How to Adjust Bencher Paddles

Written by jeremiah blanchard
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Bencher Inc. has been a leader in iambic key production since incorporating in 1974, according to the company's website. Bencher paddles, otherwise referred to as iambic paddles or telegraph keys, are typically used by amateur radio operators for a variety of applications. They generally are used for telegraph systems and for sending coded messages, such as with Morse code. Like all Iambic paddles, Bencher paddles require adjustment for personal preference and for optimal performance.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Screwdrivers

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  1. 1

    Turn the two rear adjustment screws to loosen the spring tension on the paddle levers until no resistance is felt when you move the levers. Without displacing the adjustment screw from the paddle arm, pull open the contact spacing on both sides of the paddle until it stops. Unscrew the bearing tension screw slightly, located in the centre on top of the paddle, until the arms loosen and wobble slightly.

  2. 2

    Turn the bearing tension adjustment screw until tight enough that you can feel rubbing while moving the levers back and forth. Back the screw out about one-eighth turn until the arms move easily again.

  3. 3

    Turn the contact screws until you achieve your preferred spacing between the contacts on each side of the paddle arms. This is purely personal preference regarding contact spacing. Turn the locking screws, located above the contact adjustment screws, clockwise to tighten once desired spacing is set.

  4. 4

    Adjust the arm tension to the minimum amount of tension that allows you to feel comfortable while controlling the paddle. Increase tension by turning the adjustment screw counterclockwise; clockwise to decrease tension.

Tips and warnings

  • A variety of paddles and keys can be used for both telegraph and code sending.
  • Note that you must still follow FCC regulations no matter what type of radio equipment you use. Consult local and federal laws for proper transmission protocol.

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