Paddles are important tool for CW operator. I have 3 of them;Schurr profi, Chevron and Mercury made by Bencher.

Schurr has springs for tension. When I knew paddles with magnet for tension, I believed the latter was much better than the former regarding the touch of keying.

I had used Chevron for a year or two until I noticed it occured contact problems. I knew a way to solve it for sometime as described for a while. But, felt it was troublesome to do that procedure, I have used Mercury for months.

I felt loosened axis of dots with Mercury recently when hitting it hard. I gave it up now even though tightening of the axis might improve it. Mercury has made unpleasant bouncing sensation when hitting the levers in addition to this loosened axis, even though it could be partially ameliorated with narrowed contact gaps and stronger tension.

Chevron"s contact problem occurs at two parts. One is at contacts as with the other kind of paddles. It is simply solved with cleaning the contacts with paper. The other is unique to Chevron. It sometimes happens between the column and the bolt supporting the contact. Exactly, the surfaces of fastening nut and bolt as well as of the screw in the column bring about oxidized membrane, which causes resistance to small amount of current running in the keying circuit.

The outlook of Chevron. Pretty heavy
and beautiful. A perfect paddle without
the  occasional contact problem.

I am often whispered by someone to purchase some good paddle like Begali. I am almost inclined to order one model of Begali. Thinking how long I could use it from now, however, I won't do that so far. I don't want to be a fetish collector of keys any longer!

I placed this old Chevron on the operating table. And, as I used to do, I put conductive grease to the aspects of the fastening nut and the bolt facing to the screw in the column. I know it gets rid of the contact problem for several months. I go on repeating the procedure when the problem recurrs. 

You may see some debris of the conductive
grease between the fastening nut and
the right aspect of the column.
It is not easy to meet an ideal paddle. So far, I would go on with Chevron.
I won't be able to excuse errors in sending at least for several months.
 For the manufacturer's honor, I would add that they have improved the contacts in the new model, even though I don't know what they have done with this contacts as well as if the refinement has solved the problem or not yet.  



  1. Well Shin, a fine fist deserves a fine paddle. I agree with you that paddles using magnetic return force feel better than those using springs. The Schurr paddles are the best of the spring designs. The Chevron and Mercury paddles use locking collars on the adjustment screws. I find it difficult to get the fine adjustment I want; tightening the collar changes the gap as well as tilts the contacts slightly. The Begali designs do not use locking collars and are much easier to adjust. The problem I have is when a small dust particle gets in or next to the gap and the humidity goes up it can get lodged in the gap and act as a short. Begali suggests a .03mm contact gap.

    I prefer to live in the moment and don't concern myself with how much use I will get out of a key. My only concern is will it help me send better CW. By the way, the Begali Sculpture is my favorite iambic paddle but I like the Sculpture mono best of all. Keys are a very personal thing,
    73, Bill

    1. Bill,

      Thanks for the info. I didn't know the part I mentioned in the post is called as locking collars. You are right it is not easy to make fine adjustment with them. Begali seems attractive regarding that also. So far, Chevron is working OK for me now. I will go on using it for the time being.


    2. Part of my love of fine paddles is the workmanship, Begali excels at this and the price is very high. His high end paddles use stainless steel which is expensive to machine as well.

      I have another very fine paddle made by N3ZN which is a simpler design. Mine is a ZN-9B and the feel/performance is hard to distinguish from a Begali. It is machined from brass which keeps the cost down. It has very fine thread pitch on the adjustment screws with no locking collars.


    3. Shin,

      Excellent feedback on your assessment of some top-rated CW paddles. I tried the Chevron back in 2009, but due to the high mass of the lever arms, it seemed like I was dragging my CW behind me.

      Although I have owned many Begali keys, my favorite key for the last five years is the modified Long Island Mercury Key by KG2ED. Rich supplies two versions. First, is the classic N2DAN design. The modified form shortens the length of the lever arms. For me, no other key matches it for sending accuracy. Like W6QR states: "Keys are a very personal thing."

      Hopefully, you will work me soon on 40m from a remote Internet station being designed by N4CC and myself. A chronological description is being added on my QRZ.com page. Tower is self-supporting with full-size M2 4-element monoband Yagi at 45 meters. See predicted 40m path through HFTA analysis in the description.


      Paul, W9AC

    4. Paul,

      Thanks for the interesting info on Mercury. I will search for further info on Mercury by KG2ED.

      I am sure you will come through loud with your beam on 40m. I will be seeing you soon there.


  2. Shin. I am W5ZO . We just had nice qso on 15 meters CW and I have a picture of your qsl from 1966 but I need your email address if you would, I will send you the picture. email me at mikew5zo@clear.net. and i will email the card.
    You are great CW op Congratulations on FOC. I never made it. I am CWOP 1108.
    73 Mike.

    1. MIke,

      Thanks for the QSO. It has been a real long time since the day when we met first. Thanks for the offer to send the photo of my old QSL. But I know what a card it was. I am impressed to hear you kept it on the wall, though. i hope we will make many more in the future. Thanks again.