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New to CW

Jul 28th 2012, 15:49

W2RRK

Joined: Sep 10th 2007, 11:10
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Total Posts: 0
Hello everyone, I am just starting to learn CW after working HF & 2Meter Voice for a few years now. I picked up a Bencher BY-2 in excellent condition at a Ham's yardsale recently. I am right handed so I understand the concept of how the Keyer is wired with the "Dit" being made by the operator's right thumb and the "Dah" being made by the right index finger. Then, after sending, I would have to come off the keyer, pick up pen or pencil and start writing down what I'm hearing, then put the pen down, and start sending CW again--over and over. I am quite adept at using my left hand for fine motor skill jobs through various jobs I have held over the years, so I was wondering, how many Right Handed CW operators use their Left hand for Iambic keying? Do people keep the current wiring configuration of the keyer and use the Left index finger for the "Dit" and the Left thumb for the "Dah" or did you switch the keyer wiring so that the "Dit" is made with the right side paddle by using your Left thumb and making the "Dah" symbol from the left side paddle with your Left index finger--thereby keeping the traditional "make the "Dit" with your thumb" mantra alive & well. All opinions are welcome!!! To me, it "feels" better to use my left hand to key; it's just figuring out whether to reverse the keyer wiring for "dits" and "dahs" or not. Thank you very much. 73, Rich, W2RRK
Jul 29th 2012, 22:21

AA6E

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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Rich - Whatever works for you! But you might be better off with your key wired the standard way. Then, if you want to operate some other fellow's station, you won't be hopelessly confused.

I don't find it any problem to switch from keying to copying with the same hand. In fact, it's relaxing to be able to switch positions every minute or two.

The skill I wish I had, is to type received CW on a keyboard (or "mill" as they used to say). I can type a lot faster than I can copy CW, so it shouldn't be a problem you'd think, but it's really hard!

73 Martin AA6E
Jul 30th 2012, 14:05

W2RRK

Joined: Sep 10th 2007, 11:10
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
Good morning Martin,
Thank you for the reply. I see your points about using the same hand so it "takes a break" and also keeping the keyer wired the same way in case someone else takes over for me during an event such as Field Day. Good ideas!! Thank you again, 73, Rich W2RRK
Jul 30th 2012, 15:56

W1VT

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0

I'd also suggest a careful investigation of the equipment manuals--it isn't unusual these days for modern gear to have the software/firmware capability to electronically reverse the connections for you. You can also handle reverse polarity with a short adapter cable that reverses the connections.

Zack Lau W1VT
ARRL Senior Lab Engineer
Jul 31st 2012, 17:21

W2RRK

Joined: Sep 10th 2007, 11:10
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
Hello Zack, I poured over the manual this afternoon for my Yaesu FT-847 and I cannot find anywhere within the 98 different Menu options, a choice for reversing the connection via software/firmware. Thank you for making me read it again!!! I never saw (or forgot) I could do cross-band repeating for EmComm if needed!! 73, Rich W2RRK
Nov 23rd 2012, 20:07

W6KMB

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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Total Posts: 0
This is an old thread but just had to comment. I am left handed and couldn't begin to right with my right hand. I learned my CW skills in the late 50s when the " bug" was the thing to use. Since dits are made with the thumb I was sucessfull in using my right hand for the bug which freed up my left for hard copy. Moving two fingers with my non dominate hand was not much of a problem. I wonder if other lefties experienced the same.
Jul 29th 2013, 01:04

AC5LS

Joined: Jul 29th 2013, 00:54
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Quote by W6KMB
This is an old thread but just had to comment. I am left handed and couldn't begin to right with my right hand.


Yeah, it's still a very old thread, but I too just had to comment.

Rather than trying to "right" with your right hand - I suspect you're referring to "writing" with your right hand.
Aug 2nd 2013, 22:39

WB5EMX

Joined: Mar 15th 2013, 21:23
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Total Posts: 0
You can buy a left handed Vibroplex bug. Get lucky and find one on the web. Worth the change.
WB5EMX
Aug 2nd 2013, 22:40

WB5EMX

Joined: Mar 15th 2013, 21:23
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
You can buy a left handed Vibroplex bug. Get lucky and find one on the web. Worth the change.
WB5EMX
Aug 2nd 2013, 22:40

WB5EMX

Joined: Mar 15th 2013, 21:23
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
You can buy a left handed Vibroplex bug. Get lucky and find one on the web. Worth the change.
WB5EMX

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