# Iambic vs. single lever paddles

Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by WF4W, Feb 28, 2017.

1. ### WB2WIKPlatinum SubscriberPlatinum SubscriberQRZ Page

If you have or can find/borrow/use an ultrasonic cleaner (jewelry stores often have pretty big ones), a bit of time in the ultrasonic cleaner with the same solvent they use can brighten up a lot of old stuff with very little effort. I'd remove the plastic handles first, and drop the rest of the key in.

We have a medium-sized one at home and I don't think it's quite large enough for a key paddle (should try it and see), but there are bigger ones.

2. ### K2CAJXML SubscriberQRZ Page

At the risk of derailing the thread, that article is wrong about Jabberwocky. It quotes a line with eight iambs, and mistakenly calls it "iambic heptameter" --- which means seven iambs. That would be a weird rhythm, and Jabberwocky certainly isn't groups of seven feet.

Jabberwocky is tetrameter, groups of 4 iambs each, which is why you can sing it to the tune of the William Tell Overture.

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A detailed article on how to send using dual-lever paddles with an iambic keyer is here: http://morse-rss-news.sourceforge.net/keyerdoc/K7QO_Iambic_Paddle.pdf. It explains how every letter, except X and P, can be squeezed using at most a single press and release of each paddle. (X and P both require two presses on one side and a single press on the other side, for a total of three presses). He goes through a detailed analysis of the number of strokes required to send the alphabet with a straight key, bug, single-lever paddle, and dual-lever paddles, showing how dual-lever paddles with an iambic keyer use fewer keystrokes than the other methods.

Another point of view is presented here. http://www.cwops.org/pdf/iambicmyth.pdf. In this article, N1FN advocates for a single-lever paddle, claiming that the advantages of an iambic dual-lever system are small, only happening with the least-used letters, and that the squeeze keying method is difficult to master at high speed.

In the spirit of “can’t we all just get along?”, I will suggest that the advantages of squeeze keying over a single lever paddle are probably real, but small.

I will point out that the argument which N1FN makes about the timing becoming more critical as the speed goes up seems to be true of all keying methods, not just iambic squeeze keying. In fact, the illustration of the “timing gate” for when you need to hit the dah paddle for the letter “F” when sending iambically is exactly the same as the timing gate when you would have to push a single-lever paddle over to the dah side to make an “F” without using iambic technique.

I’ll also point out that, when he claimed that only “ONE of the letters which can be squeezed can be found in the list of the twelve most common letters in English”, he obviously missed the letter “R”, finding only the letter “L”, despite the fact that both letters are clearly squeezable, and both are on the high frequency list.

Be that as it may, there are other arguments to be made in favor of single lever paddles. Dual lever paddles may be more prone to errors if you accidentally squeeze the side opposite the one you were wanting to hit, while a single lever paddle is always unambiguously either pushed to the right or left. Also, the single lever paddle may be manipulated by using the large muscles of the forearm to rock the entire hand back and forth, but proper use of “squeeze keying” requires that the finger and thumb move individually, which may call for more coordination, even if fewer keystrokes are required.

I’ll observe that the very highest speed operators (50+ WPM) tend to prefer a single lever paddle, but dual lever paddles are preferred by a majority of paddle users overall, which would include most moderate speed paddle users.

It’s all good. This is a hobby, and it’s supposed to be fun. Don’t let anyone dictate to you that you must do it their way, but listen to a variety of opinions from those with experience, try things out, don’t be afraid to try something new if your first choice isn’t working for you, and enjoy sending CW with the device of your choice.

FWIW, I started out by using a dual lever paddle on an iambic keyer, squeezing exactly as described in the first article linked above. I enjoy the zen-like feeling of producing letters with the minimum possible motion of the fingers.

Most of this post was a cut and paste from my website: http://ag6qr.net/index.php/keys-bugs-paddles-and-keyers-a-terminology-introduction/

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4. ### N3HEEHam MemberQRZ Page

I used dual lever paddles for many many years until I switched to a Begali HST about three years ago. Should have done that a long time ago. The single lever paddle allows for decreased mechanical movements and requires less mechanical effort. This ultimately allows the user to develop the fine motor skills required for sending higher speed code. I also find the single lever paddle to be very relaxing and nearly effortless to use. Treat yourself to a "quality" single lever paddle and you'll never go back!

5. ### WF4WHam MemberQRZ Page

thanks for the info. I read the Iambic "myth" piece before - squeeze keying may cut of a few strokes here and there but the timing is so much more important for key insertion.

Im going to go with a single lever again if my refurb of my current paddle set doesnt succeed. . . .of I could just do what Ive been doing with my new IC7300 and just mash a couple buttons and let the memory keyer do it all for me

6. ### K7MHHam MemberQRZ Page

It seems like quite an expense just to have a Deluxe or Presentation.
I think the Presentation with a brush gold plate on it's top over a chrome base is just terrible looking. One like in the picture with a polished completely gold plated base is far better looking but I don't remember ever seeing one like that other than in a stock type of picture. Short of that, a Deluxe is the best looking but that is just my opinion.

I have a vibroplex standard which works all right but hard to adjust precisely for minimum travel. My favorite single paddle set is an old Autronic that is much more precise and allows subtle minimal motion keying rather than paddle slapping. I've also looked at some of the custom torsion bar and magnetic single paddle keys that look nice but the Autronic is very nice if you can find one on the used market.

This is a web image, but my Autronic paddles look like these:

-Dave

8. ### KB4MNGHam MemberQRZ Page

I've tried it all. Finally settled on this k8ra p6 and never looked back...

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9. ### W6OGCHam MemberQRZ Page

My brother, a superb CW op, had and loved one of those for decades, and might still wish he had it. I should keep an eye out for one. They are uncommon and rarely for sale.

10. ### K3XRHam MemberQRZ Page

After using a bug in the early sixties my next pruchase was a Hallicrafters TO keyer and the Vibrokey never could get the "hang" of the iambic style of sending however do use both the single lever and dual lever keys for single lever type sending. What suits others is fine for them do what suits you.