Friday, October 1, 2010

The key issue

The Pelican case was my last post I installed the KX1 in the foam insert and stopped there. During my portable operations I have been using my Bencher BY-1 key.  The Elecrafts KXPD-1 portable key just does not work for me, I find I am not able to send dependable code with it. I know there are many out there who use this key with great success but for some reason it just does not click with me. Up to this point the Bencher BY-1 has been the key I use with the KX1. Not really a portable key and with the springs and pivots all exposed I am concerned that sooner or later it will get damaged. So I am on the search for a portable key for my KX1!!! I have done some searches on the net for portable keys. One site I found very helpful was the QRP Amateur Radio Club International website. They have a link to a multitude of Morse code key sites I came up with two that seemed to be mentioned often in portable use and were given good reviews. The first key Im considering is  Palm radio's Mini paddles.  They are self contained in an aluminum carry case, small in overall size (1x1x3 inches). You can adjust spring tension, contact spacing and paddle stop and they gold plated contacts. All this for 95.00 U.S. The other option is the Bengali traveler light, for those of you who are familiar with the Bengali product line they are very well made and are a high end type of keys. I'm the proud owner of a Bengali Contour Key 
I have had it for about 6 months now and yes it was pricey but it is a fantastic key. So I was pleased to see they also offered a travel key. As with the Mini paddle this key also comes standard with gold contacts. It is not as compact as the Mini ( about 1x1x4 inches). This could have me reconsidering my Pelican case size as well. Unlike the Palm paddle which has spring contact adjustment the Bengali uses magnets. Now my contour has magnetic adjustments and it's easy, fast and they stay in adjustment. finally the Traveler has nice weight to it 1.5 LBS. To me this is an advantage as I find lighter keys I am moving them all over the table.But the weighted key, magnetic contacts and the Bengali quality come with a price of 228.00 Euros.
The bottom line is which key......The Mini is smaller but lighter and does have very good reviews. I would have to find a way to secure it to the KX1 so it does not move around. They do offer magnets but the case is aluminum on the KX1. I would appropriate any input on these two keys or any other ideas you may have about a key you may be using.


  1. Good Evening/Afternoon
    I use the small "Palm Key" with my FT817 - It's very good and adjustable, has a nice feel - but the internal keyers are a nonsense - I have an MFJ Super Deluxe Ele-Keyer - Build quality not too good but smooth as:

    73 Peter

  2. That's good to hear about the Palm key and that it works for you.

  3. Mike -
    Have you, by chance, taken a look at the P2-Jr travel key from Jerry, K8RA? Here's a link:

    I have both the P2 for home and the P2-Jr that I bought for portable use. I'm very pleased with both keys. They're very well made, easy as pie to adjust, and Jerry will ship them fast as heck. The P2-Jr is a great size for throwing in a "go-bag".

    No, it isn't a Bengali (wow, sure would love to have one of those), I'm sure you won't find it as smooth as one of those, but I'll bet you'd like it better than the Bencher you're using.
    73 Ed

  4. Hi Ed thanks for the link I checked the site out and the P2-JR looks good. Nice weight to it and it's not magnetic but spring tension then again it's 80 bucks and not 228.00 Euros!! The Bengali key at home is great but I have to realize this is portable operation this key has moved to the top of the list.