i really need a new straight key...

Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by WF4W, Jun 26, 2019.

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  1. W5WTH

    W5WTH Ham Member QRZ Page

  2. KL7AJ

    KL7AJ XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Some folks just screw the thing right to the bench. Nothing sacrilegious about that.
    WB5YUZ likes this.
  3. KL7AJ

    KL7AJ XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Nothing wrong with having ONE pricey key in the shack.
    W1BR likes this.
  4. W6MK

    W6MK Ham Member QRZ Page

    How long have you been operating CW? What is your working speed?

    That 3D printed key may be fine for occasional use but long-time ops often
    prefer larger keys. Very short lever. Longevity under regular
    vigorous use? Yes it's only $25.

    The Swedish pump type keys have the contacts at the far end of the lever, beyond
    the pivot. The contacts are mounted on spring steel. The levers are relatively long. The
    feel is both well-damped and precise. The keys are not noisy.

    Many long-time CW ops prefer the Swedish pump type keys. SKCC had a couple of
    versions available at one time, both made by LNR precision. There are photos on the LNR
    website but none of the keys is currently made.

    Many well-made keys are very noisy indeed, particularly the Kent straight key and the GHD
    straight keys. They have a precise but very hard, undamped feel.

    The small Scheunemann key has the base contact mounted on a piece of lucite which provides
    some damping of the contact closing force. The key also has pivot at the far end so that it has a
    comfortable feel like a much bigger key. It is not noisy. There is a Begali model--I think it is the "Blade" that
    is designed to give the same feel as the Swedish pump.

    Bottom line: the key is relatively unimportant. A good op can send all day with almost any key.
  5. N1OOQ

    N1OOQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Another option... I have a Speed-X screwed to one end of a 2 ft. long board. The other end goes under my elbow. So basically the whole thing is held down by my forearm.
  6. WF4W

    WF4W Ham Member QRZ Page

    thanks for all the feedback. I may go try the vibroplex SK - the vibroplex paddles I have tend to move around a bit requiring the use of a non-slip pad so not optimistic about their SK base. I'll keep using my bencher and board-mounted speed-x until I find the right key.
  7. N2OTG

    N2OTG Ham Member QRZ Page

    I find the Begali Blade key to be very stable. It’s completely portable on its heavy iron base and does not need to be screwed down to anything. It is similar in layout to the Swedish pump and has little tendency to tip forward, even with energetic keying. You can adjust the key downward for American style keying or up for European style. It is very quiet.
    WF4W likes this.
  8. WB4BIN

    WB4BIN Ham Member QRZ Page

    Ha, ha. I have a Champion bug that someone has drilled a hole through the base, so they could bolt it to their desk. But other than that, it's a darn nice bug, and my favorite to use. :D
    WF4W likes this.
  9. W1BR

    W1BR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    For most hams, the venerable 26003A Navy Flameproof is a fine key. I like mine. The Kent straight key (metal base) is priced right and has a nice feel. I really love my Amplidan commercial marine key, excellent feel. I also picked up one of G0NVT's Marconi 213 replica keys--another very smooth key and it is nice eye candy. I have a Begali Blade and while it is a nice key, and has a lower knob height for American style keying, it is bit stiffer than the Maritime keys. A nice example of a Marconi 365EZ just sold on eBay for about 100 bucks. I've seen them go for three times that amount--nice keys, but a bit ugly by ham standards (flashy, shiny, etc.) I am kind of sorry I didn't grab it but too many keys here already. I have one of those popular chrome Chinese military keys, it is okay, but it does NOT hold settings. When I hit the lottery I will buy a Frattini, LOL.

    As a matter of interest: Marconi apparently screwed most of their keys to the radio officer's desk.
  10. W5WTH

    W5WTH Ham Member QRZ Page

    Long enough to have an opinion, or at least I thought.

    The suggestion was made to me by a friend/Elmer that has been a CW op longer than I have been alive.
    It's a good key, especially for the price. Yes there are better keys.


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