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Reviews Categories | Keys & Paddles | D-117/K4 Heavy Key "Chinese Army Key" Help

Reviews Summary for D-117/K4 Heavy Key "Chinese Army Key"
D-117/K4 Heavy Key  Reviews: 22 Average rating: 4.5/5 MSRP: $75.00
Description: Telegraph Key, Heavy
Product is in production.
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You can write your own review of the D-117/K4 Heavy Key "Chinese Army Key".

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N0UY Rating: 4/5 Jan 5, 2008 06:39 Send this review to a friend
Just What I Needed  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I bought this key used from a very nice fellow who listed it here on It was priced fairly and several pictures were provided so I knew what I was getting. After receiving it I threw the original spring in the garbage where it belonged and replaced it with something from the hardware store. The feel is much lighter now and works quite well. My fist is the only limiting factor now but this key makes even my fist seem better. Very glad I bought it.
KI6EA Rating: 2/5 Dec 2, 2007 14:17 Send this review to a friend
Very Poor Quality  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I purchaced this key (used) on ebay after hearing so much about it. Needless to say I was very disappointed after seeing the lack of quality and poor workmanship. It looks like it was built by a blind grade school studed in a blacksmith shop. The only other thing I can say about it is that "it works".
AC4R Rating: 5/5 Jul 30, 2007 18:57 Send this review to a friend
Very Nice Key  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I just got my K-4 Chinese Military key today from Morris Express in CO. There is not much i can add to the other reviews . Built like a tank, mounted on a very heavy base. This baby will not walk around on the table, for sure. The spring is a bit stiff, but I cut one loop off with a pair of side cutters and lightened it up a touch. Just finished my first QSO with the K-4, and it has a very good feel. It is a keeper for sure, and the old speed-x will have to sit on the shelf for a while. Excellent Key. Ordered it on Thurs, and received it Monday. Morris Expressed shipped it the same day, great service.

73 AC4R
K8RBW Rating: 5/5 Apr 17, 2007 21:23 Send this review to a friend
Very Good Key/Clarification  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I am probably the wrong person to be doing this review. I lived in mainland China for a year and Taiwan a total of about 3 1/2 years and have a fascination with things Chinese.

There seems to be some confusion in the reviews. What follows are my observations based on my experience. First, if you read Chinese you will note that there are actually two different keys produced in two different factories. (There may be more than two, but I have no way of knowing.) The inspection slips included with both indicate they were produced in October of 1994. Second, the ones ordered off of ebay from Hong Kong are shipped from Fujian Province, across the Taiwan Strait form Taiwan, not from Hong Kong. Third, they are qualitatively different. The ones sold by Morse Express have a spring that is more pliable and not as stiff. They are easier to use. I asked Marshall at Morse Express if he had a replacement spring for them that was not as stiff, but he said to try and cut one ring off of the bottom of the spring. What tough springs! I only managed to wreck a pair of diagonals! Instead, I finally put the springs in vise grips for an extended period to try and make them more pliable. I also tighten the springs as much as possible when the keys are not in use. It helps somewhat. Lastly, the keys sold by Marsahll seem to have qualitatively better construction than the ones on ebay.

I hope this makes things a little clearer. Thanks for reading.

de Dick, K8RBW
GM0WEZ Rating: 4/5 Apr 17, 2007 14:40 Send this review to a friend
Very good for the price  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
There are currently quite a few of these available on ebay - made in 1994 in the Changsu factory. I got mine for 15 quid (thirty USD) including shipping from Hong Kong.

It is a very good key - in my opinion not too heavy when set at minimum spring tension - just as well as it has an odd pyramidal spring that would be hard to replace.. Heavy and looks nice on the desk. Felt base. Side pins adjustable. Pre wired with cord and jack plug.
General standard of finish is not as good as a quality British/American/German manufacturer. For example, the plastic knob has a sharp edge from the moulding die, some screws loose, felt base not totally flat. But with minimal work you can smooth the knob, polish the pin surfaces, a dab of moly grease and tighten the screws and it is pretty close to something costing 4 or 5 times the price.
K5BZH Rating: 5/5 Feb 8, 2006 17:14 Send this review to a friend
Well Made Key  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
My son-in-law gave me one of these for my birthday after he realized that my Santa Claus request had failed.

The key is very well made. I love the way the knob is designed, similar to my Schurr. The key is a heavy one, that is nice. The key is pretty, somewhat unique in the overall design. My only complaint is the spring, it is so stiff the tension can't be adjusted to the level I prefer. A change in springs will likely cure this.

WV1K Rating: 5/5 Jan 22, 2006 16:13 Send this review to a friend
New Meaning to Iron Fist  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Like Vibroplex, Morsex is a fine company.

Orders are well packed, and in this case, shrink wrapped with a little silica gel packet and with a Inspected By note in Chinese.

The key is well weighted. It will not move on you. It is solidly built as you might expect given its origin. It is reasonably priced as well.

The chrome has a quality finish and brilliance.

Be prepared to have a strong hand to send. This is no wimpy key.

The K4 has silver contacts.
KY5Q Rating: 5/5 Jul 12, 2005 08:34 Send this review to a friend
Great Key from RedStar Radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought this key from RedStar Radio on Ebay. It is similar to the keys shown in this review, except it comes with 3 springs (Wimpy to Popeye feel), has red knobs and base, and a slightly different cord. Mine came with all the quality docs showing date of manufacture of 1966, as well as the original box and packing material.

As far as operation is concerned, I am very pleased (once I put in the Wimpy spring). I have used a wide variety of keys in my time, and I honestly like the feel of this the best. Currently, I have both the Vibroplex straight key and the RedStar K-4 on my desk. Both look great, but I use the K-4 most of the time (except when I am using my bug or keyer). If you see one, buy it. You won't be sorry.
N8UW Rating: 5/5 Jan 13, 2003 21:48 Send this review to a friend
Translation  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I echo the other reviewers on quality & feel. A fellow gave me a rough translation of the box label and slip of paper the key came with. He says "DIAN JIAN" means "radio key", the top of the label is a serial number (mine blank), the rest id's the company as being near a river in N.E. China, and making television parts. At the bottom phone numbers. The enclosed slip is for quality control. It again ID's the company, and lists that 1. no corrosion or dents 2. the contact is within .5mm on center and 3. the contact resistance is less than .1 ohms. The second and third major items are name of inspector and date (mine are blank).
KC2CCZ Rating: 5/5 Sep 20, 2002 18:28 Send this review to a friend
Excellent  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've had my D-117/K4 for about 4 years now. It has become my main straight key in the shack. It does have a "heavy" feel, but I like that. I have over 150 keys in my collection, and most are used in the shack, but I keep coming back to this one as a favorite. Got it from Marshall Emm at Morse Express. Well worth the price.
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