Bencher BY-1 realistic top-end speeds

Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by KE0EYJ, Nov 13, 2015.

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  1. K8PG

    K8PG QRZ Lifetime Member #333 Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    I was administered my cw exam at the Detroit Federal Building.....
    13.....20 wpm... It was an old Johnson hand-key bolted to the table.
    20 wpm with that ole Beat up key......on that long wooden table....
    That was a Challenge....The examiner... and Older Gal...said you pass
    ............ but watch your spacing.... and you had a few dits extra on
    That hyphen..... Next please.... here"s your papers.

    I had a BY-1 key and a MFJ Grandmaster can not use that
    at the FCC exam..... the Ole Gal said...paddle and keyer is over 35 yrs old and cruises
    along at 30-50 wpm,It will lose the spring tension over the yrs...and I had to replace
    the nylon pivit points in the paddles
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2015
  2. KA9JLM

    KA9JLM Ham Member QRZ Page

    I agree.

    Sending over 20 WPM to a beginner is rude too.
    N2OTG likes this.
  3. K5TRI

    K5TRI XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I think your question has been answered already. If you're still learning the characters, sending speed should be your last concern.
    That being said, having embarked on the CW journey myself only 3.5 or so years ago, I am a big proponent on starting with a keyer.
    That way you don't have to worry about length of dit and dah and can focus on characters and spacing. The proper length will come
    through constant practice.

    Note: This is NOT a comment against straight keys in any way. I'm a big straight key fan (love my new SKCC special key)!

    73 Mike K5TRI
    SKCC# 9409T
  4. M6GYU

    M6GYU Ham Member QRZ Page

    This appears a new - for me, method of learning cw by learning just a few characters at a time and learning to send them at a reasonable speed 0n any key! Won't that mean that you'll be better at sending some of your early learned characters both faster and more accurately than your 'recent' ones.

    Can you read CW at 20wpm? receiving cw is more important. If you can't then your sending is rather wasted)

    Favourite keys? Whilst I was in the Navy I never had a choice. You just learned to use whatever key was at hand. When I later did competition CW I did covet a favourite key - but even then it was an issued one. Some keys were better than others but you got used to them in the end.

    Blaming on the key etc., when you're learning is common. Let me see now? I've blamed my poor tin whistle technique on the whistle, (I went off and bought a succession of more expensive whistles until I learned that lesson - and I'm still crap!!) climbing shoes for my lack of rock climbing skills, and when I was much younger blamed one or two minor accidents on some imagined fault in the car.
    KD4ZFS likes this.
  5. K8JD

    K8JD Ham Member QRZ Page

    My favorite keys in the shack today are ;
    1. the WW2 Surplus J38 I got in 1960 when studying Morse for my novice exam. Still connected and working today. When I was in high school and into my late 20's I could coax 20-30 WPM out of it on good days.
    2. My Vectronics (sold by MFJ) Iambic paddle that I use with my MFJ Grandmaster Memory keyer. About 40 WPM is my maximum today. This key resembles the Bencher paddles but It feels a LOT better to me in use !
    3. My Vibroplex Champion Bug that I can slow down to 12 WPM with a pendulum extending clip I made, or speed up to 40+ WPM.

    I also have a Hamkey single lever paddle that I use with the internal keyer electronics in my FT990.
    I also have a KK-1 mini key I built from a kit and don't like it.
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2015
  6. KC2SIZ

    KC2SIZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    This is just my opinion, but if you're new to CW I think your primary focus should be on sending accuracy, not sending speed. In fact, I would say the same thing even if you were an old hand! Aim to send good code with relatively few errors, and pay attention to how you're hand is situated relative to the paddle. Your hand should be very comfortable. If your primary focus is on accuracy, the speed will come on its own; and my advice would be to simply "let speed happen" rather than trying to rush it.
    W5BIB likes this.
  7. K8PG

    K8PG QRZ Lifetime Member #333 Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    SLOW and Accurate sending......
    wins the Race , speed comes as
    you become proficient at copy ....
    spacing.... corrector formation
    are all very inportant..
    Never ..... Never send faster
    than you can accurately copy and
    Never Send Faster than the Other
    I started out with a Ideal #5396
    Telegraph Kit
    Was $ 4.95 in 1966
    learned with morse,light, and clicks
    and the Old Rail Code also
    Cub Scouts .... Boy Scouts.
    We had 100's of hours of fun.
    I then went to a J38 when I was
    a Novice , few yrs later got a R-J 1
    I use that key and the ole J38
    Practice and more Practice....
    listen to yourself sending.....
    into headphones ... off the air.

    On the air operating
    " Is Key "
    To the real world of morse
    having ragchews daily if
    possible will help you become
    a Master at morse ....
  8. WA7DU

    WA7DU Ham Member QRZ Page

    I lost track of how many replies above warned you not to send faster than you can accurately receive (on the air), including me in post #10. With a quick read through the thread, I did not see any post (including my earlier post) that clearly explained why you must never send faster than you can receive.

    You may have figured it out on your own, but I'm going to explicitly say it (in writing) just in case anyone reading through this thread is wondering. So, here goes...your sending speed is a signal to the other operator of your Morse code skill--if you send at 25 wpm, the other guy will come back to you at 25 wpm (assuming he or she is that skilled); if you send at 15 wpm, the other guy will (unless he or she is a creep) slow down to match your 15 wpm speed. That's it, or, as the pig said, "that's all folks." 73 dit dit.
    WA1GXC, W1ADE and W7UUU like this.
  9. W7UUU

    W7UUU Super Moderator Lifetime Member 133 Administrator Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    To piggyback on what DU just posted:

    It's VERY tempting when learning, to send FAST. You know what it is you're saying! You can peel it off really quickly and a BY2 with zippy keyer makes short order of all the mundane stuff - RST, QTH, Name, even WX and "Rig HR is:" And you may even be able to grab the ragged edge of his reply, with him exactly matching YOUR sending speed, sending the same right back stuff to you: RST, QTH, & Name - but coming back you YOU at the same speed you sent it to HIM - except now it seems, well, FAST! - once you're back on the receiving end.

    But then I guarantee you (from personal experience from my misspent youth) that the rest of the QSO will be utterly a mess for you. NOTHING the other guy sends will make sense because he's no longer "in the template" (TU, UR RST, QTH IS, NAME IS)". He's now actually TALKING to you but you won't understand a word he says other than maybe "the" and "is" and "so how cpy now?"... you'll fall farther and farther behind, losing key words right and left until you've completely lost the conversation and it's all just "dits and dahs" noise. which you will probably then say "SRI OM QRM QRN MUST SAY 73"

    I've had this happen a zillion times. I even see it coming and make a point to keep my character speed up, but really break my words out (utterly slowing the overall QSO speed) knowing the guy on the other end is "sending faster than he can copy".

    Moral: RESIST THE URGE TO SEND FASTER THAN YOU COPY - even if it's tedious and almost painful to spell your city or name yet one more time at 12 WPM or whatever speed you copy safely - just do it. You'll be thankful in the end.

    Last edited: Jan 20, 2016
    SM6CJB, K2OY and WA7DU like this.
  10. NL7W

    NL7W Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Before Bencher was sold, I purchased a new spring for my 35-year old BY-1. The spring actually helped it; it helped me. The greater pull-back tension made it easier to send even moderate 20 to 25 wpm Morse. It was a nice improvement. :)

    I have two Bencher keys, a refurbed BY-1 and a Hex-Key. Both are good to great. :)

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