Santa got me a Rosewill keyboard similar to the one described by Chuck, W5UXH, in a discussion down the page. The keyboard uses a mechanical system to give tactile feedback when you hit the keys. I seem to be making less mistakes with it.

While fiddling with this keyboard, I got to thinking about keyboard arrangements. We all know the QWERTY set up. There are other keyboard arrangements out there. The DVORAK arrangement seems to be the most common alternative to the QWERTY. Someone told me years ago that the QWERTY arrangement came about during the early days of the mechanical typewriters. Seems that  the early typewriters jammed at high typing speeds, so the typewriter companies came up with the QWERTY setup to slow typists down. I wonder if  there is any truth to this? Anyone out there in QRQ land using the DVORAK setup? If so, how long did it take you to switch  and was it worth the effort?

Joe W3GW

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Thanks Joe for this discussion.

COLEMAK is another layout that actually won an award a few years ago:


Competition Results

We were impressed by the wide range of submissions, and the inventiveness of many of the entries. Finally we chose Shai's Colemak keyboard as the winner for these reasons:

  • It has been tried and tested against other alternative layouts.
  • It solves the CAPS Lock problem in an elegant and useful fashion.
  • It is compatible with current keyboards, requiring only a software remap.
  • It can easily be produced using current keyboard-producing equipment.

COMMENT from another BLOG about this:

For productivity sake, people should switch to Dvorak or Colemak, they are MUCH better layouts. Hell, qwerty was designed to make you type SLOW. it was designed when typewriters where first invented, they kept jamming, so in order to stop that, they designed qwerty, so people would type slower, and they wouldn't jam. Dvorak and Colemak are made for the exact opposite, so speed you up, and have minimum hand movement, thus reducing chances of getting things like carpel tunnel syndrome. I did a little research on both, and found Colemak to be the better of the two, so that's what I'd go with


Colemak is a modern alternative to the QWERTY and Dvorak layouts. It is designed for efficient and ergonomic touch typing in English.

  • Colemak gets rid of the Caps Lock, and replaces it with Backspace. You no longer need to move your hand off the home position just to correct errors. This alone saves about 15%-20% of total finger movement.
  • Colemak places the 10 most frequent letters of English on the home row.
  • Colemak has been designed to be easy to learn for existing QWERTY typists. Most of the keys remain in their QWERTY positions.
  • Colemak takes into account many ergonomic factors: finger distance, finger balance, finger strength, hand alternation, uncomfortable finger combos, etc.
  • It can work with all standard keyboards, including laptops. It is available for Windows/Linux/Mac and many more operating systems.

Well, my Rosewill RK-9000 mechanical keyboard stopped working over the weekend. There is a cable that plugs into the keyboard that runs to my K-40 keyboard keyer that then keys the Omni d. If I wiggle the cable at the site where it plugs into the keyboard it works intermittently than stops working. I tried a new cable but didn't solve the problem. Does anyone know what the female socket on the back of the Rosewill keyboard is called? Is it a mini USB plug? I would like to try to replace the plug. The keyboard was not cheap, I like it, and a call to the company didn't help as they do not sell parts and do not service the keyboards if they are out of warranty.

Joe W3GW

Fred, K6KX, has done repairs to his for the same problem.  You can email him for details.  


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