Re: keeping the tradition alive


From: Jim Kearman (
Date: Tue May 25 1993 - 13:55:06 EDT (Howard Lester) writes:

>I have a new Vibroplex Brass Racer iambic paddle to replace the Bencher I had
>borrowed for several months. The Vibroplex is wonderful, and, as David
>Letterman would say, "easy on the eyes". It is a heavy brushed brass piece
>on a triangular rosewood base. Simply made, its tension on each paddle is
>adjusted with sliding magnets - no springs. The price is similar to a
>Bencher: $65.
>You have just read an unsolicited testimonial from:
>Howard KE7QJ
I'll have to get one of those paddles. I used to collect "bugs,"
when they were sensibly priced. Now, they're too rich for my
blood! I've started buying iambic paddles. I have a Hal "FYO,"
but would like to have an original FYO iambic, if I could find
one. Also have a Polish copy of the Bencher (really!), and a
Bencher (what I used to transition from bug to iambic keyer).
A couple of years ago I went temporarily insane and bought a
"Mercury" paddle by N2DAN. It also uses magnets, mounted on
screws with locking nuts. It's HEAVY and beautiful. You may
have seen photos of it in _CQ_ magazine. It also cost me more
than all my other keys put together.

Personally, the Brown Bros paddles and their clones never did
much for me. I actually gave away a clone, because it was so
sticky. I don't like the wobbly handles on the Bencher; it
also tends to disintegrate in your luggage. When I go off
shore now, I take my computer, but a backup paddle won't
hurt. The Mercury weighs a ton and I'd hate to damage it, so
the Bencher still goes on trips as a backup.

I think a paddle I built from two Microswitches is going to
appear in Hints & Kinks, in July _QST_. I'm working on
another one now, using the contacts of an old relay. I'm
going to use "hard" Fender guitar picks for the handles.


Unabashed CW Fan, often found on 40 meters after dark, EDT.

Looking for historical information on the GRC-109 radio set.

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