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Reviews Categories | Keys & Paddles | N3ZN KEYS Model ZN-SL Help

Reviews Summary for N3ZN KEYS Model ZN-SL
N3ZN KEYS Model ZN-SL Reviews: 25 Average rating: 5.0/5 MSRP: $see website for prices
Description: The ZN-SL is the single lever version of the ZN series of paddles. It has the same ball bearing movement and magnet return as it brothers but with a single lever design. Base in 2 3/4" x 3".
Product is in production.
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KF6GC Rating: 5/5 Nov 17, 2012 13:39 Send this review to a friend
nz-sl  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Well I heard a single lever key would help me eliminate a lot of my errors so I contacted Tony about it he said I would be less likly to make as many errors with the NZ-SL

after I looked at a lot of his beautiful models (I wanted a pretty brass one,) tony offered to send NO Obligation! I took him up on his offer.

When it arrived I spent a few minutes getting it adjusted to a very close setting(I don't like to hear a key click, just the side tone).

I practiced about 2 minutes and went on the air. It worked first time out! no mistakes! 100% first qso with the Nz-SL
The Iambic keys I have are the Begali Sculpture and the Bencher BY-2,
I have tried many others and that gets expensive buying and selling shipping etc. they are both great but I make a lot of errors with them, long story short of it.
I knew I had found right key the right key now! How about the looks I could not make up my mind I would have to send back the loaner, and ship another key more money wasted, but his key was already here!
I called Tony and asked what he would sell the loaner for?Hey the price was right

I had two other key's to look at so why not take the deal? I did and I am happy finally I can send and not make so many mistakes some qso' s are 100% yes I can still make a mistake but I have to work at it now, and I can live with them.

Tony is a 100% nice Guy and by the way the loaner key looked brand new no digs color was fresh and the key is flawless
so next thing on the agenda is to sell the Begali Sculpter and get another Zn-SL to look AT! watch for my add on QTH.COM in the near future
K7NEW Rating: 5/5 Dec 18, 2011 16:26 Send this review to a friend
Perfection  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I've tried a few different paddles and been annoyed by them.
They often seemed to have a mind of their own. So I splurged on the ZN-SL.
No more excuses for bad sending.

The ZN-SL makes me happy. It's beautiful. It works, period.

It came pre-set with a tiny contact spacing, much smaller than I would have tried.
My experience with other paddles made me wary of such a small spacing.
I think most other paddles would stick.
On the ZN-SL, I haven't found any reason to increase the spacing.

When I work the paddle, I have to look closely to see any movement.
But there's a definite click of tactile and audible feedback.
Not exactly a click, more of a tap.

You can put your finger lightly on the side of the paddle without it sending.
Then apply a tiny bit of force and there's the little click as contact is made.

I imagine the reason single-lever paddles are difficult to make is that it's hard to arrange for them stay centered,
especially when the spacing is small.
Well this paddle stays centered perfectly. If you press one side repeatedly, you get the same tiny click every time.
Then switch to the other side -- same tiny click every time.

I never have to worry about the ZN-SL moving around on the table, because it doesn't.
It's so heavy it feels like it's bolted down.

I can't say anything negative about this paddle.
W4ZV Rating: 5/5 Dec 15, 2010 04:05 Send this review to a friend
Your search is over!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've been operating mostly CW for 53 years, used about every paddle known to man (including Vibroplex, Bencher, Kent, Begali, etc) and the ZN-SL is at the top of the heap by a wide margin. If you're looking for a good single-lever have found the best!

Thanks to Tony for a great product which I expect to be using until I'm SK!
AB0VI Rating: 5/5 Apr 16, 2010 10:53 Send this review to a friend
Excellent workmanship and a joy to use!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought this key paddle as a replacement for several others that I have used and been disappointed with because of their failure to adjust properly and stay adjusted. So many manufacturer's still don't seem to understand that adjustment screws require fine threads!

My ZN-SL paddle arrived a week ago and was packaged so well that I think that it would withstand a direct nuclear strike! It is a beauty to behold! The fit and finish is excellent and the optional callsign plate looks great as well. Even the included cable was better than expected. It's held in place with two cable clamps, not just one! And the soldering job is first rate too.

OK, it looks good but does it work well? WOW, does it ever! It comes already adjusted, so I plugged it in and tried it just as it was right out of the box. The movement is very light with close contact spacing. The combination of the heavy base and the light aluminum lever arm, along with the magnetic tensioning, makes it very easy to use. It doesn't move around on my desktop and it takes very little effort to use. I noticed that my key hand no longer feels the strain of sending for prolonged periods. It is amazing how much easier it is now to send good code.

I agree with all of the other reviewers, that this is a great paddle - excellent fit and finish and works as good as it looks. Kudo's to Tony for doing such a fine design and manufacturing job and for his excellent email response in making the ordering process a good experience as well. I couldn't be happier with this paddle and I look forward to using it for many years to come.
9V1VV Rating: 5/5 Dec 23, 2009 16:56 Send this review to a friend
Great Key  Time owned: more than 12 months
Update after one year of use - I live in the tropics and the shack is not airconditioned. The laquered finish has protected the key very well and there is no discolouration, unlike many other keys I own. I use it in bug style with manual Dahs through a JA3KAB bug emulator, and the dah side gets a lot of slapping. It bears the punishment very well and I have never needed to adjust it.
9V1VV Rating: 5/5 Nov 7, 2008 17:56 Send this review to a friend
Superb  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I received my ZN-SL key yesterday by USPS post to Singapore. It took a couple of weeks but it was worth the wait.

The key not only looks beautiful but is a pleasure to use. After only a few minutes of adjustment I was on the air, and soon forgot about the key. This is the mark of a good key - it becomes invisible and the brain-to-radio connection is much closer than with a less than perfect key.

The two gaps can be adjusted right down to zero without any mutual interaction, unlike some other single-lever keys.

The magnetic action is smooth and responsive.

Tony likes to know how his customers feel about his keys. He takes a craftsman's pride in his work.

All my other keys are on display in a glass cabinet. This key is the one I will use for many years on the air.

73 de John / 9 V 1 V V
K0FTC Rating: 5/5 Jul 30, 2008 02:42 Send this review to a friend
Great SL Paddle  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
The workmanship is obvious right out of the box. Not a flaw or mar on this brass paddle. The contact point is pinpoint and can be finally adjusted and I have not found that it changes with use. The magnetic tension can also be finally adjusted and how they are installed is unique at least to me and very direct, with one inlet into the tensioning screw. You can also personalize the key with a call nameplate - and I really like the plate Tony provided. Customer orientation is outstanding as well. Tony is very personable and communicates quickly and professionally. I needed to make adjustments to shipment and it was done as requested, and he wants to know when his product is received and wants feedback as to how you like the key. In other words his customer service does not end with payment and shipment - he really wants to know if his customer is satisfied with his product. And finally the important part of all this is the functionality of the paddle. I've also got a Profi-2 and a March - both fine keys, and though each has a different feel, I can say I really enjoy this AN-SL a lot, and would rate as a top of the line paddle. Adjustments are fine scale, the weight is right, and the paddles are at the right height. This is my first non-iambic key, and I have seen the single paddle on some, but this set-up with a dual paddle makes it easy to adapt to after using other dual paddle iambic paddles. I think Tony is a master craftsman and he produces an outstanding product.
KW4N Rating: 5/5 Jun 28, 2008 17:53 Send this review to a friend
Look no further!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I can set this paddle so close, where it will stay forever, that a breeze from a flipped coin can give me a dit or a dah. Just what I wanted!
And it's easy on the eyes.
And it's the right weight.
And he's a fair minded and ethical businessman.
Look no further!

73's, Dave, KW4N
W0AAA Rating: 5/5 May 26, 2008 07:46 Send this review to a friend
My Favorite Key!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Wow! Over 70 reviews of N3ZN keys and they are all 5.0's. I rarely post my comments about products but could not resist on this one. I learned the Morse code in 1952 at age 5. My dad would come home from a tough day at work, I would arrive after a strenuous half-day of kindergarten. We would meet in the living room and the code records would begin to play. I have been a ham for 47 years and collect code keys. I have tested the ZN-SL against my Begali's, WBL's, GHD convertible and GHD speed paddles, ZPY's, Scheunemann Einhebel, FYO, Kent, Autronic's, Vibroplex, Bencher, Hi-Mound,, El-Key and others. My desk is set up so I can test a number of keys at the same time. I use two Logikey CMOS-4 keyers and practice everyday sending letter groups, callsigns, word text, alphabet, etc. I key at 60 wpm and up until I received my ZN-SL, the WBL X-3's were untouchable at the higher speeds. Not anymore...there is a new kid (key) on the block!!! I have been testing Tony's key for almost 2 months now and it is absolutely unbelievable! I like my contact spacing extremely tight and with its ultra-fine threading it made adjusting this key a breeze. It was ready to go in a minute. The key's action is clean and crisp with absolutely no mushiness at all. The fingerpieces are made so they are low to the desktop. I like this feature and have most of my single levers customized this way. (Tnx to N7SR) I key on a glass surface so I use paper-tak on the rubber feet to secure the key better at higher speeds. I would have liked to have 4 rubber feet instead of 3 but that is just a minor thing. Tony Baleno is an excellent craftsman and I am very proud to have this beautiful key (lucky S/N 13) in my collection. It is now a permanent fixture on my bench and the key I plan to use for my CW work. Thanks a million, Tony, for all your efforts in producing such a fantastic product! Buy one and you will not be disappointed. Zed, WAAA
K1TN Rating: 5/5 Apr 24, 2008 13:25 Send this review to a friend
Happy OT CW guy  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
5 out of 5.

It didn't take me more than an hour or so to decide this was a good purchase. I've been a Morse operator for nigh onto 50 years (since age 9), and a professional writer for 35, so I could go on and on. I'll try not to.

I have an original W8FYO single-lever (SL) paddle that I bought in 1968. It's been my standard of comparison ever since. Over the years I've tried a bunch of other SL paddles, including the HAL FYO knock-off (not bad). When I began DXpeditioning in the Caribbean in the 1980s, I didn't want to risk taking my heirloom FYO, so I bought a gold Bencher SL and attached the little MFJ integrated keyer onto it. It served me well for at least 10 years. Then I quit traveling and sold the Bencher to a friend. Over the 40 years it usually seemed that the FYO was all I needed.

Now, I'm getting ready to go to a Field Day operation and show all the no-coders how it's done! And I sure ain't risking my FYO on FD. So, I looked around the SL paddle market. Buying a paddle without trying it is like buying a car without test-driving it, but I took a chance. The Tony Baleno, N3ZN SL looked right to me. As someone here said, it's harder to design an SL paddle than an iambic type. (I think iambic keying is a scam, by the way, but that's another story.)

As Hillary Clinton might say, the ZN-SL was "ready on day one." I like my paddle contact spacing very, very close, and the ZN-SL came just about that way, as if Tony had read my mind. I diddled with the magnetic "return" settings but found that the factory settings were fine. And, there are no set screws on the adjustment screws (not needed, I think). I really like that.

I put the ZN-SL and the heirloom FYO side-by-side and alternated using them. They feel a little different, which is inevitable. If you blindfolded me and asked me to identify them by touch, I uh, err, oh, think I could.

I had my choice of black or red plastic finger pieces, and I chose red. My finger pieces, which are, incidentally, shaped exactly like angel's wings, are laminated; black in the center and red on the outsides. They are attractive. I once had a girlfriend who is an oil painter and a graphic artist, and maybe she taught me a little bit about appreciating this sort of thing. I think this little touch is an attention to detail that is obvious in the entire key.

Jim Cain, K1TN
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