My Mercury is #13. I have had it for over 30 years!! Of all the paddles I have used, since 1960, it is by far my favorite. The Ham Gadgets MK-1 is a very compact keyer with paddle and keyboard inputs. It is a very versatile unit. Firmware upgrades are introduced via thumb drive to the usb port. N0XAS, the MK-1 designer, is always QRV for new ideas to add to the keyer.
Thanks for the welcome, and I must say I am really impressed with what you've done here with QRQcwnet, we finally have a way to promote solidarity among QRQ operators and those who strive to improve their CW speed. I was pleasantly surprised when Bob (W5UX) pointed me in the direction of this site...it was great to know that most everyone I talked to back around 2003-2004 are still active on the bands (and internet) sending QRQ cw. 73 and talk to you soon!
Before trying to improve my Vibroplex paddle, I looked around to buy a better one such as Begali, Shurr, Kent, Mercury, etc, and found they all or almost use bearings or bushings to very close tolerance but you still stick with some friction and oxydising in the future. they should be gold plated. but will never compete with the Vibroplex jewell pivots.
That is the reason I worked on improving the Vibroplex dual paddles.
The original Vibroplex paddle needed much work to send decent CW over 40 wpm,
And I was tired to clean the silver contacts frequently, so I soldered pieces of gold from an old ring to the four contacts because of two levers and shaped and polished them very nicely.
After, I changed the location of the springs 7/16'' toward the pivots and added bypass wires to each paddle to cancel the spring conductivity. Now I cannot recognise the feel of the paddles at 50 or 60 wpm because I reduced the pressure needed on the paddle of about 50%. I sent the info mod. to Vibroplex and hope they will have a look at it to improve QRQ of their paddles. Bearings or bushings, how close they may be, cannot compete with watch jewell movement!! Hi Hi
Hi Chuck, Thank you very much for your welcoming message and thanks too for approving my application for membership! Hopefully one day I will manage to improve my CW to the point where I could establish contact with you and the QRQcw Group on iCW and really join in on all the fun :-)
Regarding your query about the Graciella, it does not belong to me (K6KX forced me to bring it home two or three years ago to "try out"). The summary of my experience with it is that I like it significantly better than the previous paddles I had used for extensive times: Back to back J-38 for the first 15 years; Bencher; Shurr Profi; Marsh magnetic; G4ZPY VHS;
I bang on paddles and the Graciella is the only one that does not slide around on me. The Profi had "suction cup" feet so with moisture it would stick on a smooth surface; but I could not just slide it to a new position and have it stay put. All others I had to bolt down or otherwise mount in a fixed position until I discovered the "shelf liner" method which works reasonably well I suppose.
I feel like the contact adjustments are also much better than any of the others, but I actually have not messed with them much at all. I am sure I tweaked them when I first used it but have not felt any need to touch them since.
I have never used a single lever paddle and I do not use Iambic (squeeze) keying. I learned on the W9TO where dash would override dot which led me to prefer Type A when I moved to the Curtis chips. But I have recently been thinking perhaps I should try a single lever paddle. There is some possibility my error rate would be improved since it is not possible to overlap paddle closures. The N3ZN ZN-SLR looks like a possiblity but I wonder if my fingers can learn to use a single lever after 50 years.
I tried single lever (a Begali Simplex Mono w/simple spring return) recently and had a pretty hard time adjusting even after a mere 2 years experience with dual lever paddles. My "bread and butter" key has been the Schurr Profi 2 (after upgrading from a BY-1). However, after about 3 weeks practice using only the single lever I found I was approaching my standard level of error, but it seemed to require greater effort than the two lever action. Perhaps that is because I tend to squeeze on a few characters, which gives the impression (perhaps illusion) that it took less effort to send that letter. I would love to try the Begali Sculpture Mono, but that may have to wait a while since I'm considering dipping into savings for a Sculpture standard...hihi.
When double posting is outlawed, only outlaws will double post. I wanted to mention too, that when I get a good method of keying a nice sinusoidal tone into my sound card, I want to wire up the contacts of the Simplex Mono so it can work as a sideswiper...Bob Carr and Ben have been quite influential in making me want to try sidewinding again.
I think the QSK-5 is a good purchase.There are NO added timing components between the xcvr and the QSK-5. No hot switching problems and no thumps/clicks in the rx. No problems with or without the SB-220 amp on. It is a true pleasure since it is silent, except for the high voltage created clicks physically from the circuitry inside the case of the QSK-5. You have to listen very closely to even detect the clicks. (NONE IN THE RX).
This is some detail on using the QSK-5 with the TS-930 and the TS-450:
I hook the cw keyline of my keyboard to either rig's key input- I hook Key-2 (QSK-5) to Pin 4 of the REMOTE jack of the TS-930 (amp keying line using the built-in transistor) and on the TS-450 I built up an NPN transistor switch- collector to Key-2 (QSK-5)- the base of the transistor to +12 VDC on tx on the TS-450 REMOTE jack pin 7 with a 10K resistor- base in series- with pin 7, that is- and emitter to chassis ground- Key-1 (QSK-5) directly to chassis ground to enable QSK operation- I can use my station without the QSK-5 in line just by switching the AC front panel toggle switch OFF- you would only do that when testing and tuning your antenna tuner since you may blow the pin diodes with inadvertant high VSWR making tuner adjustments- I hope these comments are helpful and clear- I have quiet QSK with this setup-
One more note- I go from low power to full amplifier power output by simply using a separate toggle switch to close the amp key line- the amp's idling current of around 100 ma does not cause idling current white noise in the receiver that is noticable- if you wanted to get fancy, there is a FET inside the QSK-5 that could be wired in with shielded 2- conductor cable that could be used in the amp's bias circuit to switch the tube bias on and off, if needed but I have not used that circuit yet- the FET switch is the way to go, since idling at 100 ma on the amp's tubes could generate long term heat- (I don't chat for days!) The bias for the FET is timed to follow your keying-
Hello Chuck, the Trimm headsets as you show have a metal disk and two combination magnets/electromagnets the disks resonate and peak the audio and act like an acoustic filter. There are also little tricks that professional marine telegraphers did in emergencies, like put the shallow cup of the headset on the cheek with the top hitting the little bone in front of the ear which is about 1-1/2 inches from the ear. In period of SOS during QRN5 heavy static atmospherics, we would position the Trimm headsets there and adjust the stream of air coming out to attenuate the loud static and just pass the Morse signal. It is a trick that works well also on 80 meters and 160 meters. We would also buy single cords to each headphone so we could monitor two frequencies. Each headphone plugged into a separate receiver. Often we had yet another frequency on speaker watch, but as you know a headphone watch is much more intense if you do it right on a congested frequency like 500 kHz. = 73 de N1EA