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Reviews For: Hensley Iambic Paddle

Category: Keys & Paddles

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Review Summary For : Hensley Iambic Paddle
Reviews: 5MSRP: 500 round $550 square +$50 for
Iambic Paddles
Product is in production
More Info:
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
N2DE Rating: 2009-06-16
This was a great paddle Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have a golden Hensley, one of the few that were ever made, and, like everybody else, I will never sell it. It sits there, gold and red and sparkling in my display cabinet, where it gathers dust but very little air time.

This key is an offspring of the N2DAN Mercury, and like that key it has some shortcomings which are inherent in the construction. The angular arms are very massive and the magnets are mounted a fair distance from the pivot, contributing to inertia. The finger side of the arms is far longer than the contact side, meaning that every little variation in the contact gap is leveraged up appreciably, and this, combined with the relatively coarse adjustment screws, makes it difficult to use the paddle with a narrow contact gap. The wider contact gap makes bounce and vibration effects of the arms very pronounced at higher speeds, although you can learn to compensate for that with lots of practice.

This paddle, like the Mercury, was great in its day, and it is a valuable collectors item, but if you are looking for top notch performance, several modern paddles are a much better choice. But they probably don’t look as spectacular ;-)

N7GR Rating: 2009-06-15
Probably the best available...if you can find one Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I know...I know...keys are a personal choice and each ham has different standards they use when considering a paddle/key. I have been a ham for about 35 years and spend most of my time on cw so for me, the paddle is the most important part of my station. I first heard about this key from a CQ article by K4TWJ who is an admitted key geek. Thank heavens Dave is so enthusiastic about paddles. His discriptions are almost considered paddle porn in my shack yet he manages to somewhat objective through all of enthusiasm. Getting back to the paddle, I took a chance and purchased one on his recommendation in June 1999. Have never regretted it. I absolutely love this paddle. Got rid of all of my others and use this one exclusively and I use it every day. It handles like a dream. Extremely well balanced, expert construction yet is sensitive for a light touch. The deep multi layer chrome finish coupled with the bright red paddles and magnets remind me of the venerable centerfold I use to look at as a kid. It is simply stunning to look at. Regarding performance, I am able to send pretty flawless cw at over 65 wpm with this bad boy. Problem is they are no longer available and unfortunately Donald Hensley stopped making them. I am fortunate to have one and will never sell it.

If you ever have a chance to get your hands on one of these, you won't be disappointed. See you on the bands.
N1EA Rating: 2000-10-27
Responsive, accurate Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I own Hensley paddle, #009, and also N2DAN's Mercury (#049). The finish on the Hensley paddle is flawless. The knurled screws make even the smallest spacing of the contacts possible. If you like "almost touching" contacts, you will be happy with Hensley. N2DAN's paddle had one small flaw - it was temperature sensitive - spacing would change. One gift you owe yourself is to have a key that you can TRUST - the Hensley is a key you can trust to be accurate. If there any errors in your sending, they aren't produced by this key. FLAWLESS key with solid, doesn't move on the desk feel. A key for the professional, or the amateur who prides himself on sending like a professional.
W9AC Rating: 2000-05-09
The Finest CW Key Ever Made Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
I purchased my round Hensley iambic key last fall and it is undoubtedly the most accurate instrument I've ever owned. Knowing that Donald had created a key even more precise and less temperature sensitive than the N2DAN key, I was willing to spare no expense and have mine completely gold-plated. I have dubbed this key the "Hensley Round Presentation," owing to the fact that the gold-plated finish is every bit as flawless as his heavily chromed versions. A plexiglass dust cover is available from another supplier. It's true the Hensley Presentation may be the most expensive of any key presently in production, but I'm glad I made the investment.
K7NA Rating: 2000-03-04
Update on Hensley Paddles Time Owned: unknown months.
I have had the Hensley paddles (#046) now for several months and my sentiments are the same as I expressed in my earlier product review posting. The craftsmanship and smooth operation are beyond compare. Ragchewing for extended periods of time on CW with this device is a pleasure! By the way, Mr. Hensley's website can be found at --if memory serves me correctly. The website has many excellent photos of the Hensley paddles and reviews. I am not in any way connected with Mr. Hensley or his business--I'm just a happy customer!

Earlier 5-star review posted by K7NA on 1999-10-16

I am indeed fortunate to have recently acquired serial #046 of a hand-made labor of love by Donald Hensley, of Ark, Va. Having seen the photos of his magnetic iambic paddle and read the reviews on his website, I decided to investigate further. Ultimately, I ordered the paddle and , after an 8-10 week wait (good things can't be hurried, says Donald), I received the paddle he calls "the most rewarding work of my life." It is indeed that. Designed after the famous Mercury paddle by N2DAN, Donald's unit is totally hand crafted of brass and thickly chrome plated to a highly lusterous finish. The machining is exceptional and the pivot action is smooth and sure. The red tear-drop finger pieces are smooth and comfortable to the fingers. Adjustment screws are so finely machined that minute changes can be made and will hold solidly; contacts are of 24k gold. After using a Bencher iambic paddle for some years, I can honestly say that the Hensley paddle is in a separate class by itself, both in feel and particularly in terms of quality. The heavy, three pound base (offered in round or square versions and chrome or gold plate) and massive construction is such that, as Donald says, "with a little loving care, it will out last our grandchildren." I agree. The Hensley is not is not for everyone and it is not cheap. It takes time to make such a device and one must be patient. Donald is a pleasure to deal with both before and after the purchase. The paddle is a joy to use.