- Amateur Radio (Ham Radio) Community

Call Search

New to Ham Radio?
My Profile

Friends Remembered
Survey Question

DX Cluster Spots

Ham Exams
Ham Links
List Archives
News Articles
Product Reviews
QSL Managers

Site Info
eHam Help (FAQ)
Support the site
The eHam Team
Advertising Info
Vision Statement

Reviews Categories | Keys & Paddles | Nye Viking Master Key Help

Reviews Summary for Nye Viking Master Key
Nye Viking Master Key Reviews: 35 Average rating: 4.2/5 MSRP: $75
Description: The mainstay of the Nye line.
Product is in production.
More info:
Email Subscription
You are not subscribed to this review.

My Subscriptions
Subscriptions Help

You can write your own review of the Nye Viking Master Key.

<— Page 2 of 4 —>

K2PJT Rating: 4/5 Jul 5, 2007 09:16 Send this review to a friend
easy to improve  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I bought mine used and cheap on Ebay. Unfortunately, it arrived in pieces and the spring was missing. After replacing the spring I felt that the action was rather " mushy," on the down stroke. I could actually see the thin base plate flex slightly. This was a bit disturbing since the upstroke ended abruptly. Thus, there was little tactile feed back on the downstroke, only on the upstroke. It was possible to send good code but not very fast. This called for surgery. I replaced the plastic rod that goes atop the reed switch with high speed steel drill rod, reinforced the base with 1/4" steel plate, and replaced the metal adjustment spacer screw with one made from nylon. While the feel is still somewhat soft, it is a considerable improvement over the original. I now find it easier to send precise code at a faster rate. In conclusion, if you don't mind making some modifications, this is a decent key.
AB4PP Rating: 5/5 Dec 17, 2006 08:15 Send this review to a friend
Wonderful Hand Key  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had my Master Key since the early 80's. I got it from another ham as a gift for helping him learn the CW. After mentoring him he gave me both his hand key and his memory keyer. He was 87 years old and did not want to operate CW but wanted the band privileges for SSB. I gladly added it to my collection and have only had one fault with it. The little piece between the fulcrum arm and the spring broke and I used a homemade piece for a while until I contacted someone at NYE and they gladly sent me a replacement. I am still using the handkey for some slower events and SKCC when I get on the air. Majority of the time I use a MERCURY paddle or a Vibroplex Code Warrior. All sit on my operating position proudly displayed. The Nye hand key still is adjusted as always and sends such sweet code. It reminds me of the handkey I used shipboard for several years to handle military traffic, except that this key is a lot smoother. I recommend it highly.
K9HCK Rating: 5/5 Dec 17, 2006 07:19 Send this review to a friend
Great key  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought this key in 1956 and am still using it. "Nuff said"
KJ7BS Rating: 5/5 Dec 16, 2006 23:00 Send this review to a friend
Great Key  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
My first key is a Nye Viking Speed-X. I saw this Nye Viking Master Key on ebay for $9 and thought it looked too plain, but I needed a simpel key for portable operations with my Elecraft K2, so I bid on it and won.

The day the key arrived, I first noticed the heavy metal base. That's not going to move around at the opetating position. It looked big and clunky and I thought I might have to sell it adn get something else or use my Speed-X. To my delight, the action is very smooth and felt great. I don't think it mushy as others report.

The key arm is made from 1/4" square stock and bent to the proper shape and has a nice chrome finish. This one has the Navy knob. Thsi does not have a "micro switch" but two strips of spring steel with contact buttons that are actuated by a plastic rod the arm actuates through a hold in the to of the base. This key has a metal bottom, not aluminium as some say, and has NO flex. It is solid.

The threads in the adjusting thumb screws should be finer cut, but I've not seen many keys with precision threads. It just takes more patience to get it properly adjusted, and once adjusted to individual tastes, locked in.

The adjusting thumb screws were bent when I received them, but I cannot fault the design or manufacturing for that. Now I'm in search for replacement adjustment thumb screws.

After seeing and feeling his key, I think it will become THE straight key for my shack and the Speed-X will go with the Elecraft K2 on portable operations.

Mark, KJ7BS
Glendale, AZ
KI0KM Rating: 5/5 Oct 21, 2006 19:36 Send this review to a friend
Great key  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had my Nye Viking Master Key for about three years now, and I love it. It has a very unusual mushy feel, but I have come to appreciate it as a change of pace from my other keys. I find I can send more smoothly with it than any other key.
I especially like the isolated contacts. I have one transmitter with high voltage across the key terminals, and this key keeps it from accidental contact.
Several reviewers have mentioned the flexing of the bottom plate. Some of these keys must be made differently from others, because that plate on mine is quite thick; you would need to hit it with a large hammer to make it flex!
The key is heavy and stays put on the desk. Try one in a few QSOs; you will come to like it.
KB9BVN Rating: 4/5 Oct 21, 2006 00:12 Send this review to a friend
Good Key  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought mine off eBay a few weeks ago. The first time I sat down and used it, I was very unhappy with the way it was performing. So I disassembled it completely and washed it and scrubbed it in hot soapy water...mainly to get the stench of cig smoke off it...reassembled it and forced myself to use it for the last 10 days or so.

I LOVE this key. I have gotten used to the feel and the motion of it and I am now sending great CW with the thing.

I'd say it's a keeper but it does take about a dozen QSO's to get used to it. I have reports saying my fist sounds like a set of paddles on this key...

N0JL Rating: 5/5 Jul 5, 2006 00:57 Send this review to a friend
Send me those nasty old Master keys!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought one a few weeks ago at a hamfest. Best feeling key I own. If you don't like yours, send it to me and I'll give you a little for it. After all, it rates 0 or 1!
W8ZNX Rating: 2/5 Feb 7, 2006 10:37 Send this review to a friend
mush and ugly  Time owned: more than 12 months
ahoy maties

key one op likes
other op dislikes

could not keep proper contact spacing
did not like mushy feel
bottom plate flex
non feedback contacts

plug ugly with
looks only a mother could love

sell a key
most often
regret selling it

not this key
will not miss it one bit

sold it on e bay
to op that likes it
much more than I did


KD1E Rating: 5/5 Nov 30, 2005 08:35 Send this review to a friend
Nice.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Folks here say it is mushy but I still wanted to try one. E-bay was good to me and the new/used key arrived yesterday. So how does it feel?

The feel of the key surprised and confused me. Based on reviews here I was expecting the heavy key to stay put but to have a mushy feel. Yes, the key is heavy and does stay put, but it does not feel mushy at all. Or at least not mushy enough to be an issue, or even noticeable. What it has is a mushy sound! Let me explain.

With an internal reed switch there is no heavy metal-to-metal "click" on closure. As you push down the action arm just stops with no sound leaving you a bit confused. The lack of acoustic feedback gives the impression of mush. That perception of mushiness disappears as soon as you climb under the headphones and start sending. Here, the quietness of the key is very nice as it does not distract from the sound of the dits & dahs being formed in your headphones. You can concentrate on making morse code sound good rather than concentrating on making the key click to a nice rhythm.

I compared this key against my rather nice Speed-X key. The Speed-X is an oval base, chrome key with a navy knob mounted on a plexiglass base. It is not as heavy but certainly stays put and is very stable. I first hooked the Speed-X up to my TS-830s and keyed the sidetone (no transmitting yet) while listening to the background static on 40 meters. I sent for a minute or so, listening to the code that came out. Then I switched to the Master key. I found I got better sounding morse with the Master key. My dits were more uniform and a bit longer which is good as I tend to send with long dahs and rather short dits.

OK, it sends well, but what about adjustments? The adjustments are the standard threaded shaft plus lock ring. I find them to be a bit of a pain but I eventually get them where I want them. I have no idea how well they'll hold but I expect them to be about the same as my Speed-X which holds well enough. One thing that was different was the setting of the return spring force.

Unlike the Speed-X key, the return force is a combination of two (2) spring forces: the external return spring and the internal reed switch. The reed switch is almost strong enough to lift the arm all by itself. I found that just a smidgen more force from the external return spring was all that was needed to get the key where I wanted it.

Setting the gap on the Master key was less intuitive than the Speed-X key. You can't see the gap so you have to do it by feel. I set the gap by reducing it until the 830s came on then backing off just a bit to open the switch. I adjusted it to get the best quality from the morse being sent rather than trying to bet the right "click" noise from the key.

Botton Line: I was skeptical of this key but it surprised me. It sounds good (acoustically quiet), works well and most of all, has improved my sending.


- Keith KD1E -
W0AZ Rating: 5/5 Oct 1, 2005 09:41 Send this review to a friend
Isolated contacts a big plus for use with boatanchors  Time owned: more than 12 months
I want to mention something about this key that doesn't get said often enough: because the keying contacts are electrically isolated from the exposed key parts, this is a very safe key to use with transmitters that place high voltage across the key.

The feel of a straight key is a very personal thing. Nobody should buy a key without trying it out. That said, I like the feel of the Master Key. I also have a J-38 (shouldn't every ham!) and a Bencher straight key (best straight key I've ever used). The Master Key has a somewhat "soft" feel and anyone who likes an extremely "crisp" key should probably look elsewhere.

But the key has one advantage that makes it "the" key for vintage rigs that show high voltage at the key: electrically isolated contacts.

Some vintage transmitters put lethal volatages across the key. If you're very careful around the key, you won't kill yourself--but we all have lapses. "Better safe than sorry" is a good motto for anyone using or working on rigs that produce high voltages. The Master Key will not kill you no matter what sort of mental lapse occurs in use. For that reason, alone, I believe it is the best key to use with boatanchor transmitters.
<— Page 2 of 4 —>

If you have any questions, problems, or suggestions about Reviews, please email your Reviews Manager.