as written by Nancy Kott with World
The Paddlette model PK-1 was delivered to my post office box in a very study little box that doubled as it's shipping container. This is an iambic key and includes a length of three conductor cable to attach to your keyer. This key takes the term "downsized" to heart. It weighs only 1.5 ounces, including the cable. The footprint of the key is a tiny 1" by 1.75". There is only one moving piece per paddle.
The adjusting screws are neatly recessed into the plastic. The base is gray plastic with matching finger pieces. The paddle arms are thin flat brass, and a brass cylinder positioned between the arms is the point of contact. This key is very well machined and constructed. An adjustment wrench is included and stores conveniently in the base of the key. Magnets are also included, and hold the key surprisingly well in place. One magnet is used on the base for iambic use, the other is included in case you want to turn the key on its side and convert it to a straight key.
When I first took it from of the box, I was skeptical: The paddles looked flimsy because they were so thin. After practicing with it a while, I was pleasantly surprised. The key became very comfortable and effortless to use. Because of the thinness of the paddles, an extremely light touch is required, making it easier to send in true iambic style. Most people who use iambic keys don't actually use the iambic, or squeeze, technique when sending. I showed the key to Irene Kott WO8E, and she liked it immediately. She usually uses a Bencher iambic but has never mastered the iambic style of sending.
The first time she tried the Paddlette, she was able to send with the squeeze technique without even thinking about it, it just happened naturally. We were amazed! Next I showed the key to my friend Dennis Franklin, K6DF, an experienced CW operator. He was impressed with the quality of the overall workmanship in the key. Sending code at high speeds requires a key that will hold its gap settings. The Paddlette has lock down set screws to prevent gap adjustment creep. After setting the gap and measuring it with a feeler gauge Dennis put the key to extended use. Afterwards, the key only showed a tiny change in the contact gap. Dennis did not care for the feel of the paddles, he thought they were "too mushy" and had too much spring in them. He prefers a key that provides a solid feel when it makes contact. But he said it performed well on the air, and it would make a good key for portable operations.
I enjoy using the key. However, it did take some "get-acquainted" time because it feels so different from anything you have tried before. I particularly recommend it to hams who enjoy high speed operating. I have found that I can send faster iambically with the Paddlette than with my Vibroplex iambic, possibly because of the smaller amount of pressure required. This key surprised me with its versatility as a straight key in addition to being an iambic. Once I got the hang of using a very light touch, I was able to send more effortlessly and faster than I can with most of my "real" straight keys, except for maybe my trusty Schurr. This key is beautiful in its simplicity and functionality. Good things DO come in small packages!
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