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

Reviews Summary for Begali CW Machine
Begali CW Machine Reviews: 47 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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WB2LQF Rating: 5/5 Dec 24, 2012 10:25 Send this review to a friend
The Gift that Keep On Giving  Time owned: more than 12 months
This is my 3rd review of the CWM Machine. It has proven to be the "gift that just keeps on giving" because the designer is continuously enhancing it by adding new functions and streamlining existing ones. In keeping with eHAM policy, I have copied and pasted my previous reviews at the end so that they are not lost with this new posting. Sorry for using all this space but gosh, you *did* come here to learn about other's experiences, didn't you? ;)

Five days ago, I emailed Ulrich and asked if it would be possible to build a "mill" into the CWM. For those not familiar with this term, a "mill" is a typewriter with all capital letters that was used by military and commercial CW operators to record all received text. Many amateurs today use the Windows "Notepad" function to do this. Ulrich was very receptive and the very next day he sent me a software file and I became his remote tester. Ulrich expanded the basic concept with a tinted background in the active box, automatic line spacing between typed text and received text, the ability to store the text in a .txt file and review it or do something else with it. Along the way, he made additonal improvements to the CW keyboard feature for those who wish to send either directly from their keyboards or from buffered text rather than using a key. As a 100% CW Op I feel as if I now own a true "total package" with this new "mill" feature. I enjoy being able to type the received text, especially when it's above 25 wpm because every character is but a single keystroke. This really is a fabulous device for those willing to take the time to read the documentation and learn how to to make the most of its capabilities. It is actually a small computer with an instruction set. It can be operated at the 'newbie' level initially until more experience is gained. To truly enjoy the rich array of function requires a commitment to studying the excellent documentation which is among the most well thought out and presented tutorials I've ever run across. Of all my station accessories, this is the one that gets used each and every session.

Review dated April 28, 2012 - I just returned from passing the commercial Second Class Radiotelegraph exam today and I owe my effective and efficient preparation to the Begali CW Machine with Trainer option. To prepare for the 16 wpm cipher groups element, The CW Trainer allowed me to rapidly generate practice material. I could focus on whatever combination of letters, numbers, punctuation or pro-signs I needed to work on. Every practice session could be custom designed or randomly generated. For the 20 wpm plain text element I was able to easily cut and paste all sorts of material gathered off the internet. For example, I realized that the ARRL code practice files have a decidedly "ham flavor" and I began to get just a little too good at guessing what was coming next. If I saw, "imp" I pretty much knew it was going to be "impedance." Instead I simply Googled other topic areas, for example, excerpts from novels. I could then cut and paste plenty of plain text copy to keep me going all night long with much less chance of guessing ahead. The CW Machine hardware and software never once complained, hung up, or failed me in any way. It was totally reliable. What a confidence builder this was. I would recommend this CW Machine with Trainer Option to anyone, at any level of code proficiency. Yes, OK, it's not *the only way* to learn (or improve) CW. It's just the *best way* in my opinion.

Review dated July, 2011 - I can't imagine a more legitimate way for a true CW Operator to spend so little to purchase so much! I knew about the CW Machine but quite honestly just considered it a "super keyer" and worthy of neither my time nor my money. In my opinon, it is undermarketed. Geez, all my Elecraft rigs have more than adequate keyers, especially the K3. What would another $300 buy me beyond what I had? This is the key question the marketing doesn't address. It just so happened that I met Ulrich Steinberg at our recent Field Day and asked him why HIS keyer was better than MY keyer! Turns out the Begali CW Machine is not your mother's keyer! This beautiful little blue box is just about everything a true CW Op could ever ask for - and Ulrich continues to update the firmware and provide new releases as time moves on! It's a superior keyer, a CW training tool, an "evaluator" for all of us experienced ops who think we no longer make mistakes (just try fooling the damn thing!), a semi-automatic logger of up to 12,000 QSOs before you just create ADIF files and upload it to HRD, etc. The documentation files are massive and Ulrich has thought of everything - or, more precisely - he has engaged the cooperation of and sought the input of some of the world's most experienced and respected CW Ops to exercise his invention and report their findings. Then he acts on their advice! The CW Machine is clearly Major League. I have figured out about 10% of its capabilities so far. That's just fine with me - I feel like I've really gotten my money's worth and then some! No matter what you currently have - in your rig or outboard - its capabilities are no match for the Begali CW Machine's range. Times are difficult - spend wisely! I did.
VE3JLC Rating: 1/5 Dec 23, 2012 19:20 Send this review to a friend
Regret this purchase  Time owned: more than 12 months
Way over priced. Software and firmware awkward and poorly documented. Just "sexed-up" I can't read the funny little screen with only the "mood lights" on.
KA1KU Rating: 5/5 Dec 20, 2012 18:47 Send this review to a friend
A CW Must Have  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
If you're serious about CW and have not attained the proficiency you desire this Swiss Army Knife is a must.
The CW Machine offers a lot of power as a logger but it is mostly the CW Trainer which I'm refering to. The hardware is the same, just different software/firmware. My sending speed has gone from zero to 25+ solid sending on a paddle in about 6 months. For both a paddle and a straight key, you will know if your elements and spacing are formed correctly based upon the character displayed. At the same time you also hear it. Combining this dual feedback lets you learn to create correct code at any speed, set by the simple turn of a knob. I'm approaching 25 on copy but still need word space at about 16. I wanted to learn word sounds at high speed, repeated several times. I sent an email to Ulrich requesting a new field to enter the "number of times to repeat a word". I thought this would perhaps go on some future enhancement list. I had the updated CW Trainer software the next morning!
Enough said, get one.
EA3GXH Rating: 5/5 Sep 18, 2012 10:41 Send this review to a friend
Perfect CW Companion  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had a cw machine since 2009, and nothing beats this beast. It is the ultimate state-of-the-art device regarding telegraphy. It is the perfect complement for a Begali key. For increasing speed and accuracy, I found the trainer firmware extremely useful.
Furthermore, the developer assistance is second to none. He has been very helpful, guiding me setting up again the device after I recently upgraded my pc hardware.
WD1V Rating: 5/5 Aug 4, 2012 08:54 Send this review to a friend
Begali Brand Best CW  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I've had mine now for about 2 weeks and couldn't be happier. Few brands are so consistent in all of their products in providing such elegant craftsmanship, performance, quality, and value. If there was a Begali radio, I'd have to get one.

I have 2 paddles, 1 HST cootie, and 1 straight key all wired to both K3 and SDR-5K with Alpha 9500. No RFI problems.


John - WD1V
NA4EA Rating: 5/5 Jul 24, 2012 16:03 Send this review to a friend
Exceeds my expectations  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I initially had some trouble getting things going with the CW machine and sent Ulrich, my questions. He was very patient with me and helped me get the CW machine going. Since overcoming this brief challenge, I have been very happy with the CW Machine. I haven't used the training portion of the machine. I do use it to decode what I send. I practice a lot with it and have greatly improved my sending skills. I also used it during a weekend CW event. It made what would otherwise be a tedious affair of sending my call sign over and over to simply hitting a function key. I also set up a function key for my reply. It made the event a lot more enjoyable and I logged a lot more calls that I would have otherwise. The machine's capabilities are amazing. I highly recommend the CW machine as being well worth the investment.
KA2Z Rating: 5/5 Apr 4, 2012 09:46 Send this review to a friend
CW Ops You need this  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
A lot has been said in these reviews, its all true.
All I can add is I am so happy I got the CW Machine.
Ulrich helped me work out a couple of minor set up problems. He really defines what great customer service means.
The CW Machine is a great product that belongs on the desk of every CW operator!
KR4AE Rating: 5/5 Mar 2, 2012 12:40 Send this review to a friend
World's Best Keyer  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I feel I should start this review by saying I have never written a review on a purchase I have made whether ham related or not.
After deciding to purchase a Begali paddle, I decided to go one step further in my pursuit of cw excellence and purchase a Begali CW Machine!
When it arrived,I opened the box and was blown away with the build quality of the machine. In typical Begali fashion, it looks great and I believe you could drive a car over it with no damage except for the speed control knob!
Operation and features of the CW Machine are incredible. If you took the best cw ops in the world and placed them in a room and asked them all the features they would like to see in a keyer, it would be the CW Machine. This thing has more features and options than you can imagine! Many have been mentioned by other reviewers so I will just say this has to be the best keyer in the world!
Also, I purchased the trainer software which is a real bargain! The ability to watch my sending on my computer is awesome!I thought I was pretty good at sending cw, but soon realized my spacing was sometimes off and also noticied a few bad habits I have developed through the years.
In summary, if you enjoy cw and want to become a great cw op, this CW Machine is a must!


W6NRD Rating: 5/5 Jan 1, 2012 18:49 Send this review to a friend
Just Awesome  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I just had the best CW session of my life! I canít thank Ulrich and the Begali team enough for building this device! So much of my time prior to receiving the CW Machine was focused on listening to CW. Now that I can practice sending Iím finding myself really enjoying practicing sending. Even better is the fact that the sounds have so much more meaning when Iím sending. Itís as if sending is really filling the gaps of understanding. I am finding rythms and patterns in the sounds as I produce the CW Ė just the word MINE has such a nice rhythm to in in CW I couldnít stop sending it just to hear it. Then the combination of G,Z,7 was fun Ė interesting how by mistake you learn a new letter and then just trying to produce that letter over and over you find all the other letters or numbers that are close variations of it. This is way more fun to learn this way and I would have never done this on the air because Iíd have no idea what I was sending! Now with the CW Machine displaying what Iím sending and seeing the output immediately following my timing and spacing Ė itís just fantastic feedback. Also, the difference in the spacing of the CW machine compared to listening to CW from IPhone apps is HUGE. The IPhone apps have terrible spacing Iím finding when I compare the differences.

I can't say enough how great this device is! For anyone considering it I'd be sure to look at the updated photo - as the device now fits in your hand and is WAY smaller than the photo on the web site and in the manual. It's tiny.

K2KGF Rating: 5/5 Jul 14, 2011 08:18 Send this review to a friend
It's more than a CW Machine, it's an adventure!!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I'm an old timer who hasn't been on CW in 30 years. I read the reviews and got the Begali machine about a month ago. I added the Trainer software, sent by e-mail, at Ulrich's suggestion.

The device has been described by others in great detail and there's not much I can add -- except to offer some very subjective observations.

The reports of the legendary patience and knowledge of its designer, Ulrich Steinberg,
have not been overstated. The man is wired as one would expect of a 21st century computnik.
He answers e-mail often within minutes and will gladly do landline consults.

Shortly after Ulrich took me thru the Trainer setup [I needed handholding for this] the software got corrrupted and it would no longer communicate with the PC. It was probably something I did -- nevertheless, Ulrich worked with me tirelessly until we decided that the best course was to return the unit for repair. It was repaired and returned within the week and has been working flawlessly since.

I said that this is an adventure. The capablilties of the machine will undoubtly exceed my needs. Meanwhile, I'm using the Trainer program a few minutes each day to relearn CW. The Trainer is so powerful and varied that you could play with it as an end in itself.

I recommend the purchase to anyone who has a desire to work [or learn] CW. This is the last CW keyer system you will ever need.
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