Morse Code Key Porn,

The Food Porn of CW Appreciators

What follows is an infinitesimally small collection drawn from the many hundreds of different morse code keys that have been made throughout the years.  They can be fashioned from re-purposed sardine cans, fashioned with a pair of tin shears, all the way to jeweled keys that might have been owned by the previous King of Jordan, a famous Ham in his day.  The costs vary, but the purpose remains the same, to communicate by CW (continuous wave).  Here are but a few examples.

 

Morse - 1

The famous J-38!  Any day you can still find J-38’s being offered on Ebay, for a price.  Some are pristine, most are  more than a little bit battered.  Either as a memento of times past, or a key for the annual straight key night they are still highly prized.  Mass produced from the World War II era, they were manufactured from a number of companies – the most unusual might be the Lionel Company that is much more famous for their model trains.  They are simple and sturdy and a joy to own.

 

Morse - 2

This simple beauty is a Rectangular Speed-X from the William Nye Company.  An old yet sturdy and economical design that is still being produced to this very day.

 

Morse - 3

This is the Kent KT-1 straight key.  A very sturdy model made in Great Britain.

 

Morse - 4

This is the same manufacturer’s (Kent) take on a twin paddle iambic key, the TP1-B.

 

Morse - 5

This is my favorite, the legendary Chevron M0AGA/G4HCD Morse Key.  It has grown scarce due to the ill health of its designers.

This is my little collection, but I thought I would include a few models that I do not own…

 

Morse - 6

This is the historical Vibroplex semi-automatic “Bug” key.  A long time ago, before solid state electronics could fashion an affordable electronic keyer the straight key was king!  Horace Martin, founder of Vibroplex began to manufacture a revolutionary key in 1905 that that mechanically generated a series of short “dits” one after the other.  The operator still had to manually supply all the “dahs” and deal with alternating “dits” and “dahs”.  If your message was mostly made out of E’s, I’s, S’s, H’s, 5’s, and error this key could handle it all, if not it most have been a pain in the backside to deal with.  When electronic keyers arrived this design might have become purely historical, but much like the unicycle, which is a bit goofy looking and difficult to learn to use and not worth the effort to use getting around, the “Bug” is still around for its particular fans.  Personally, I don’t Grok it, but different strokes for different folks

 

Morse - 7

This beauty is the Begali Sculpture.  Pietro Begali, I2RTF manufactures and sells a large selection of beautiful and highly respected morse code keys.  They are all a thing of beauty.

Well, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to memorable Morse Code Keys.  There have been multi-volume books published on the subject.

Anyone wish to share their favorites?

-The Editor- (I can be reached at [email protected])