I've been enjoying all the comments on keys and learning CW.
The prices of old straight keys and bugs seems to have gone
sky high. It seems the closer CW gets to its alleged demise,
the more collectible the tools of the trade become!
Still, I'm sure that there are still bargains to be had at the
If you want a new key, check out the Morse Expressions web site
at www.MorseX.com. Marshall carries several brands with prices
and pictures. He also has a neat on-line key collection and more
tips for learning CW. The Nye Viking straight keys seem to be
reasonably priced and of good quality, although I don't own one myself.
For keyers, you can build a cheap but functional keyer using the
Curtis 8044 chip (I hope its still in production). A really nice
single paddle keyer with a nice sidetone is the Ten Tec 1553 kit.
It would make a nice starter keyer and its only $ 12.00. Its small
enough to build into a paddle or QRP rig. Ten Tec also sells the
model 607 single paddle for $ 39.00. Its crude but rugged and
good as a mobile or Field Day paddle, in case you graduate to
a more sophisticated (and expensive) paddle.
Paddles and keyers are very personal items so there is really no
"best", so visit a few shacks and try a few.
73 all, Bob WB2VUF
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