Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by KN4CQB, Mar 22, 2020.
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Thoughtful comments to be sure!
I think the worst flaw in sending, which can come with using a keyer as well as with using a straight
key and variations, is the failure to adequately space between characters and words. This makes
for the most difficulty and ugliness in copying.
To my ear, ALL straight key, bug or sideswiper users are instantly identifiable. Even if a single slightly
elongated dah is sent occasionally, it stands out.
As with rhythm in music, in the hands of a competent code-rhythm-maker, perfection in performance
really incorporates imperfection in a positive way. Listening to jazz musicians, who invariably have
"perfect" time, one can hear them slow down, speed up, play around the beat. This is what makes
this kind of music particularly enjoyable.
Same thing with code, the slight variations, which are only possible with manual timing, give
well-sent code its liveliness and true beauty.
I really don't think of adjusting the mix, playing jazz well or sending hand made Morse Code as
matters of "progress" but rather as aesthetic matters.
IMHO of course!
Spoken like an operator that appreciates & enjoys the Finer-Things-In-Morse
"Personality" in sending Morse can only be achieved using a Straight-Key, Bug, or, Sideswiper(Cootie) IMHO.
Is there a way we can send this to the world to learn? 99.999% of the bad coders answer my CQ's...... mostly bug OP want to be's OR the guy on a straight key sending at 20 with skills to match sending at 10. 73 Rich
I can recognize a few guys' fists when they are using keyers. Don't know why. Just can.
To stop elongated dahs we could use an Autokey (a fully automatic bug) with separate arms for dits and dahs, but they are expensive. I have found the same result for the price of a piece of wire and a stereo plug. I simply separate the flat conductor under the bug that goes to the dah contact, and run a new lead from the dah contact to the ring of a stereo plug. I then plug the original mono plug into the straight key input of my keyer on the rig, and the stereo plug into the bug input. Dits are created by the normal swinging weight and dahs are created by the keyer.
On mine, the connections are hidden underneath and come out the other end with two plugs. An observer cannot detect the difference from the top.
- consistent dahs (you can still press repeatedly for multiple dahs)
- can be returned to normal bug use through a Y cord or through a menu on your rig if so equipped.
- To change speed, you have to adjust both the weight on the bug for the dits and the speed of the keyer for the dahs.
- compared to a paddle, you still need to manually create the space between elements, i.e. the space between the dit and dah in the letter A, but the Autokey would require the same manual timing.
Actually it's easy to set up an ordinary paddle (single or double lever) with the same contact spacing and
tension as would be appropriate to a bug. You can then send as if you are using a bug and making the
dahs manually. No expensive special gear needed.
I've done this often in the past. These days I just use a bug, sideswiper or straight key. Helps to
provide aerobic exercise and burn off a few extra calories. I like to keep my forearms looking like Popeye's.
I do find that at speeds in the high twenties my dahs and the robotic dahs don't always agree.
But I do little operating at speeds above 25 wpm so I stick with Popeye.
I have also used a paddle as a bug with the keyer in the bug mode to complement my practice on a real bug.
With an Autokey or equivalent, you could set the dits at 30 wpm and the dahs at 18 wpm for a permanent swing.
I was talking about using a paddle in regular keyer mode, not bug mode. That's why at a certain speed my
opinion and the robot opinion about dah length are at odds.
Another good use for the paddle if you have a calibrated keyer is to synchronize the dits on the bug with the dits on the paddle, and then mark the speeds in wpm on the bug with a label printer. It looks a bit odd but you then know what your speeds are, at least for the dits.