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Author Topic: How many OT's still use hand keys?  (Read 29234 times)
W1BR
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Posts: 4195




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« on: March 25, 2015, 09:56:10 PM »

I have several iambic paddle keys... Vibroplex, Bencher, etc.  but I find my best sending is using a common manual hand key!  I've never mastered a paddle, iambic or straight.  So, I am curious how many other old timers still suffer along with a hand key for CW contacts?  I know a lot of guys are using keyboards, but my question pertains to whether there are some old timers who still find the manual hand key to be the preferred method for sending code!

Pete
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W1JKA
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Posts: 2099




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« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2015, 02:43:40 AM »

Me and not suffering at all, only use a 1912 Signal Electric and WW11 Navy Flameproof equally depending on what rig I use. Same keys I had as a Novice in the 60s but now with an easy give me license called a General.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2015, 03:22:42 AM by W1JKA » Logged
GW3OQK
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Posts: 449




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« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2015, 03:03:57 AM »

I use a Kent, Marconi 365 & WT8Amp.

During hours of operating my backside gets tired of sitting but my arm never tires. No suffering at all with a hand key. I do have to suffer the errors made by people who can't send error free morse with a paddle, but its a joy when they can.

I tried a paddle but the time required to learn a new technique was not worth it so I sold it. Better to practice my hand key. I'm 70+
73, Andrew
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PA0WV
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Posts: 418




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« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2015, 03:19:03 AM »

[...}  but I find my best sending is using a common manual hand key! [...] I've never mastered a paddle, iambic or straight.
Pete

Wondering here what the difference is between 'a straight' and 'a common manual hand key'

My answer; I prefer my Junker, straight key, but I am only able  to use it  QRS, so the QSO partner matches his speed, while I have no problem with 40 wpm head copy of plain English text.
So I also use a dual Brown Bros paddle mounted on a molten lead and solderwaste filled coffee can lid

http://pa0wv.home.xs4all.nl/pdfbestanden/a63j23nr9mei2011.pdf

 which allows me 30 wpm, and for higher speeds I use my home brew Morse keyboard which uses an old PC-AT keyboard.

http://pa0wv.home.xs4all.nl/pdfbestanden/mkb.pdf
« Last Edit: March 26, 2015, 03:31:24 AM by PA0WV » Logged

AA4Q
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Posts: 41




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« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2015, 10:06:53 AM »

I don't consider my self an "old timer" but last week was the 40th anniversary of getting my license and making my first Novice QSO.

I use paddle for faster sending in contests or DXing

I use a straight key for ragchewing, SOTA, QRP, SKCC, etc. I often call it a hand key, when telling the other op, since "hand" is a lot easier to send in CW than "straight".

I use a keyboard for typing responses to internet forums.

AA4Q
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PA0WV
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Posts: 418




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« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2015, 10:43:04 AM »


I tried a paddle but the time required to learn a new technique was not worth it so I sold it. Better to practice my hand key. I'm 70+
73, Andrew

Try a cootie key or side swiper, easy to learn , easy to home brew of a hacksaw blade and you get without much learning time nearly double speed (the cootie is also identfied as "double speed key" )

http://www.sideswipernet.org/keys
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N3QE
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Posts: 5593




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« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2015, 12:03:41 PM »

I use straight key on run-up to and including SKN, and occasionally during slow-speed events (e.g. CWops CWA Wednesdays, NAQCC events). With a straight key  I am very comfortable up to about 15WPM and less comfortable up to 20WPM. Above 20WPM I am always using a keyer.
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N5RDE
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Posts: 18




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« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2015, 03:51:48 PM »

I have a Navy Flameproof Key and a Vibroplex bug wired in parallel and use them exclusively. 
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ZL1BBW
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Posts: 1374




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« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2015, 09:41:07 PM »

In 50 odd years of using Morse Keys, I have never managed to send a correct sentence on a bug key.

Something in my mind, says hold the paddle over and a string of dahs will come out, yeah it does, but just no spaces.

I was always quite envious of one old hand who could send the christmas traffic list on a bug, whilst grabbing the bundles of QTC's out of the carousel and flicking them over to read the call signs.  The list would run for an hour at 30 - 35wpm.  Andrew GW3OQK would have probably copied a few of those lists.
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ex MN Radio Officer, Portishead Radio GKA, BT Radio Amateur Morse Tester.  Licensed as G3YCP ZL1DAB, now taken over my father (sk) call as ZL1BBW.
KB4QAA
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Posts: 3342




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« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2015, 10:20:38 PM »

Present key up on rotation is a Kent KT-1.  Massive bar of brass but still quite nimble. Works quite well sending continental style with key at the desk edge and arm relaxed by my side.
http://www.eham.net/reviews/detail/3855

A Navy flame-proof is in my QRP bag. Functional, comfortable, no complaints.    My sentimental favorite is a Nye Speed X key with squared base, shorting bar and navy knob.  
http://www.eham.net/reviews/detail/3847

http://www.nyeviking.com/productsaccess.htm

After thirty years of hamming I finally got a J-38 that came with a transmitter.  It's a key, but I would never spend money to buy one after using it.  Just not my cup of tea.
http://k6ix.net/J38Keys.html
bill

p.s.  I made a small jack box which is attached to the side support of my desk shelves.   A lead goes to my radio, and I can swap keys quickly by plugging the jack box without wrestling with the  back of the radio.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2015, 10:32:34 PM by KB4QAA » Logged

KA0HCP, ex-KB4QAA Relocated to Ks. April 2019.
GW3OQK
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Posts: 449




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« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2015, 02:09:08 AM »

Gavin, ZL1, yes and all the G's sent first with my ship MVYY near the end.

I suppose many old timers trained on a straight key to pass exam at 20 or 25 wpm, used hollow state radios, watched cowboy movies in black and white, and have a hankering for the past. My other hobbies are archery with an English Longbow and Hillbilly/Bluegrass music playing acoustic guitar and banjo.
73
Andrew
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W7ASA
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Posts: 548




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« Reply #11 on: March 27, 2015, 08:33:11 PM »

Up to roughly 20, it's my German 'Lorentz' aircraft hand key; above that it's my McElroy 1939 standard 'bug'.  I love handkeys in general and only use paddles when equipment limitations require it.


73 de Ray
W7ASA  ..._  ._
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WB8VLC
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Posts: 667




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« Reply #12 on: March 27, 2015, 10:03:54 PM »

I use the same hand key that I had as a novice in 1975, I have never used anything else.

If this key breaks I'll probably retire from radio.
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N7ZAL
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Posts: 198


WWW

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« Reply #13 on: March 28, 2015, 12:44:03 AM »

If I'm working a slower operator I do use a J-38, otherwise the keyer.
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Later, Bill N7ZAL (ex. WA2DPB, WB3BOC, N2FWS)
NI0C
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Posts: 3270




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« Reply #14 on: March 28, 2015, 08:38:34 AM »

During the early '60's as my code speed increased, I transitioned from a straight key to a bug, then to a "Mon Key" to an Eldico Keyer, back to a bug, then finally to the W9TO keyer.  I never went back to a manual key except for SKN just for fun. 

Now I use the K1EL key (incorporated in the microHam CW keyer), with N3ZN iambic paddles.  I have the K1EL programmed in "ultimatic" mode.  I have a Brown Bros straight key hooked up, but can't remember the last time I used it. 

I do remember with fondness the old timers straight keys that I heard fifty years ago, and I can still hear some of them in my head (the original W2QB, Art, in Buffalo NY, for example).

73,
Chuck  NI0C   
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