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Reviews Categories | Keys & Paddles | MFJ-561/MFJ-561K Miniature Travel Iambic Paddle Help

Reviews Summary for MFJ-561/MFJ-561K Miniature Travel Iambic Paddle
MFJ-561/MFJ-561K Miniature Travel Iambic Paddle Reviews: 19 Average rating: 3.1/5 MSRP: $19.95/$14.95
Description: Miniature, lightweight Iambic paddle tiny enough to fit in an Altoids tin.
Product is in production.
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KJ6ZH Rating: 2/5 Jun 14, 2018 17:38 Send this review to a friend
Paddle Arms Broke Off While Adjusting Spacing !  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought this to go with my R928 HF SDR QRP radio.
The spacing between the dah contacts was too wide so I gently squeezed the copper contacts to close the gap. The arm broke off.

It appears the bend was cracked during the forming process as evidenced by the observable crack in the seam on the dit side of the paddle where it was bent during the forming process as well.

Was able to disassemble the paddles (in the process the dit side also broke off), solder the pieces back together and reassemble. Figured it was easier to fix than send it back to MFJ for their "No Matter What" guarantee.

Solder appears to be a good repair but should not have had to fix a new item.

Apparent Root Cause: Poor manufacturing quality / manufacturing processes over stressed the bends in the metal during the forming process for the paddle arm piece resulting in cracking of the bends and metal fatigue failure.

Buy this at your own risk!
WB9POJ Rating: 3/5 Feb 26, 2017 06:05 Send this review to a friend
OK for the bucks  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I'm middlin' pleased with this key, with some caveats. The price is certainly decent. Having a light touch and liking short throws of the paddles, weight is not an issue for me, it may be for others. Unfortunately, mine arrived with one defective split post. No amount of tightening of the screw in this post will secure the distance adjusting screw for the contact. So, when you get yours, look closely for defects. To secure these contact screws requires a lot of torque on the clamping screws for the split posts. The screw heads are small and easily stripped. Mine also arrived poorly set up, adjustments for left and right paddles significantly different, inspiring a bit of frustration for a few minutes until I figured out these adjustments and what the trouble was. The one-page documentation that comes with the paddle shows the parts, but no details on adjustments. It does not take but a minute or two to figure these out, even if, like myself, one has not previously had an Iambic paddle, but 15 minutes of time from someone at MJF could produce documentation that details these adjustments. Despite the comments above, I will keep the paddle and think it is a decent value.
N3NJ Rating: 3/5 Jan 1, 2016 20:23 Send this review to a friend
Fair for the price  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I don't do a lot of CW but I do like to work DX-peditions sometimes or tinker with the mode occasionally. I wasn't in the mood to spend a $100 bucks or more on a new key so I decided to get a MFJ-561. It just won't do what a "real" keyer will do but it does work. I used a small C-clamp to secure it to the edge of my table. You could modify this unit and attach it to a heavier or more sturdy base. It is small and light and easier to carry than a regular key. It is what is and has its limitations. In my case it was better than having no keyer at all. Good for emergency use. It doesn't lend itself to adjustments. I'm not terribly disappointed. 73 de N3NJ......
N7ISS Rating: 4/5 Sep 7, 2014 18:53 Send this review to a friend
Great for SOTA  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
For the money it can not be beat. I put it together in about 4 minutes and it works fine. I later stuck it in a RS mini box. Now its even better. I really wanted to get one of those cool keys you see in all the you tube vids, but I didn't want to drop over $100.00 on one. This is all the key you will need. It is a bit light but when you are climbing up a mountain thats what you need.
N4MJG Rating: 5/5 May 28, 2014 15:13 Send this review to a friend
great for my 817ND !  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I'm ok with 561 keyer for my 817ND i don't want to carry something heavy key for 817 i'm ok with 2 hands to work with !! i needed something small and light weight easy to carry around ! that is what design for light key when camping or backpack there is no way to carry heavy keyer now would it? now you see my point !! great key for me ;)

K5TTE Rating: 5/5 Jun 28, 2013 16:11 Send this review to a friend
So you need a "heavy base"?  Time owned: more than 12 months
This cheaply-made paddle fits my back-packing needs perfectly: it's feather-weight, and I'm quite happy using both hands. Reliable? Four campIng trips to Montana, each time
hooked up to my QRP rig inside the tent.
I'll agree with other commenters: it lacks a heavy base.
As for me, don't want no heavy base! No camper wants to
lug around an extra brick in his pack.
I did a little hack-mod when I found the paddle arms uncomfortable: I removed the little rubber feet from each side
and replaced them with heavy Fender guitar picks . This little primitive paddle now feels better to send and looks kinda cool!
Don't want to compare the MFJ with my precision Palm Paddle---- apples and oranges.
M0JHA Rating: 5/5 May 1, 2013 03:07 Send this review to a friend
Great /p paddle  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Ok it's not a vibroplex or Begali but then it doesn't claim to be . I bought 2 kits for my /p bags and wasn't dissapointed . Took 10 mins to build the second one and about 20 mins to build the first .straight forward and anyone should be able to put these together .

The spacing between the paddles and the centre paddle stop can be centered easily as the hole holding the back end to the base has a little play in it so the it can all be centered .OR at least that was my findings.

Took one out/p with me and had no real issues using it , a little stiffer than i'm used too and i had to hold it in one hand and key with the other but this took all of 10 seconds to get used to . Great little idea for cheap very light travel paddles ..
WA4JM Rating: 2/5 Feb 16, 2012 15:34 Send this review to a friend
OK...My expectations Too High  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
The kit was easy to put together. The documentation
Was poor with regard to adjusting the spacing for the contacts. The key is too light so you have to use both hands to operate. Why MFJ would not build heavier base is a mystery.

This is a pos product.

WB2VEN Rating: 4/5 Aug 1, 2011 11:08 Send this review to a friend
Very good QRP 'go-pack' paddle  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I'm not sure what people are expecting with this paddle, but after a few weeks of using it in portable ops in the north woods, I am quite happy with its performance. The construction is mainly metal, so how anyone can break this without being outright abusive is beyond me.

It is small, lightweight and while a bit more utilitarian than some other 'travel paddles', it does its job well and is a fair value. Sure, it won't compare to a Palm or Bengali, but it isn't pretending to be in that market. I have a Whiterook as well for portable work, and for me it compares favorably to that - which has good reviews here.
N4IBG Rating: 3/5 May 12, 2011 14:35 Send this review to a friend
Not Bad  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Yes, it's not the ultimate paddle but, I needed something that I could store in my HTX 100 portable box that was light and small. It works just fine with 2 hands. The connecing cable was more than enough. I found that the rubber feet on the paddles was not a good feel, so I took them off and glued on a couple of stiff guitar pics, and that made a world of difference.
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