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Iambic Keying – Debunking the Myth [pdf] (morsex.com)
17 points by pmoriarty on Feb 4, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 5 comments

TLDR; The efficiency gains from using true iambic keying are overstated. In addition, at rates above 30 wpm it is very difficult to actually use a true iambic method, so it's better to quit trying and use a non-iambic method.

I find this to be very timely, since I'm currently studying to upgrade from General to Extra and also planning to finally master Morse code. (By "master," I mean get to the skill level my dad demonstrated.) I learned to send on a straight key and never graduated to a bug, let alone an iambic paddle. I haven't used Morse code for almost three decades now, so I will be relearning how to send it. I never got much faster than about 15 wpm previously.

My dad could send and receive Morse code at around 70 - 80 wpm. He used a two-paddle iambic keyer very skilfully, but I have no idea whether he actually "squeezed" on letters like F, and he's gone now so I can't ask. I'll have to start practicing again to figure out what works best.

Also, updated link to Chuck K7QO's article: http://k7qo.net/sending.pdf

Sending with iambic keying is difficult if you have a crappy set of paddles. There is a surprising number of people producing paddles, so get yourself a good set. In other words, not Bencher.

Good to know. I have inherited a couple of paddles from my dad, including (IIRC) one made by Vibroplex. I'll be digging those out of the box soon.

Unrelated but this article is a diamond in the rough for hams. I have to applaud the fairly concise writing style and actual use of math.

I've recently gotten in to amateur radio and it has been exhausting reading the wordy and anecdotal treaties of many "expert" hams on various topics. Not only are the works filled with jargon, but most posts start out with a tenuous link to actual science/technology and then immediately dive into very specific anecdotal experience.

I'm interested in finding better sources of info so if you or your club have good technical pieces on the web please let me know.

iambic keying is clever, and fun, but of very little practical value.

True. Also, amateur radio is clever, and fun, but of very little practical value. I've been a ham for almost 30 years. I like to compare it to sailing. If your goal is to get some place fast, you should choose just about any other conveyance besides a sailboat. Messing about with radios is loads of fun, but practicality is rarely a major consideration.

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