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Reviews Categories | Keys & Paddles | J-38 Help

Reviews Summary for J-38
J-38 Reviews: 18 Average rating: 4.4/5 MSRP: $5.00
Description: Great old key
Product is in production.
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REMOVED_ACCOUNT_2015-01-09 Rating: 0/5 Apr 21, 2007 18:00 Send this review to a friend
beginners key  Time owned: more than 12 months
This key is as simple as they come. I have two somewhere in my junkbox. Writing about the merits of this key is like trying to review a marshmallow.
KE7LOY Rating: 5/5 Apr 20, 2007 23:13 Send this review to a friend
Finest ever made  Time owned: more than 12 months
I recently purchased a Vibroplex standard straight key thinking I was getting the "Rolls Royce" of keys only to quickly return to my trusty WWII vintage J-38. I guess you can't improve on perfection. I have also owned a Bencher...hated it..I might as well have tried sending code with with a baseball bat. The J-38 was obviously well thought out and you can't improve upon its design.
DJ0RD Rating: 5/5 Dec 18, 2006 07:18 Send this review to a friend
A Lot of Old Timers  Time owned: more than 12 months
I started with this one as a Novice (WN4AZR) and still have one and the original box. A really nice straight key.

K3ICH Rating: 5/5 Dec 18, 2006 06:18 Send this review to a friend
Pure Nostalgia AND a nice key  Time owned: more than 12 months
Got mine from a local surplus dealer in the Washington DC area for a couple bucks in 1959. Still have it mounted to a piece of shelving. I learned Morse the WORST possible way, by looking at a little Johnson produced card with the "dots and dashes" printed out next to the appropriate letter. That method got me my Novice (KN3ICH) but the classic plateau at 7 - 8 WPM was a killer for me. Is it any wonder why CW isn't my favorite mode? However, testing Microlog CW readers on the air in the 80's actually got my speed up to about 25 WPM without my even realizing it. THAT was a surprise. I agree with previous comments, the J-38 is hard to beat.( Anybody know what that designation means? Were there really 37 other keys before they got it right? )
KB0XR Rating: 5/5 Dec 18, 2006 05:02 Send this review to a friend
Bought mine in 1959  Time owned: more than 12 months
As a new novice(KN0QZK)I bought mine at Stark Radio Supply in Minneapolis in 1959. The store had an "amateur only" section and one of the employees tried to throw me out until I was able to convice him that I was a new ham. I think I paid around $2 for it in the original government packing. It's a great key.
N4VNV Rating: 5/5 Dec 16, 2006 07:30 Send this review to a friend
KEEPS ON GOING....  Time owned: more than 12 months
I got mine in 1979 and still use it. It's a rock solid peice of equipment.
N0WF Rating: 5/5 Dec 16, 2006 06:40 Send this review to a friend
Lionel's Best!  Time owned: more than 12 months
17 years ago...Mentioned to a fellow I knew was a Ham that I was interested in getting a Ham license, next time I saw him he presented me with a Lionel J-38 and a simple oscillator built inside a pill bottle. Studied and practiced, 5 weeks later passed the Novice exam. Instructor said to put the microphone away until you had reached 13wpm which was wise advice. Put microphone away, banged on the J-38 some more and got to 13wpm. Still have the J-38 and hook it up once in a while, easy adjustment, basic architecture, a working unit made to last.
WV4R Rating: 5/5 Dec 16, 2006 04:50 Send this review to a friend
I remember when.....  Time owned: more than 12 months
I remember when I discovered amateur radio in 1958... I was fifteen. After learning the FCC requirement for learning code, I started looking around for a key. There was not much of a choice back then. There was the Mil. Surplus J-38 and for a couple dollars less a very cheap and sleezy looking imported variant as I recall.

I went for the J-38 which I still have today. The J-38 was widely available thru the mid 1960's as I recall. The design was so classic & functional Johnson Viking even made a copy of it for about thirty bucks. Years later, Bencher tried to improve upon it for a hundred bucks.

In 1959 I purchased my new surplus J-38 in it's cardboard box. While it may have no longer have value, to most of the 'codeless' hams, due to the recent dinasauring of code by a conspriracy of the FCC and ARRL, it will remain an active part of the WV4R station.

I have owned and operated many hand keys over the years but there has not been a significant improvement over the ole J-38 which is actively in use Now on the Main Operating Console of WV4R.

The Only significant improvement I added to my J-38 is the so called "Navy Knob" accessory which is simply a flat washer like disk of plastic which is installed between the threaded stock knob and the metal keying bar... Very practical, inexpensive & sexy looking add-on.

Design, function, history, reliability over forty-eight years Must earn my J-38 the WV4R 'Five-Star' rating. 73 es God bless, murf/wv4r.
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