Homebrew CW Key - Low budget model..

Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by K1IGS, Sep 16, 2018.

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  1. K1IGS

    K1IGS Ham Member QRZ Page

    With those you squeeze the contacts together to make the tone, correct?
  2. KG7WGX

    KG7WGX XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I believe the last two examples are iambic paddles, not a "straight key" turned sideways with a single set of contacts.

    You push either side toward the center to generate dits or dahs automatically, controlled by an electronic keyer.

    If you do only this, the paddles act like a single-lever paddle. However, if you close both contacts after closing one (the "squeeze"), you can generate an alternating set of dit/dah elements, or you can insert an element.

    For example, you start by holding the thumb side closed until you hear two dits in the sidetone, then tap the index finger side closed briefly, then let go during the dah. In iambic mode A, this generates a "U". In iambic mode B, this generates a "F".

    Iambic keying gets you a few characters which can be generated with less motions. However, the timing is trickier to master than a single-paddle key and the majority of dual-lever paddle owners use them as single-lever by simply ignoring the squeeze capability.
    K1IGS likes this.
  3. N8TGQ

    N8TGQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I use mine as a single lever paddle. It was easier to build this way. The advantages for me is small size for going to the parks and changing frequency on the MTR-3B.
    K1IGS likes this.
  4. CX3CP

    CX3CP Ham Member QRZ Page

    The episode when Macgyver was captured and locked into a laundry! the fools left him with everything he needed to send a Morse distress signal. The famous Swiss Army Knife, clothespins, duct tape, rubber bands, a lamp and he made the antenna with the drum of the washing machine. Such idol of my youth ... the clip and the hose was for the B plan.

    KG7WGX likes this.
  5. K1IGS

    K1IGS Ham Member QRZ Page

    Makes me want to grow a mullet...
  6. N7BKV

    N7BKV Ham Member QRZ Page

    One of the VERY important features of Iambic keys is they are NOT connected to the brain my mimicking dots and dashes, as pounding a straight key does.

    When I got into CW a while back I wanted to go old skool, and pretend I was on the Titanic sending out SOS signals on a straight key. Romantic, but not practical for me.

    Soon found out two things. 1. My hands are no longer nimble enough to make decent spacing and timing of the elements on a straight key. And 2. Morse as sound groups, and not dit and dah combos, is far easier to bring to the key with Iambic, since the stroke count has little to do with the dot and dash count.

    If I want to get the Morse chart out of my head and go on sound group instead, why would I want to replicate the chart elements on the key with my hand? And besides, there are a whole lot less strokes with Iambic paddles. Just my call alone is reduced from 16 to 10 strokes.

    My old call was 18 strokes on straight key. When I chose a vanity call, the Iambic ease and size was the biggest criteria.

    Making my point:

    ...-. ..--.. Translated: Understood?

    Count 'em up. 11 strokes straight key. 6 strokes Iambic. There is NO connection between the Iambic strokes/counts and the chart. None. Only sound group connection in the linguistic part of the brain.

    Try it. You might like it.

    ...-. -.-

    --... ...--

  7. KG7WGX

    KG7WGX XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Oh, I much prefer using paddles. And I have no trouble with iambic generation of characters at 15 wpm.

    I'm not saying I'll never get there, just that I find iambic timing a little more difficult at high speed. Maybe after a year or so on the air it will get easier.

    Fortunately, since I can only copy at 15 wpm, I don't have a problem as long as I don't send faster than that.
  8. KL7KN

    KL7KN Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    home built is fun..and can be very minimalist...
  9. K1IGS

    K1IGS Ham Member QRZ Page

    Paddles aren't out of the question at some point, but I want to learn the straight key first.

    What is ...-. ? It looks like SN.
  10. KG7WGX

    KG7WGX XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    For someone learning Morse, visual representations are frowned on by most.

    Nevertheless, I will include this from Wikipedia - Prosigns for Morse code - because it includes a "play" button for many of the common ones. Try to ignore the visual Morse patterns...;)

    SN (also represented as VE) is a prosign for "Verified". If followed by a question mark, it means "Verification requested".

    If you haven't learned prosigns yet, they are represented by letters, but are generally sent without inter-character spaces. Prosigns should be learned like separate Morse characters, not as a combination of letters. The digraphs are used so there is some way to represent them in print.

    Different letters can represent the same prosign or character, such as AC or WR for the "@" sign.

    As most fonts have a hard time showing the "bar" over the prosign, one alternate notation is to include the prosign in angle brackets - <AR> <AS> <BT> . Fldigi uses this notation in its Morse decode window.
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2018
    K1IGS likes this.

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