Single lever paddle compare to dual lever paddle (iambic)

Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by KW1L, Jan 14, 2018.


How many of us buy a dual lever paddle and use it like a single lever paddle?

  1. I use my dual lever paddle as a single lever paddle. I slap

    31 vote(s)
  2. I use my dual lever paddle as an iambic paddle. I squeez.

    12 vote(s)
ad: L-HROutlet
ad: l-rl
ad: Subscribe
ad: abrind-2
ad: Left-3
ad: L-MFJ
ad: Left-2
  1. VE7PJR

    VE7PJR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Funny how that happens, isn't it? When I USED double paddles (Nye SSK-1) I tried the whole iambic technique. I like to think I gave it a fair go, but it just never clicked with me. Might have been the paddles...back in those days we figured you "run what you brung" and just got used to it because there weren't a lot of choices. More likely it was me!

    Anyway, I started using them like single lever and that was much better, then I figured, WTH -- I'm gonna use a single lever, might as well just get a bug. I never "slapped" a bug or paddles around, but I tend to send with authority. I use a rubber pad under my bug(s) to keep them from walking around.
  2. K8JD

    K8JD Ham Member QRZ Page

    Please Squeeze or Not?
    I had a vintage Hallicrafters HA-1 (W9TO) keyer that required a single lever paddle and that was just fine, then I got the Iambic keyer and got a dual lever and tried the Squeeze method. Sometimes I revert to the single paddle way of sending if I am going fast (QRQ) but I try to do the squeeze thing most of the time.
    I think using a BUG is more fun but my aging hands like the paddles more for comfort of operating in a long session on the air.
    Finally, I still rather use the old J38 when working QRS with a new CW op.
    VE7PJR likes this.
  3. K4EI

    K4EI XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    When I began my CW journey a few months ago I figured I'd just use the little KXPD3 (dual lever) paddles that Elecraft sells for their KX3. I quickly found that although that paddle might be fine for an outdoor adventure (it's certainly small and light, and purpose-built for the KX3), its ergonomics in the shack left something to be desired.

    So I wandered down to HRO and picked up a Bencher BY-1. A vast improvement!


    I experimented a little with iambic mode. But the muscle memory is a bit different. And I quickly concluded that when you're learning Morse code the extra complication of learning two flavors of sending wasn't worth the perceived benefit. I finished out my CW Academy class using my dual-lever Bencher in single-lever fashion.

    I did reward myself for learning the code... I splurged on a Begali HST single-lever paddle!

    G4LJW, KD4ZFS, AA4OO and 1 other person like this.
  4. AA4OO

    AA4OO XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Regarding squeeze keying, I made a brief video last year showing the difference between iambic mode A and B

    N9FM and KD4ZFS like this.
  5. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I used to tell girlfriends I favored squeeze keying.

    Of course they all got it, since ham radio is a chick magnet.
    WD4IGX and WA7PRC like this.
  6. WA7PRC

    WA7PRC Ham Member QRZ Page

    I must have animal magnetism... I attract varmints. :p
  7. W8ES

    W8ES XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I never was able to master squeezing an iambic. As a bug user, I got ahold of a Vibrokeyer and found it very easy to use, but I don't "slap" it. Still, the ultimate CW key for me is a hacksaw bladed cootie.
    KD4ZFS and VE7PJR like this.
  8. KC2SIZ

    KC2SIZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I prefer a single lever paddle, myself. But to each his own.

    I've noticed, though, that there are quite a few folks out there who buy dual lever paddles, but then use them just like they're single lever. In other words, they don't actually engage in any squeeze keying. If you're going to do this, then by all means get a single lever paddle. Using a dual lever paddle in this way just leaves you vulnerable to certain kinds of sending errors that you wont' face with a single lever paddle.
    KD4ZFS and WD4IGX like this.
  9. WD4IGX

    WD4IGX Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Yup. I struggled with them off and on for years but I ALWAYS get extra elements inserted with dual lever. Just stick with single lever paddles only and I do much, much better.
  10. N7YCC

    N7YCC Ham Member QRZ Page

    There's also a factor which is seldom mentioned - the iambic timing of the keyer. Different keyers can have very different iambic timing, with some making it very difficult to send without errors. You concentrate, tense up, and the fun goes away. The worst I've used was the old AEA MM3 Morse Machine - very tight, unforgiving iambic timing on that one.

    Anyway... my point is that if you use a single-lever paddle the iambic timing of the keyer never comes into play because the contacts are never both closed at the same time. Plug your paddle into any keyer, or rig with a keyer, and they will all behave the same. But if you have an iambic paddle (and use it as an iambic paddle) and swap it between keyers the difference is easy to feel, with some keyers being much easier to use than others.

    My personal favorite for many years are the CMOS family of keyers. I have an old Super CMOS 2 on my workbench to be fluffed up after many years and I have a recently built Logikit CMOS 4 keyer on the radio desk. These keyers have the easiest, most relaxed, most forgiving iambic timing I've experienced. But, again, if you use a single lever paddle (or never squeeze your iambic), it doesn't matter.

    ...and, although I own a Vibroplex iambic paddle, I usually use a Vibrokeyer single lever - it's just more fun.
    VE7PJR and KD4ZFS like this.

Share This Page