1st CW Key

Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by N4HFO, Nov 9, 2018.

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  1. N4HFO

    N4HFO Ham Member QRZ Page

    Just wondering,
    what your First Key was?
    and now what's your favorite?
    Attach a picture if you can.


    Thanks
    73s Jeff
     
  2. KG7WGX

    KG7WGX XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    First key was an Ameco K4, many years ago.

    Now that I have returned to amateur radio, my favorite is a Magnetic Classic and I use a ZN-HK for straight key activities -

    Magnetic Classic and ZN-HK sm.jpg
    The K4 had ball bearings, too, but they were nothing like the bearings these keys have!
     
  3. KA3CTQ

    KA3CTQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    My first key I used was a Heathkit Electronic Keyer. I still have the original one I used back in 1979 plus an additional one someone gifted me.

    upload_2018-11-9_14-33-2.png

    I also have a pair of J-38 straight keys that I use.

    I don't have a favorite, but I do use the straight keys more often than the keyer now.
     
    N4FZ likes this.
  4. N2SUB

    N2SUB Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I bought my first key at a hamfest in Belmar, NJ in 1992. I was still waiting for my license to come in the mail. Check out this behemoth, made of plexi in someone's garage:
    upload_2018-11-9_15-6-36.png

    I used that for many, many years, and even broke it out for fun last year. As for my 'favorite' key, it really depends on the day:
    upload_2018-11-9_15-8-23.png

    That's about half of them. I am a sucker for a J-37, so if I had to pick just one key that I would have to use for the rest of my life, it would be a J-37.
     
    K0UO, K6GB and K9ZMD like this.
  5. W5WTH

    W5WTH Ham Member QRZ Page

    I guess this counts; my 1st key was the key that is built on board to the QCX.
    [​IMG]
     
    N2SUB likes this.
  6. N5CM

    N5CM Ham Member QRZ Page

    My first key was a Ten-Tec KR-5A keyer with built-in single paddle. Still have it. Used it with my Ten-Tec Century 21.

    Later on, I got a Brown Brothers Model CTL-B and an Autek MK-1 keyer at a ham auction in Houston, TX. Still using the Brown Bros./Autek, and I suppose it's my favorite. When my dad went SK, I got his old J-38 and and another Brown Bros. CTL-B.

    After returning to amateur Radio earlier this year, I joined SKCC and FISTS to help get my ears back up to speed. For that, i'm using the J-38 and enjoying it. It has a really nice feel to it when I do my part correctly.
     
  7. WB5YUZ

    WB5YUZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    My first key was one of these Ameco plastic "Midnight Specials:"

    [​IMG]

    But I only ever used it with a Heathkit Code Practice oscillator I built.

    When I was getting ready to go on the air, I got myself an Ameco K-4; it was the first key I ever used on air (as it was for many, many others!):

    [​IMG]

    I still have the K-4; it is my back-up key. But my favorite key now is my WWII Surplus and ex-University of Texas NROTC CW class "CL" key:

    [​IMG]
     
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  8. KQ4MM

    KQ4MM XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    First key was a Bencher BY-1, still have it but dont use it anymore

    l_by1_.jpg

    Have a collection of old brass keys and military J37s but my favorite key and the one I use every day
    is my Bunnell double speed key

    20180213_140225.jpg

    Another favorite is this 1880s solid base Bunnell key, its amazing to send code on something over 120 years old and predating radio. I often wonder what messages it might have sent back in its heyday..

    20180504_151957.jpg
     
    K0UO, KN4ICU, N7BDY and 1 other person like this.
  9. W1TRY

    W1TRY XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    My first key was also something like the Ameco K-4 as shown by WB5YUZ above. My first rig was a Heathkit HW-16 in 1972 and I'm sure I bought a key at the same time as the kit. A basic cheap key that was good enough to get on the air, and if I still had it, I'm sure it would be pretty worthless. It got the job done at the time.
     
  10. WB5YUZ

    WB5YUZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Well, not worthless! That's why I keep mine as a backup in case something ever happens to my CLT.

    But if anything ever happens to my CLT, I will be saddened. I think I will donate it to UT when I die. I just wish I had thought to ask for provenance of some kind when the Chief gave it to me, so I could prove it was indeed used by Naval Aviation Cadets (and probably a whole generation of them).
     
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