Don’t be Tight with Your Straight Key

After a recent contact from a Morse operator about his sending, it left me a bit confused.

“So personally I am trying to improve my speed and not lose my accuracy moreover I am trying to improve “my stamina” in the sense of being able to send longer and longer passages again without slipping into making constant mistakes.”

At first I though it could be he needed more practice in sending and sent him a few tips to improve his sending but their was still something playing on my mind about his stamina. as his sending was OK to start with but deteriorated after sending for a little bit.

A couple of days later while playing with my RAF type F “bathtub” key that it suddenly sank in, as the bathtub is not an easy key to use for fast Morse as the spring fitted on them is very strong and can restrict your sending to about 12wpm, and it can tire you out after a period of time.

I sent him an email about decreasing the tension on his spring and he said that after my first email he had started thinking about the tension and already decreased the tension on his keys and was quite happy at sending at 22wpm so problem solved.

The Moral of this story is not to put too much tension on your key and make sure your gap is sufficient for your sending, the faster your Morse the less gap you need. Play about with the settings on your key so that it is comfortably set up for your sending.

1 thought on “Don’t be Tight with Your Straight Key

  1. I think it all comes down to being able to feel what you’re doing in your arm as well as hear it with your ears. A well adjusted straight key with a metal or marble base feeds most of your input right back to you instead of absorbing all of it. This means less required force and a nice tactile feedback picked up by your arm. Along with what you’re hearing through your ears this really helps you achieve effortless sending with great timing for long periods as your brain has much more information to work with. Feel is so important.

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