Going Back To Single Lever Paddle

Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by K5UOS, Sep 12, 2015.

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  1. K5UOS

    K5UOS Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have had a few days to play with the Begali paddle.

    First observation is that it is made extremely well. First class parts and construction. I love it.

    After using an iambic paddle for several years it is immediately apparent that the single lever is somewhat different to use.

    There is less movement in the single lever vs the iambic paddle. I don’t have the urge to slap the paddle. I feel like I have more control.

    I had to consciously to do this but I use almost no hand movement to operate.

    The slight movement of the single lever requires only a minimum of hand movement.

    I have the spacing very close and this facilitated the minimum of movement.

    After a couple of long rag chews I was comfortable with the paddle. But I have 20 years of using a homebrew single lever.

    My honest opinion is that if you don’t use the iambic function, a single lever paddle may improve your sending ability.

    Not everyone will feel the same. This is my opinion only.

    I really love the Begali Simplex Mono Paddle. This is an blatant endorsement of Begali. Great folks at Begali and quality that makes you really appreciate what they do.

    I will try a Kent single lever next. Not because I feel there is something better but just for fun.


    BTW – the communication with Begali was beyond professional. They make you feel like you are special. I had my paddle with a couple days. Bruna is the heart of Begali.
  2. K8JD

    K8JD Ham Member QRZ Page

    Key Handling
    I started out learning to send Morse with a J38 straight key in 1960. Then in '62 I got my first Bug.
    I got my first Iambic paddle back in the late 70s (?) when I got a K.E. electronics squeeze keyer, then a few years later the MFJ GrandMaster memory keyer.
    I later got an old Classic Hallicrafters HA1 "W9TO Keyer" and converted a scrap parts bug to a single lever keyer for it .
    I can go from a straight key, to bug, to Iambic and to a single lever keyer paddle within the blink on an eye ! Sometimes in one transmission in a QSO, as a demo..
    I have to admit that I sometimes forget to Squeeze the Iambic paddle when I should, in a QRQ QSO, and slip back into the single lever mode unless I concentrate on the Iambic technique. It's easier to remember to do the squeeze keying at slow to moderate speeds, at least for me.
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2015
  3. VK5EEE

    VK5EEE Ham Member QRZ Page

    Alas, I made the mistake when starting out on keyers, of using iambic dual paddle, and immediately set into using squeeze. Alas, because that has prevented me from ever sending past (in my heydey) 45WPM on an iambic, something I now undestand to be rather impossible to pass due to the much shorter reflect time on Iambic letters required. I thought it was me or my keyer. It was because of iambic. Yet I could copy 65WPM (still can copy close to that). Then I only recently read the reasons why, duh, obvious of course, but never occured to me. That's why QRQ super fast Ops all use single lever non-iambic keyers. I wonder if it would take me long to learn a single lever in non-iambic mode. Has any QRQ paddle OP who can send over 50WPM any experience about this to comment here?
  4. K5UOS

    K5UOS Ham Member QRZ Page

    In excess of 50WPM is great. You obviously put in a lot of work.

    My issue was I started on a single lever and moved to an iambic.

    I have been working on increasing my speed. As I increased speed I would send certain letters squeezing and certain letter using the iambic paddle as a single lever. That caused me to make more mistakes.

    I figured going back to a single lever paddle would be a good idea

    After a couple of weeks I am glad I did. The Begali wasn’t that expensive.

    It is different sending with a good single lever rather than using an iambic as a single lever. The hand motion is much simpler.

    My opinion is that what you start with is what you get used to.

    VK5EEE likes this.
  5. NN4RH

    NN4RH Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    If you google "iambic paddle" and watch a bunch of videos, many (maybe most) of them are actually using the keys the same as single-lever. No "squeeze", just slapping back and forth.
  6. G3YRO

    G3YRO Ham Member QRZ Page

    Interesting comments . . . I imagined that an iambic keyer would enable you to send faster, if you used it as intended?

    By the way, that Begali looks like it is a TWIN paddle! Surely it has two plastic paddles on the front?

    I certainly use my twin paddle as if it was a single paddle . . . but as I said before, I wish it WAS a single paddle, as you can make mistakes if you go to the other side too soon (impossible on a single paddle)

    The proof that it isn't the same is the fact that, when I made the keyer (with the paddle and electronics all in a neat box with switches on the top) I included a switch that allows you to send the dahs manually. I thought I could then use it as a semi-auto, thereby allowing you to "customise" your sending, lengthening some dahs, like when sending R for received ("dit daaaaah dit"), or a K at the end ("dah dit daaaaaah").

    However, this function really doesn't work properly . . . because you end up going to the dit side before the end of the dah, and it doesn't make the dit! This clearly couldn't happen if it was driven by a Single paddle (it would then behave like a mechanical bug)

    I have always used a kind of "wiping" action with thumb and bent finger on my bug key . . . that certainly allowed me to send smoothly pretty fast . . . but I think that style is what causes the problem when using it on a twin-paddle keyer!
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2015
  7. AC0H

    AC0H Ham Member QRZ Page

    The biggest increase in efficiency comes from going to a bug from a straight key. It seems the change from vertical motion to horizontal account for a lot of this, that and the automatic dits.
    It seems Iambic (squeeze) keying is more efficient but only on long characters with alternating elements like C or the period. The efficiency goes away when we use letters with short element counts.
    The single lever paddle/electronic keyer combo are the most efficient when all things are considered.
    VK5EEE likes this.
  8. NN4RH

    NN4RH Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Kind of looks like they take an iambic model and screw the two paddles together.
  9. K6FNI

    K6FNI Ham Member QRZ Page

    My K8RA P-6 Single Lever Paddle looks the same. The lever has a wood paddle screwed to each side.

    Robert, K6FNI
  10. K5UOS

    K5UOS Ham Member QRZ Page

    My guess is Begali uses similar bases and parts to reduce cost. If you look close the two paddles are attached to single center piece.

    I think you see my point going from one paddle/key to another. Your style as well as mine was based on my original paddle. The problem with errors manifested itself when I tried to increase my sending speed to a more comfortable level using an iambic paddle.

    I don't move my hand much at all. Not for efficiency but just because the contacts are really close. Not much movement in the hand or lever at all.

    But I suppose it is like swing a golf club. Doing it the same way all the time will provide the most consistency. I add this just in case one of the 60wpm+ fellas shows up.


    BTW - my guess is that most of you are far better operators than I. I set a goal to send and copy around 35wpm comfortably. I add this just in case one of the 60wpm fellas shows up. :)

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