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Reviews Categories | Keys & Paddles | Vizkey Cootie Key Help

Reviews Summary for Vizkey Cootie Key
Vizkey Cootie Key Reviews: 28 Average rating: 5.0/5 MSRP: $118
Description: The "Viz Cootie Key" like all other Vizkeys is all brass construction. Base is made of 1/2" brass, 2" X 3-1/2". Center insulator is Micarta insulating board, Silver contacts, clear rubber feet, black plastic finger pieces, and an actual hack-saw blade spring like the old time original cooties were made from. Supplied with a 3 foot shielded cable with your choice of 1/8" or 1/4" plug
Product is in production.
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N0ZT Rating: 5/5 Oct 6, 2016 07:32 Send this review to a friend
Sweet  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Nicely crafted, took me very little time to get the feel for this paddle (my first single-lever paddle.) Solid feel, easy to adjust. Excellent service from Curt. I just got this paddle, will update later, but looks and feels very nice. 2 thumbs up. Recommended.
N5FSN Rating: 5/5 Feb 11, 2014 12:47 Send this review to a friend
EXCELLENT Key  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Been off the air for about 12 years and about 4 months ago I bought a TS-480HX. I also bought a Bencher because I recalled the days of pounding on a straight key until my wrist throbbed. When I read about Toms's Viz Cootie my intesest perked. For one thing the speed from an iambic key doesen't appeal to me as it once did. Sending and receiving 30-35 WPM back in the days has lost its shine. I would much rather enjoy a simple QSO with a new friend at 10-20 WPM.

I'll be packing the Bencher to the next local ham fest, its for sale.

BTW, it only took 2 working days for my key to arrive, SN C-108. Thanks Tom!
WA2TPU Rating: 5/5 Feb 6, 2014 15:59 Send this review to a friend
FANTASTIC KEY  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Hi 2 All. I had Tom make me a heavier weight base "cootie" because of my disability. ITS A FANTASTIC KEY!! I LOVE IT!! PERIOD!! AND ITS MADE IN AMERICA!!
N4KHZ Rating: 5/5 Dec 11, 2013 04:00 Send this review to a friend
My “Big Foot” Cootie… Rhythmic and Smooth and a Blast to use!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I recently got back into Ham Radio after a 25 year hiatus and had always loved code. I had been using Bencher paddles back then but wanted to do something different and fun. I thought about a straight key, and bought a nice German Junker off of eBay, but I found that "pounding brass" seemed a little too jarring and uncomfortable. I tried a Vibroplex single paddle, but it was a little “clunky” for sideswiping. I had seen the sideswiper "Cooties" made from hack-saw blades, metal rulers, knife blades, etc… They had a flexible arm and this seemed like it would be gentler and smoother. I read the reviews here on eHam, and the Vizkey Cootie looked like it was the one to get. Everyone seemed to love it! A couple of people did mention that you may need to hold it, as it was sorta small, so I asked Tom if he could build one a little bigger, 3" X 4 ½ " instead of 2” X 3 ½” ( 93% bigger footprint!) He was very accommodating and for a few bucks more, and in a couple of days, he made me a beautiful “Big Foot” Cootie Key!! He shipped it out right-away and wow, I now have an AWESOME key!
I LOVE this key! Its larger size makes it stay put and it has a commanding presence on the table in my shack. But it’s so sweet to operate. Very gentle with a little flex at the end of each swipe makes for comfortable and FUN sending! Much more satisfying than using an iambic keyer and paddles. I wish I had one of these back in ’75 with my HW-16… Anyway, this is clearly my all-time favorite! And the workmanship is impeccable. And of course, Tom is a pleasure to do business with!
My “Big Foot” Vizkey Cootie… A simple and superior Morse machine!
John N4kHz
W7WEL Rating: 5/5 Oct 11, 2012 12:02 Send this review to a friend
Nicely built, small, and smooth!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Tom shipped on Tuesday because of Columbus Day and the package was delivered at 10 AM on Thursday. Very fast service from Arkansas to Idaho. (USPS Priority Mail)

The hack saw blade lends authenticity and nostalgia of times past, hinting of the many thousands built homebrew style. And why not? The hacksaw blade provides a perfect tension with Toms dimensions. Small but stable on the desktop, two hand sending isn't required unless you really get excited and need to slap it around.

Nothing sweeter than that musical, cootie rhythm.

Bill - W7WEL - North Idaho
AB7LK Rating: 4/5 Sep 20, 2012 17:51 Send this review to a friend
Fun to use, good value  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This is the second key that I have purchased from Tom and I am enjoying it very much. As before the key was delivered quickly and arrived in good condition.

The solid brass base looks very nice with the machined swirls and is heavy enough to stay put on the bench.

One of the reasons that I wanted to try the Vizkey Cootie is that my wrist and fingers have been bothering me lately. The soft feel of the hack saw blade acts like a little cushion and my wrist pain is much less. I found the action of a Cootie key took me about a week of practice to learn. Using the "Fingers First" method I was surprised how fast I can send with it. Faster than a straight key and less arm pain.

I set my contact spacing with a feeler gauge and found it easy to do by backing off the contact screw and holding the feeler gauge onto the adjusting contact. Hold the gauge against the contact and turn the knurled nut until the side tone of your rig comes on. Just be careful not to go fast so that the hack saw blade moves from the center resting position.

The Viz Cootie may not be the most expensive key on the market, but when measuring bang for your bucks I'm sure I will be using this key for years.

N6XJP Rating: 5/5 Sep 5, 2012 14:45 Send this review to a friend
Smooth  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
How, I asked myself, could all these Hams rate this very simple elegent design with 5s across the board. Now I know. It arrived right on time and doing business with Tom was absolutely great.

The Cootie is the smoothest way I have found to send code in my 23 years as a CW operator. I started slowly to make sure the technique was right, and the speed came up as if by magic. And this is one who has operated from a straight key 99% of the time. It's intuitive! The gentle motions back and forth become rhythmic and graceful patterns. Effortless and yet very accurate and forgiving (sometimes my CW really needs forgiveness, lol).

The quality of workmanship is very nice. Burnished and clean lines. Great contacts and paddle handles. Really a nice "instrument" for slow or speedy CW.

Straight key is now in the drawer. Vibroplex paddle is now in a closet. This one goes portable with me from now on. Great job Tom.


I have no stake in the commercial production or financial interest in the sales of these Cooties... although, I wish I did.
N4MPM Rating: 5/5 Aug 23, 2012 07:48 Send this review to a friend
Quality product for gimped Ops  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Having problems with arthritis and other issues, I decided to try "building " a Cootie or sideswiper key. My effort was crude but workable.
I found the reviews of the Vizkey Cootie and saw the number of satisfied owners. I found the website and shortly ordered one. It arrived in short order, and I was immediately impressed with the quality and design of the key. I have found my favorite key -- now to work the bugs out of it!
Seriously, it is a fine key, and you will have to order your own, you can 't have mine.

OH5JJL Rating: 5/5 Apr 27, 2012 01:05 Send this review to a friend
Great little cootie  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought this little cootie a couple of years ago. My first impression was that I will never learn to send with it so I forgot it and kept on sending with a bug. Later I wanted to learn to handle it and after some practice I managed to send understandable code.

It is very well made, beautiful brass. I also have a homebrew hacksaw blade cootie which is a bit softer than this but it depends on the mood which key feels better. Sending with VIZKey is pleasant. The base could be a bit heavier because I have to hold it on the table with my left hand.

Summary: A very good cootie for a reasonable price.
VA7VV Rating: 5/5 Nov 22, 2011 08:33 Send this review to a friend
Excellent in every way  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I ordered the Cootie for a blind friend of mine, VE7BGJ. Dealing with Tom, K4VIZ was a pleasure -- he's a craftsman and a gentleman.

The key is a beauty: simplicity itself, machined perfectly in every detail. My friend, in anticipation of receiving the real McCoy, had taught himself how to use a cootie, by cobbling together a simulation key made from a keyer paddle.

Within seconds of removing the bubble wrap from the VIZ Cootie when it arrived, my pal was on the air with it and sounding like a pro.

VE7BGJ was delighted, and so was I.

Jerome - VA7VV
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