Re: Paddle Type for QCX mini #40m


On Mon, Oct 18, 2021 at 11:45 AM, <calebbdecker@...> wrote:
I use the lowboy key and it is great.  You can actually use your thumb and forefinger with the lowboy just as you would traditional, side-by-side iambic paddles.  The key is compact and I actually prefer it now to traditional paddles.  One typical issue for side-by-side paddles is that you may have to do something to keep the key from moving around.  Technically, you are supposed to squeeze the paddles, but many of us end up slapping the keys around a bit, causing the key to move.  Often you see heavy bases, grippy pads, or even straps to prevent the key from moving around.  The lowboy key you reference above almost completely eliminates that issue.  I can set on my leg, my small operating table (cutting board), etc., and it doesn't move around since you are pushing down on the keys rather than slapping at them side to side.  The only thing I would say is that the lowboy has two thumbscrews per paddle and it takes a bit to figure out how to set those up properly.  I have this American Morse paddle too,, which I use in the shack.  I use the lowboy for all portable and armchair operations now.  

On another note, asking which type of paddle to use in a ham radio forum is like asking which antenna to use, which power source to use, or any other choice in ham radio.  You are going to get different opinions from everyone, but straight key or paddle (and there are a number of paddle types too) will really bring out the opinions, so be prepared for that.  My opinion below will be soundly dismissed by the straight key purists and the fine members of the SKCC community.

Above, Julian, whose information and expertise I respect greatly, suggests using the iambic key, like the lowboy key you are looking at, or others, and then joining the SKCC, the straight key club which requires that you manually shape the dits and dahs of Morse code through manually timing the keying (you determine the dah and dit length) of whatever style of straight key you choose to use.  My controversial opinion is that you just skip that step.  While learning how to use a straight key is admirable and keeps a fine ham radio tradition alive, it's not going to make you a better ham radio operator in any way.  Iambic keying with an electronic keyer just eliminates the need for you to manually time the length of the dits and dahs.  That skill just isn't necessary.  And if you listen to the SKCC watering holes, which is what I did years ago to learn to copy CW, you will figure out that the art of straight key is just that, an art, and very few new hams (and I would say experienced hams, too) master the timing required to send with a straight key and be understood without difficulty.  There is nothing wrong with electronic keying (associated with iambic paddles), and in my opinion, it is better for weak signals like QRP.  There is virtually no "dialect" or unique fist characteristics a recipient would have to translate or interpret when sending code using electronic keying.  There is technically zero variation with dah or dit length between those sent for 5WPM CW or those sent at 35WPM CW.  The dah length at 16WPM is technically going to be the same for all CW operators using electronic keying.  I think that's a bonus when using a weak signal.  This is my controversial opinion, of course.  Fight!

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