If you want to be a great CW operator, you need a great paddle – and Bencher supplies the best. What makes the ideal paddle? A paddle that is perfectly responsive, light to the touch, a paddle your fingers float over and become as one. A perfect paddle is one that the operator forgets as his/her thoughts reach out, flawlessly and smoothly translated into perfect CW. A paddle with definitive yet subtle tactile feedback, friction free return, and perfect closure on every dot and dash.
The BY Series is also unfortunately the paddle most copied by others though with much lower quality and performance. We have sold well over 100,000 of these paddles, surely far and away the most popular iambic paddle ever. We also offer a variation of the BY series, the ST series, for those operators who prefer a single lever paddle. But if you are new to paddles and electronic keyers, we strongly urge you to start right out with an iambic paddle.
If you want an Iambic Paddle, you have come to the right place – Bencher makes three of the very best – the BY series, the Hex Paddle, and the Mercury Paddle. But, you are already thinking, if they have three different series how can they say they have the best? Isn’t one better than the other two?
Here’s why we offer three different paddles –
The BY series, thanks to its unique pivot-pin bearings, is simply the most responsive iambic paddle available today. It is also the world’s runaway best seller – well over 100,000 of them have been made by Bencher and are in use all over the world.
The BY series paddles are meant to be gently stroked and squeezed for best iambic CW performance. For someone just learning CW this is easy to learn and indeed it is fun. Operators who already have good iambic skills will thrill to the capabilities of this unmatched instrument. If you are a new CW operator – this paddle should be your clear choice – learn CW on it and you will never at any price find a better instrument. It truly is that good.
But for someone who used to bash a “bug” around, which required the operator to get rather physical for good CW, learning to lightly stroke and squeeze a paddle using iambic technique is very different from old habits, indeed, mutually exclusive habits. Thus it is very difficult for such operators to learn the smooth, fluid iambic sending techniques that sound so good over the air.
Frankly, the BY series paddle, like a fine sports car or a surgical scalpel, does not respond well to the heavy physical input such operators are comfortable with. But that is how old time CW operators, trained on the bugs and single lever paddles, learned their craft.
If you are one of these operators, for you Bencher offers the innovative new Hex Paddle. This paddle too is fully iambic, and very nearly as responsive as the BY series paddles, yet is also designed to stand up to the most physical of operators, thanks to the floating instrument grade ball bearing races and magnetic paddle return, not to mention the massive base. Like all Bencher paddles, the Hex Paddle features individual tensioning and spacing adjustment for both dot and dash sides, unlike some rather pricey imports. Like the BY series paddles, the Hex Paddle uses gold plated silver contacts, unlike “coin-silver” contacts sure to corrode over time.
Our third choice, the famous Mercury Paddle, is a piece of art rendered in metal. Gleaming hand polished components chrome plated to a shining luster make the Mercury Paddle a real statement of the fortunate owner’s love of CW and amateur radio. These paddles use the best of everything – gold plated solid silver contact surfaces, hand polished finger pads, leaded brass base. Like the Hex Paddle, the Mercury is able to take whatever the operator will give it and deliver silky smooth Morse in return.
Making such a paddle as the Mercury requires many hours of hand labor, so that the inevitable result is a product not priced for every budget. But for the amateur dedicated to the hobby and who has the means, there is nothing like it.
Hopefully, this will help you choose the paddle most suited to you and your needs. Be sure to read on for a fuller description of each of these fine instruments.