Author Topic: Double Paddle mode: Ultimatic  (Read 95 times)

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Offline foggycoder

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Double Paddle mode: Ultimatic
« on: July 14, 2020, 10:41:25 AM »
Similar to Iambic A and Iambic B modes, Ultimatic is a "squeeze" mode - to form some characters, both keys are pressed at the same time. This saves finger movements (increasing speed and reducing fatigue).

The difference from the Iambic modes is that Ultimatic is "last paddle priority" - if the dit paddle is pressed first then the dah paddle is squeezed, there will be a string of dahs; if the dah paddle is pressed first then the dit paddle is squeezed, there will be a string of dits. When squeezed, Iambic keyers will emit a string of alternating dits and dahs (dit dah dit dah dit dah; or dah dit dah dit dah dit depending on whether Iambic A or Iambic B).

This difference is only noticeable on P (· — — ·), X (— ·· —), and C (— · — ·). The P and the X are simpler to send with an Ultimatic keyer, but the C takes more effort.

The reason I chose the Ultimatic mode is that it seemed more logical (I have a tidy mind). But I can understand why operators would prefer a mode that can send a string of alternating dits and dahs as the timing on those can be rather awkward.

The downside of Ultimatic mode is that, while it is available on many stand-alone keyers, very few radios offer it as an option. This means that you are tied to an external keyer.

Offline MI0PYN

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Re: Double Paddle mode: Ultimatic
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2020, 09:03:10 PM »
I've struggled to fully grasp the difference, but as I've not had a keyer capable of Ultimatic, it's a rather moot point.

To be honest, I need a lot more practice on a paddle to be able to reliably use any form of squeeze keying anyway, I can reliablyplace a dit when sending a Y by keeping the dah paddle pressed and hitting the dit paddle at the appropriate time, and vice versa for an F for example. However, when I try to squeeze for a C it never goes well, there are either extra dits or dahs and sometimes both in odd places! I suppose it'll come with practice, and when it does I'll definitely have another go at working out the difference...
73
Stefan MI0PYN

"Even slow progress is still progress..."
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Offline foggycoder

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Re: Double Paddle mode: Ultimatic
« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2020, 09:06:52 AM »
Yes, Ultimatic is rather an unusual mode, I admit. I once had a dialogue with a guy who thought he was using it but it turned out he was not doing any squeezing at all - just using his double paddle as if it was a single paddle!

Offline G0KZZ

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Re: Double Paddle mode: Ultimatic
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2020, 11:38:27 AM »
I've struggled to fully grasp the difference, but as I've not had a keyer capable of Ultimatic, it's a rather moot point...

https://www.hamradioqrp.com/2017/10/squeeze-keying-iambic-mode-operation.html

On this site >> https://ag6qr.net/index.php/keys-bugs-paddles-and-keyers-a-terminology-introduction/

I noticed...
Quote
When you squeeze the paddles connected to an ultimatic keyer, it will generate a string of elements from whichever paddle was touched last. This makes some letters use more presses than iambic, and makes other letters use fewer, but for some operators, it is more intuitive. 23 of the 26 letters are produced the same way in either iambic or ultimatic mode, but P, X, and C, as well as several punctuation marks and prosigns, have differences. To produce “P” (.–.) in iambic mode, you make the first dit by pressing the dit paddle, then release it and press the dah paddle to make the two dahs, then release dah and press the dit again to make the final dit. That’s three total presses. But in ultimatic mode, you can press and hold the dit paddle, then press and hold the dah paddle to make the two dahs, release the dah paddle, and the final dit will be made by your still-pressed dit paddle. Ultimatic has the advantage here, requiring only two presses. The “C” character (-.-.) with its alternating dit-dah pattern, is tailor made for iambic keying, and requires only two presses with iambic, versus three with ultimatic, so the advantage goes to iambic there. Counting presses, the two methods come pretty close, but the real advantage to ultimatic is that the dit paddle always produces dits, while the dah paddle always produces dahs, which may feel more intuitive than the alternating dit-dah sequence produced by iambic keyers.

While all modern keyers support iambic keying, support for ultimatic mode is much less common, especially among those keyers that are built in to most of today’s rigs. If you want to use ultimatic keying, you’ll probably have to use an external keyer instead of the keyer built in to your radio.


I personally don't see how any of these  'modes' really helps all that much, since in a lot, if not most cases, you are still having to move the second paddle. Having watched a number of demos of iambic keying in the past, they all just seemed like a lot more to remember when keying, and if anything there seemed to be a lot more finger movements involved than when just keying 'normally' (no iambic or ultimatic modes).

With 'normal' keying you can just swing or rock your hand from side to side, but with iambic and ultimatic modes you are additionally having to squeeze the paddles too, so to me that would constitute more difficulty in sending rather than 'labour saving'.

Also, if you got used to ultimatic mode, or iambic modes, there is a very real chance it will make life really difficult if you were to encounter a single paddle key where there is no squeeze functionality at all. And even some of the older keyers do not have any iambic or ultimatic operations either.
« Last Edit: July 15, 2020, 11:52:16 AM by G0KZZ »
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Offline foggycoder

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Re: Double Paddle mode: Ultimatic
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2020, 11:44:00 AM »
I totally agree.

I started with a double paddle because I was curious to see what they were all about. But, at the suggestion of my morse code guru, I tried a single paddle and was immediately struck by how much less thinking there is. Maybe, after a very long time practising, double paddles simply become automatic. But in the meantime a part of your brain has to think "now how am I going to form this character using squeezes?". Whereas a single paddle is just "dits this way; dahs the other".

And I find I like the sensation of the back and forth wrist movement of the single paddle - there's a kind of swing, a rhythm, to it. Whereas there is much less movement with the squeezing of a double paddle.

Anyway, I limit the speed of my sending to the speed I can head copy (which is a good deal less). So any advantages of the double paddle with regard to speed are lost on me. I do like to keep my hand in with the double paddle (and the Ultimatic mode) though, just because I want to keep that modest skill going.

Offline G0KZZ

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Re: Double Paddle mode: Ultimatic
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2020, 08:41:22 AM »
A lot of the ones I have here are double paddles simply because they are a lot more common, both to buy new and second hand.

Single paddles are 'nice' because you can keep your fingers on the paddle all of the time, and most of the ones I have here do have quite 'chunky' paddles, so it all feels nice and solid, with lots of tactile feedback.

The double paddle ones though generally are a lot lighter, though you could in theory wind up the tension, when I have tried that it becomes a lot of effort to move them and you feel that the key is 'resisting' all the while. If you have them set with a light tension you can go like the clappers with them, but it's too easy to accidentally trigger the key if you keep your finger tips resting against the paddles.

I cannot do iambic or ultimatic keying for toffees. In my mind a double paddle key is still a single paddle key, just a lot more sensitive!

With most of the ones here I tend to 'lock' my thumb and forefinger about 3/4" to 1" apart, and then rock my hand to actually trigger the key.

I don't have any portable single paddle keys, the only ones I have here are quite large and chunky, so a little bit too big to carry about in the wilds!

I have a Palm Radio Mini Paddles, and also their Pico Paddles (which are really tiny) to use if  needed, so unless a really cool looking key came along at the right price I doubt I would be buying another one.


73, Mark...
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Offline MI0PYN

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Re: Double Paddle mode: Ultimatic
« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2020, 07:05:06 AM »
I started with a double paddle because I was curious to see what they were all about. But, at the suggestion of my morse code guru, I tried a single paddle and was immediately struck by how much less thinking there is. Maybe, after a very long time practising, double paddles simply become automatic. But in the meantime a part of your brain has to think "now how am I going to form this character using squeezes?". Whereas a single paddle is just "dits this way; dahs the other".

I found this interesting. I've been playing with paddles as you know, but I seem to have subconsciously adopted some sort of hybrid style without really thinking about it. This is probably not a good thing, I know...

I tend to "wiggle" or "rock" my hand from side to side for some letters as you describe. For example, for a "C" I have 4 individual presses, two on each paddle. However, for others which are essentially a string of either dits or dahs with an odd interposed opposite number thrown in, I will keep the paddle for the stream of sounds pressed for the duration and tap the opposite paddle at the appropriate time. For example for a "Q" or a "Y" I will keep the dah paddle pressed and tap the dit paddle to insert the dit at the right time. This feels more natural to me than releasing the dah paddle to press the dit and then pressing the dah paddle again.

That probably doesn't make things clearer, but in essence, I find that making a small movement with my thumb feels better than rocking my whole hand for those letters. For others though, it really doesn't.

I suppose that at the end of the day, it doesn't really matter as long as you're sending readable code, but it's an interesting study in how what works for one doesn't  work for another.
73
Stefan MI0PYN

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Offline AE0Q

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Re: Double Paddle mode: Ultimatic
« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2020, 03:17:36 AM »
I personally don't see how any of these  'modes' really helps all that much, since in a lot, if not most cases, you are still having to move the second paddle. Having watched a number of demos of iambic keying in the past, they all just seemed like a lot more to remember when keying, and if anything there seemed to be a lot more finger movements involved than when just keying 'normally' (no iambic or ultimatic modes).

I taught myself to use dual paddles (made from two hand keys bolted back to back) with an iambic keyer in 1969, I guess it was Mode B but I didn't know the difference back then.  Maybe being 16 yrs old made it easier to get that muscle-memory in my brain.  But when you squeeze key an iambic keyer, every letter except X or P is made with just one or two paddle movements.  If you watch someone sending fast using iambic keying, a letter A looks just like a N, R, K, C , B, V , J, L, or any letter except the ones with only one kind of element.  Sending 25 or 30 wpm is just a lot of squeezing your thumb and finger together or tapping one paddle :-)  The timing is so subtle (or fast) that it's hard to tell which paddle was hit first.  Only X and P need 3 movements.

I've read many times that trying to use iambic keying at really high speed is harder, but I don't usually rag chew above 35 so I don't worry about it, I've always been able to copy faster than I can send anyway..  I had a HAL CW keyboard for a while but never thought it was relaxing to sit and type on the air.  You can't slouch, slide back in your chair and rag chew with a keyboard, ha !!

I do agree that once you have the muscle-memory for iambic sending, it's hopeless trying to use a single lever paddle or a keyer without dot and dash memories!  Lost dots everywhere :-(

Glenn AE0Q
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