Page 1 of 1

Affordable keys

PostPosted: Sat Jan 02, 2010 11:10 pm
by KF7ATL
Do you guys know of some affordable keys that are better quality/feel than the Ameco that I've been using? I could go as high as $100, but would prefer less.

By the way, what was your first key/rig? Do you find that you have a sentimental attachment to it?

Thanks, Garth

Re:affordable keys

PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2010 8:29 pm
by KC2CCZ
Check out Marshall Emm's website www.morsex.com . He sells many affordable keys from a multitude of mfg. I happen to like the Chinese Army Key. I have 2.
Good luck.
Dennis KC2CCZ

PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2010 9:27 pm
by NT9K
Hi Garth, there are 2 keys that come to mind right off for right at 100 bucks.

The first one is the Navy Flameproof 26003a. You can still get them new old stock from Bunnell. Look here:
http://www.jhbunnell.com/navykey.shtml

The 2nd one is the German Junker "yunker" key. You can get those from Morsex here:
http://www.mtechnologies.com/junker/

So, what's the difference? The main difference is the height of the knob above the desk. The flameproof favors American style sending with your arm on the desk, while the Junker has a higher knob and a bit more suited for European style sending, with your arm in the air. Both keys are very popular and used by many SKCC members.

Take some time to look at all the keys Morsex sells here:
http://www.mtechnologies.com/keys.htm

Lastly, if you can wait about a month, you could get the new SKCC Club Key 2010. It is expected to sell for a bit more than you quoted, at $175 bucks or less. This would be my first choice, based on what you get for your money. If you would like to see the prototype club key, look here:
http://www.skccgroup.com/nt9k/keyconcepts/

There are still lots of other keys out there that can be had. Here is an excellent website with lots of links to key companies. Look on the top right side of the page for Available Production Keys. Here:
http://www.radiotelegraphy.net/

Hope some of this helps you find the right key for you!

Re: Affordable keys

PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2010 5:51 am
by ka7wzm
KF7ATL wrote:By the way, what was your first key/rig? Do you find that you have a sentimental attachment to it?



First key I ever used was a J38 given to me by the Elmer that helped me the most, N7GA. The first rig I had was the KNWD 599D Twins. Made my 1st contact on then in novice years, and worked all states and 10 countries on them with the J38. Sorry to admit I sold the Twins but still use the J38 above any of the others. I can say I have a very sentimental attachment to it. Too bad the price has gone out of site for the J38, I remember seeing them all the time at ham swap meets for 1 to 2 dollors, not any more.


Chuck~ka7wzm

Cost of a key

PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2010 3:11 pm
by W2BLC
I believe that eBay can be blamed for the rediculous prices of used keys.

So far as what's out there and commonly available:

The Navy Flame Proof is an excellent choice and is near reasonable in cost.

The Junker is good quality for a reasonable price.

The GHD keys are pretty to look at and work well, but they are sure pricey.

Vibroplex is a odd design using off the shelf bug parts. I have never tried one. Not bad looking, but a little pricey.

Frattini make some nive keys - but expect to pay top dollar and shipping from Italy adds to that.

The Chinese key is a good key after replacing the spring with something is softer.

American Morse puts out a key kit for $40 that looks interesting.

Soon, the new SKCC key from Key Concepts will be available - price is rumored to be around $160.

I may be way off base, but I doubt that the occassional user will ever notice the quality of some (but not all) high dollar keys. An op using a key all day long will soon appreciate the smoothness and quality.

Some of the current production keys are works of art - more art than operation. Others are built one at a time and designed for the best feel possible.

That said, it amazes me that a simple SPST switch with a movement measured in hundredths or thousandths of an inch can cost so much.

Spend some time on www.radiotelegraphy.net - it may help you in making a decision.

Affordable keys

PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2010 6:17 pm
by WB5JWI
Garth,
No arguments with any of these replies. I assume you are looking for a conventional straight key, not a bug or a Cootie/Sideswiper. I've found my Kent Straight key to be excellent as well as my English Model No.2 MKIII. Most of the J-37/J-38/NAVY TYPE 26012/Navy Flameproof work well if you get one in reasonable shape. I use a Navy 26012 quite a bit and like it a bit better than my Flameproof. (personal preference). I've also used some Nye keys and found them quite acceptable. If you're looking on Ebay, beware of the "classic" keys with a high reserve. Until you get comfortable with what works for you, I would not spend more than $40 or $50 including shipping unless you just know you WANT that particular key or it is a bug or keyer. They run a bit more. I'd say a basic J-37 or J-38 class key will be very serviceable (pun intended) for reasonable investment.

The biggest difference for the operator in the European keys (Kent and English Model) is that the knob tends to be higher to accommodate the European style of sending with the arm in the air. You'll often see a European op with the key at the edge of the desk, moving the arm not the wrist. Americans tend to rest the arm on the table (way the military taught it) and send with the wrist. American knobs sit lower, closer to the table surface. I use and enjoy both, some prefer one or the other.

If you want something new, by all means go to Marshall at Morse Express. If you have questions about a specific key, let us know and we'll try to answer.

Affordable keys

PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2010 5:22 am
by ka7wzm
Another find:
http://www.surplustuff.com/misc.html

WW2-001-- (ANOTHER BATCH OF VINTAGE KEYS FOUND !) WW2 J-38 TELEGRAPH KEY--MFD BY "LIONEL" - THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION IS MARKED UNDER THE ACTUATOR ARM : " THE LIONEL CORPERATION-NY, NY. " . ALONG WITH THE STAMPED LIONEL LOGO. THE LIONEL LOGO IS ALSO STAMPED ON THE UNDERSIDE OF THE BASE. THESE UNUSED KEYS WERE INSPECTED AND REPACKAGED FOR THE KOREAN WAR. THE KEYS ARE NOT IN ORIGINAL BOXES. BEING SOLD FOR AMATEUR RADIO USE. ! UNUSED MINT CONDITION. $74.95 + $5.05 Shipping.

Inflation for sure
Chuck~ka7wzm

Re: Affordable keys

PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2010 12:11 pm
by kb4qqj
KF7ATL wrote:Do you guys know of some affordable keys that are better quality/feel than the Ameco that I've been using? I could go as high as $100, but would prefer less.

By the way, what was your first key/rig? Do you find that you have a sentimental attachment to it?

Thanks, Garth


Hey Garth,
I agree with the Navy Flameproof, especially the CJB26003A. It is by far the better of the lot and made by Bunnell. And then the Junker.
If you get to a ham fest you can usually find keys much cheaper that ebay.
Another great key an dvery inexpensive is the Triumph style Signal Electric or Western Electric. The Heavy duty Navy Signal Electric is a very nice key and will last forever. A good toss around is the J-38. you can google any one of those to have a look.

Randy

Re: Affordable keys

PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2010 3:53 am
by KF7ATL
Thanks for all the replies. They have been helpful. I'll take all of your suggestions under advisement before making a decision.

Thanks again, KF7ATL

Re: Cost of a key

PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2010 7:16 am
by NW7US
W2BLC wrote:The Navy Flame Proof is an excellent choice and is near reasonable in cost.

In my humble opinion, the Navy Flameproof key (World War II vintage, but plenty available) is one of the best affordable keys available. I use mine nearly 100% of my Straight Key operating time.

I bought five over the course of the last ten years, most of them from eBay.

I hope you find the key that works well for you.

Re: Affordable keys

PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 8:23 pm
by ik6bak
KF7ATL wrote:Do you guys know of some affordable keys that are better quality/feel than the Ameco that I've been using? I could go as high as $100, but would prefer less.

By the way, what was your first key/rig? Do you find that you have a sentimental attachment to it?

Thanks, Garth


Ciao.
I think this one is wonderful: http://www.morsekey.net/nato.html
It is quite common on eBay under $100.
Best regards, ik6bak - Eliseo.

ik6bak - telegraph key collector
http://www.morsekey.net