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Best Small CW Key for Travel

Discussion in 'On the Road' started by N4GKS, Jul 24, 2014.

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  1. AG6QR

    AG6QR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I've got two portable keys, an American Morse Porta-paddle, and a Begali Expedition.

    The Begali is heavy and sturdy, a fine precision machine. Its flat charcoal colored finish makes it a little less flashy than some of the other models made by Begali. Its basic design is somewhat similar to the N3ZN ZN-QRP key shown earlier in this thread. When you adjust the Begali for close contact spacing, it stays exactly the way you adjusted it. It is too big and heavy for ultra-portable operations like long backpacking trips, but very well suited for tabletop operating, and a great key for the shack, as well.

    My American Morse Porta-paddle is much lighter. The paddles themselves are very lightweight aluminum, so lightweight that I wouldn't consider them usable without some form of sturdy base to mount them to. I bought mine with the cast iron base that's sold by American Morse, but there are other options. With that base, the set weighs something like half of what the Begali weighs, but it still stays put on a table. It is very sturdy and rugged. It is not as precise as the Begali, but has a nice feel, nonetheless. I like my contacts closely spaced, and the Porta-paddle can do this, but it needs occasional re-adjustment.

    I'd recommend either model. Either should last a very long time, even when jostled around in a backpack. The Porta-paddle is much cheaper than the Begali, while the Begali has a much nicer feel.
  2. W8ZNX

    W8ZNX Ham Member QRZ Page

    back like a bad penny

    field work i either hold the key in left hand and send with the right
    this works best with a single lever or dual lever paddle
    not so well with straight key

    also have a leg strap mount for the American Morse key

    still have the J-45 leg iron mount style J-37 key
    i stole from the Army Signal Corps over 40 years ago
    it's designed for skinny 19 year olds
    its too tight for my old man leg

    also see ebay
    there are almost always
    Soviet Military surplus leg strap
    straight keys for sale
    see reviews
    been meaning to get one and try it for
    a few years now

    so many keys so little time

    helm down
    grab your beer

    dit dit
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