Yesterday I got to examine and use the prototype Begali "KX3 paddle".
I think a more accurate way to describe it would be to say it is
It is *not* a direct replacement for the KXPD3 as
many of us had expected. It has been designed in modular fashion so
it can become "friendly" with *any* rig.
I have to say, this is one cool product. The more I studied and
played with it, the more I liked the entire concept. It's simply
And cute to boot! I understand that the theme behind the concept
was to produce a high quality, virtually indestructible key that would
travel well and
play well with *any* manufacturer's trail radios and portable rigs as
as shack-installed radios.
They are going to call it "The Adventure".
So what they created was an ample "docking base" into which the
paddle slips for "home station use". There is a cord with a 1/8"
plug. At home, the paddle can sit on the operating desk, connected to
shack-installed radio just like any other paddle.
For KX3 use, the paddle slips out of the base and is mated to the KX3
with two 4-40
slotted, stainless thumbscrews. The Adventure has a short cable that
a 1/8" stereo plug which goes into the left side KEY jack on the KX3.
Thus the front key input on the KX3 is not used.
I can foresee many handy ham homebrewers coming up with all sorts of
custom brackets to
secure the paddle to their non-KX3 trail radios and portable rigs.
The dual thumbscrews provide the mechanical mount and the 1/8" stereo
cord assures compatibility with all trail and portable rigs. In fact,
understand that they plan to offer a bracket option to allow this
paddle to be attached directly to the KX1 also. The paddle "module"
itself is really small
and light enough for backpackers.
The mechanical design is rugged. It does not look like much could
ever go wrong with it. This is a magnetic return key and
the magnets are on the bottom. The prototype has brass posts but the
production version will be gold. The paddle fingerpieces are metal
and the production version will also be metal. This paddle felt "just
like a Begali" - smooth, consistent, and substantial. It felt very
like my Begali Traveler Light on which I have metal fingerpieces.
Unlike the KXPD3 which comes out of the KX3 "straight", the Begali
has an elegant upward sweep. The penalty for this European flair is
that the Begali extends outward from the KX3 a little more. The
prototype also had swivel and tilt so it would accomodate left or
right handers, and the upward sweep could be reduced for use in the
I was dying to take a picture but decided it would be crude to ask. I
was thrilled just to have it as a guest in my house for the afternoon!
I understand that they have worked out the design for a single lever
paddle for those of us who prefer it. I got the impression that
production could begin within 6 to 8 weeks.
I asked how much one would cost me...and the answer was "not cheap".
But I guess I already knew that ;)
I certainly intend to purchase the Adventure but I'm keeping my KXPD3
also. The KXPD3 gives me the option to keep it plugged into the KX3 at
all times, set to my usual 22 wpm. I can use the side KEY input for a
bug or straight key. This way I'm ready for "anything" that pops up,
from a legitimate FISTS number exchange to a surprise DX CQ from someone
with little patience for my slow and choppy straight key fist. When
you've got a long call like mine, some speed helps a lot ;) If there is
any downside to the Begali Adventure, it's losing the use of one of the
two menu-customizable key inputs on the KX3. I wish this were not so.
But I realize that any design process is really just an exercise in
For the record, I am not employed by the Begali Company.
Sorry Tex, but I didn't want to be crude and press Ulrich for a cost
after his initial response to this question was, simply,"not cheap!"
Nor did I want to risk embarassing him into having to admonish me for
snapping a picture of a product in development. I'm just a "half-fast"
CW op who is friends with Ulrich and Piero and I want to keep it that
So for now, best cost estimate is simply, "not cheap". If you use the
current Begali catalog of product prices as a guide, a good guestimate
might be an "exchange rate" of about two and a half to three KXPD3s for
one Begali Adventure.