Ham radio-related thought of the day....

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by KC2SIZ, Aug 13, 2021.

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  1. KC2SIZ

    KC2SIZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    When I was a younger ham trying to snag an interesting DX contact, it would never occur to me to use a straight key. I would always use a keyer and paddle. I figured I was too likely to screw up the contact with a sending mistake if I were using a straight key.

    At the time, this was probably the right call.

    Now, years later, if I am nervous about completing an exciting DX contact, I push the paddle aside in favor of my straight key. I make fewer mistakes with it than with my paddle at this stage, and it's easy to emphasize the part of my call that the DX seems to be struggling with. In fact, I sometimes start out making a contact with the paddle and revert to the straight key when I can tell the DX station is struggling to copy me. It helps (almost) every time.

    Of course, this technique would be too tiring if there was a huge pileup, but that doesn't concern me. I don't do pileups.

    Sometimes, it's good to get old.
    K4MTO, WE4E, N3AWS and 2 others like this.
  2. K1LKP

    K1LKP Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page


    KC2SIZ - Straight Key Century Club #5826C

    K1LKP - Straight Key Century Club #5389SC (SENIOR CITIZEN)


    UP lid.gif

    K8BZ, N3AWS, WA9SVD and 1 other person like this.
  3. K5ABB

    K5ABB Ham Member QRZ Page

    I keep both paddles and J-38 side by side... horses for courses.
  4. KC7JNJ

    KC7JNJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I used to use paddles, my cw is very rusty now but my fist is still good on a straight key. So I have decided I am straight key all the way. But then again I cant walk and chew gum.
  5. KP4SX

    KP4SX Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    At one time in a life long ago I had a pretty good fist if I may say so myself. But I sold out to the paddle/keyer devil and completely lost it.
    K8BZ and N3AWS like this.
  6. WZ7U

    WZ7U Ham Member QRZ Page

    Sounds like the premise of a CW song to me
  7. K7MEM

    K7MEM Ham Member QRZ Page

    I started out with a straight key (1965). I was slow but fairly accurate. Now, I have three straight keys. Then, in the early 80s, I bought a keyer and never looked back. I just found it so relaxing and was constantly getting compliments on my CW. I don't know how good my straight key fist is now because, I haven't used a straight key in a QSO since I got the keyer. I keep a straight key around to use when I am changing bands and readjusting my tuner. But that's it.

    I even have a bug (1916 Blue Racer) but could never get a feel for it. I guess, whatever you use, it's all good.
  8. W2AI

    W2AI QRZ Lifetime Member #240 Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    Somehow, most people feel the opposite: it sucks to get old but aging is a reality of life. Definitely not for sissys!!!!
    WE4E and KA4DPO like this.
  9. KA4DPO

    KA4DPO Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    That is an interesting perspective for a lot of us. When I was a novice, all I had was a straight key, The only electronic keyer I can recall back then was the Hallicrafters HA-1, I think Heathkit made one too but don't remember seeing one. I knew a guy who had an HA-1 and all I remember was that it got really hot. :eek:

    I rarely use a straight hey anymore, I have a stock Bencher paddle, and it works well with all of my modern rigs with keyers. I have a Navy flameproof straight key that I have had for at least 50 years, and I really like it, a lot of Zedders will say it sucks, but I like it, I'm comfortable with it, and that's all that counts. :)
    N3AWS likes this.
  10. AD5MB

    AD5MB Ham Member QRZ Page

    the original name of carpal tunnel syndrome was telegraphers wrist. straight keys caused repetitive motion injuries.

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