I agree with several of the other respondents regarding the best approach
to getting your speed up and your appreciation of CW. You will find that
many, if not most, of us old timers started with the simple hand key.
It is an excellent way to learn the proper spacing, ratio of dits to dahs
and "sound" of the characters, not individual dit and dahs but the
"resonance" of each character one by one. Listen to W1AW or a good CW
operator and listen to how the characters flow smoothly and evenly at
various speeds, then try to emulate them using the straight key. Keep
your arm straight, heel of your hand off the desk. You may rest your
elbow lightly on the table to prevent tiring. If you took piano lessons
you already know the correct technique of "wrist action".....don't press
the key with your fingers but with the motion of your wrist. I applaud
your approach to learning CW with an open mind. Many find it to be a
most pleasant way to communicate. Your choice of equipment is excellent,
you'll love the OMNI V.
I use an MFJ Super Memory keyer utilizing a computer keyboard as well as
several straight keys. I have mixed emotions about the MFJ 493 (and most
MFJ stuff). When it works it is great. Unfortunately, 'most every day
when I turn it on I have to do a software reset because it is "hung" and
will not boot up properly. This means that all of the preprogrammed
messages (primarily for net operation) get erased and have to be
reentered. Often have to try several times before it will reset
properly. Very frustrating, but when it does work, it is great. MFJ's
biggest problem (my opinion) is non-existant quality control.
Welcome to Ten-Tec and welcome to CW. I hope you will enjoy both as much
as I do.
Pat Haynes - K4BEH
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