Today is a dreary day in northwest Georgia. It looks like rain and thunderstorms most of today so little or no Ham Radio. Yesterday I received a package from Italy. After waiting almost 3 weeks, my Begali Signature paddles arrived. This is no fault of Bruna at Begali, she shipped them out early so that I would have them for Christmas. However, Fedex had different ideas and the paddles sat in a Fedex facility for 10+ days before they moved. So here they are.
Even the packaging is a work of art with a note from the master himself.
His daughter Bruna added a little holiday cheer.
To be honest, this is my third set of paddles from Begali.
So why did I choose the Signature this time? My first set of paddles were Benchers. That set up is what I call right angle arms. The contacts are to the side of the paddles and not to the rear. In my opinion they have a slightly different feel. The paddles came with the longer plastic finger pieces and the contacts screwed closed to prevent damage. I swapped the finger pieces out with the included short aluminum ones.
Adjustment was easy. I loosened the contact screws, plugged the paddles into my radio, screwed the contacts in till I heard dits or dahs, and them back it out until they stopped. No other adjustment was necessary.
The fit and finish of the paddles are typical from Begali which is excellent. I have an engineering/quality background and have an appreciation for fine fitment and finish. Begali never lets me down. Even the work on the underside is perfection. The paddles make me think of Ferrari or Lamborghini.
For the finish, I wanted something a little different. I’m from the “chrome don’t get you home” crowd. The base of the paddle is military green and the top is their titanium finish. Both are more of a satin finish rather than shiny. I like the green as I am a former soldier. The finish creates an understated elegance that is a quiet statement of quality.
How do they play? First, they are different. The action feels a little different because of the different geometry of the arms. That being said, I do not think I have ever used a smoother set of paddles. Smooth as silk or purrs like a kitten come to mind. I am no speed demon with CW. I typically run in the neighborhood of 16-22 wpm. These paddles are smooth enough to go much higher. The arms are magnetically tensioned keeping the amount of force consistent through the swing. In short, they are a joy to use and to admire. The little time I have had them and used them, they have endeared themselves to me. The now reside on my desk top and are my go to home key.
Final thoughts. The whole Begali experience is something other companies should aspire to. From their customer service, packaging, and the product itself, is all top shelf. Their commitment to customer service leaves me feeling like they made this key especially for me. Is there another Begali set of paddles in my future? Probably, but not tomorrow.