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

Reviews Summary for N3ZN KEYS Model ZN-SLR
N3ZN KEYS Model ZN-SLR Reviews: 20 Average rating: 5.0/5 MSRP: $see website for prices
Description: This is the round version of the ZN series single lever paddle. It it built on a 4" diameter brass base, 3/4" thick and weight around 3 pounds 6 ounces. It has 4 large diameter feet for maximum stability. The ZN-SLR can be built with one or two fingerpieces.
Product is in production.
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NI0C Rating: 5/5 Feb 17, 2016 15:05 Send this review to a friend
N3ZN always top quality  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I've used a rare edition N3ZN iambic key (ZN-9B) for several years, and it has been wonderful. Like the SLR, it is a heavyweight.

Since I originally learned electronic keying with single levers such as the old Vibroplex and Autronic keys, I decided to try this new single lever key made by Tony, N3ZN. I wanted to see if I could improve on my error rate. I have the ZN-9B and ZN-SLR side by side, wire-OR'ed to my keyer. I still can't tell which one I like the best. They are both wonderful, and I am lucky to have both of them.

I took the SLR on a vacation trip recently, and packed it in my rolling duffel (checked luggage) in its original shipping box. No problems. Tony is as careful about packaging his keys as he is in manufacturing them.
W6FCS Rating: 5/5 Mar 18, 2015 11:43 Send this review to a friend
You will love it forever  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Best key on this planet! All of Tony's keys are great to look at, fun to use, and work to perfection. I also have the "HULK" iambic paddle,
and I just ordered the ZN-HKR, the round, brass straight key. All of the reviews say the same thing, so go get one. You'll love it forever!
WA4APB Rating: 5/5 Sep 3, 2014 11:00 Send this review to a friend
A Work of Art for the Art of CW  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I cannot say it any better than W5UTI and K3DCW, among others. If you love CW, buy this paddle.
W5XH Rating: 5/5 Jun 19, 2014 15:13 Send this review to a friend
Work of art  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I ordered a ZN-SLR from Tony at Dayton this year, and it arrived today. It functions perfectly and is a work of mechanical art.
W4UTI Rating: 5/5 Apr 5, 2014 10:16 Send this review to a friend
Can't be equaled or beat!  Time owned: more than 12 months
Considering buying a paddle? Just read EVERY review of the outstanding paddles crafted by Tony, N3ZN. They all say the same thing. . .it's simply the best we have tried. Before you buy ANY paddle, from ANY craftsman, in ANY country, you owe it to yourself to check out Tony, his products, and his reviews. Not only does he produce paddles that are a joy to use, but he is a one-of-a-kind craftsman and communicator. E-mail him or call him and you will see what we mean. His paddle will satisfy you as long as you pound brass. It's not just a "key", it's an investment in CW enjoyment. Try it! You'll like it!
LX2RL Rating: 5/5 May 11, 2013 08:26 Send this review to a friend
Masterpiece  Time owned: more than 12 months
I purchased the ZN-SLR one year ago and must say that the key surpassed all my expectations.
It is a long term investment that I recommend to exigent CW operators.

Thank you Tony for the great job.
73 de LX2RL
VE3DBB Rating: 5/5 Apr 30, 2013 09:54 Send this review to a friend
VE3DBB  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I am a CW QRP operator only and I have been licenced since 1974. This paddle is the most esthetically pleasing paddle I have ever seen and is a joy to use. It stays where you put it. It is tight and precise. I highly recomend it and I echo all the positives in the other reviews on this site. In my mind, it is the best bang for the buck! Buy one with confidence and enjoy.
K3DCW Rating: 5/5 Mar 20, 2013 17:45 Send this review to a friend
Pure operating bliss!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I purchased the N3ZN ZN-SLR for use with my K3's internal keyer and have found it to be fine piece of machinery. The adjustments can be made on a (virtually) microscopic level and once set, they will stay! Operation is smooth and quiet! No extra dits or dahs unless I mess up and allow them to be sent. The base is solid and does not move AT ALL, even during heavy-handed operation.

I have also experimented using this key as a "sideswiper"; opening the spacing up a bit. It worked great and stayed put no matter how hard I slapped the key around.

This is a key that will last forever and I am proud to own one. Buy one and you won't regret it for a minute.
WU7F Rating: 5/5 Jan 19, 2013 22:24 Send this review to a friend
It feels so good!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I purchased a ZN-SLR single lever key from Tony a few months ago. I've broken this review into three parts so you can read what is most relevant to you:
Part 1 – Quality of the Key
Part 2 – Tony's responsiveness
Part 3 – My experience moving from an iambic (squeeze-key) paddle to a single-lever paddle

1) Quality of the Key
This was a 'big investment' for me – I'm not a collector of keys. I knew this was going to be a purchase that was going to have to 'last', so I wanted the best instrument I could get. Radios will come and go, but the ergonomic interface to that radio is the CW paddle, and I don't change those often. I wanted a 'quality' key. I gave this one a rating of 'five'

My friend Gary, K7ZAD, has used several single lever paddles and also has home-brewed his own to get the quality he was looking for. I let him try the N3ZN paddle. As he operated it for a few minutes, a grin appeared on his face as he declared "This is the finest commercial single lever paddle I have ever touched" - he also praised the design – commenting that it has no mechanical friction points or springs, and does not slide around.

My own first impression was that it felt 'smooth', 'solid', and 'precise'. I realize that these adjectives are attempts to express a subjective experience and probably fail to impart how good it feels. Maybe you just have to experience it to know what I'm talking about – but it feels better than any key I have ever used.

I mentioned that I am not a key collector, but W0AAA is. He has written reviews of Tony's paddles elsewhere. I am thankful to Zed for allowing me to call him and discuss why he likes Tony's keys the best. I think hearing it first-hand by someone who has a couple of Tony's paddles, along with many other high-end paddles with which to compare—helped me feel reassured I was making a good decision to get this paddle.

My shack gets much cooler in the winter – and at one point in the recent weeks the indoor temperature dropped to the low '50's (F) That's about a 25 degree temperature swing from the time I had finally stopped my initial tweaking of the adjustments to get it just right. I'm sensitive to minor adjustments in on the key (because the way I like to have it set), yet this key hasn't drifted from those initial settings, even with the change in temperature.

Speaking of stability – the base on this paddle is heavy. It doesn't slide around. I have it sitting on a desk with a simulated wood finish that is rather slick. I purchased some “Museum Putty” and “BluTack” adhesive in anticipation of needing to add it to the key's rubber feet. It didn't need it! It doesn't budge at all during use. I've even tried being 'heavy-handed' with it – like some of the bug ops' – and I have to really hit it hard to make it slide. For the way I use it, it stays put without any additional 'help'.

Bottom line – this is a quality instrument. I can confirm what others have stated in regard to its workmanship, design, beauty, and most importantly (for me) – the way it feels and responds during CW operation.

2) Tony
I was a “nervous” buyer. I hadn't been to Dayton or some other hamfest where I could get hands-on experience with one of Tony's keys. You know there has to be something special about them to garner the accolades that they have received. Even so, it took many email exchanges with Tony before I finally made the purchase. Tony was very patient and reassuring throughout the process. One of my challenges was wondering if a single-lever paddle would work for me, since I've always used an iambic paddle in the past. Tony shared his thoughts with me on the subject, and it turns out they were spot-on. The paddle was ready before the promised date, and Tony sent me a photo of it when he told me it was ready. I can recommend doing business with Tony without reservation. Thank you, Tony!!!

3) Using a Single-lever paddle (from a guy who had only used Iambic paddles in the past)
I am used to squeeze-keying iambic paddles. I heard that accuracy can be improved and timing is more forgiving with a single-lever. I put it to the test.

I base-lined my proficiency sending CW near my top speed where I would make some mistakes. Then I tested using my iambic key (the only key I had at the time) – but rather than keeping my fingers in light contact with the paddles as I usually do, I widened the space between my thumb and forefinger and kept it the same distance apart, and swiveled my wrist. After a few tries, I found that I was making fewer errors this way. For weeks I would try this test in different order, with different material to send. It became clear that for me, there was a slight improvement in accuracy while sending in this manner. I should underscore the fact that it wasn't a huge improvement – but it was enough that it got me thinking about the future. If I was going to make a single purchase of a high-end key – one that I expect to use the rest of my life; wouldn't it make sense to get one that both improves my accuracy today – and even more likely to do so as I get older and perhaps loose some of the fine motor skills that I take for granted today? I decided to go with the Single-Lever paddle.

For the first week, I noticed that my fingers would sometimes 'twitch' and make the movement to try to 'squeeze' a character (muscle memory). Then it went away. It now feels second-nature to me. If you are thinking about moving to a single-lever paddle - go for it!

Today I hooked up my old iambic paddle for the first time since I got the new key. I can still 'squeeze' characters fine... but there is such a big difference in the mechanics and the way the keys feel... it didn't take long before I had the ZN-SLR reconnected. It feels soooo much better!

If you have the chance to get one of these keys, do it. I hope you will be as happy with it as I am.

73 de Mark, WU7F
W4OX Rating: 5/5 May 20, 2012 11:13 Send this review to a friend
Just what I was looking for!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I "cut my teeth" in terms of a paddle on an Autronic in 1969. I misplaced it along the way during the course of several moves and ever since I have been looking for another single lever paddle that would be a joy to use. In the meantime, I tried any number of iambic paddles, but honestly could not master clean iambic keying. Then at this year's (2012) Orlando Hamcation, I came across Tony and his booth. Trying several of his paddles, I decided I had likely found "the one." Still, I took more time to think about it and waited until several weeks after the hamfest to order one. I am very glad I took the plunge. Simply, this paddle is very smooth and near effortless to use. And it doesn't move on my desk which has a formica top, despite not using anti-skid material as I have had to do with lesser paddles. In terms of whether I would recommend this paddle, I am thinking about ordering another which should pretty well sum up what I think of it. Thanks Tony!
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