The Technical Side of Keying

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

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  1. AI2SS

    AI2SS Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've always used the Vibroplex single lever that is pictured on my QRZ page. Before I took a bunch of years away from hamming I could do pretty good with that thing. Not so much anymore. I've been practicing though and can at least make some short QSOs again without too many mistakes :oops:
  2. AG6QR

    AG6QR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    You probably have a point there, but for most of the letters, including the example "F", the "release" gate is much wider than the "push" gate. And there are fewer gates to hit with squeeze keying, because you keep paddles pressed instead of releasing them and re-pushing them.

    And with any keyer or bug, you have "release" gates the end of the letter -- if you miss the final release gate, you can mix up N, D, B, and 6, for example. So we're all practiced at releasing when required.

    Consider the "F" in his example. Whether you squeeze or not, you have to push the "dah" contact closed sometime between the beginning of the second dit and the end of the space after the second dit, as his diagram shows. You only need to close that dah paddle for an instant -- you can release it any time after it made contact. In other words, the gate for releasing the dah is huge, starting at the beginning of the second dit, and ending at the space after the following "dah". Then if you're keying iambically, the only remaining motion is to release the dit paddle (which has remained closed the entire time), whereas if you are keying with a single lever, you've got to push the lever over to the dit side, and then release it.

    But I believe that this academic analysis of timing gates and motions doesn't lead to much insight as to how difficult it will be for a particular individual to coordinate those motions. I'll also agree with Emm that the benefit of iambic keying over single lever keying is small; where I quibble is that I think the cost is also quite small, and I find it worthwhile.

    But I'm not out to argue and change the world's keying style. It's all good. I think it's great that anyone keys CW with whatever device and technique they want. And I do believe that non-iambic keying has the advantage that you can move the hand back and forth as a unit, rather than individually coordinating separate motions of the thumb and finger -- in fact, this makes a lot of sense to me as being the reason it works better for some people when going fast.

    Personally, I can squeeze key in a comfortable and relaxed manner more than twice as fast as I can comfortably receive, and there's no way I'm going to send that fast on the air anyway. Perhaps if I would give up my squeeze keying, I'd be able to send still faster, but the only thing that would accomplish is to make other people send back at me way faster than I could understand. Likewise, if someone is comfortable using a non-iambic method and can send faster than they can receive, I'm not sure what gain there would be for them to learn to squeeze key.

    The reason I like the iambic "squeeze" method is because it's a lot of fun, and there's a zen-like relaxation involved in minimizing my motions while allowing the letters to flow out. I learned squeeze keying from the start; I never transitioned from another method. I'm sure that has a lot to do with why I like it.

    BTW, the document which I used to learn squeeze keying, and which I believe Mr. Emm was responding to, is here:
    M0LEP likes this.
  3. N7ZAL

    N7ZAL Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yes, that is the same one I have. I remember a red paddle one that was the "deluxe?" Regardless, it has done great for me. JMO
  4. AI2SS

    AI2SS Ham Member QRZ Page

    The only thing I've found is that the contacts need a lot of cleaning. It's easy enough to run a piece of paper between them but they always seem to get quirky at the worst time. But yes, it's done great for me, too. And it's built like a horse.
  5. M0LEP

    M0LEP Ham Member QRZ Page

    I think this document helped me learn enough about iambic keying to change my mind about getting a paddle. Before I read it I was labouring under the false impression that I'd have to master a straight key first. Once I'd read and understood the document I realised that, for me, there was very little point in learning to use a straight key.
  6. AA4OO

    AA4OO XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I often switch back and forth between paddles and straight key during a QSO... I must have a split key personality.

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