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LCWO Discussion Forum [Atom LCWO Forum Feed]

This is a simple discussion forum for LCWO users. Feel free to use it for any kind of discussion related to this website.

Thread: Key recommendation

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Posted: 2021-12-21 21:15
I have been a ham for 3 years and just now comptimplating learning cw. I am 74 years old but not too old to learn.
I know about different key types but not any thing about them. Please help me begin.

Posted: 2021-12-21 23:08

Hi John

Welcome to cw . . .

Most people seem find decoding far more of a challenge than keying, so get stuck into the lessons first and see how you go . . .

You will need to try out some keys yourself, to see what suits you.

One of the old military manual keys will be inexpensive

YMMV etc though


Posted: 2021-12-21 23:56

Posted: 2021-12-22 03:26
Hey John, welcome to you.
You might begin with a search on www.ebay.com with a search for "J-38" as a beginning, and then branch out to general searches for "morse code straight key".
What I have done is to get a MFJ-557 Code Oscillator, and replace the key with a J-38 or other model. There are some very high quality straight keys available, as well as some that can be quite cheap or quite worn and those are best avoided.
There is some stuff available like the following as well:
At any rate, you can take your time finding a key to send with. The main activity that applies to using a key is to learn to copy code, and you are in a good place to get into that.

Posted: 2021-12-22 06:20
John, I am almost 70 myself and just became a ham this past September. I developed an interest in Morse Code shortly after. I have been learning on this site ever since. I also had no key and wondered, same as you, what key should I get. My choice was to get some iambic paddles and I picked up a Bencher from a friend who didn't use it. I recommend starting here because it automatically gives you the correct timing. Timing is the next biggest thing after you learn your sounds. This feature is outstanding for a beginner like me. Yes, iambic paddles are another learning curve but since I'm a beginner I don't have any other habits to change. That said, I definitely will be getting a straight key like the J-38 recommended above. Now I have a good sense of the timing and think I now could work a straight key. Then, there is what is known as a bug. Its a single paddle, semiautomatic key. By semiautomatic they mean the dits are made and timed by the bug and the dahs are made and timed by the operator. Bugs go kind of fast for a beginner but can be slowed down some with some ingenuity. Hope this helps. 73's

Posted: 2021-12-25 17:35
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