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Re: [CQ-Contest] Paddle Opinions?

To: Zack Widup <w9sz@prairienet.org>, CQ-Contest@contesting.com
Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] Paddle Opinions?
From: Steve Harrison <k0xp@dandy.net>
Date: Thu, 18 Oct 2007 04:10:30 +0000
List-post: <mailto:cq-contest@contesting.com>
At 09:45 PM 10/17/2007 -0500, Zack Widup wrote:
>I also have been using an old, by now rather beat-up, Brown Bros. paddle 
>for years.  I love it.  It "takes a beating and keeps on bleating." :-)

Well, then: I'll claim my 1966-vintage tan-base Vibroplex paddle "takes a
beating and keeps on beeping!"  8-)

Seriously: the only damage mine has ever incurred was at Field Day with the
Olathe club (Kansas) in 1983. Somehow, I dropped my one-and-only and
snapped off the big red paddle while packing it away for the drive home

But not to fear: one of the club members, a real old-timer K0-something,
happened to be watching and I saw, out of the corner of my eye, that he
also flinched when he saw me slip and drop my paddle into the box and snap
the paddle off. Seems to me his name was George, and I'm certain he's gotta
be a SK by now...   But anyway, he came up to me and said he could make me
a replacement paddle if I'd give him the remnants of my old one. Since I
then lived in a crowded apartment and rarely could make a Q from there and
so didn't expect to be needing the paddle for awhile, I gave him the two
broken plastic pieces.

But it having been Field Day, my appetite for working schtuff had been
whetted and so soon after I got back to the apartment, I set up the TS-120S
and taped a dipole to the walls, and tried working stuff, over the next
month until the next club meeting, I did use my Vibroplex, minus the
plastic paddle on the left side, in attempts to work people from my
ground-level apartment with a barefoot TS-120S. I remember I was able to
check into some traffic nets, notably the Kentucky State Net and, on
occasion, could even get rises out of my old home Southern California Net
guys on good nights. Life was becoming good  8-)))))))

Came the next club meeting.... and before I knew it, here was George at my
elbow, handing me a plastic baggie containing both my old paddle and the
one he'd just made. And way far and beyond, the paddle he'd just made was
WAY more "beautiful" than the old one, and just exactly the same shape,
too, when you held the old and new together. The new one is an odd
multicolor conglomerate: thick black in the center, with thinner white on
each side of the black, then thin red, just like the original, on the
outside. It was a PERFECT replacement, and very nice upgrade from the
original plain-red, original paddle.

And every time I reach for and caress it, I can't help but remember George,
K0???, and thank him for his generosity  8-))))))))))))  George truly made
something that at least one "young tyke", by his definition, would remember
forever. Thank you, George, wherever you are  8-)

It's mainly because of that replacement paddle, that I just can't see
myself ever getting rid of my Vibroplex keyer paddle. And also, of course,
there's the fact that it was a completely-out-of-the-blue XMAS present from
my parents when I was all of 14 years old. I still haven't the vaguest idea
where the thought ever came to them that I needed a keyer paddle,
especially since having it, would obviously give me more excuses to beat
the TV to death with TVI; and Dad no longer remembers anything about those
old days  ;o(

>Seriously, it has withstood many head-first dives off the table onto 
>concrete pavement during portable operations and didn't even show signs of 
>being damaged.  I have the model with an iambic paddle and a straight key 
>on one base.  I don't have to go digging for the straight key on SKN that 

My deceased Elmer, W6GGV, had that model Brown Bros. and we both used it
with success, although Hank was never much at CW (but he tried, on
occasion, and did fairly well for a dedicated voice op  ;o)  I really
wanted to obtain his paddle from his estate but unfortunately, his heirs
never answered any of my e-mails  ;o((((  I used that paddle in many a
contest from Hank's place back in the day. We started with homebrew boards
for the old Accukeyer (I'm still using one of those boards, in fact,
whenever I go mobile) but Hank later built another keyer kit giving him
umpteen dozen choices of keying styles. I noticed, the last time I visited
him and got on 2m CW, he had it set for iambic; dunno whether he was
actually becoming proficient at it or not but it was driving me bats until
I learned to space my fingers further apart and hit the paddles much more
lightly than I do with my own Vibroplex. I was loathe to mess with his
keyer settings, in particular, since I knew how little patience he had with
having to reset such things when someone else had monkeyed with them. So I
quickly figgered out how to adapt myself to his own settings.

Anyone know what that fantastic 3B7SP op was using??? To me, his fist
reminded me greatly of Vic Clark, W4KFC. After working 3B7SP, I'd often
just listen to the guy slinging what sounded much like a bug, but which I
bet was actually a keyer, until he faded out long after his sunrise.
Whether mechanical or electronic, his fist was pure music to mine ole ears.
There's a few Europeans who still sound a lot like that, too.

Then there came the PVRC's annual reunion "contest", during which four of
the old-timer PVRC founder calls were put on the air. The guy slinging the
bug and signing W4KFC brought back way fond memories of my doing the same
"just sit back and listen to this pro" thing when I ran across Vic in the
'66 Sweepstakes on 40m: it was all I could do to just sit there and listen
to Vic effortlessly sling out that beautiful music.

Makes me want to get another bug and try to resurrect my old "fist".

Steve, K0XP
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