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Iambic CW practice

Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by N5LWL, Sep 26, 2018.

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  1. N5LWL

    N5LWL Ham Member QRZ Page

    im looking for a practice oscillator that will work with an iambic paddle can anyone help? I think MFJ has one but I’d have to sell the farm. Maybe a kit?
  2. AG6QR

    AG6QR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Google the Pico Keyer Plus or Ultra Pico Keyer. Both are fairly inexpensive kits. They are small. I own one of each. My only complaint is that the built-in speaker is a bit quiet. Fine for a reasonably quiet room, not ideal for conducting a classroom drill. An external amplified speaker can solve the problem, and the ultra pico keyer comes with a jack to plug one in.
  3. K7MEM

    K7MEM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Just about any keyer available these days is capable of Iambic operation. All of them should have a stand-alone mode for practicing. And you shouldn't have to sell the farm. A good place to look for keyers is a ham fest. I have never paid more than $10 for one. One time I bought two Heathkit HD-1410 keyers for $10. They were both dirty, had spiders living in them, were slightly abused, and didn't operate. But a little clean up and repair and they were both working again.

    If you looking for something in kit form that is reasonably priced, try the P-4 SSR Keyer kit by WB9KZY. I have something similar (TICK-4) that I put in a small box, added a few connectors, and a coin battery. It works great and even has a built in memory. The battery will last for several years. But they don't sell the TICK keyers any more. The one that I linked to is similar. Its a great small project.

    But note, there is no such thing as a "iambic paddle". Iambic (Mode A and B) refers to the way that a keyer handles iambic (squeeze) keying. If you use a single paddle key, you can use the keyer, but you won't be able to exercise the squeeze (Iambic) capabilities. But a dual paddle key will allow you to squeeze both paddles at the same time. The squeeze action is how you make the keyer operate Iambic.

    I got my first keyer over 35 years ago and it had Iambic capabilities. I researched it a bit and tried it out. I found that the only thing it did for me was greatly increase my error rate. Maybe after years of practice I could have worked that out, but I didn't want to work it out at the expense of my radio contacts. Now I just used the paddles as if they were a single paddle arrangement. After that I never looked back. A low error rate means more to me.
  4. N6MST

    N6MST Ham Member QRZ Page

  5. W9BFZ

    W9BFZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've got both the Ultra Pico Keyer and the QRPGuys one that N6MST linked. I like the pico better. Well worth the extra money. If you go for the kit version, it almost takes longer for the soldering iron to heat up than it does to actually assemble the kit.
  6. KI7RS

    KI7RS Ham Member QRZ Page

  7. K8JD

    K8JD Ham Member QRZ Page

    When I got a Bug, and later a paddle keyer. I spent many hours of sending, off the air, to get the skill to use those devices on the air in QSOs.
    I would sit with the newspaper sending articles to myself with just a local speaker playing the "side-tone" sound.
    Try that and see your errors go away, a bit at a time.

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