A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the KWS-1

The Begali HST III

Totally by accident, and because the KWS-1 doesn’t have a keyer built in, I tried to go the “nostalgia route”, but all roads led to failure – until yesterday where the “logical conclusion” in this journey ends up with a Begali HST III sideswiper “Cootie” key – more on this below.

Speed-X Prototype – manufactured where Twitter’s HQ is now

First, I thought, OK – lets try a bug. I haven’t used one since about 1976, and yuck – I hate it – I just can’t go back.

N3ZN Paddle with Hallicrafters TO Keyer

Next, I tried the TO Keyer with a modern paddle. Yuck – another FAIL. I hate the cadence of this old keyer.

Begali Pump Key – now we are talking

I made my first KWS-1 QSO with this straight key – and while it was nostalgic and fun (a keeper) – it will be reserved for special occasions (Straight Key Night).

The Begali Intrepid – a “happy accident”

Totally by accident – the Begali Intrepid is two keys in one – a bug – when you really have that itch – but better yet – a “sideswiper / cootie” single lever key.

OMG – using it as a single lever sideswiper is the shit. Why in the world have I been buying dual lever paddles all these years when I hate “squeeze / Iambic” keying?

N3ZN dual lever paddles

I will keep my N3ZN paddles, the Begali Intrepid and straight key. The problem with the N3ZN paddles is that their base is small and I usually have to hold the key down. I am a “slapper” Keyer – a bad habit from my bug days.

K1EL WinKeyer USB

Since the WinKeyer USB has outputs for two rigs, I’ll use it for the KWS-1 and the IC-7300 and use the Begali HST mostly. I’ll reserve the N3ZN keys for use with my portable QRP rigs – the NorCal40A and the Red Hot 40.

I will also use the Begali Intrepid as a sideswiper key – maybe as my IC-7300 key. I have to try various combinations to finalize what gets used and where, but one thing that has happened to me since getting the QRP rigs and the Gold Dust Twins is that CW is more than ever my concentration.

CW in many ways is one of a handful of reasons to stay in the Ham Radio Game.

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