Paddle Survey Results by Bob Grubic, NC6Q

You may recall reading a short time ago an article (in the FISTS Newsletter "Keynote") asking for your input regarding which hand you use to copy CW, which one you use to send CW, and which finger you use to send dits with an electronic keyer. Here are the results of that survey, but first a background reminder.

Since I have gotten back into Ham Radio and have been attracted more to Morse code, I have been copying with my right hand (I'm right-handed) and sending on a straight key with my left hand. When I move to an electronic keyer, I'll want to use the paddles with my left hand too. I'll then be faced with leaving it set up as it comes (presumably for "righties" with the dits on their thumb but my index finger) or changing it around. Should I leave it alone and send dits with my index finger or change the paddles around to send dits with my thumb? Dits with index finger? Dits with thumb? I wondered what others did. Hence the survey.

SUMMARY

The results are interesting. Here are the figures:

Total number of Hams responding: 61

Style
Fingers
Number of Hams
Copy Right, Send Right Dits with index finger
4
Copy Right, Send Right Dits with thumb
25
   
.
Copy Left, Send Left Dits with index finger
4
Copy Left, Send Left Dits with middle finger
1
Copy Left, Send Left Dits with thumb
2
   
.
Copy Right, Send Left Dits with index finger
6
Copy Right, Send Left Dits with thumb
6
   
.
Copy Left, Send Right Dits with index finger
2
Copy Left, Send Right Dits with thumb
7
   
.
Copy Both, Send Both Dits with thumb
1
   
.
Copy Both, Send Both Dits with thumb
1
   
.
Did not use paddles N/A
2


COPY AND SEND WITH THE SAME HAND

You can see that the largest group to respond were those who are right-handed and send with their right hand, AND send dits with their thumb (25). That must be the way paddles ship to the customer and the hams don't changed them--though 4 of them did! I wonder why they did.

Those hams who copy with their left and also send with their left--the "lefties"--are divided. Five send dits with their index finger/middle finger, accepting the paddles as they are, and not changing them, while only 2 switch things around to send dits with their thumb. Again, I wonder why.

COPY AND SEND WITH DIFFERENT HANDS

This is really the group I was interested in, in particular those who copy with the right and send with the left (like me). And of that group (copy right, send left), the results were equal: 6 and 6 for dits on the thumb or index finger. This tells me there is really no compelling reason for one or the other. Sort of a flip of the coin.

Of those that copy left and send right, 7 keep the paddles as they are, sending dits with their thumb. Only 2 switch things around.

An interesting comment came from several people who started off using the paddles on their right hand, then switched to sending with the left hand. They said it made sense to them to keep the dits on the thumb. Keeping a "mirror image" in their mind helped in the transition. In fact, one fellow copies with both hands and sends with both hands, and he uses the dits on the thumb in both cases. Another copies with his right and sends with both right and left, keeping the dits, again, on his thumb.

So, those are the results. What will I do? I think I'll send dits with my left thumb when the time comes. I'll make a simple switch for reversing things if and when I want to also send with my right hand--just for variety. What will I do if I ever want to use a friend's paddles that puts the dits on my index finger? I'll do what a couple other hams suggested: just turn the thing upside down!

Thanks very much to all of you who participated in this survey. Please send any further comments or questions to Bob Grubic at NC6Q@arrl.net.

RESPONSE DETAILS

2007 NC6Q Paddle Survey

  Call Sign Last Name First Name Different Hands Copy Send Dits Via
1 K6MGO Ross Bill
y
right left index finger email
2 KB0ETU Bowers Phillip
y
right left index finger email
3 KE3CR Berry Giles
y
right left index finger email
4 KG0PP Pope Jim
y
right left index finger email
5 KG4IUQ Ledford Mark
y
right left index finger email
6 TI2CLX Cantillano Luis
y
right left index finger email
                 
7 KE9GM Stout Gregory
y
right both thumb USPS
                 
8 AF3Z Goudie Jim
y
right left thumb email
9 K6JW Wolf Jeff
y
right left thumb email
10 K9LCK Hess James
y
right left thumb USPS
11 KC4FAN Shoemaker Brian
y
right left thumb email
12 KE7HYR Carter Bob
y
right left thumb email
13 W1GCA Rego David
y
right left thumb USPS
                 
14 N5SAN Hulbert Frank
y
left right index finger USPS
15 N7QR Mickiewicz Russ
y
left right index finger email
                 
16 K3FQP Gardenghi Robert
y
left right thumb email
17 K5RSJ St. John Richard
y
left right thumb email
18 KA8CLN Prox Ken
y
left right thumb email
19 KE4DDI Bafford Rick
y
left right thumb email
20 KE5LYW Curtis Robert
y
left right thumb email
21 KF6PVY Maierhoffer Mike
y
left right thumb email
22 KB8DIE Gilcher Julius
y
left right thumb email
                 
23 AK7O Friend Jack   head keyboard   email
24 NS2H Braun Dick   both both thumb (both) USPS
25 W8GRI Nichols James   typewriter key N/A USPS
                 
26 KB3RMX Bongiovano Michael   left left index finger email
27 KC7QGC Decheine James   left left index finger USPS
28 N9JIY Greenfield Mike   left left index finger email
29 W8IM Sever Dean   left left index finger email
                 
30 WD8Q Koenig Henry   left left middle email
31 KG4VEW Hodges Michael   left left thumb email
32 W4AMW Cox Robert   left left thumb email
                 
33 K5JYD Brandon Larry   right right index finger USPS
34 KG4URF Fisher Doyle   right right index finger email
35 N7GEB Barret Gary   right right index finger email
36 W7RVR Drew Dennis   right right index finger email
                 
37 KR5C Lee George   right right thumb email
38 K0HFK Bossert Bill   right right thumb USPS
39 K2ABX Fisher Paul   right right thumb email
40 K2ONP Wilner George   right right thumb email
41 K7CWH Harris Charlie   right right thumb email
42 K7EX Moore Wayne   right right thumb email
43 K7SU Klaas Kelly   right right thumb email
44 K7YM Rideout Bill   right right thumb USPS
45 K8JFT Eckert Ron   right right thumb email
46 K9UQN Backys Don   right right thumb email
47 KC9EHQ Dietrich David   right right thumb email
48 KD5VGJ Staff Jay   right right thumb USPS
49 KJ6EB Sayre Cotter   right right thumb email
50 N5YFC Matherne Wayne   right right thumb email
51 N6QN Lockwood Al   right right thumb email
52 NA9U Nason John   right right thumb email
53 NG0K Rathman Doug   right right thumb email
54 W2RS Soifer Ray   right right thumb email
55 W4BLB Broadwell Bob   right right thumb email
56 W4UTI Collins Karl   right right thumb email
57 W7BWI Page Loren   right right thumb email
58 WA1LAD Woodside Gil   right right thumb USPS
59 WA6FYD Wooldridge Jack   right right thumb email
60 WB8AGV Shumaker Robert   right right thumb email
61 WW6D Bender Doug   right right thumb email