My Review of the Vizkey Cootie
The Vizkey Cootie Key by Tom K4VIZ

I recently took the plunge and purchased a manufactured cootie from Tom, K4VIZ, his Vizkey Cootie and have had it on the air for a few days now. I am sure that as time goes on I will enjoy it more and more but it did not take long to discover the qualities of Tom's work in this key. First, Tom was very personable and attentive to my order, even sending an unsolicited email to confirm the order and ask a question. The turn-around time between my order and the arrival of the key was only a few days, and the key arrived packed carefully and in perfect condition.

Physically, the key is a very appropriate size in my estimation, not so big that the base overwhelms the mechanism but of a size so that the base, mechanism and weight complement each other. From front to back the base measures 3.5 inches (8.8 cm) and is 2.0 inches (5 cm) wide. The height to the center of the paddle from desktop is 1 3/8 inches (3.5 cm). By contrast, the base depth is exactly the same as my Brown Brothers CTL-A and the height to the center of the paddle of the CTL-A is 1 ½ inches (4 cm), or about the same as the Vizkey. The weight of the Vizkey is a bit less than the Brown Brothers but similar enough that you know the key will sit well on the table. The finish and workmanship is flawless and esthetically pleasing, which is also important to me. The working surfaces, the contacts, are standard silver contacts that you would find on any high quality key and the placement has been carefully calculated so that when the contacts close on either side they fit perfectly, flat surface to flat surface. This enhances the operation of the key and gives the feeling that it is very “sure-footed”.

Although I am relatively new to the art of Side-Swipery (TU Jerry, KDØCA for the terminology) I found that the keys movement and tension to be just right for me – firm and precise and with just enough flex in the swiper that you easily fall into a good rhythm. In contrast, I find that when I use my retro-fit VibroCootie the stiffness of the arm and lack of flex makes for a more jerky feel, and although it may sound pretty much the same on the receive end the pleasure on the sending end is not as nice as with the Vizkey. The feel of the movement of the Vizkey and the MK-32 are similar and if I were to rate the “enjoyment” factor between using the Vizkey, VibroCootie and MK-32 I would have to say that the Vizkey is #1, no contest here, and that the VibroCootie is nice but for me ranks #3. For pictures of these three cooties and my other keys and gear please visit my website.

I am the type of person that enjoys making or creating things myself so the satisfaction of renovating and converting my old Vibroplex Vibro Keyer to a cootie was great. But, I also appreciate the craftsmanship of others and Tom's Vizkey is definitely classy and, to me, worth the price based on the workmanship, operation and years of pleasure it will continue to bring. Also, Tom tells me that all of his keys are warranted 100% for as long as he has his shop, and to me that says something about his pride in his craft.

So, if your looking for a cootie that will satisfy your Side-Swipery needs I would definitely recommend the Vizkey Cootie!

- Steve, WØSJS