Admiralty/NATO Morse key - Pryce and Edwards
I have recently found a NATO/Admiralty type morse key. This is the type with a sky blue metal case, manufactured by Pryce and Edwards.
I have succeeded in wiring it to send standard Morse, but I am interested in how these were originally wired up. When looking in the case, there are several other terminals labelled for example, MK and SP....(Mark and Space?). There is also an on off switch, which appears to do nothing at all. Another question would be how the key cable was originally intended to exit the case; there being a very solid aluminium plate across the front?
I know that there are many of these keys in use by the ham community and I would really appreciate if another owner could shed some light on the original wiring or perhaps even point me in the direction of a tech manual.
Thanks and 73,
hi Frank, like yourself I have acquired one of these keys..a magnificent piece of CW gear. Were you able to glean an info on the internal wirings of them ?. Am currently using mine into Kenwood TS120S and G5RV "bowtie" long wire or "squidpole". 73 Len VK4FIAA
CIS forces to this day send cw opchat over fsk, a key like that would be good for that use.
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NATO Pryce and Edwards key
Originally Posted by VK4FIAA
I did find a chap on line who had a website showing his collection of keys. I mailed him and asked him if he had any info on the key. He replied that these keys were originally used by the Royal Navy, but only at shore stations (ie Northwood) and would have been hooked up to a console. The mysterious switch may have been a way of changing CW mode (A1 to A2?), or some other mysterious military purpose, so that is still open to question. A common problem with these keys is that the contacts oxidise very easily if stored and as happened to mine, will go open circuit, requiring a spray of de-oxit before it would work at all. Very confusing when you are not sure if the contacts are wired correctly and when you meter the key contacts they all appear to be open....The switch wiring disappears into the block on the bottom of the key, so I guess the only way to find out for sure would be to break it open, which would be a terrible shame. No info on the metal plate. The slot at the bottom suggests a ribbon cable of some sort, but I have also seen examples where a hole was cut in the plate. I squeezed my screened cable through the gap as I didnt want to drill the plate.
Lovely chunky piece of professional kit. I now use this over my original brass Swedish key as I find it suits my style better. Still looking for one of the old Marconi Marine ships keys I used to use but very rare to see these days. Similar to the Nato key, but about half the size. I remember blasting out some serious hi speed stuff from a 1500 Watt Conqueror transmitter back in those halcyon days. Sadly now only 150w into a Doublet or a Hustler 6. How the mighty have fallen. Work a lot of JT65 from here these days so hope to catch you on 30/20m one day.
There are all sorts of configurations that have been used with morse keys over the years. An On/OFF switch is one, and makes perfect sense in order to take the key off-line so a passerby doesn't accidentally key the transmitter. A Czech ham posted a video of a military key which had that function by lifting the lever arm.
Some radio systems have used a 'make-break' function with additional contacts on the key. I can't give specific details but one use, might be for semi-break-in changeover of the Tx/Rx vice, manual changeover.
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