Over the past few years I’ve been working toward the goal of improving the capabilities of my station. Previously I had an average station consisting of two HF radios (a TS-830S station and an IC-718) and one HF antenna (Cobra UltraLite Senior) with which I would make an average number of contacts each year, mostly SSB. I also had a few VHF\UHF radios (including a couple of old all-mode 2m transceivers, TR-9000 and TR-9130) that saw rare usage on 2m SSB and even rarer usage on 2m FM all used with my Elk Antenna.
I’ve since added a few more radios (including HF mobile and HF portable), a few more antennas, and an amplifier and with all this added equipment I have been operating a significant amount more than I had in the past. I also started to operate some digital with WSPR, PSK31, and FT8. But I’ve always operated more SSB than CW. That’s the next goal. With my station in good order, my next endeavor is to operate more CW than SSB or at least even the ratio.
There are a few reasons for this. One, I don’t have a super station with 4 over 4 over 4 on multiple bands. For some DX, the only way I’m going to make the contact is with CW. The little bit of boost that I get with my SB-200 for SSB is nice but it’s not enough in many cases. Two, given the first reason and adding in band conditions for the foreseeable future the need for CW grows and not just for DX. Three, a fair number of DX stations favor CW over SSB so if you want them you need to get them with their preferred mode. And finally, it’s the traditional mode for Amateur Radio. CW was where I started and it’s time to get back to that for these and a few other reasons.
In the world of music it is said that a good instrument will make you want to play. I’m sure that translates to a number of areas, which brings us to the little box that recently arrived from Italy.
There are probably any number of interesting things that might arrive at your home in a box from Italy and I actually own some other fine Italian mechanical devices, but in the world of Amateur Radio, their is one thing in particular and that is a Begali key.
I’ve wanted a Begali key ever since I first learned of them a number of years ago. However, given my operations at the time they were too extravagant for my needs. Plus, I had other keys that already didn’t see enough usage. Some reasonably nice ones. Did I really need another key? Did I really need a Begali? I don’t know whether or not I needed one, but I sure did want one. So with the combination of new operating interests, an early birthday present (55 in February). and a wee bit early Christmas present, the weight of justification tipped the balance and the order was placed.
The key arrived less than two weeks after I placed the order with the usual exceptional customer service and great communications from Bruna Begali. I elected to purchase a Simplex Mono Basic. I wanted to try a single lever key and I prefer the dark, textured base of the basic versions as opposed to the shiny finishes of the bases of most all of the other Begali keys. And yes, I paid extra for the red anodized aluminum finger pieces. Less wind resistance.
This key is wonderful! It is very nicely made. It looks and feels great. Even the bottom of the key is very nicely done with a pocket for the connections, lugs for the wires, and a nice strain relief for the cable.
With some time off for the coming holidays this new key will most certainly see a lot of use. It was easily worth the money and also worth the wait. It is far and away the nicest key that I own and a very nice addition to my station. Add it to the long list of things that I have to be thankful for, though that list pales in comparison to the very long list of non-material things.