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Reviews Categories | Keys & Paddles | GHD GT501M Straight Key Help

Reviews Summary for GHD GT501M Straight Key
GHD GT501M Straight Key Reviews: 6 Average rating: 5.0/5 MSRP: $449. - 499.
Description: Possibly the best key in the world, the massive 4 lb.
(1,750g) GT501M has micrometric contact adjustment,
a machined ceramic contact insert, and massive lever
that can be extended another inch-and-a-half beyond
its 6-1/4" x 3-1/4" base! The positive, silky action
of this key is almost beyond belief!
Product is in production.
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KJ3LR Rating: 5/5 Jun 21, 2018 13:07 Send this review to a friend
The Best out there.  Time owned: more than 12 months
All I can say is this is the best straight key on the market. Having used many others, the GHD is the best bang for the buck.
HB9DIL Rating: 5/5 Mar 2, 2006 00:56 Send this review to a friend
good work  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I very much appreciate the aesthetics of precision engineering, however I feel that the ball-bearing is overkill in this case. A minor remark, I didn't understand why there is a second screw at the front end of the key - one screw at the rear end would be enough to define the distance, as done for the Junker key.
KI6YN Rating: 5/5 Jun 17, 2004 13:07 Send this review to a friend
OUTSTANDING FEEL AND LOOKS  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I received the 501 as a gift from my YL and it is the finest straight key I've used. The adjustments were easy and allowed a large range of flexibility. I especially like the use of a micrometer for gap adjustment. The base is heavy and therefore, the key is quite steady. I have two other GHD keys, Cootie Key and the fabulous 907, these are the best available today.
9V1VV Rating: 5/5 Jun 11, 2004 03:18 Send this review to a friend
Excellent  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I once sailed as a radio officer at sea and I have been looking for a professional hand key for some time. I received the GT 501M today and I am not disappointed. Delighted, in fact. It compares well to the feel of the Marconi 365 series of marine hand keys, which are difficult to find these days. The GT 501M will be my key of choice on the radio bench because I don't think there is another commercially available key built to such standards.

AA2CB Rating: 5/5 Feb 27, 2004 13:34 Send this review to a friend
By Far The Best  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
When I first took this key out of the box my impression was that this was designed and built by someone who not only loves CW but is also a master machinist. This was even more apparent when I saw the name "Mititoyo" on the little micrometer built into the lever arm to measure contact spacing. For those who may not know Mititoyo makes some of the most accurate measuring instruments in the world. My company uses them in our quality control lab.
You might think you dont need instructions to adjust a straight key but this one is a little different and some clear instructions would have been helpful. The two pages that came with it are useless. Very vague and unclear. I figured it out on my own though. First you have to realize the small set screw in the front of the lever arm holds the Mititoyo in place in the lever. You do not have to loosen this set screw to make an adjustment. However having said that if this set screw is too tight it will cause adjustment to be stiff because its pressing the little instrument tight. So you might have to turn this screw 1/4 turn ccw to make smooth adjustments.The knurled screw on the side of the lever arm is what holds the Mititoyo's adjustment in place.
To calibrate the Mititoyo loosen the contact screw; the one closest to the black Navy knob. Loosen it all the way up then set the Mititoyo to read zero. Now slowly turn the contact screw in until it just touches the contact. Thats it, your calibrated to zero now.
I really like this feature because you can have it set up the way you want with the mititoyo set to 35mm for example. Now if you want to play around with the adjustment or if a friend wants to try it and reset it to their preference you can feel confident you will always easily be able to put it right back to where you had it. A really great idea.
With the price tag on this thing I was a little annoyed they dont see fit to include the 1.5mm and 2mm allen wrenches you need to adjust it. I had to run to SEARS to buy them before I could get started.
It is a pleasure to use this key. Without a doubt it is far and away the best key I have ever used in my fourteen years in ham radio.
Dont hesitate, get one, you will never look back.

Oh yeah, and Marshall/ N1FN at Morse Express is "the MAN" for all our CW needs! A great guy to deal with.

Rosario/ AA2CB

AA6TZ Rating: 5/5 Jul 4, 2003 07:02 Send this review to a friend
Truly the very best manual ("straight") key I have ever used!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
The GHD GT501M is, without any doubt or reservation, the very best manual ("straight") key that I have ever had the pleasure of using, period!

I obtained my first Amateur Radio license in 1967 and have used (and built) a plethora of manual keys during the past 37 years. If I were to assess the overall quality of said keys, I'd say they ranged from the cheapest of plastic 'artifacts' to what I had heretofore considered to be very well made 'CW instruments'.

Then, on one particularly happy occasion, while conducting an Internet search for 'top-of-the-line-keys' ... I was fortunate indeed to have found the GHD Model GT501M at the Milestone Technologies, Inc. website. The superbly machined GT501M is handcrafted in Japan by Mr. Ujiie, owner of GHD.

Before getting into the nuts and bolts of my review, I would first like to offer my deepest, sincerest praise for truly outstanding, exemplary service to Mr. Marshall Emm (N1FN/VK5FN), owner of Milestone Technologies, Inc. (from whom I purchased my GT501M). Marshall is well known within the CW community--most notably for his congenial, 'beyond the call of duty' customer service--and his straightforward, amicable personality. His product line is arguably the very best in the business.

Due to a minor problem that arose during the shipment of my new key (due to the fault of the carrier, NOT Milestone Technologies), I contacted Marshall shortly after the parcel's arrival. He was "right on it" as is often heard said, and the key was quickly (and painlessly) replaced, much to my satisfaction. It is extremely rare nowadays to find individuals as helpful and personable as Mr. Emm, especially when things don't go quite as planned. (i.e., the "norm", right?!??).

OK. Now onto the details . . .

I am not easily impressed. However, the build quality of this masterfully crafted key became immediately apparent upon initial inspection (one glance at its gleaming chrome finish and its phenomenal structural design will surely capture *any* CW operator's attention!)--and, if 'first impressions' count for much of anything, I can state, unequivocally, that I was impressed beyond belief!

OK . . . so it looks great, but how well does it PERFORM?

In a word--flawlessly.

One of the first things I noticed when removing the new GT501M from its custom-crafted box was that it felt like the Rock of Gibraltar (it ought to, as it is crafted from a steel billet--and weighs a hefty 4 pounds!). At the same time, I was overwhelmed by the sheer beauty of its construction: mechanical perfection--integrated seamlessly with a gem-like, deep lustre chrome finish that is second-to-none in appearance!!! The Navy knob supplied with the GT501M is constructed from ABS resin and has been meticulously machined and polished. It is somewhat larger in size (taller) than the assortment of Navy knobs I have been accustomed to. The tactile 'feel' of this material is superb, making the custom GHD Navy knob a joy to use: responsive--and v-e-r-y comfortable for those ultra-long CW ragchews.

The GT501M uses a straight lever arm, as opposed to the 'bent' designs common to most manual keys. In other words, that portion of the lever arm immediately preceding the Navy knob that is normally curved downward (making it closer in relation to the base--hence, easier for the 'American method' of sending, which entails the CW op keeping his/her arm flat along the surface of the table, while operating the key via wrist and fingers, exclusively). I have personally developed my own 'method' of sending, whereby my entire sending arm is (slightly) raised up, off the table's surface, using the length of my arm, wrist, and thumb/index/middle fingers as a 'unit'--enabling hours of effortless sending (well, for me, anyway!). The GT501M feels like no other key . . . and operates with the fluidity that I have craved for 37 years! I would have felt *soooooo* much more confident to have had this fine key at my disposal when taking the sending test for the 2nd Class Radiotelegraph Operator's Exam at the FCC, rather than my trusty ol' Nye Viking Master Key . . . but they passed me anyway--even with the sub-standard key (ha!).

One feature that is unique to the GT501M is its micrometer spacing adjustment (a real micrometer!). You can 'fine-tweak' the spacing to (what seems) a half an Angstrom, then lock-in the setting with a knurled set-screw. The oversized, permanently lubricated/sealed aircraft bearings support the lever arm with rock-solid stability. There is absolutely no trace of lateral (side-to-side) movement whatsoever.

The spring-tension mechanism is meticulously fabricated--and exhibits *tension* (s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-s), rather than compression (the majority of manual keys use the latter method, where the weight of the lever-arm *and* the force exerted by the CW op's 'fist' are countered by the opposing force of a compressing spring). I am unaware of any advantage(s) that one system may have over the other, however.

The contact points are made of 'hard' silver (GHD's terminology), the bottom contact set in a ceramic base.

A nice finishing touch to this extraordinary key is the inclusion of an 'extension lever kit', which enables the length of the lever-arm to be extended by another 2 centimeters. As it comes ('out of the box'), the Navy knob can be moved 1 centimeter toward the front of the key (i.e., there are 2 machine-threaded holes at the very end of the lever-arm)--but with the extension lever installed, the knob's position can be adjusted in 4 steps of 1 centimeter each. Not bad, huh?

The GT501M enables its user to generate ultra-precise CW with no instances of any of those highly annoying, "right-in-the-middle-of-your-QSO" re-adjustments; common to so many of the straight keys I have used in the past. You adjust the GT501M's spacing and spring tension to your preferred settings ONCE -- and it will remain dead-on for what seems an eternity. The silver contacts should only be cleaned by the use of a clean strip of non-acidic paper. To affect said cleaning, one simply inserts the paper strip between the silver contacts, then, while exerting a gentle downward pressure on the Navy knob--slowly pull the paper through the contacts. This process is repeated a few times, which effectively 'burnishes' the oxides from the precious metal surfaces.

The GHD GT501M is a *SOLID* performer all the way! It functions just as smoothly as it looks. To many, its comparatively steep $300 price tag may be just a tad high for 'a mere straight key', but it is a *precision* tool to be sure . . . the VERY BEST of its kind (my opinion) . . . one that will surely provide its fortunate owner MANY years (perhaps a lifetime, given its exquisite, bullet-proof construction) of effortless, happy (read: FUN!) sending. Besides providing the CW operator with precision and functionality, it is safe to assume that this exotic-looking key will be the topic for an untold number of conversations--when anyone (Ham or not) gets their initial glimpse at its truly flawless chromed finish, while it's 'sitting-pretty'--proudly perched atop your shack's operating desk--BELIEVE ME!

Can you tell how happy I am with my new GHD GT501M? I thought so!

No other straight key comes close.


Clive Merrick Morel, AA6TZ

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