The Technical Side of Keying

Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by WA7DU, Sep 7, 2015.

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  1. WA7DU

    WA7DU Ham Member QRZ Page

    The link below will take you to a paper written by the esteemed Marshall Emm, in which he discusses and analyzes iambic keying. Wait until you've read it through before deciding if you agree or disagree. I'm sure that some readers have seen this paper before, and I'm equally sure many have not, so giving it the light of day is appropriate. BTW, this subject may belie the idea that a forum on Morse in amateur radio belongs under Discussions, Opinions, etc.
    W5BIB likes this.
  2. N7ZAL

    N7ZAL Ham Member QRZ Page

    Interesting and I haven't read it before.
  3. AG6QR

    AG6QR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    That paper has some good points and some obvious mistakes.

    Mistake one is forgetting to put "R" on the list of letters that are both squeezable and frequently used.

    The second mistake is pointing out how the timing gate for iambic keying gets narrower and harder to hit as the speed goes up. It's true, but equally true for single-lever keying.

    That said, squeeze keying isn't for everyone. It requires the individual use of the finger and thumb, while single-lever keying allows one to move the entire hand as a unit, using the large muscles of the forearm. This may be faster and easier.

    Personally I'm a squeezer. I like to hear the letters come out with minimal motion from my fingers. It's fun. But I realize that some of the fastest ops use single levers, and they obviously know what they're doing.
    K0YB likes this.
  4. K7MH

    K7MH Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have always understood that the high speed guys prefer single lever keys. I am not one of them by any stretch! I would bet that most people using an iambic key are using it more like a single lever key and are not "squeeze keying" it.
    That's the most important thing. Have fun and enjoy whatever you chose to use.
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2015
  5. N7ZAL

    N7ZAL Ham Member QRZ Page

    Back when I was in the 60-65 WPM range I used a single lever. FYI
  6. KB1CKT

    KB1CKT Ham Member QRZ Page

    I read that a while ago. I never got to learning enough to figure out iambic, but the article kept me from that.

    But I like my dual lever paddle keyer. I do have a single lever paddle that I can use, but unfortunately it has no processor and I have found I keep missing dits as a result of using the keyer.
  7. K5UOS

    K5UOS Ham Member QRZ Page

    I found the paper to be interesting too. I used a homebrew single lever for about 2o years before switching to dual lever iambic paddle that I received as a gift.

    Initially learning on the single lever kinda forced me (by mere habit) to operate the dual lever in a similar finger motion. I never felt completely comfortable with squeezing the paddles or using the dual lever as a single lever.

    Decided to try a few single lever paddles. Gonna try a Kent and a Begali on on loan from some local fellas.

    Almost bought another Begali iambic paddle. Glad I waited.

    Thanks for the post.

  8. WJ4U

    WJ4U Ham Member QRZ Page

    Seen it before. Interesting, though I don't necessarily agree.

    I ham, therefore Iambic. :D
  9. WA7DU

    WA7DU Ham Member QRZ Page

    Regarding the second mistake as you call it, here is why I agree with Emm: I can more easily hit within the narrowing timing gate if I am pushing a lever or a paddle than if I have to release a paddle. Does that make sense ? Maybe it is a personal thing...
  10. WA7DU

    WA7DU Ham Member QRZ Page

    Not so fast (with your "therefore"), you might be trochaic.

    Gee, it doesn't work that way...

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