Keys (of the morse variety)

:underage: Warning - Key Porn below :underage:

A friend is downsizing his key collection.

He has offered me (at a very favourable price) this beautiful Begali Magnetic Classic.

Whilst I’ve been keenly eyeing up and lusting over the Begali Sculpture and Stradivarius for quite some time, I don’t currently have the budget to stretch to either of those.

With that in mind, has anyone got the Magnetic Classic and like to recommend/review it.
Has anyone got both the Magnetic Classic and Scupture/Strad and say how they compare.

It’s nearly my birthday so is it buy it now or save for later? Decisions, decisions…

[other bling keys are available]


With a key like that how could you bear to use it lest you leave any finger marks - you’d need gloves! Beautifully crafted.

Great shame but the Chinese are now starting to make copies - nothing like the quality and perhaps should not even be mentioned in the same breath as Bengali

Barry GM4TOE

I don’t see how you can call that a copy, Barry, its just another version of a generic type.

That Bengali is a lovely piece of engineering. I don’t do CW, but I wouldn’t mind having one of those just to look at!

On the subject of keys, has anybody tried that key that mounts on the side of the FT-817? Its cheap, is it nasty? It looks very convenient.


It’s a copy of the Kent keys, which while they don’t look as nice as the Begali are very well engineered.

Ah, an Indian knock off?

It is rather cheap and nasty, the Palm Paddle with the magnetic base is a much better idea.


I think you mean the chinese black and red. I have got one some 6 months ago. Strong enough to use at activations, but I’ve glued a magnet at the bottom face. Although it can be mounted on the side using a small Alen key, I think it is faster and more convenient that way.

I bought one of the standalone versions and it is worked out well. I notice one of the vendors has increased the price somewhat recently though. It was about USD50 when I bought mine. It is small enough to go into my accessories box but also has enough mass to sit still on rocks, moss, grass etc. There is a stereo 3.5mm socket on the rear of the paddle and you use any standard stereo M-M cable to connect to your radio. Shielded cable recommended. .

That’s the bunny! Much cheaper than a palm paddle, I would hesitate to spend £90 on a key just to see if it is better than the straight key that I never use, but I might punt £25 on the Chinese FT817 key knowing that if I took to the type I would eventually buy something better.


Is anyone in a position to compare the Chinese paddles, Pico paddle and American Morse Equipment Portapaddle / DCP paddle? Sorry this is becoming a thread hijack. Of the three I think the American Morse keys look best, but still a different league from the beautiful Begali.

That’s my thinking too… the main advantage of the palm is the memory (It leaves you some time to set other things, or just to write, drink or so,…)
This is the way I have set it up (I prefer the key to be on several different angles, depending on my op. position)

You’re right, sorry!

To get back on topic a little.

No I don’t have one. I don’t have a wonderful paddle touch myself as anyone who has heard me sending will agree. However, I have played with Begali and Schurr keys at rallies etc. They look fabulous and feel wonderful to my uneducated fist. I have a Bencher BY-1 which is a good paddle but it’s not in the same “shiny shiny” category as Begali or Schurr. I always use a PalmPaddle original which is fine and works (even if my fingers fail in the cold).

Someone mentioned Kent. I have Kent straight key which feels good but I don’t like straight keys. The Kent paddles feel very good but again, the opulence of the Begali and Schurr are very attractive.

The solution… you need several from each manufacturer just to be sure :smile:

This is the model that I use from home.

It has a nice action, but it is far too heavy to take up a hill, so I use a smaller straight key when I am out. I never progressed from a pounder to a side-swiper, even though I do have one somewhere in the house. Let’s face it, when you are out on a hill in the freezing cold, touching two wires together is probably as good as any key… especially if you suffer from Raynauds like I do!

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One advantage of a straight key is that you can operate it with the palm of the hand while wearing the incomparable Dachstein mitts! (I just tried it with my practice key before writing this!)


I have the Begali Spark .
It is very well engineered, solid, gold plated and has its own serial number on the base.

It works and sounds great, tap the key and it clicks unlike my other key that thuds when pressed ( it is now hiding in the back of a cupboard - ashamed of itself). It weighs in a hefty 1448g so a tad heavy for lugging up a summit.

I just have to practice more to get my speed back up - the key is great at sending, its just the sender that’s not so great at keying.

73 Neil


I’ve got the AME portapaddle and the Palm Pico.
The AME is my main activation key, I carry the Pico only as a backup.
They’re are both good keys but with a very different feel.
The AME is solid and precise whereas I find the Pico a bit “flexible”.
The only issue I have with the AME is that the electrical connection is through the arm pivots.
In the cold and wet I’ve had dropping dits and dahs on more than one occasion.
I strip the whole key down every few months and clean everything up.
I’m not sure if this would be a problem on the Pico as I rarely use it!

(still undecided over the Begali)

Yes that is the answer, I’m not sure my chequebook (how quaint) stretches that far!

I already have a Bencher, Autotronic, Kent, Homebrew, AME, Palm and other paddles.
I have straight keys from Junker, (my all time favorite) GPO, Hi mound and 5 or 6 of unknown manufacture.

Can you ever have enough, that is the :key: question.

My two keys, the kent I have had for a good few years and was bought as a kit.
The Czech key has a very smooth action and robust enough to take some rough treatment.

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