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Reviews Categories | Keys & Paddles | N3ZN KEYS Model ZN-9 Help

Reviews Summary for N3ZN KEYS Model ZN-9
N3ZN KEYS Model ZN-9 Reviews: 16 Average rating: 5.0/5 MSRP: $see website for prices
Description: The ZN-9 has a 3" x 3 1/2" brass base and
weighs 2 pounds 11 ounces. It incorporates the
large diameter feet giving it maximum stability.
The ZN-9 falls right between the ZN-9A and
ZN-9B for size.
Product is in production.
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VE3VTG Rating: 5/5 Apr 26, 2018 19:59 Send this review to a friend
Outstanding (Amazing Service)  Time owned: 3 to 6 months

I have been a ham for about 30 years. Most of that time has been spent on CW.
I have owned many different Keys/Paddles. Without
making mention of my previous paddles and the manufacture.
I will say only this, I thought I owned a Ferrari until I used Tony's keys. ( Read between the lines guys) :) What a surprise and what an experience it has been using these wonderful keys. At present I own 2 of Tony's Keys ZN-9A and a ZNSLR Just a joy to operate. I wanted to replace the finger pieces and the top plate. I wrote Tony to get some replacement parts. Within 1 week I had the parts I needed. I tried to pay for those items I needed. Tony would not hear of it. This was not expected but was appreciated! I have very sensitive finger tips! (Too much cw ) :) The ones on Tony's keys feel great!!
Do not hesitate on buying any of Tony's keys.
73 es tu de VE3VTG
NU6I Rating: 5/5 Oct 1, 2017 20:15 Send this review to a friend
exceptional  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I am not a CW master but in my 51 years being licensed I tried many
keys, straight, vibroplex and paddles of all kinds. They all came and went including a collectible twin (paddle + straight key) from a ham in Spain. This one is a keeper. It is smooth and easy to use even for me.
N2SB Rating: 5/5 Aug 24, 2017 14:25 Send this review to a friend
Excellent Paddle  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I have had many keys, bugs and paddles in the last 50 years. The ZN-9 is the best paddle I have ever owned and used.
K3EY Rating: 5/5 Dec 24, 2016 09:07 Send this review to a friend
The Best Period  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Years back I was seriously thinking of making my own line of high-end paddles. I was buying restoring and selling all kinds of keys. I had a WBLV22 and wanted to make a paddle with a matching feel. I felt confident I could do it since I have been a journeyman machinist and licensed aircraft mechanic my entire life, now retired from two different major corporations. I have 46 years of machining everything from jet engine parts for a major airline, to diesel engines parts for General Electric. I know what constitutes good versus bad machining and design mechanism of all sorts. Plus the fact I have owned about every high-end Key you can get you hands on. My call sign even shows my passion.

I never pursued my dream of Key maker because of life's other more pressing issues, health issues in a family can changed plans in a heartbeat. I remember when Tony N3ZN started his Key business, and boy was he ever a success.

My son's Christmas present to me was a N3ZN ZN-9 red base with black top. This paddle is the reincarnation of the black magic feel found in the WBLV22. The difference between the WBL and Tony's paddles is the build quality is far superior by ten fold with Tony's. The WBL was a good foundation to build paddles with that magic feel, no doubt there. Tony did that and went far beyond with such great build quality yet small size that is the perfect CW tool. Size, weight, style, ergonomics, aesthetics with that light magical feel make these Keys the best on the planet in their price class, period.


NE9V Rating: 5/5 Dec 1, 2015 08:56 Send this review to a friend
Craftsmanship at it's best  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Mine is actually the ZN-9A model which has the dark base. I chose the 1/2" spacing, and this key is the best I have ever used. Stays in place and holds the adjustments without fuss. Effortless keying and a beautiful piece of work. I expect this will be on my operating desk for a long time.
VE2DC Rating: 5/5 Sep 16, 2015 17:43 Send this review to a friend
Beautiful and Functional  Time owned: more than 12 months
Beautifully machined precision key. Compared to my Bencher (which is a fairly decent key) it has a much more positive feel and can be setup with a very small gap making for effortless keying. It also stays put in spite of my heavy fist. A real pleasure to use.
W4SR Rating: 5/5 Dec 23, 2012 17:22 Send this review to a friend
A great key...  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I have had my ZN-9 for a little over six months and am as thrilled with it now as the day I got it. It had a great feel right out of the box and has never needed adjustment of any kind. I have had my name added to the waiting list for a one of Tony's straight keys and can't wait to get it.
G3XAJ Rating: 5/5 Nov 5, 2012 08:53 Send this review to a friend
..  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
N9KW Rating: 5/5 Oct 4, 2012 05:28 Send this review to a friend
A Work of Art  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I ordered a ZN9 key from Tony in the first week of July 2012 after reading many online and published reviews of paddles. In response to my request for a ZN9 key, Tony indicated it would take 12 weeks to fill my order. Twelve weeks translated into the second week of September for completion. I was disappointed, but I was aware from reading reviews that following Tony’s presence at major hamventions, he usually had a backlog of orders.

Beginning with my initial inquiry about the ZN9 through the receipt of the ZN9 key, Tony and I exchanged about 14 email messages. Tony’s response was often sent on the same day of my original email. I was never left in a black hole of uncertainty about the status of my order...all of my questions were answered promptly.

On time, twelve weeks after my order I was informed by Tony that my ZN9 key was finished and ready for shipment. I received a very well package ZN9 #211…after all why risk all the time, effort and cost associated with the production of the key with marginal packaging in its delivery? As many reviewers have noted the N3ZN keys are very well packaged for shipment.

I used a Bencher paddle for 35 years. I learned iambic keying with the Bencher and a Curtis Keyer kit. Spacing of the contacts on the Bencher evolved over time to as close as I could set, along with a reduction to minimal spring tension for a Bencher paddle. As soon as the ZN9 arrived, I quickly plugged the paddle into a keyer and sent a few CQ’s, signal reports, QTH, shack information, etc. With the ZN9 I was amazed at how much lighter than the Bencher the paddle is to the sense of touch, without contact bounce, yet positive control of each lever. I am not a paddle designer, but I suspect that among the multiple bearings supporting the arms, light weight aircraft aluminum arms, light weight carbon fiber finger pieces, the one to one ratio for the arms and precision machine work all contribute to the smooth, light sending touch for the ZN9. I am certain that with the heavy brass base, along with the four rubber feet, you may send CW with a heavy fist and the ZN9 will remain stable on your desk. My ZN9, all brass with black carbon fiber finger pieces, looks great on my desk, and no more clicking in the shack when sending CW!

I’ll put the Bencher on my display shelf in my shack. I did work 344 total DXCC countries confirmed with it, but the ZN9 is the key in my future.
AI9V Rating: 5/5 Sep 17, 2012 13:21 Send this review to a friend
Exquisite design and execution!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
In 40 years of Ham Radio, the ZN-9 is the easily the best key I've ever used. I'm just delighted. Tony is a great guy to deal with- his lead-time estimate came out TO THE DAY and he didn't ask for payment until the key was complete, ready to ship. He offered me a choice of preferred shipper and would accept payment by any of several popular options. He answered all emails very quickly (same day). Actions speak louder than words, here- Tony really does put the customer first.

When the key arrived, I found it double-boxed- as required, since the key is a precision mechanism with considerable mass. The outer box showed signs of rough handling, but the inner box was completely intact and the key itself was in absolutely perfect condition.

The light, stiff lever arm presents a sharp, definite feedback on contact "make". This results in a solid, light, positive contact make- not a mushy feel at all. No play or slop- no contact bounce. Despite its light, precise, positive feel, it does not feel "twitchy" or delicate- just a good, solid precise feel- no sense of mass or inertia before the contacts make. The contacts feel intimately connected to my fist- it feels like driving a Porsche as opposed to a minivan.

No tools are required to adjust the key. Knurled thumbscrew adjustments are tensioned by a compressible polymer, resulting in no play or backlash as is common with a locknut/leadscrew arrangement. The extra-fine threads on the adjustment screws are a very significant benefit!

Individual components are very strong mechanically- yet the moving parts are kept very light and stiff. The key is very durable, not overly-delicate. It's surprising how rugged the key is given its light, precise feel.

The magnetic force adjustment eliminates any mechanical resonance or "ringing" that some spring tensioners exhibit.

I bought my ZN-9 without the benefit of seeing it "live in person" first - and so opted for the ZN-9 over the ZN-9A for the extra weight in the base since stability is always a concern when selecting a key. I needn't have worried- stability is simply not a problem- at all. It would take near-abuse to get the paddle to move on my desk. I was surprised- it's about the same weight as my previous key (a HAL FYO) and yet is much more stable on the desk.

To say that this is a very attractive key is an understatement- the components complement each other with a strong sense of unity in design. Beautiful machining- surface finishes of all components match, regardless of how they were produced- all surfaces appear similar.
The beauty of the key derives from the fit and finish of the machining itself as well as from the fundamental mechanical design. It's not all polish, plating and filigree- the beauty is intrinsic to the design. Mine has a black textured base with brass bearing plate and posts with black carbon fiber fingerpieces. It is a tribute to American craftsmanship and speaks well of the very talented machinist and designer. I'm proud to own one.

Thanks, Tony!
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