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Reviews Categories | Keys & Paddles | Bencher Mercury Paddle Help

Reviews Summary for Bencher Mercury Paddle
Bencher Mercury Paddle Reviews: 9 Average rating: 5.0/5 MSRP: $495.00
Description: Bencher version of the famous N2DAN Mercury paddle
Product is in production.
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WY3X Rating: 5/5 Jun 27, 2008 07:27 Send this review to a friend
Easy to send code with  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have a real "N2DAN" Mercury paddle, #0048. I have to say that I've used dozens of other keys in pursuit of the "perfect feel", and this is as close as it gets. The WBL key is pretty dog-gone good too, but I don't own one. I have Vibroplex keys, Bencher, an Elecraft Hex Key (actually feels the same as the original Mercury- so no real difference there). What I keep plugged into my radios is what works best for me- the N2DAN Mercury and the Elecraft (Mercury) Hex Key. I don't own a Bencher Mercury, so I'm not totally qualified to comment, but if it's anything like the two versions I have, it's a winner! BTW, I actually saw the eBay auction where the original Mercury sold for $5K! It's true! But I'm no fool; if someone wants to give me $4500 plus a Bencher Mercury key for my N2DAN Mercury, we'll talk business! BTW, it's not in the machining, it's not in the look, it's in the feel of the key, and the Mercury is tops! I -am-, however, thinking about putting the cool Begali metal fingerpieces on mine (just for decoration).
AE5I Rating: 5/5 Jun 26, 2008 18:15 Send this review to a friend
Absolutely wonderful!  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I am absolutely, totally pleased with my Mercury key! Mine was made late in 2007 by Bencher and I just don't see what they could improve about it even if they doubled the price.

The fit, finish and feel are flawless and it's solid as a rock when in operation. Never feels like it's going to slip or slide.

The adjustable magnetic tension allows you to get the holdback tension exactly like you want it. There are no tools needed for adjustment. Everything is adjustable by hand.

There is absolutely no slop in the levers. Firm, fluid action that is a pleasure to use.

If I could only keep one iambic key, the Mercury would be it. No question. Wouldn't even have to think about it! I can't believe that I had an opportunity to buy an original Mercury for $300-400 back in the 90s and didn't do it... Oh, well. I can't believe that I sold a '59 Les Paul Special for $100 back in the 60s either... Live and learn.

I really can't imagine that anyone who ever buys a Mercury would be disappointed in it. I recommend it without reservation.
K6JPA Rating: 5/5 Mar 26, 2008 21:08 Send this review to a friend
Beautiful!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Beautifully finished in chrome. I can't find a flaw anywhere in the finish. Obviously much care went into the manufacturing of this paddle. It rivals the performance of the top domestic and overseas competition. Has a nice solid feel and will not move around, regardless of how heavy handed the operator uses it. Holds it's settings quite well. Overall, I'm very impressed.
FORMER_W8RZ Rating: 5/5 Nov 12, 2003 01:32 Send this review to a friend
Outstanding!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I am the proud owner of #0191 & even though I sometimes think about throwing up at what I spent on it, it was totally worth it. I was able to acquire it while Steve was still alive (boy,what a real character) & the man really knew his craft. In the brochure that Bencher had printed up a few years ago, they had mentioned that someone once sold one on ebay for around 5 grand! As much as I like having one of the"originals" I would have no problem whatsoever parting with this one for even 4k even though I know that nobody in their right mind would offer that to me! Still, it's nice to know that these things are the real McCoy & that they really are a one of a kind. Congrats to everyone who bought one either from the late N2DAN or from Bencher. It is dynamite & really is way above the rest.

73, Dan. W8RZ
WY6N Rating: 5/5 May 22, 2003 01:28 Send this review to a friend
THE BEST KEY EVER  Time owned: more than 12 months
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!
K1JD Rating: 5/5 Mar 5, 2002 17:01 Send this review to a friend
Excellent Paddle!!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I had grand expectations for the Bencher Mercury paddle having used an original (borrowed) N2DAN for several months. I can't tell the difference, even down to the soft metallic sound they both make while being used. Bottom line is I'm very pleased with this paddle and with Bencher's commitment to preserve Steve's design and quality standards.
Some observations to contrast the Bencher Mercury with the excellent and highly regarded WBL V22 that I've enjoyed since 1999 - Both are beautifully made and mechanically tight, with no annoying play in directions other than that required to close the contacts. This is important! So many paddles are disappointing in this regard. The WBL's linear spring action feels great as does the non-linear magnetic "spring" of the Bencher. I would describe the Bencher feel as slightly "sticky" for lack of a better description. Subjectively, I prefer the Bencher and have used it exclusively since SN1048 arrived a few months ago. The WBL is on loan to a pal but not for sale.
Suggest you consider this paddle if looking for world class precision and stunning good looks. Expensive, but when it's sitting on your desk you won't be sorry.
W9GB Rating: 5/5 Aug 31, 2001 12:45 Send this review to a friend
Presentation quality  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
The dedication to quality and craftsmanship of the original Mercury paddle by N2DAN has not been lost by Bencher Inc. This is the N2DAN design from his estate. Accept no substitutes.
The Mercury Paddle by Bencher is from the N2DAN designs and molds and continues the quality and craftsmanship that N2DAN created.

I was privileged to own S/N 1006 (Bencher started their serial numbers at 1000) and was very impressed with the time that Bencher took in assuring the ovrall quality met or exceeded the original production runs.

While it is a joy to operate, visually, the paddle is quite stunning on the desktop (or mantle). Definite presentation quality.

The contacts on the Bencher are Rhodium plated for "lifetime corrosion free operation"

It's the most beautiful paddle that I own.
Other paddles that I use Vibroplex Iambic, Kent TP-1 and others.

N6EV Rating: 5/5 Feb 24, 2001 20:59 Send this review to a friend
Resurrection of the greatest paddle!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Anyone worried that the dedication to quality and craftsmanship designed into the original Mercury paddle by N2DAN might be lost in the Bencher Inc. version of the Mercury can rest assured that they have come through with their promises. The Bencher Mercury Paddle truely deserves the Mercury name and continues the quality and craftsmanship that N2DAN was famous for.

I feel privileged to own S/N 1001 (Bencher started their serial numbers at 1000) and am very impressed with how stable the key is at high speeds. This paddle comes alive with very small contact spacing. The heavy, rock solid paddle can be adjusted such that the lightest touch sends effortless CW. Truely a joy to operate.

Visually, the paddle is stunning. The "Chrome so deep you could swim in it" effect that N2DAN was famous for has been reproduced for Bencher by the same people that do the chrome work for Harley Davidson! I searched every millimeter of the paddle and have not found a single flaw, blemish or imperfection in the chrome. The finish is truely mirror like. All of the Bencher Mercury paddles are hand made by a single individual at Bencher, again, continuing the spirit of craftsmanship that N2DAN inspired.

The contacts are Rhodium plated for "lifetime corrosion free operation" per the information sheet. The base is chrome plate brass and is 4" in diameter. Paddle overall height is approximately 2.5". Center of the paddles is 1.5" above table position. Key weight is approximately 3.5 lbs (I don't have an accurate scale).

It's one of the best paddles I've used. Other paddles that I own and were used for comparison include the W9WBL V22, Shurr Profi, Jones Key Brass, Vibroplex Iambic, Brass Racer and the original Bencher paddle, amoung others. I'm not affiliated with Bencher. Just a very happy customer and QRQ CW operator.
FISTS #1407. Paul N6EV

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