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Categories | Keys & Paddles | Bencher Mercury Paddle Help

Show all reviews of the Bencher Mercury Paddle

You can write your own review of the Bencher Mercury Paddle.

AH6RH  Rating: 5/5 Nov 30, 2002 05:00  Send this review to a friend!
Awesome!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
If you're serious about CW, you'ld be hard pressed to find a key better than the Bencher Mercury paddle. This review is on S/N 1052, which took about two months to fulfill the back order I placed just after Dayton 2002.

The attention to fine detail goes beyond the fabulous mirror-like chrome finish to the mechanical aspects as well. It's very heavy, so the key won't "walk" across the table top when you QSO.

When you place your fingers on the plastic paddles, there's an absolute rigid, secure feel that just pivots at the pivot points. There's no play or bounce in the paddle -- unlike the spring and pivots on the BY-1 key. No wobbling of the left/right paddles or sloppy feeling here.

The closure distance is adjusted with locking thumbscrews. No need for an allen wrench, screwdrivers, or other tools for adjustment. Just your fingers.

The tension on each contact is provided by two magnets with spacing and tension that's also adjusted with locking thumbscrews. You can set the tension stiff by placing the magnets close to each other, or far apart for a very, very soft tension.

The magnetic tension gives a different feel. You feel resistance until the magnets "give", then the resistance practically "melts" to nothing. Release the paddle, and the magnets pull the paddles back to the original idle position.

The spacing of the contacts can be made ever so small, and the magnetic tension set ever so light, that if you turn the key on it's side, the gentle tug of gravity on the plastic paddle and lever will cause the key contact to close. In the meantime, I've had to temporarily add more spacing and tension, until I get used to such a precision key.

And I couldn't use just any old cable for a key of this quality. I found at Radio Shack a premade 1/8-inch gold stereo phone to twin RCA phono connector cable, with 6 feet of cable. (P/N 42-2551) I cut off the RCA connectors, dressed and tinned the ends, squeezed the cable into the cable entry hole in the bottom rear of the key, and soldered in the bare wires to the key. The molded cable strain and connector now makes the cable look 100% professional -- matching the finish of the key.

That's pretty much it. One might question and have second thoughts about spending around $500 for an iambic paddle key. But once you've placed it in your hands and called CQ with a key of this smooth precision, it's hard to use anything else! 
Product is in production.
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