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Reviews Categories | Keys & Paddles | Begali HST Single Lever Help

Reviews Summary for Begali HST Single Lever
Begali HST Single Lever Reviews: 28 Average rating: 4.9/5 MSRP: $250
Description: An innovative high-speed single lever key that can be switched to sideswiper mode at the flick of a switch. Cast iron base, precision bearings, and gold plated adjustment screws.
Product is in production.
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KA2Z Rating: 5/5 Apr 23, 2012 22:52 Send this review to a friend
#251 HST Single Lever New Magnet / Cam Version  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I started out in CW on straight keys and bugs which served well for many years. By the time I started playing around with dual lever keys I was unable to adapt to the iambic squeeze technique of keying. For me personally, the iambic method did not make sense and I felt it was not worth my time to use. So I used a dual paddle like a dual action single lever key. This served me well for many years.
It never occured to me to maybe just get a single lever key. Not sure why. I recently got interested in getting an actual single lever after seeing the uTube videos of the HST.
I already had the Signature Key, and the Intrepid Bug from the Begali family, and I was completely satisfied with both. So I decided to go for the HST.
The HST I got is the new version where the single lever moves off a cam and return force is adjustable via a magnet. What a great idea!
How do I like it? Well, my ham brothers and sisters I have to tell you, this is the key I've been looking for all my life. It was so easy to set up and make adjustments to my personal technique. It is so smooth. I really love this single lever. It feels great operating it, the code flows cleanly, and I love the look of it-- big and solid. The aluminum finger piece is a perfect fit for me.
I have two stations set up in the shack here. I'm using the Intrepid on my 40 meter set, and this HST on my 80 meter set. I'm really enjoying CW so much more lately!
VK2BYN Rating: 5/5 Mar 12, 2012 03:50 Send this review to a friend
Beautiful to use.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
If you want a key to look nice on your desk near your expensive radio Begali make other keys that may suit you better. However, if sending nice clean fast morse code is your priority you should try the HST. It's beautifully balanced and weighted, a pleasure to use.
W8FA Rating: 5/5 Mar 5, 2012 16:47 Send this review to a friend
A pleasure to use.  Time owned: more than 12 months
This single-lever paddle is built for high-speed competition. As such, it has a higher tension range than most paddles. Using a dynamometer to measure force, I can set the tension on this paddle to as low as 40 grams of pressure required for activation at the paddle's fingertips. As a reference, I can set my Bencher Iambic down to 5 grams and my cherished N0SA single-lever Model SP2 down to 2 grams. I like a light tension setting, but even though the tension on this paddle is higher, it still feels good and is not tiring to use for extended periods. The workmanship and finish are first class and what you would expect from Begali. The adjustments are fine thread, so it's easy to set. The base is very heavy. Heavier than what you would imagine from the picture. It could be used as a weapon. It will not move even when used in hard-fist sideswiper (cootie) mode. The sideswiper option is available at the flick of the microswitch mounted on the paddle's base. This paddle has such a nice feel when keyed. The positive mechanical "clicking" vibration inherent in this unique design is positively felt in the large aluminum paddle fingertip, which is nicely grooved for a non-slip feel. Customer service and communication from Begali was professional and my paddle arrived safely packed in a week. In my humble opinion, most of the paddles out there are just "more of the same", with a little different twist, spin, or look of their own. Not this design. It has a beauty all it's own. It looks better than the pictures. It's one of my favorites. Very solid and functional. A real pleasure to use.
WD1V Rating: 5/5 Oct 8, 2011 05:23 Send this review to a friend
Coolest Cootie!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This is a key that lets you create a style that is YOU. It takes some practice but all of a sudden, you are rolling with it and while you're listening to what it sounds like, you can elongate any dash just a bit for a mellow emphasis. Its a lot of fun and forces some new muscle memory so an even larger part of your brain will be adapting to your favorite mode. And of course, its typical Begali quality. Doesn't move and with a little extra pressure gives you metal clicks like a metronome. Now have a SPARK straight key, Sculpture paddle, and HST cootie all from Begali. I also have a LI Mercury. The HST is the new fun one. But they are all 5's.
WB2LQF Rating: 5/5 Jul 11, 2011 20:35 Send this review to a friend
A Simple Yet Sturdy Single Lever Paddle  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have not experienced the problems reported by some others. I am, in fact, totally pleased with my HST. I wanted a quality "cootie" key and that's why I purchased the HST. For 'swiping I enjoy wider spacing and some "clicking". The HST satisfied my sideswiper needs without reservation. I have a Sculpture Mono for single lever paddling, but, I tried out the HST just for the heck of it. It certainly did feel very different from the Sculpture Mono -- but I was still sending nearly perfect code as reported by the CW Trainer firmware in the Begali CW Machine. That machine is difficult to fool - screw up a single space and it reports you! The Begali HST isn't quite as "beautiful" as some of the other Begali offerings, but the price is not 'up there either'. I have found another way to use it too - I set my keyer to 'bug' mode and use the HST as a semi-automatic key. In my opinion, a person desiring to own a quality key for a reasonable price would do well to investigate the HST - it's a sideswiper, a single lever paddle, and a 'bug' if your keyer cooperates. Plus it's too heavy to wander and built like a tank.
LZ1BP Rating: 5/5 Jun 12, 2011 00:25 Send this review to a friend
Great!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have two models of Begali keys – HST and Sculpture for almost three years. As I have been a ham operator for over 35 years working principally in CW and I’ve participated in many HST contests, I’d say that the Begali keys are very easy to work with and very easy for fine adjustment. Thanks to their excellent contact surfaces they don’t give any parasite signals and are appropriate for QRQ as well as for ham amateurs.
The keys have excellent design, simple construction and are precisely manufactured.

Thank you, Pietro!

73 Todor LZ1BP
K0ACP Rating: 5/5 Jun 3, 2011 07:24 Send this review to a friend
Wow -- fantastic single lever paddle  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I was going to hold off writing a review for a bit, but after a couple of weeks of operating -- felt it had earned a 5!

I am a relatively new cw op and have to admit that it a bit of a struggle with my old paddle -- in the spirit of full disclosure, I might not have had the paddles properly adjusted...

No matter, I picked this paddle up at Dayton -- Piero IT IS AWESOME!. My sending instantly vastly improved, the fit and feel
is incredibly natural, with little or no effort the code just seems to flow. I have enjoyed several 40+min rag chews with no fatigue and ready for more. I have not tried sideswiper or cootie mode yet but have that on the list of things to try.

The key is well built and the materials and retro styling really make it pop out. This key will be a part of my shack from now on!

I never got the feel for squeeze keying, so a single lever is the best match for me. As an engineer, I have a great appreciation for the craftsmanship in this key. It is an investment, but if you are interested in more than just a casual cw operation, either this key or one of the other Begali keys should be on your list of equipment to acquire.

Hope to work you on cw.


SM5HUA Rating: 5/5 Jul 30, 2010 14:53 Send this review to a friend
Sweet it is!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Got my HST a week ago together with the Stealth and Intrepid. Real nice key and works good for me...

One wish for the future is a magnetic tension system instead of the spring.

73s de Peter SM5HUA
N0AH Rating: 5/5 May 26, 2010 21:29 Send this review to a friend
Well Invested Time to Learn to Use!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Had to re-train my fist for a single lever but man, I'm flying now- this baby is built for speed- Strickly using for my number one contest paddle- Zzzzzzoooooooooommmmmmmmmmmmm!
VE3FDT Rating: 5/5 Apr 20, 2010 19:15 Send this review to a friend
Jiminy Clicket or One Man's Trash is Another Man's Treasure.  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
"Jiminy Clicket." or "One man's trash is another man's treasure. And I am the other man."

Or, as a dear friend of mine used to say, "Some people love Beethoven's Fifth, others are enamoured with the smell of their toe pits." Conrad, you were so right...

It is very personal, but the associations the Begali HST brings to my mind are those evoked by a symphony rather than triggered by smelly shoes.

The previous reviewer, through his rather acidic criticism of this excellent paddle, prompted me to write this review much sooner than I originally intended to. I thought I would give myself a year to get to really know the HST, now a four months acquaintance must do. So be it...

Back to the paddle.

I firmly believe that there is no objective, clinical and verifiable set of criteria by which a CW key of any kind can be judged. An opinion on a CW paddle is as subjective as the brain and the hand of the evaluator: it depends, as it must, on the person's ability, the way they learned the code, the way they send it, the way the anatomy of their hand is.

A judgement of any CW key is a matter of individual taste and individual taste only!

And in my judgement the Begali HST is an absolutely excellent paddle.

Yes, it is overpriced, but you pay not only for the Begali name, you also pay for the Begali support and service (see below).

Yes, it has its quirks and it may not be the "ultimate" single lever paddle -to achieve that Piero would have to individually design a paddle for each of his customers-, but even as it is, it is darn close to it.

Yes, its looks are not your run-of-the-mill pretty, but calling it "cheap and nasty" looking is a bit of a stretch. To each its own, I say. I like the looks and call them "intriguing".

In my search for the ultimate key I have gone through many, but I do not have a collection of CW keys. Firstly, I cannot afford it and good CW keys tend to be expensive. Secondly, I have a very utilitarian approach to the keys: they are tools and not "objects of beauty", it helps, if they do not hurt your eyes, but what you really need from them is to work well and you only need one (and maybe a spare, should something go wrong). I guess it is similar to car ownership: most mortals own one, usually the best they can afford, and refined connoisseurs with lots of disposable wealth have collections.

Begali HST is my current favourite.

An extremely strange experience. I cannot pinpoint what draws me to it.

I got it new, which I have very seldom done in the past, because it perfectly matched some of my desired parameters: single lever, slightly over 4 lbs weight (a minimum for my heavy hand), close to just right finger piece shape, size and placement (height). (I love the ribbed aluminium fingerpiece and its touch to the hand!) Plus it is a Begali. Endorsed by the “crème de la crème” of CW operators (see the videos by I0GOJ, IK0XCB, IK0YGJ, DJ1YFK, DL4UNY and the likes doing 60 WPM with the HST like there is no tomorrow). No room for any doubt, I thought: I am not T. R. McElroy, but I could use a key like that.

Then I got the key. It was misaligned (rough shipping?) and kept seizing up even at relatively wide spacing, and suddenly I started having doubts. Bruna and Piero were simply marvellous and provided the best customer service imaginable. The key was quickly replaced.

Then I went through a second wave of doubts: this key does not respond well to my usual settings of extremely narrow spacing and lots of return force. In fact, the V groove tension mechanism does not seem to allow for as much return force as I was used to and expected. This (to avoid seizing) forced me to leave contact spacing a fraction wider than I had always set for other keys in the past. That, in turn, causes the contacts to make a "clicketty" sound while you send. (Something that you will hear in all of the videos starring the HST.) And this goes against everything I expected and wanted from a good key which, I was convinced, should be like well behaved children from the nineteen fifties: seen but not heard (except for the sound of the code).

But, wonder of wonders, while being perpetually annoyed by this "unnatural", "clicketty" keying I kept sending good (for my abilities) code and managed to stay error free at slightly higher speeds than with my previous paddles.

After a couple of weeks of constant fiddling and almost continuous code practise I gave up: I accept this key as is and am willing to change my ways and my deeply entrenched opinions. "The proof is in the pudding." I realize that it may be perceived as outright naiveté, but I am a true believer in the cliché statement that "this paddle has improved my keying". I reserve the right to change my mind, but Begali HST is currently the "ultimate" paddle in my books. À la prochaine fois…

The level of my acceptance of the HST is best given by the fact that I now have a pet name for it. Because of the sound it makes (and because my daughter watched Disney's "Pinocchio" at the time) I call it Jiminy Clicket.
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