KXPD3 and single-lever paddles

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KXPD3 and single-lever paddles

Dennis L. Haarsager
Although I've been licensed since 1965 and able to put some sort of HF
signal on the air during almost all of that time, my activity level was
relatively low (a couple of hours a year) from 1977 through 2011 due to
career and family.  For the past two years, I've been semi-retired and
getting my activity level up, but I'm frustrated that my CW sending without
mistakes has plateaued in the low 20s whereas my receiving ability is still
over 30 wpm.  At first I thought I was just out of practice but, believe
me, I've done a lot of off-the-air practice.

I have a nice K8RA dual lever paddle that I use with my K3 and the KXPD3
for my KX3, which of course is an iambic paddle.  I have the same problem
sending with both and have experimented with a number of settings.  The
KXPD3 was initially worse, but the Elecraft mod kit was an improvement so
it's now on a par with the K8RA paddle.

Recently LA3ZA posted here and included a link to his excellent blog.
 There I found an article on single-lever paddles and their use by many
high speed operators (tusen takk, Sverre).  <
http://la3za.blogspot.com/2013/06/the-advantage-of-single-lever-paddle.html>
 I see, too, that Begali's HST model for high speed work is single lever.

This led me to think that maybe what's caused my sending to decline in the
last 35 years is that I've gotten old -- more specifically, that I've
gotten arthritis which is fairly pronounced in my right forefinger (it now
takes a "dogleg" to the left and there's a nodule on the joint nearest the
tip).  So my ability to squeeze the paddles as fast as my "CW brain" is
working  is probably impaired over what it was back in the day.

So that leads to some questions.  Does this theory make sense to anyone
else?  Has anyone switched from iambic to single-lever because of this?
 Improvements?  Has anyone put a non-iambic paddle on Elecraft's wish list?
 Does anyone besides Begali make a single-lever paddle for the KX3 (I'm
tempted by its Adventure Mono model)?

73,
Dennis Haarsager, N7DH
Hillsboro, Virginia
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Re: KXPD3 and single-lever paddles

Jim Hoge-2




________________________________
Dennis,

I have a number of keys, both single lever and iambic and I most certainly understand the arthritis comments. If I have been in the shop or out in the yard and working with my hands, I am definitely QLF for a time afterwards.  I don't know that it really makes a difference whether I am on a single lever or iambic key but I have found that either wider spacing between the thumb and finger pieces or a wide single lever seems to be better suited to my stiff hands. Try something as simple as a stick on footpad or rubber bumper to get wider spacing and see how it feels. From there, you can fabricate a permanent solution if it is to your liking. I intentionally omitted naming what I use, choosing to focus on the width of the fingerpiece(s).

73,
Jim W5QM
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Re: KXPD3 and single-lever paddles

Bob-270
In reply to this post by Dennis L. Haarsager


Hi Dennis,

                  Here is a single lever paddle for your consideration:

http://www.americanmorse.com/bushwhacker.htm

73,
Bob
K2TK   ex KN2TKR (1956) & K2TKR




On 9/29/2013 10:25 AM, Dennis L. Haarsager wrote:

>
> So that leads to some questions.  Does this theory make sense to anyone
> else?  Has anyone switched from iambic to single-lever because of this?
>   Improvements?  Has anyone put a non-iambic paddle on Elecraft's wish list?
>   Does anyone besides Begali make a single-lever paddle for the KX3 (I'm
> tempted by its Adventure Mono model)?
>
> 73,
> Dennis Haarsager, N7DH
> Hillsboro, Virginia
> ______________________________________________________________
>

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Re: KXPD3 and single-lever paddles

Bill Gerth
In reply to this post by Dennis L. Haarsager
Dennis,

As one who is afflicted with peripheral neuropathy, I can somewhat empathize with your situation.  Although I do have demonstrated decreased nerve conduction velocity and numbness in my fingers, I'm still able to manage iambic keying in the 35-40 wpm range.  If you're wanting to try "single-lever" keying, you don't need a single-lever key.  Just use your iambic paddles in single-lever fashion, that is do not squeeze, but close the dit and dah contacts in sequence, not at the same time.  As a CW instructor, I encourage my students to get an iambic paddle at the outset since it can be used in either mode as their preference dictates after they try both methods.  A single-lever paddle rules out iambic.  At least one other responder suggested experimenting with varying the mechanical width of the lever finger piece(s).  I have several iambic paddles and I do find a wider spacing more to my liking.  

I think every CW operator has a unique set of parameters that work best for him/her.  I'd recommend that you go ahead and try single-lever keying with your iambic paddles as a first step.  Hopefully, you'll be able to then tweak other parameters to get where you want to be.  Since you're still above 30 wpm in copying ability, maybe you can find the sweet spot combination of paddle configuration that will make it happen for you.

Good luck!

73

BILL GERTH, W4RK
Jefferson City, MO
First Licensed 1954
CWOPS #459
4 States QRP Group
KX3 (S/N 112)

On Sep 29, 2013, at 9:25 AM, "Dennis L. Haarsager" <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Although I've been licensed since 1965 and able to put some sort of HF
> signal on the air during almost all of that time, my activity level was
> relatively low (a couple of hours a year) from 1977 through 2011 due to
> career and family.  For the past two years, I've been semi-retired and
> getting my activity level up, but I'm frustrated that my CW sending without
> mistakes has plateaued in the low 20s whereas my receiving ability is still
> over 30 wpm.  At first I thought I was just out of practice but, believe
> me, I've done a lot of off-the-air practice.
>
> I have a nice K8RA dual lever paddle that I use with my K3 and the KXPD3
> for my KX3, which of course is an iambic paddle.  I have the same problem
> sending with both and have experimented with a number of settings.  The
> KXPD3 was initially worse, but the Elecraft mod kit was an improvement so
> it's now on a par with the K8RA paddle.
>
> Recently LA3ZA posted here and included a link to his excellent blog.
> There I found an article on single-lever paddles and their use by many
> high speed operators (tusen takk, Sverre).  <
> http://la3za.blogspot.com/2013/06/the-advantage-of-single-lever-paddle.html>
> I see, too, that Begali's HST model for high speed work is single lever.
>
> This led me to think that maybe what's caused my sending to decline in the
> last 35 years is that I've gotten old -- more specifically, that I've
> gotten arthritis which is fairly pronounced in my right forefinger (it now
> takes a "dogleg" to the left and there's a nodule on the joint nearest the
> tip).  So my ability to squeeze the paddles as fast as my "CW brain" is
> working  is probably impaired over what it was back in the day.
>
> So that leads to some questions.  Does this theory make sense to anyone
> else?  Has anyone switched from iambic to single-lever because of this?
> Improvements?  Has anyone put a non-iambic paddle on Elecraft's wish list?
> Does anyone besides Begali make a single-lever paddle for the KX3 (I'm
> tempted by its Adventure Mono model)?
>
> 73,
> Dennis Haarsager, N7DH
> Hillsboro, Virginia
> ______________________________________________________________
> Elecraft mailing list
> Home: http://mailman.qth.net/mailman/listinfo/elecraft
> Help: http://mailman.qth.net/mmfaq.htm
> Post: mailto:[hidden email]
>
> This list hosted by: http://www.qsl.net
> Please help support this email list: http://www.qsl.net/donate.html

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Re: KXPD3 and single-lever paddles

Bill W4ZV
In reply to this post by Dennis L. Haarsager
Dennis L. Haarsager wrote
> my ability to squeeze the paddles as fast as my "CW brain" is
working  is probably impaired over what it was back in the day.
As Sverre correctly points out in his article:

"The issue must be tolerance to errors, not just efficiency."

For those who truly squeeze as required by true Iambic (as opposed to many who use a dual paddle key as a single lever in non-Iambic), timing the squeeze is more critical than slapping a single lever back and forth.  For the HST guys, timing at ~60 WPM rates becomes very critical.  For older hands that have lost some fine motor control, timing is also critical although at much lower speeds.

For sending at typical QRP speeds, there's no need to spend $335 for a Begali Adventurer.  Here's a video of the $30 Whiterook MK-33 sending at ~25 WPM:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=xK01E39GQ38#t=23

For another $10, they make a leg strap which is nice for portable or mobile operation.  I recently gave a MK-33 and leg strap to my stepson Christian KF4LXB for his birthday.  Here's his report:

http://www.uwharrieqrp.com/2013/09/new-addition-to-portable-kit-whiterook.html 

Of course you can also roll your own with some old relay parts.  I did this for my KD1JV ATS-3 Transceiver that I sometimes use for SOTA activations:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wutov8MVr6Q

BTW you're near several SOTA summits in case you like to hike and operate outdoors with your KX3.  

73,  Bill  W4ZV
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Re: KXPD3 and single-lever paddles

Millerhill
Bill,

I've had a LOT of different keys and also settled on the Whiterook as a knockabout QRP key. I think it's really an excellent key. Lots of fun to use as a sideswiper too, and just a tad cheaper than....well just about everything other than a couple of nails in a plank and a hack saw blade!

I got the leg strap and it works fine although I found myself just holding on to it most of the time, but the leg strap allows you to have a free hand for logging etc so a nice option to have.

72,
Steve
W1SFR



On Sep 29, 2013, at 4:07 PM, Bill W4ZV wrote:

> Dennis L. Haarsager wrote
>>> my ability to squeeze the paddles as fast as my "CW brain" is
>> working  is probably impaired over what it was back in the day.
>
> As Sverre correctly points out in his article:
>
> "The issue must be tolerance to errors, not just efficiency."
>
> For those who truly squeeze as required by true Iambic (as opposed to many
> who use a dual paddle key as a single lever in non-Iambic), timing the
> squeeze is more critical than slapping a single lever back and forth.  For
> the HST guys, timing at ~60 WPM rates becomes very critical.  For older
> hands that have lost some fine motor control, timing is also critical
> although at much lower speeds.
>
> For sending at typical QRP speeds, there's no need to spend $335 for a
> Begali Adventurer.  Here's a video of the $30 Whiterook MK-33 sending at ~25
> WPM:
>
> http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=xK01E39GQ38#t=23
>
> For another $10, they make a leg strap which is nice for portable or mobile
> operation.  I recently gave a MK-33 and leg strap to my stepson Christian
> KF4LXB for his birthday.  Here's his report:
>
> http://www.uwharrieqrp.com/2013/09/new-addition-to-portable-kit-whiterook.html 
>
> Of course you can also roll your own with some old relay parts.  I did this
> for my KD1JV ATS-3 Transceiver that I sometimes use for SOTA activations:
>
> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wutov8MVr6Q
>
> BTW you're near several SOTA summits in case you like to hike and operate
> outdoors with your KX3.  
>
> 73,  Bill  W4ZV
>
>
>
>
> --
> View this message in context: http://elecraft.365791.n2.nabble.com/KXPD3-and-single-lever-paddles-tp7579364p7579380.html
> Sent from the Elecraft mailing list archive at Nabble.com.
> ______________________________________________________________
> Elecraft mailing list
> Home: http://mailman.qth.net/mailman/listinfo/elecraft
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> Post: mailto:[hidden email]
>
> This list hosted by: http://www.qsl.net
> Please help support this email list: http://www.qsl.net/donate.html

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Re: KXPD3 and single-lever paddles

Sverre Holm (LA3ZA)
In reply to this post by Dennis L. Haarsager
You're welcome, Dennis - bare hyggelig!

(Your last name sounds to me as if you are among that approximate half of people of Norwegian descent that live in the US rather than in Norway, and thus perhaps would understand some Norwegian.)

Dennis L. Haarsager wrote
Recently LA3ZA posted here and included a link to his excellent blog.
 There I found an article on single-lever paddles and their use by many
high speed operators (tusen takk, Sverre).  <
http://la3za.blogspot.com/2013/06/the-advantage-of-single-lever-paddle.html>
 
Sverre, LA3ZA

K2 #2198, K3 #3391,
LA3ZA Blog: http://la3za.blogspot.com,
LA3ZA Unofficial Guide to K2 modifications: http://la3za.blogspot.com/p/la3za-unofficial-guide-to-elecraft-k2.html