i really need a new straight key...

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

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  1. KE4OH

    KE4OH Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm with you , WF4W. I don't like my key screwed to a board, nor to the desk.

    My favorite straight key is a Vibroplex. Is come mounted on a very heavy steel base. It will not move around nor topple over. Key feels great, too, though pretty noisy in action.

    I also have a Navy flameproof that I like very much. I have it mounted on a small but heavy brass plate that is pretty much the same width as the key but a bit longer than the total length. I have rubber feet on the plate. While not as heavy as the Vibroplex, it likewise does not move around nor tip in action.

    My last straight key is a Speed-X that I want to like, but just don't. I have it mounted the same way as the Navy key except it's on an aluminum plate. Not heavy. Yet is still doesn't move around nor tip. So, the mounting is good, but I just don't care for the key itself.
  2. W6MK

    W6MK Ham Member QRZ Page

    I await the day when CW ops refer to "pounding plastic" ;)
    W1BR likes this.
  3. VE7PJR

    VE7PJR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yup, you're going to need to start key-shopping! After 40+ years of hamming I realize how lucky I was to find a great straight key right out of the gate back in the 70s. It's plugged into my radio right now.

    I've found a lot of great keys, but give up my old one? Not on yer tintype, as my mother used to say.

    While there are some keys with bases made to extend under the knob for stability, I don't have a problem with other keys because they get screwed onto either thin boards or thin plates of aluminum that keep them from tipping.

    Sounds like you're an enthusiastic keyer. No matter what you may prefer with regard to aesthetics, you may need to put any key on something for stability. In fact, I submit that you should seek first for a key that feels good even though it may not be as stable as you want. If you find two or more such keys, buy the one that best pleases your aesthetic sensibilities. Then you can address stability by some skillful means and the key will still feel good to you. That's my method, anyway -- YMMV as always.

    Chuck VE7PJR
  4. WF4W

    WF4W Ham Member QRZ Page

    yeah, i need to probably work on keying method to be less, um, enthusiastic :)

    my fist is fine (according to frequent unsolicited feedback) so it works, I jsut need to be less ham-handed apparently. I think I'm going to try the vibroplex key.
  5. K7TRF

    K7TRF Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Perhaps instead of a new key you might look into a new base for your key. The Bencher isn't a great candidate for replacing the base as the base is pretty much integrated into the key but most keys can easily be swapped onto a new base.

    FWIW, here's my Navy Flameproof key mounted on a Nye Viking base plate, it's not a super heavy base plate but by mounting the key towards the rear of the plate so the knob doesn't hang out in space the key is rock solid even with heavy handed keying.


    The Nye Viking key plates are available here: http://www.morseexpress.com/nye/index.htm#kba but just about any plate from a metal shop or off of eBay would work just as well.
    KW6LA and W1BR like this.
  6. F8WBD

    F8WBD Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have a couple Begali straight keys. Pricey, yes. But, ops who have no problem spending 2 or 3 or 4 K for a transceiver shouldn't find their price too steep.
  7. AJ4GQ

    AJ4GQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Some do that now . . . with a computer keyboard. :)
    W5WTH likes this.
  8. K5UJ

    K5UJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Maybe you (like me) just don't like sending with one. I've always been perplexed by the insistence some ops have, on operating with a straight key. Here's the key that landline telegraph ops were getting glass arm from, and switched to bugs as soon as they were invented and sold. When I was a Novice I started with one and I thought it sucked. I couldn't wait to ditch it and one of my first purchases was a J36 at a hamfest in 1972 for a few bucks and that ended my straight key operating and I never looked back. The bug was 100 times better. Now, on SKN I get out a J38 that's normally on a test bench and make one contact after which I think &*^% this, that's enough for one year, and put it away for the next SKN where the experience is repeated.
  9. WF4W

    WF4W Ham Member QRZ Page

    lol, that may just be the case! I love my paddles ... and just recently got back into SKs due to SKCC. Maybe i just need to suck it up and use what I got -- OR -- I do have an old bug sitting on the shelf... i could sent poorly with THAT :p
  10. K3XR

    K3XR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Rare to use a straight key. When I use one it's the Vibroplex which has a great feel, blue color kinda neat also.

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