Can a Straight Key really Coexist with a Paddle ?

Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by AA4OO, Nov 7, 2015.

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  1. W7UUU

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

    Thank you. And yes, it's a Heathkit HD-10. I found it for $15 at a hamfest not working. Brought it home and found that the transistors for the "dit" oscillator were installed backwards!! For 40 years it had passed from owner to owner, and no one ever fixed it. So it was really fun to be the first to ever hear it work correctly! And thanks to K8ERV I got a new piece of grill cloth to finish the restoration. I use it on the HW-16, which will soon change out to an HR-10b/DX-60b setup.

    N7ANN and N0NB like this.
  2. AG6QR

    AG6QR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I did almost exactly what you did, except I only used two of the pins. You only need two pins for a straight key, and that strategy allowed me to use a connector I found in my junk box, rather than procuring the less common four-pin connector.

    You're right that wiring a straight key in parallel with the paddle on the input of a keyer would have some problems. But you can wire the output of a keyer in parallel with a straight key, bug, and/or cootie, and connect that combination to the input of a rig that is expecting a straight key input. That would accomplish the desired effect, without requiring the unusual feature of that nifty HK5A Ham Keyer. The only issue would be that the straight key wouldn't produce sidetone from the keyer. But if you're getting your sidetone from the rig itself, this would work just fine.
    KB0TT and AA4OO like this.
  3. AA4OO

    AA4OO XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Ah, quite true. That would work with an external keyer.
  4. DK7OB

    DK7OB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hm I simply connected the straight key in parallel with the output of my Ultra Pico keyer. That works fine with my older equipment.

    My TS590SG has different inputs for paddles and straight key. So If I want to use its internal keyer, I connect the paddle to that input.
  5. K8JD

    K8JD Ham Member QRZ Page

    Co-existing Key types
    I have two straight keys , a Bug, two Paddles (one to a MFJ Grandmaster keyer and the other to the built in keyer in one rig) all wired to one or the other rigs and ready to go any time I feel like changing keying style.
    Sometimes I demo them in a QSO, switching from one to the other. Pretty seamlessly too :D !
    Love the Bug best !
    I think you can see most of them in my QRZ page picture.
  6. AA4OO

    AA4OO XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I'm still trying to find a decent bug at a price I can afford. I've probably lost 5 auctions on them because I'm too cheap.

    Bugs certainly have their own sound to me. I had a ragchew with a station before work this morning on 80m who was using a bug and running his dits at somewhere around 30 wpm and his dahs about 13 wpm. It was a brain twister for a new CW operator like me to interpret what he was sending but it had a very musical quality to the FIST and after I while, with some continued difficulty, I adapted.

    Concerning using your manual keys together with your paddle: Do you wire your manual keys to the output of the external keyer and not use the rig's internal keyer as others have mentioned here? Or does your rig have two key separately configurable key inputs? In the case of the MFJ-keyer do you leave its sidetone turned off?

    I'm finding that I prefer the sound of the sidetone on my external keyer to my rig sidetone but for those who wire their manual keys in-line with the external keyer output I assume they only use the rig sidetone.
  7. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Sidetone in 'most' rigs is adjustable so you can make it sound like whatever you wish. At least that's the case in all my rigs.

    You can change the pitch and the volume. Not sure what else would need to be changed.

    When you change the pitch, that also changes the offset, so when you tune someone in to the same pitch as your sidetone you should be zero-beat with them and they'll hear you just as you hear them. I change mine from time to time, between 400 Hz and 800 Hz. Usually I set it around 700 Hz, which is a pleasing tone for me...but in most transceivers, it's adjustable and when you change the offset, that changes the sidetone pitch.
  8. AA4OO

    AA4OO XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    My 1970's era Ten-Tec C21 sidetone is generated as a square wave so it's pretty raspy. The volume as well has a bit of spike on the tone attack starts which becomes painful. The sidetone from the external keyer is a sinewave and has a consistent attack.
    KB0TT likes this.
  9. G3YRO

    G3YRO Ham Member QRZ Page

    I was talking about a complete key, not just a paddle that uses the rig's internal keyer

    (it's only recent rigs that have keyer circuitry inside)
    AA4OO likes this.
  10. WO1X

    WO1X Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page


    To answer the original question, yes. No fights have broken out with these two!

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