[CQ-Contest] : Physics of 2 Keyboard SO2R

Mike Smith VE9AA ve9aa at nbnet.nb.ca
Mon Jul 12 19:35:03 EDT 2021

Thanks for your thoughts Dmitri, Frank, Steve, Mark and others.  I remember ~17 yrs ago when I built this huge multi-layered desk (you can see part of it on my qrz.com page) that I made it so the surface was @ 29.375” and then at the very last minute, when it was still being built, I (stupidly) put 2.625” tall wheels on it.  There’s not even any room to move it anywhere in the shack, so there it sits.  Landlocked with wheels.  So now it’s 32” high.   I read on an old thread here from 2012 that 29-31” surface height is ideal.


  I think that is only part of the problem however as I usually don’t get too sore in contests looking at my one screen at an optimal height.  It’s doing the Chubby<Mike>Checker twisting motion doing 2BSIQ that I only ever notice it. (exacerbated by the desk height of 32” which is too tall for a short guy like me I think)


I can no longer really access the bottom of the legs/posts because the desk with all equipment probably weighs 300-500lbs, and the bottom of the feet are only 2.5” off the ground due to the wheels, so what I think I’ll do as a first step is modify the desk to be jacked up with my Harley motorcycle jack, saw the bottoms of the legs off (wheels still attached) and then install furniture leveler (feet) so that I can make it height adjustable from about 28.725” - 30” in the future .(maybe even 28.5”- 29.75”)


I know this won’t 100% solve the problem, but it’s a good first step and is sure to help.


I do have a 2-tiered wooden footstool I made, under the desk I use when contesting.


My mouse is very small (1/2 the size of normal mice) and I endeavour to never (ok, vy seldom) use it during a contest, but at times I do get bored as the CQ machine does its thing and will go off and browse email or see where the sun is near Japan or whatever, or a window will overlap another window in N1MM+, so do use it a little). I did try putting it on top of the right radio, but I didn’t notice any difference of having the KB’s 2 or 3” closer and it was always a pain to reach up for the mouse…. I do have paddles up on top of the right radio but only use them very seldom.


Mark, in a previous life I was a taxi dispatcher and got used to using the # pad for entering #’s all day long, so would hate to lose this…especially in serial # contests like CQWPX…..although you do make a good point.


Another thing someone suggested privately is learn to type on the left KB with my left hand and the right with my right.  Hmmm, I hadn’t given that much thought, but it’s a “maybe” if lowering the desk makes no real difference.




Mike, Coreen & Corey

Keswick Ridge, NB


From: dimitri [mailto:cosson-dimitri at bbox.fr] 
Sent: July 12, 2021 3:36 PM
To: Mike Smith VE9AA
Cc: AB1J via CQ-Contest
Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] Physics of 2 Keyboard SO2R


Hi Mike,

As SO2R, I use a single keyboard so I'm not in the best position to help you....

I'm also not ergonomist but I would say that your neck pain comes from a bad position of the screens (height/left/right) !

You have to limit  the movements (visually on the screens by moving the eyes and not the head).

The height of your chair is probably not appropriate with the desk. You should adjust the height of the chair/armchair so that the elbows are about the same height as the desk surface. If your feet are off the floor, opt for a footrest, but never lower the chair so that your feet are on the floor.

If you have enough place, try also a vertical mouse (with high DPI to limit movements).

And I would recommend to use always the same setup (SO2R - 2 keyboards), regardless of the practice done (2BSIQ, run + S&P, S&P + S&P), it will the only solution for your brain, your hands, your whole body to acquire the automatisms and to find your best posture / equipment location.

73 de Dimitri F4DSK / TM3Z

Le 12 juil. 2021, à 18:58, Mike Smith VE9AA <ve9aa at nbnet.nb.ca> a écrit:

This is just about KB size & placement, body movement, neck/shoulder pain,
not specifically "how do you do it" (if that makes sense)


I have 2 x 17.5" wide full size keyboards with a mini sized-mouse in between
(almost no room for it to move)

They are slightly slanted left/right in a flying vee formation to fit my
small desk. (instead of 100% in-line)

My tabletop is a little high at 32".

The seat of my chair is 22" to the uncompressed seatpad.

I am about 5'7" tall (and 57 yrs old) with the typical middle age spread


I don't practice 2KB SO2R so only use it a few times a year, as I don't do
2BSIQ SO2R (run/run) in every contest.

Some contests I might run on one keyboard and S&P on the second in a very
minor way.  The physical problem seems to come when I do 2BSIQ run/run.  In
IARU this weekend, Cabstats told me I made 363 bandchanges, so I don't know
if that means I twisted 726 times or what (or even more due to unanswered
CQ's).  At times I had to stop the 2nd radio as I was in too much pain.(hi)


Sooooo, how do you get around neck shoulder pain from the constant twisting?


I tend to swivel my chair a little help reduce it(and my
legs/hips/stomach/core are fine), but even after a few hours I find I have a
stabbing pain in my shoulder blades & neck.


Is my tabletop too high? (probably..I put wheels on my huge shack desk after
I had everything planned & built some 17 yrs ago and now think that was a


My chair is as high as it'll go.


I don't really want to go to mini keyboards as I am a hunt n' peck typist
and I see everything fairly well as it is.


How do you guys do 2KB SO2R and avoid pain?




Mike VE9AA "5NN N" this past weekend

(tnx for all the Q's !)



Mike, Coreen & Corey

Keswick Ridge, NB



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