Santa Claus was correct in assuming it was high time for a set of iambic paddles at KD8JHJ. This Vibroplex Iambic Standard I recently received from Universal Radio in Reynoldsburg, Ohio per Santa's directive. This handsome key is of the latest production from Vibroplex under the new owner Scott Robbins, W4PA who moved the company to Knoxville, Tennessee earlier this year. Remember Santa and the elves are very busy this time of year so he delegates gift procurement for us older kids to his trusted subcontractors and retail establishment.
Vibroplex began producing iambic paddles around 1978 after electronic keyers had become all the rage among radio amateurs. As is the practice of Vibroplex The familiar yoke assembly was carried over from the bug line displaying the lineage of the Vibroplex family tree. Unlike Vibroplex's Vibrokeyer, with the iambic I believe the company really nailed the concept of what a dual lever key design should be. The Vibrokeyer developed a decade earlier is basically a shortened bug key without the spring steel pendulum and the lever has the looser and more sloppy feel characteristic of the bug keys. The iambic key differs mainly because of it's dual levers and it's symmetrical design. By nature of it's use as a speed key I believe an iambic paddle must be a very precise mechanism. The two identical levers each riding solidly on it's own trunnion provide the needed precision to allow for tight clearances of the electrical contacts and a crisp feel at the finger pieces.
The "iambic" title refers to the method of keying also known as "squeeze keying" that developed as electronic keyer circuits were invented and put into use. I do not use the iambic technique but simple push left with my thumb for dots on one lever and push the other lever with my index finger for dashes. Very much like when operating my bug key. For a detailed analysis of iambic keying please read the article "Iambic Keying - Debunking the Myth" by Marshall G. Emm, N1FN who is very knowledgeable in the subject of Morse code and radio telegraphy.
My first on the air contact using the new Vibroplex Iambic Paddles was Rick, W2QJH from Watertown, New York. We had a great QSO for nearly 45 minutes exchanging our club numbers and general shooting of the breeze. This was our second contact this year, the first being back in May.