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Author Topic: Your Favorite morse code keys !  (Read 20006 times)
N4MJG
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« on: January 04, 2013, 05:53:11 PM »

What is your Favorite keys and why do you like them ? ,how much time will you spend on your keys when you get on the radio day or night ?


73
Jackie
N4MJG
Been Hamming since 2001
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N5XM
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« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2013, 09:20:21 PM »

I love the Kent single lever.  It is rock solid on the desk, and I love the low profie,  If you take the time and effort to get it locked in to where you want it, it stays there. It is simpicity and elegance personified.  I'm sure I would love a Bengali Mono, but the Kent is real keeper for me.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2013, 09:22:53 PM by N5XM » Logged
K3ZL
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« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2013, 07:46:08 PM »

A 1960s era Coffin Key. Made in Japan and sold under brand names Skilman, Hi Mound and Lafayette. Maybe other names as well. If you haven't seen one, it is built inside a black plastic case, with a hard plastic dust cover...looks like a coffin. Google it for pics.
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K7MH
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« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2013, 10:58:04 PM »

Of the six I have, My Autronics single lever and my Hamco Scotia are my two favorites.

I'd love to have an old Bunnell double speed key but they are PRICEY when they show up.
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AB8ZX
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« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2013, 07:54:25 AM »

I have a bunch of keys on the top shelf, I like to change them out from time to time, but my favorites are two mid 50's Virbroplex bugs, a Japanese WW2 straight key and an English WW2 Flameproof straight key.

the bugs come out for the pileups and contests and the straight keys are for chewing the rag or making contacts with slower ops.

each key has such a different feel and vibe.
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N9AOP
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« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2013, 08:05:08 AM »

Begali-The threads on the adjustment screws are so fine that once set, it stays that way.  This keyer is a pleasure to use at over 25wpm.  For slower speeds i.e. 20 and under I like the Vibroplex Iambic set to wider spacing.  The Vibroplex has course screw threads but any shifting at slow speeds is not usually a problem.
Art, N9AOP
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N6GND
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« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2013, 11:16:11 AM »

I have a bunch of keys on the top shelf, I like to change them out from time to time, but my favorites are two mid 50's Virbroplex bugs, a Japanese WW2 straight key and an English WW2 Flameproof straight key.

the bugs come out for the pileups and contests and the straight keys are for chewing the rag or making contacts with slower ops.

each key has such a different feel and vibe.

Yes! I've got over a dozen bugs, straight keys and paddles. I love 'em all and use them all. It's a kind of serial monogamy, with a nice variety of pleasures.
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KB2HSH
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« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2013, 02:58:31 PM »

At one time I had a 1997vintage Vibroplex Original Presentation...and I still have my grandfather's 1965 vintage O.P. bug.  Not really a bug person...I sold the 1997, and the 1965 sits on a shelf.

That being said, I recently won TWO of my favorites on eBay...a Ten-Tec KR5 keyer, as well as a Heathkit Micromatic SA-5010 keyer.  Can't wait to use the Heathkit in a CW contest!

Of course, nothing will ever compare to my old Nye Viking Speed-X straight key.

John KB2HSH
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K9AIM
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« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2013, 04:59:13 PM »

Brown Brothers ST-A is the best straight key I have found.  I used to use a Nye Viking Master Key.  disclaimer: I have never been able to afford the *very* expensive straight keys so have no idea what they are like...

http://www.qsl.net/n/n6tt/brown.html

I also have a Brown Bros. paddle, a BTL, but I have very little experience using a paddle.  It is there for that day when I decide to rest my wrist  Smiley  It is very easy on the eyes Smiley
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W1JKA
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« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2013, 04:31:03 AM »

    My Great Grand dad's Signal Electric (over 100 yrs. old) and my WW2 Navy Flameproof straight keys.Both get equal time day/night.I am a relatively slow cw qrp dx'er so have no desire for any other type of key or keyer.
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PA0BLAH
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« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2013, 05:28:56 AM »

There is a Dutch proverb that says: "Show me your bookcase and I tell you what you are."

I suppose we can create a CW equivalent:

"Show me your keys and paddles and I tell you what you are"

Bob
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N6GND
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« Reply #11 on: January 09, 2013, 08:20:04 AM »


"Show me your keys and paddles and I tell you what you are"

Bob

Or what you hope to become.
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ZENKI
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« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2013, 10:56:55 PM »

When you proficient at sending, any key does the job. I have 20 or more paddles that i rotate on, and  really there is not one that jumps out and says Jesus would have used that paddle!

You will find that as your skill improves your  nerves  adjusts to the  imperfections of the paddle used at the time. The simplest thing to do if the paddle is crap is to slow down to the point where you brain can cope
with the imperfection of the paddle.

I can have just as much fun on the  cootie key as the  best Begali in my collection. Everyone making keys today are making the very best keys. Its just down to the snobbery of one brand over the other.
You will find that many of best CW operator only have one Vibroplexer  because they worry about their skill  and get on the air. I have not heard not heard Begali code, or  N3ZN code on the air, code is code if sent with  2 rusty nails.

But since you asked LOL,  The Key that i send  the best with is a very old HiMound MK701. I dont know what it is about this paddle. Whenever I bring it out it does not matter if I am drunk or sober I can send perfect high speed CW with it. I cant do that on my Begalis. The precision of the begalis I think requires  concentration since its so precise. The himound slopbucket MK701 just does it for me.  In most peoples eyes it would be a crap key, so there you go! This is one of the very first MK701's   when they first made them. I picked it up in Akihabara decades ago. I think the MK701 is my lucky key. If you looked at it you would say hey dude clean the key up, it looks like it got pulled from the cesspit!



What is your Favorite keys and why do you like them ? ,how much time will you spend on your keys when you get on the radio day or night ?


73
Jackie
N4MJG
Been Hamming since 2001

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K7NSW
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Posts: 58




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« Reply #13 on: January 12, 2013, 06:37:10 PM »

Been on CW since 1961.  Never really bought a "good key".  I liked my Navy flame proof SK with black crackle paint - bought it new in 1961 still in the sealed manufacturer's box for either fifty cents or  buck fifty.  No more than that.  Somewhere along the line I came up with a Bunnell WWII version of the J-38 attached to a round base.  Enjoyed that.  Then I came into three mint condition Nye-Viking iambic keys.  Used them for many years until recently.  Read all the web pages, read all the eham comments, looked at the prices and where they are made.  Yesterday I received the first serious key I ever bought.  Have used one on and off over the years on Field Day, etc - always someone else's key.  I bought a Bencher BY-1.  I LOVE IT.  Fits me perfectly right out of the box.  Obviously high quality materials and workmanship.  Made in USA as is all of my Ten-Tec gear.  That's a big plus with me.  I like the new guys at Vibroplex - might buy one of theirs just to support them.
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KD4AL
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« Reply #14 on: January 15, 2013, 06:33:05 PM »

I have two favorite keys, both of similar vinage. One is a WWII vintage J-38.  I've tried several J-38 keys and all are fantastic.  They have a marvelous feel with a light touch and  a smart snap to them. I prefer to feel the code in my fingers, not just in my ear.  My Elmer showed me my first J-38 and it remains my favorite.  I also have a Junker straight key (uncerttain age), with similar action. 

I've tried many straight keys of many ages. These two are definately tops.

KD4AL
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