Southpaws - Which hand to use for CW?

Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by KI5OCO, Jun 10, 2021.

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  1. KI5OCO

    KI5OCO Ham Member QRZ Page

    I’m left handed, and a brand new ham (just got my General recently). I want to learn CW and have a dual paddle in the mail to me.

    I’m not sure whether I should use my left hand or my right with the paddles. I have more dexterity in my left hand, but I can see some advantages to learning using my right hand from the very beginning.

    I’d be interested in other people’s thoughts and experiences, especially any fellow southpaws.
    KD4ZFS and KI5WW like this.
  2. W5WTH

    W5WTH Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm new (~2 yrs) as well and a lefty that asked myself the same question.

    I decided to learn with my right hand to allow my left hand to write notes, etc.


    GL es 73!
    EI4HWB, WA9UAA, K8PG and 5 others like this.
  3. W7UUU

    W7UUU Principal Moderator Lifetime Member 133 Administrator Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    I'm right-handed but for the same reason, can just as easily send with my left so my right hand is free to make notes.

    Of course, this is just straight key / paddle key only. No way I can run a bug with my non-dominant hand

    KI5OCO and US7IGN like this.
  4. KI5OCO

    KI5OCO Ham Member QRZ Page

    Note-taking was one of the advantages I was thinking of.

    Another one would be not having the orientation of the dits and dahs backwards without re-wiring the paddle.
  5. K8JD

    K8JD Ham Member QRZ Page

    When I started on the "Novice" bands I had a 50 cent J38 key that I simply used my dominant left hand .
    When I got my General ticket I upgraded to a Bug and also simply used my left hand on it.
    Years later when electronic keyers became affordable I got one and again wired it's paddles as a normal keyer and used my left hand .
    Now, running at a higher WPM and not having the memory for things I once had, I have learned to write a bit with my wrong (right) hand to take notes for my logbook.
    50+ years later, If I got a left handed bug I would have to relearn everything I know and it would not be easy at all !
    It SURELY helps to learn a skill like Morse, at a young age, I was about 15 years old when I seriously started learning to send and receive Morse ! If you are starting ham radio as a retirement hobby I think it takes a LOT MORE effort.
    Good luck and have Fun !
    K0UO and KI5OCO like this.
  6. WN1MB

    WN1MB XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Learned paddles lefty. When I got into traffic handling, my NTS guru suggested I learn to send righty so as to free up my left hand for writing tasks. I initially scoffed at the idea, but ultimately gave it a try. After far less practice than I imagined - or feared - it worked! It's been decades since I used a paddle lefty, but from time to time try it just for grins. Much to my amazement, I've remained ambidextrous with paddle sending.

    Oddly enough, for the hand key I seem to be hardwired lefty. Trying to send righty "feels" totally uncomfortable physically. Go figure.

    Bat righty playing baseball. Can't bat lefty if my life depended on it. Like the hand key, it's physically uncomfortable.

    Broke my left arm when in high school - armpit to over the knuckles cast. Had to write my finals righty. They were a disasterous mess! Again - just felt very, very physically wrong.
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2021
    KD4ZFS, K0UO and KI5OCO like this.
  7. KI5OCO

    KI5OCO Ham Member QRZ Page

    I throw left handed but bat right handed and play golf right handed. Also play guitar right handed. I shoot pistols, rifles and shotguns left handed.

    I couldn’t write my name with my right hand if my life depended on it.

    I’m thinking I’ll probably try to learn to use the paddles with my right hand. If I’m super uncoordinated with it, I can always switch.
    K0UO, KU4X and WN1MB like this.
  8. N8AFT

    N8AFT Ham Member QRZ Page

    I am "Left Handed" myself. I do pretty much all else except write using my right hand.
    Normally send with my right but have trained myself to send using either hand on st keys.
    Surely that would hv been the patriotic thing to be able to do bk in the 50's and 60's... ;)
    Since I don't own a boat them fancy paddles aint fer me! :p
    K8JD John; Hope you get the big antenna wired back up soon!
    Miss hearing those stronger sigs of yours here in Ohio...
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2021
    KD4ZFS likes this.
  9. NB3R

    NB3R Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I'm left handed and send with my right. Note taking is easier but also if you guest op at another station you won't have to move things around.

    Lefties seem to be more ambidextrous than righties. hihi.
    N2AMM and PU2OZT like this.
  10. W7HV

    W7HV Ham Member QRZ Page

    Its hard enuf sending gud wid my dominant hand. Nw Im not gg to complicated it wid using my sinister hand.
    KK9W, WN1MB and WA1GXC like this.

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