K1TTT Technical Reference

Subject: 
        Summary, Keyers for contests
   Date: 
        Thu, 19 Dec 1996 07:56:34 PST
  From: 
        Luis_Delgadillo@mx.xmex.xerox.com (Delgadillo,Luis)
    To: 
        CQ-Contest@tgv.com


!! Wow !! ...Great Forum on the discusion list
Well, finally  here is the summary on Keyers
Thanks to all for your valuable comments.
73 Luis XE2AC
E-mail: luis_delgadillo@mx.xmex.xerox.com

It seems that the most popular one is the Bencher
and once you are scaling up in the price range, the
personal opinions are broad.
The trend  on the Magnetic one  by Vibroplex is unfavorable,
though it has some die hard fans.
Some text has been deleted.
Favorables comments:
Bencher 8
Jones 3
Vibroplex 2 (though, some unfavorable comments)
Mercury 2
Schur 2
Others 2

I bought a brass racer about a year ago and was disappointed with the 
 construction and feel.  The L shaped brackets holding the paddles were 
 not bent correctly and the contacts did not line exactly opposite each 
 other.  The contact positioning screws were very loose and would move 
 in or out with time. There was no adjustment to lock the screws in 
 place.  The magnetic return force didn't agree with my expectations.  
 I always made many mistakes using that key.  I was operating a contest 
 at friend's house and was making so many mistakes that I grabbed his 
 Bencher and tried it instead.  The difference was night and day.  I 
 now enjoy CW much more with my new Bencher.  I sold the Brass Racer.
--
Still think the Bencher is a fine instrument, after 8 years of use.
Some like the spring or mechanical tension because it has a more
positive feel than magnets.  Magnets get weaker as you separate them
(by the square of the distance) and springs actually cause more tension
as they are pulled.  Altogether different feel.  Haven't used the 
Vibroplex, so cant comment.  Good luck in your search.
--
I believe my paddle is one of the Vibroplex magnetic system ones, but
I'm not sure which model it is.  It has a brass base, and all of the
contacts and magnets are adjustable to your liking.  I know they have
a model which has a built-in keyer, but I don't have (or want) that
particular model, as I prefer my own external keyer.
I MUCH prefer my paddle to the Bencher models which use a spring system.
I always knock the paddles off their spring holders when moving
from writing in the log or typing on the computer to sending.  

Which ever paddle you get, make sure you frequently clean the contacts.
--
I am using the Bencher iambic paddles and am very happy with them.
They have a good touch and I am using a homebrew Curtis chip keyer with them.
Long ago I had a set of magnetic paddles where the tension could be adjusted
with the current through the magnets.  A smart principle, but it just did not
"feel" good and in the long run I grew unhappy with this.
Besides the Bencher paddles, I also used Nye Viking paddles years ago.  They
were substantially less expensive and some people did not like them as much
as the Bencher, but I did.  So, I would go for Bencher or something like that,
plugged into some of the electronic keying gadgets that are around.
--
As far as iambic paddles go, the best one that is made is by far the
Mercury, hand made by special order only by N2DAN.  He lives in Florida and
is a retired machinist, who makes iambic paddles now, and nothing else.  The
paddles are  $500, but they are so fine they have to be seen to really be
appresiated.  They are triple dipped in chrome, and I liked the first one I
bought so much that I bought a second one.  He gave me the second one at a
remarkable discount because he had engraved someone's call sign on it and it
was the wrong callsign.(text deleted) .  It weighs 3 pounds, is
VERY heavy, so there is absolutely NO sliding around or movement of the
paddle while you are sending.  Luis, I have used over 20 different kinds of
paddles over the years, and this one is BY FAR the best one I have ever
tried.  It uses magnets for the action, my CW sending has improved 100%
since I have been using the Mercury.  The action is so smooth it will almost
make you cry with pleasure!!!  Let me know and good luck whatever you
decide!
--
The finest iambic paddle I have ever had my hands on is the Jones Key.
I have a Brass Racer by Vibroplex, magnetic type, and I just don't
think it compares to the Jones Key in quality, reliability and feel.
The Jones is a bit more money but well worth it in my opinion.
--
I collect iambic paddles. By far the best buy is the W9VBL and the best 
 paddle is the Mercury. A close second to the Mercury is the Schurr.
--
I like the Bencher paddles a little better than the Vibroplex magnetic. 
  You get more adjustment with the Bencher.  You either like the 
 Vibroplex or you don't!
--
I like the Bencher paddles a little better than the Vibroplex magnetic. 
  You get more adjustment with the Bencher.  You either like the 
 Vibroplex or you don't!
--
Very hard to go wrong with a Vibroplex .. good choice.
--
Amigo .... as a 25 year contester - my advice is to FORGET keyers ... 
and move on to simply typing in your morse via keyboard!  You must 
use keyboard with the logging programs.  And with some effort you can 
send everything for the contest with the ALT-K keyboard command.
(rest of  text deleted..)
--
Luis, six or seven months ago I posed a similar question here on the
reflector.  I had a black Bencher and just couldn't seem be consistent
with it.  I wound up purchasing the V2L.  It is really nice. Heavy,
very adjustable, hand made, appears to be quite strong.  I have attached
a writeup by N5FO that has numbers, description, etc. for your reading
--
Luis, six or seven months ago I posed a similar question here on the
reflector.  I had a black Bencher and just couldn't seem be consistent
with it.
--
I got both Vibroplex and Bencher.
bencher look is more amazing but i little prefer Vibroplex.
--
 The nicest paddle I have ever "touched" was a Schurr profi.  Absolutely
the best and lightest feel out there.  I own and use a Jones key iambic
paddle.  Very solid.
I like both of these because there is a firm stop with no over-travel.
The Jones is a heavy base (and I have a heavy fist).  I've owned a few
Benchers.  They are not in the same league.
Personally, I don't like the feel of the vibroplex paddles I've fooled
with, including the magnetic one.  They feel "mushy" to me and I seem
to remember some overtravel (no firm stops) on the magnetic model.
......(text  deleted)....BTW, the Jones key costs about
$180 (US) and the Schurr Profi is about $225.  Benchers go for about $70
and work OK.
---
Go with the Vibroplex!  I have an original Brass Racer (same as Square Racer
but different base) and absolutely love it.  I changed from a Bencher (which
is still a good keyer) to the Vibroplex a year ago.  I don't think I will
ever have a different keyer.  The magnetic balancing take a little time to
get adjusted right, but then it is VERY smooth.
--
I'd recommend any of the Bencher paddles. They are used by most of
our local high speed contesters here in Northern Illinois, and I have used
one for many years.
--
The selection of an iambic paddle is very personal.  I have used the
Vibroplex Brass Racer which is basically the same as the one you mentioned
(magnets, etc.), I have used the Brown Bros., the Bencher, the Jones, the
Kent, the Mercury (custom), and even the Ham-Key.  My personal preference
after using many different models is the Bencher.  To me, it has the best
and lightest "touch" of all the paddles I have tried.  Some people like a
heavier feel, however.  Again, it is a very personal decision, so you will
probably receive many different opinions.
It is very important to have a good paddle.  It is also important to have a
very good keyer.  For me the best keyer is the Logi-Key.  This was described
(I think) in QST for November, 1990 as the Super CMOS II keyer, and it now
appears in the ARRL Handbook.  It is available in kit form from Idiom Press.
It is a wonderful keyer which offers several different types of timing.  You
can find one type of keyer timing to suit you.  I recommend it very highly.
--
I'd be interested in a summary as well.  BTW, the Jones key costs about
$180 (US) and the Schurr Profi is about $225.  Benchers go for about $70
and work OK.
----
The finest iambic paddle I have ever had my hands on is the Jones Key.
I have a Brass Racer by Vibroplex, magnetic type, and I just don't
think it compares to the Jones Key in quality, reliability and feel.
The Jones is a bit more money but well worth it in my opinion