:05 Send this review to a friend
Outstanding!  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Ulrich hit a home run with the result of his design and programming efforts and the production of the CW Machine. This is a mature product that has been flawless for me for over 6 months now. I use it for everyday keying and logging, some casual contesting and for improving my sending (which I thought was pretty good until I started using the Trainer option and saw my spacing, was at times, just terrible).

I love the form factor of the CW Machine since I operate a decent amount of portable in combination with many outdoor activities. It couldn't be easier to use and I love the "smart" (as I call it) logging ability. As someone who wrote a lot of code during a 35 year research career, I marvel at the obvious elegance of Ulrich's effort given the internal memory size used in the CW Machine.

I had to inquire about a couple of things as I got into the many options and capabilities of the device. Ulrich answered my questions virtually immediately with good nature and provided way more assistance than could be expected since the answers were covered in the detailed manuals but somehow escaped me. He is a true gentleman. This device absolutely deserves the Begali label given its refinement and performance. Bravo, Ulrich .... I wish I had been smart enough to purchase it before I did, but am delighted to have it now. It is worth every penny.
KM6CQ Rating: 5/5 Oct 2, 2016 07:25 Send this review to a friend
The Best  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Ulrich is the best. He is very responsive and will answer all your questions. The product is mature and works very well. The flashcard mode is worth the price of the unit. The software for the machine and trainer is very effective and simple to use. For myself, the learning curve was nothing more than understanding what the product actually does. Then the rest was intuitive and very easy to learn. I am very happy with the purchase and should have bought it years ago.
73, Dan
AC2EX Rating: 5/5 Mar 12, 2016 11:10 Send this review to a friend
Finally making Progress!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
After a few weeks having the CW Machine, I sent this email comment to the inventor ...


I hate to be negative, but you could have called me when I was much younger and told me to buy your CW Machine!
It would have saved me a lot of wasted days and wasted nights!
I love this thing! You have changed my whole approach to learning code and it has changed from drudgery to fun.

Thank your wife for the instant shipping and thank you for your good work.

- 73 -

WF4O Rating: 5/5 Jun 17, 2015 13:47 Send this review to a friend
Amazing Machine  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
My set up is MacBook Pro running Parallels Desktop with Windows 7 Professional. I was worried that the CW Machine would be difficult to set up and use. There is a learning curve to be sure, but by following the directions provided, I was up and running in short order. Ulrich was always available and his patience is legendary. What I love about the CW Machine is that it makes sending so easy. I've used other keyers, but the CW Machine is the easiest for my sending. The parser takes a little getting used to, but it also works flawlessly behind the scenes. I got to meet Ulrich at Dayton this year, he is as cordial in person as he is via email. I couldn't be happier with the CW Machine/Begali experience.
K5HP Rating: 5/5 Apr 10, 2015 07:06 Send this review to a friend
Begali CW Machine, a very helpful tool!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This machine is quite remarkable. The ability to critique your own performance in sending correctly is invaluable. Many creative lessons in the trainer that have already helped me a lot. The machine is capable of being the all-in-one answer to training, logger, keyer, decoder and on and on. It's a marvel. The most impressive thing in my experience is the outstanding product support received from Ulrich Steinberg. Several emails with questions were answered in minutes and I found out later that he was traveling abroad and my inquiries were made in the middle of the night for him, yet immediate responses were made!
AA9G Rating: 5/5 Mar 2, 2015 13:08 Send this review to a friend
Broke my training plateau   Time owned: 0 to 3 months
The CW Machine is probably the best piece of CW gear since the Vibroplex bug. I have struggled for years to learn code. I could never get beyond 20-30 seconds of copy before I would crash.
Then I thought, maybe learning to send in conjunction with copy training would do the trick.
It did. Machine and key in hand I started mastering how to send correct code. CW Machine does not let you get away with sloppy code and I think that was the key to my moving on.
You must learn the timing to send it correct code. In doing that apparently that spilled over into my copy and now after only a week of having the CWM I am up to 3 minutes of mostly solid copy. I still have a long way to go before I get on the air for my first QSO but for the first time I see light at the end of the tunnel.
This amazing device has so many other uses beyond training, but I can't comment on those as I have not used them but I don't see myself ever selling this thing.
HB9BMY Rating: 5/5 Nov 19, 2014 10:24 Send this review to a friend
A unique and most clever way to make and log CW QSOs  Time owned: 3 to 6 months

Over the last two decades both portable radios and portable computers became more and more compact. This is especially true for QRP transceivers. Since a netbook computer loaded with a logging software is extremely convenient and saves a lot of work back home, they became the technical standard of people who are going portable or on a DXpedition. Even those who climb on mountain tops for SOTA and are real experts in avoiding any needless additional weight carry a netbook with them.

Unfortunately I can not log my QSOs with a netbook. As I have very poor eye-sight the screen of a netbook is far too small for me for logging purposes and I need a screen of at least 17”. I have got a 17” notebook, but together with its power supply and protective bag it weights 5 kg.

In a review of the Elecraft KX3 Ulrich Steinberg (N2DE) mentioned that he went on a DXpedition to Lesotho and logged all his QSOs with a Begali CW Machine. The manuals of the CW Machine (CWM) are available as free downloads from the internet. By reading the manuals I got the impression that the CWM was exactly what I was looking for:

1) With the CWM you can make 12'000 QSOs and log them without a computer. You can enter all the needed information of a QSO with your paddle and an additional keypad or keyboard with 102 keys.

2) Your callsign, name and QTH can be entered either by the paddle plus keypad/keyboard or by the CWM Manager running on a computer.

3) Date, time and many other settings of the CWM can be changed by paddle plus keypad/keyboard or by the CWM Manager.

4) In order to program the memories the CWM Manager is needed.

5) The CWM features all needed audio feedback in order to work and log other stations.

6) With the CWM Manager you can load the QSOs at any time from the CWM to a computer and vice versa. The file can be converted into an ADIF.

Since the display of the CWM is quite small, I was not sure if I would be able to read it with my weak eyes. But I was lucky! The small display of the CWM is just big enough and the contrast is strong enough.

First steps

The CWM is quite robust and built of first class materials. Connections are gold plated. The speed control has a notch in the middle. This is very convenient, since you can go to the middle of your programmed speed range with closed eyes.

The CWM is a kind of computer and behaves accordingly. As soon as it is connected to power, its connections are “hot”. The CWM must be started exactly as described in the manual. When you finish you must press the small RESET key on top of the CWM before removing power or turning off your power supply. If you only remove power, you risk some of the settings of the CWM getting corrupted. In this situation you can get the default values without the help of a computer and you can adjust the CWM to your personal needs. But if you make a mistake you also lose the content of your memories!

It is not a good idea to press keys “intuitively”. If the CWM is not connected to a computer, you must enter the actual DATE and TIME with your paddle or keypad. A few times I pressed the ENTER key instead of the joystick. When I pressed the memory key containing my name later in a QSO, the CWM sent the numbers I had entered for DATE or TIME.

There are several manuals you need in order to operate the CWM. Because of the complexity of the CWM, and because they are very detailed and precise, the manuals have a lot of pages. Studying them can become very tiresome and frustrating. But there is no way of avoiding to study the manuals in detail!

Audio feedback of the CWM is crucial for operation. As you can enter commands with your paddle, you need audio feedback. When you enter the call of the other station and press ENTER the CWM responds with a special beep. There are other most helpful beeps. In order to use all of these most helpful audio feedback, it is best to connect the Tone jack of the CWM via a Y-cable to the headphones of your transceiver. As the K3, KX3 and other modern radios feature pseudo stereo effects or a second receiver and therefore have stereo headphone jacks, a stereo Y-cable is needed. As the Tone jack of the CWM is actually a mono jack wired as stereo jack, you must switch the corresponding configuration switch inside the CWM to Mono. Then you hear the CWM with the left earpiece of your headphones.

Before I went on a small DXpedition to the Island of Crete, I made some 40 “off the air” QSOs in order to get used to the CWM. However, when I wanted to load them onto my computer I failed. I wrote Ulrich an email. I did not expect immediate help from him, but already within the next few hours he wrote two new versions of the CWM Manager and solved the problem!

On a amall DXpedition to Crete

It would lead too far to describe all aspects of operating the CWM. I confine myself to the most important issues:

a) The \C command stored in one of my memories: In order to store a callsign you have to send it with your paddle and press ENTER. When you have entered a call in that way and then press a memory key containing the \C command the callsign will be repeated. In order to be sure that the call that I had entered was correct, I pressed the memory key with the C\ command and checked it by listening. The other station heard its callsign twice. When it was incorrect it came back with a correction. Then the whole process was repeated.

b) NumLock: By toggling this key I could switch between “on the air” and “off the air”. This was especially convenient when I was tired or got so nervous that I failed to enter the correct call of the other station for several times.

c) Edit Mode: Sometimes I was not sure whether the details of the last QSO were correct right after I had stored it. In this situation Edit Mode was very convenient.

d) Possibility to enter name, QTH and individual signal reports: As I was working QRP with my KX3 (5W) at a dipole antenna, I was interested to store the RST I got.

It’s not at all easy to copy a callsign and send it with your paddle without writing it down. I realized that I had not trained enough with the CWM in advance. Before I go on the next DXpedition I shall get far more training.
I made 320 QSOs in seven days and brought theme home safely.


The CWM offers a unique and most clever way to make and log QSOs. Its functions and possibilities for individual adjustment and programming memories are elaborate, very well-thought-out and highly sophisticated. The CWM has been available for a couple of years. Although it is a very mature product, Ulrich is improving existing functions and adding new ones.

Is the CWM the best keyer in the world, as some say? The answer to this question depends on what you need as a CW operator. You can find out easily by reading the manuals. There you will find information I could not mention in my review.

Peter, HB9BMY
KF6PKG Rating: 5/5 Oct 16, 2014 22:53 Send this review to a friend
Great Support  Time owned: more than 12 months
Have had my CW Machine for a little over six years now. I recently had a software problem and emailed Ulrich on a Sunday afternoon, not really expecting to hear from him anytime soon. To my surprise he was back to me in a few minutes with updates to my outdated software. I can't ask for better support than that.

Thanks Ulrich for not only a great product, but great support as well.

K0QD Rating: 5/5 Aug 21, 2014 15:34 Send this review to a friend
Superb device.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I am an old timer that had been off the air for several years and needed both sending and receiving practice with cw. After reading on the web the accolades given the Begali CW Machine, decided to give it a try. It has exceeded my expectations on all fronts. It is a remarkable training device, includes an outstanding electronic keyer together with a sophisticated logging program. Anyone seeking to improve their cw performance will not be disappointed with the Begali CW Machine
K6LPQ Rating: 5/5 Apr 30, 2014 10:45 Send this review to a friend
Wonderous  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Several months ago I discovered that a shaking in my 79 year old hand made my signature almost unintelligible. The only handwriting I did was write a few checks from month to month. My computer keyboard did most of my writing for me. What to do? I started with Morse CDs and filled many, many pages of decoded random letters. When I used my straight key, my sending sounded OK to me.

I heard about the Begali CW Machine and thought it might help speed my keying. Little did I know! My Morse was filled with timing errors that the CW Machine pointed out to me immediately. With practice, I am now using a bug at 27WPM and Mr.CW Machine tells me that timing is nearly perfect. Apparently my brain speed is improving also, although my wife might beg to differ. HI HI

I did find one random problem with my sending. Words ending with 'Y' would be sent with sometimes. In FlashCard mode key sending would be blocked until the end of the file requiring a reset if I was in a hurry. It was a small annoying problem for me. An e-amail to Ulrich resulted in an immediate program fix. Now I can inadvertently send all the s I want in FlashCard mode with no problem. The CW Machine simply ignores them and continues on.

Thank You Ulrich for your excellent friendly service for an excellent piece of hardware.

I'm not quite ready to use it as a real time on-the-air logging program, but I am eager to do so. Maybe I'll become a light speed contester when I grow up. ;-)
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