How many keys are too many?

Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by N6RGR, Sep 10, 2017.

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  1. N6RGR

    N6RGR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    1st question: How many keys are too many? I have three - J37, MFJ cheapie, K42 Chinese. Always looking for something new.

    2nd question: shorting bar, or no shorting bar?

    Iambic or non-iambic paddle? What is best for someone who has been using a straight key?

    Roger de N6RGR
  2. KL7KN

    KL7KN Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    1st Q - only you know when it is time to seek help for the dreaded "Key Addiction" The cure seems to be a memory keyer and a set of good paddles...

    #2 - that is personal preference. Try both and see what will work for you.

    #3, to ease the craving for straight key, perhaps you could wean yourself by using a cootie (sideswiper) setup.

    Good luck!
  3. KQ4MM

    KQ4MM XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    1. I'm starting to think one can never have too many, Just getting back into CW and I have already accumulated a Bencher BY-1, Lionel J-38, NYE Viking Master, a Begali Camelback ( spelled it right this time ..LOL) and have my eye already on a Navy FlameProof and a Kent KT-1 ...

    2. Its my understanding that the keys with shorting bars were typically used in landline set-ups, closing the shorting bar put the station into land line reception mode .. My J-38 is missing that part, their almost impossible to find as a spare part.

    3. I gave up the bencher for the straight keys so can't answer this one..
  4. KB1CKT

    KB1CKT Ham Member QRZ Page

    When it gets in the way of other things.

    You could always just make a distribution block. Get a box and put in as many 1/4" jacks as you want, with one cable going to the radio. Then you can leave all the keys plugged in. Hot swap keys at will, even in the middle of a Q.
  5. KB1CKT

    KB1CKT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Myself, I've wondered what would be next. I am not a straight key guy (sorry!), but I like my Bencher well enough. I love my BY-1. The Scorpions mini paddle, I just dug that out and found that I send ok code on it.

    I suspect I want a Palm mini-paddle next. Magnetic base, should mean less chasing around. But that's just for portable use. Not sure I'd need yet another key, not until I have yet another radio, and another antenna, and ...
  6. K6GB

    K6GB XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Ham-Key, Signal Electric, Navy Flame-proof, Vibroplex Standard, Vibroplex Champion, Hi-Mound BK-100, Brass Racer, CT Europe Dual, and counting! Couple of home-made one touch paddle and an opto-finger key.
  7. AA4OO

    AA4OO XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    The Navy Flameproof (CJB26003A) is my favorite straight key at present but I prefer taller keys as I operate with my arm off the table. If you're used to low keys the Navy probably wouldn't be comfortable.

    But Bugs rule...


    Try a Bug. They're a blast and my favorite manual key...
    N2EY likes this.
  8. N2EY

    N2EY XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    That's a Vibroplex Original, Standard, if I'm not mistaken.

    I got mine in December 1974, and it has been my main key ever since.

    There are two tricks to bug sending:

    1) You must have a good straight-key fist. A bug will not compensate for operator error.

    2) You must know how to adjust it properly.

    "If somebody can tell from your sending that you are using a bug - you shouldn't be"

    73 de Jim, N2EY
    KB3FEI likes this.
  9. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I don't know how many are too many, but my piano has 88 of them.:)

    I use every single one, sometimes.
    WA7PRC likes this.
  10. KA0HCP

    KA0HCP XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    1. The day you realize you need to sell some.
    2. Keys should always have a shorting bar for tuning and testing.
    3. Personal choice, and you always have the right to change it.

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