IK0XCB - HB9FIR's keys.


Sideswip1 sideswiper made by IK1OJM.

IK0XCB's Sideswip1 sideswiper, click to enlarge picture. This is one of the first models produced by the Italian Wizard: Salvatore, IK1OJM. The technical design is based on the Russian R010 sideswiper. The lever return system is magnetic, there are no springs. The contacts are equipped with a flexible element which provides a comfortable tactile feedback. The action is responsive, smooth, and moreover, the key itself can lead the operator towards his best performance.
Visit IK1OJM's sideswiper page.

DSCN-4195-A sideswiper made by IK1OJM.

IK0XCB's DSCN-4195-A sideswiper, click to enlarge picture. Refined version of Nr 1 (see above), heavy metallic base covered with noble wood and briar inlays. Excellent mechanism, the finger piece is adjustable to 3 positions. This feature allows to find the best combinations along with the contact spacing. Here again, no springs, the return system is using magnets. The contacts are flexible, the manufacturer has had an inspired solution: The contacts are embedded in a window cut into the central lever. The key action is very fast and precise, the special shape of the finger piece favours the rotative movement of the wrist, offering the operator a surprising agility in the movement. The key is lovely and unique in every way. The antiskid silicone rubber feet adhere firmly even to the smoothest surfaces.
Visit IK1OJM's sideswiper page.

Sideswiper made by I1QOD.

IK0XCB's I1QOD sideswiper, click to enlarge picture. This is the key on which I've learned how to use a sideswiper. Also this key was born copying the dimensions and the technical design of the Russian R010 key. The return system is using springs, and the contacts are flexible by means of thin steel blades. This is an excellent training key. Intentionally the action is somewhat hard, as this exercises the muscles involved in operating a sideswiper. [IK0XCB = HB9FIR].

Maniflex sideswiper.

IK0XCB's Maniflex sideswiper, click to enlarge picture. I've not often used this key. It was given to me by Gas, F6DUR and I keep it in memory of this excellent friend of mine. I've never thought of making an efficient fastener for the key, I've always been transmitting by holding it down firmly with the left hand. In spite of this, I've been able to appreciate the very smooth action that makes this key really comfortable to use. The sending speed is however somewhat limited because of the excessive soft action and the return system which exclusively depends on the flexibility of the blade lever. Even with the key screwed down to the desk, I think the Maniflex is not capable of speeds beyond 125lpm (25wpm). [IK0XCB = HB9FIR].
Further info on the Maniflex.

GHD GF-601A key.

IK0XCB's GHD GF-601A sideswiper, click to enlarge picture. An attractive key. The lever is a genuine hacksaw blade, whose flexibility offers a smooth action, and the key is easy to use. Because the lever is centered solely by the blade's spring force, it hinders high sending speeds. I find the shape of the finger pieces old-fashioned or even prehistoric. The finger pieces are too flat and don't allow for a proportional rotative movement of the wrist which appears to be the most efficient technique to send with a sideswiper. In my opinion, the action of the lever should be soft for both the initial push and contact closure. But in between the tactile feedback needs to be sufficient to ensure an appropriate grasp that provides a secure operating feel. I don't want to denigrate the soft type of keys, they are perfect when it comes to the traditional way of sending with a sideswiper, but a more modern sending technique requires different features. [IK0XCB = HB9FIR].

Begali Sculpture Swing Sideswiper, My Prototype.

IK0XCB/HB9FIR's prototype of the Begali Sculpture sideswiper, contact section, click to enlarge picture. IK0XCB/HB9FIR's prototype of the Begali Sculpture sideswiper, left view, click to enlarge picture.

Since 2010 I've been closely collaborating with Piero Begali I2RTF testing his new keys. During August last year I designed a new type of sideswiper and I've extensively used this key which has since become my favourite type of key along with the bug key.
You can see the end result of my experiments in the pictures above. Note that this is just a prototype made of crude parts. Piero will finally complete the design later. I have no doubt this sideswiper will enter the "Sculpture" line of keys and will inherit the steel/black look of that series of models.

IK0XCB/HB9FIR's prototype of the Begali Sculpture sideswiper, top view and diagram, click to enlarge picture. While designing this key I tried to resolve all of the problems and difficulties related to sideswiper keys and I think I have resolved most of them.
Nowadays most operators are using paddles hooked up to electronic keyers and when they give the sideswiper a try they have difficulties getting used to the larger lateral excursions of the lever. They often tend to send with too narrow contact spacing and their sending becomes confused and difficult to read. To overcome this problem I have found a mechanical solution. On my prototype the excursion of the lever and the contact spacing can be independently adjusted and the lever tension adjustments have also been improved.
The operator can now forget these adjustments and concentrate on his sending! [IK0XCB = HB9FIR].

Note: The end result of these researches is now available: Begali Sculpture Swing Cootie Key, by Officina Meccanica Begali.
View the sideswiper in action: Begali Sculpture Swing demo, by Stan, WB2LQF.