I just posted a review of my March R-3A paddle which Mike March cleaned up, polished and added some bushing so that now it runs better than new which sell for $250 and up (depending on the amount of artwork on the base).
The March paddles are real works of art IMHO which also work very well as a producer of very clean CW. I like the clicky feel to them. They send really precise code and look great on the operating table.
Next up and my newest acquisition comes from Italy. Yes I broke the bank and bought a Bengali Simplex Pro.
I’m still getting used to the Bengali but it’s one sweet paddle. Best of all the base weighs a ton (okay a couple of pounds) and it’s not moving on the table. It’s selling for 154 Euros.
Here’s every hams “go-to” paddle and it’s the Bencher BY-1 Iambic Paddle. At $135 it’s cheap and cheerful. Clicky as heck (for me this is a good thing) it sends great code. A good one at a flea market comes in around $75.
Another paddle I bought on a whim at Dayton is the American Morse Co.’s Porta Paddle II. I think I paid $70 for the paddle and $22 for the heavy base.
There’s not much to them but they work just fine. If this was my only paddle I wouldn’t be unhappy.
My original paddle is a Nye SSK-001 Super Squeeze Key is at least 30 years old and runs like a charm.
Its gold plated contacts are immune to dust and corrosion and the paddle is built like a battleship.
At one pound 14 oz this paddle isn’t going anywhere. Not the lightest touch but it works just fine and would be paddle I’d take to Field Day if I was worried about the potential of damage by heavy-handed fists.
As for the Vibroplex bugs I’ve got an all chrome Lightening bought for $25 about 20 years ago. It’s got a chip in the chrome at one corner but it’s all but invisible when in use. (That’s a gold presentation model in the photo.) Works fine and is fast.
Marion VE3HEN bought me a used Standard for a birthday some years ago and it runs just fine too. A very nice bug which sells for around $100 used. You can get new springs for them and they’ll outlast you 🙂
I’ve got a modern Blue Racer which I’ve never been able to setup properly. It feels sticky on the daw side of the paddles and I sent it to Vibroplex who returned it running fine and then it started feeling sticky again. Have no idea what’s wrong with it. Rather a disappointment.
Finally I bought another Standard at a flea market because the guy wanted $125 for it and it was in perfect condition. You can run the serial numbers and Vibroplex will tell you when you’re bug was manufactured. Mine was m ade in the 1940s and it’s a lovely bug.