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Re: [CQ-Contest] Paddle Opinions?

To: CQ-Contest@contesting.com
Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] Paddle Opinions?
From: "Leigh S. Jones, KR6X" <kr6x@kr6x.com>
Date: Wed, 17 Oct 2007 17:56:12 -0700
List-post: <mailto:cq-contest@contesting.com>
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Brad Pioveson W9FX" <w9fx@verizon.net>

> I'd appreciate knowing what you
> like (or, don't) and, if you can tell my why you feel strongly about any
> particular brand/model.

The issue isn't what we like or dislike -- it's what you will like or 
You ought to be able to tell quality when you see it.

My recommendations:

1) Don't change back and forth between twin lever and single lever
models.  If you've become accustomed to a squeeze/iambic capable
paddle, then continue to use that type; otherwise use a single lever
type.  I made that mistake once.  It's like shooting yourself in the
kneecaps.  Changing back is like shooting yourself in the other knee.
I started off using a bug, and was quite satisfied switching to a
single lever paddle.  Trying to send with a bug now is like
swallowing a grenade.  Stick with what you are used to.

2) Make sure you use a paddle with a heavy base or be certain to
anchor it down to the operating table firmly -- preferably both.

3) Don't use a paddle that can fall apart while being used.  I'm
referring to some specific models here -- those are constructed so
that pulling backwards on the paddles can disengage the fulcrum
points from their seatings.  I personally can't go an hour in a
contest without pulling these keyers apart -- otherwise they have
a nice feel and are popular...

4) Use caution with the older single-lever paddles from Vibroplex.
If the "knob" wobbles up and down with pressure, it will always
wobble, and this can be annoying.  I owned a nice Vibroplex
single-lever paddle, however, and rue the day I committed myself
to converting over to an iambic.  Things now could only get worse
if I tried to change back...

I use an old, beat-up Brown Brothers twin-paddle key purchased
second-hand that has been durable through 35 years of journeyman
guest operation and Field Day operation.  They are no longer
available as new.  I often see paddles that could be excellent
replacements, but have never had a reason to buy one.

Don't convert, repeat, don't convert, but if you are accustomed to
single-lever paddles, some of the finest operators use the Autronic
paddle -- no longer available as new.  It has a precise feel that
supports high speed CW at low error rates.  Unfortunately, you
may have trouble with it if you are accustomed to a paddle with
some depth from side-to side, because the Autronic paddle is
quite flat with no knob.

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