CW Keyer - two questions

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  • Updated 4 years ago
new 6500 and new paddle owner.....been having some problems sending with extra dashes inserted....clearly this very easily could be operator error, especially since its a new paddle and I'm just getting back into cw after a long time.... anyway.......lets say I set my wpm to 15.....if u start sending faster than 15wpm, it feels like the flex is trying to throttle me back and if I continue the flex gets confused and I need to wait before starting again......is that possible?  What happens if u set 15wpm and you try to start sending at say 20 WPM?

second question....I see some of you use an external keyer......why are you doing that?  What external keyer are u using?

thanks

Steve
 
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Steve Belcak

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Posted 4 years ago

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Photo of George Molnar, KF2T

George Molnar, KF2T, Elmer

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No keyer I know of will buffer input beyond the next dit or dah. If you try to send faster than the keyer is set for, errors will result. Are you using a dual or single lever paddle? You might want to experiment with the iambic and A/B settings. Practice until you find your comfort zone. Also, if you're a left-handed operator, reversing the dit and dah wires is often a help.
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Steve Belcak

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GM George...it's a dual lever paddle....not using true iambic and like u said I may be just running away from where the flex wpm is set.....practice is the word especially after a long time away from CW..thanks
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Duane, AC5AA

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I have had some of that same problem, Steve, except I run at speeds between 22 and 30 wpm, and for me, I'm thinking it's partially from being away from CW operating for a few years.   I have always used Logikey keyers, not rig-based keyers in the past, because the Logikey is so forgiving on input timing.  The advantage to using the Flex's built-in keyer is that the speed stays in sync with the CWX speed.  I have yet to connect one of my Logikey keyers up to see if that solves my problem, but I plan to do that soon.
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Steve Belcak

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Thanks Duane I'll be anxious to hear how it works out...I replaced a 40 year old Vibroplex with a new Begali....I like the new keyer but is has a different feel (tighter) than the old Vibroflex....but as I said, if things are going good I try and pick up the speed and I run into problems.....  PRACTICE...I guess that's the key......u use Logikey, wonder what all the good cw operators are using?  radio keyer or something else???
Thanks
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Duane, AC5AA

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Piero Begali makes wonderful paddles - I have three of them, myself.  Just switched from a Simplex to a Magnetic Classic and am still playing with the tension/spacing to get it right for me.  When I was looking for a keyer 20 or so years ago, the Logikey was the almost unanimous answer.  I still think it's tops for me, but we'll see what responses you get to your question.

   73, Duane
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Ken - NM9P

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I use a 30 year-old Bencher paddles with the internal Flex-6500 keyer .  I think they need the contacts cleaned because they send a lot of errors....(it couldn't possibly be my fist!)

Actually, I have the best luck with my sending style using "Iambic B" mode, which has "dot-dash memory."  There is another click-box as well in the set-up form called, something like "strict timing." It is a bit less forgiving on your Make & Break when you are sending.  I leave it off, because I need all the "forgiveness" I can get when it comes to CW!

I wish I could justify the expense in my budget for one of those fine Begali keys.  They are sweet!  I would love to have one of the magnetic action dual paddles.  But I have too many things on my list ahead of it...most of them have nothing to do with ham radio right now!

Ken - NM9P
(Edited)
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K1UO - Larry

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Ken,  Look at these..  superb quality and I found it eliminated a lot of bounce errors my Bencher created and I could just not adjust out.   I have the ZN-5B model .  Excellent craftsmanship, precision made and with a heavy base so you don't chase it around the table.

http://www.n3znkeys.com/c/1/iambic-keys

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Duane, AC5AA

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Interesting throught, Larry - any keyer design that doesn't "debounce" a mechanical switch input is just asking for trouble!  Hopefully these new engineers/designers understand that basic principle.
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km9r.mike

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I like my zn-5 and is probably the best key I have ever used. I had a begali magnetic classic but I sold it. Set springs did not provide enough force to hold set screws plus there was minute slop in the set screws themselves. The zn-5 is a mechanical wonder. Machined to very tight tolerances. I am awaiting the arrival of a pearl. I was gonna get another N3ZN but I like variety and wanted to have the option of a begali. Hopefully, it can equal or outperform my zn-5, but that will be tough.

(Edited)
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W5XZ - dan

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steve, you might try switching the keyer from "mode a" to "mode b", and see which one feels the best..

JM2C, good luck, 73
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Steve Belcak

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Duane....mine is the Signature, magnetic....like u still making adjustments

Dan.....took a quick look at the manual but not sure I understand what is the difference between A and B....can u explain.....by the way I was set on B, now set on A and will give that a try.

Thanks
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Charles - K5UA

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George is right. There is no speeding up an electronic keyer. If you are sending at 22 wpm and speed up your physical keying speed you are just going to overrun the keyer buffer and get garbage out. You must adjust the keyer speed to send faster. As far as I know, the artifical intelligence, self-speed-sensing keyer has yet to be invented. Sounds like a neat concept however.
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Charles - K5UA

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One other thing, I use an external keyer (a micro-ham keyer) because it has variable dot-dash capability. Standard keying is a dash to dot ratio of 3.0 to 1. My personal preference is a dash to dot ratio of 3.6 to 1 which is very musical sounding and has a certain "swing" to it. I can barely send 3.0 to 1 timing without messing up. The recent vintage kenwood, Icom, and Yaesu transceivers all have variable dot-dash ratio keyers, but I have not seen this on American made transceivers yet. This is not the same as "weight" which is on every keyer I have ever used. Maybe when the Flex engineers have nothing left to improve upon they will give us variable dot-dash ratio keying........ but I wouldn't hold my breath. It's just not a very high priority issue, ever for me. It's too easy to get around by using an external keyer.

I will also second a previous comment praising Begali magnetic paddles. I have an original N2DAN Mercury paddle and a Hensley paddle, and I use the Begali 99% of the time. Long live CW!!!
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Steve Belcak

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http://wb9kzy.com/modeab.pdf    Interesting Charles.....where do u set weight in SSDR/Flex?  I did find a good explination of A/B mode...see link....I've been away from CW a long time...I've been enjoying getting back to it!   I'm far from adjusting dash dot ratio's but find it interesting that an experienced operator can tune things that finely....
thanks to all for the info......I'll keep tweaking!
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Charles - K5UA

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Hi Steve,
My understanding of CW "weight " is that more "weight" decreases the spacing between the dots and dashes. For me, adding CW weight gets ugly really fast since the characters sound like they are just run together. I'm not sure if there is a weight control in the Flex since I use an external keyer. For what I have heard just playing around with the Flex internal keyer, it seems to be a nice 3.0 to 1 standard keyer that should satisfy the vast majority of Flex owners. The CW dinosaurs like me enjoy a bit more control over the keying. It's the only way to have a signature "fist" in these days of electronic keying. Think of us as the equivalent of the ESSB enthusiasts, only on CW, not SSB.

Just keep at it, it's a muscle memory thing. After enough time you will be sending musical CW without even thinking about it.
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F6EJU

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I have the same issue .I am not a clock and so if my fingers move too fast the "dit" on left side is missing.
Reading your explanation makes me more confident in myself .
I asked for a dit and dash adjustable to the desk .
Will see if engineering will do it for us .
I am set on B which is better than A, no idea why.

73 to all of you
f6eju
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Monk - K5HP

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Where do I find the "strict timing" setting Ken NM9P referred to?

Thanks,
73, K5HP
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Walt - KZ1F

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Steve, I use a vibroplex keyer that ARRL used as their centennial keyer. Being left handed I do have to reverse the paddles. I think I understand what you are referring to. When I try to slow down, my 'muscle memory' gets in the way and I start making mistakes. I try not to go faster than the side tone indicated the radio is going. I end up splitting the difference, I slow down the wpm to a semi comfortable speed and increase inter character distance such each char is,say, 20 wpm but each word is, say, 13 words per minute.