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1st CW Key

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

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  1. WW2PT

    WW2PT Ham Member QRZ Page

    My first straight key was a cheap J-44 clone. Then I built one of these in 1985 (along with my first rig, the HW-9):


    I’d love to say, “...and that’s when working CW really took off for me!” But I’d be lying. It never worked right. But it taught me how to use iambic paddles, so eventually when I bought a Bencher BY-1 I didn’t have to got through the learning curve. By the time CW really did “take off” for me (26 years later or so) I could jump between straight key and paddles effortlessly.

    Today, this is my main squeeze (pun intended):

  2. W9RAC

    W9RAC Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    J38 was the maid key, Vibroplex bug to now the N3ZN-SL, which is my favorite paddle/key. I will never go back. I'm thinking my mechanical key days have been retired. Just lost interest in them. 73 Rich
  3. NN4RH

    NN4RH Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    First key was British WT-8AMP key that I got about 1971. Very similar to the one shown below. I don't remember who it was or how we got in contact with them, but there was an old guy outside of town who had a basement full of old radios and radio-related gear. It wasn't a station, just a big hoarder-pile of stuff. He let my freind and I take anything we could carry out of the basement in one trip, free of charge. I picked out an old rack-mount version National NC101, which was my receiver for awhile when I was a Novice; which was all I could carry, and spotted the key on the way out and stuck that in my pocket too. It was the key I used my Novice career 1971-72. At some point when I was away at college, my mother sold it and all the rest of my radio stuff at a yard sale.

    After I came back into the hobby in 2001, I started collecting WT-8AMP keys (there were a lot of variations) and at one point had about two dozen of them. But sold most of them off 5 or so years ago. I kept several of the best ones, and still use them in rotation with my other keys.

    DSCN0736 copy.JPG
    N2AMM and WW2PT like this.
  4. K8JD

    K8JD Ham Member QRZ Page

    In 1960 I borrowed 50 cents from my father and bought a WW2 surplus J38 still in the box.
    I used it to practice sending and on air with my novice stations.
    I still have it connected to the radio on my desk. Just needs an occasional cleaning and was my BEST investment an any radio gear !
  5. KD1W

    KD1W Ham Member QRZ Page

    FT_102_1993.JPG IMG_2124.JPG

    My first key was the Bencher BY-1 shown at the right of my FT-102 in the attached. I learned on that key and never thought that I would ever be able to operate a straight key, bug, or cootie. Now, I don't use an iambic at all. See the second picture for my current keys.

    I use the cootie 99% of the time.

    Attached Files:

    N4HFO likes this.
  6. KM4DYX

    KM4DYX Ham Member QRZ Page

    My first key was a Palm Mini. I believe that they are now out of business. Recently the straight key bug bit me and I acquired a J-37 "Mae West" training set key and a J-45 French military leg key. My latest key is a Soviet military mini straight key.

  7. F8WBD

    F8WBD Guest

    My first key was a Nye Viking. Not great but very OK. Then a series of bugs and WW2 straights. Now a couple Begali straights and an antique Swiss/Italian PTT key circa 1895. Use it every day.

  8. AJ6KZ

    AJ6KZ Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    My first key--and I have been a ham for less than a year--was a Vibroplex Standard. I got it because I was a little impatient and I was never really all that fond of it. I then started looking at other keys and started watching for a used Begali. After seeing that people were asking new prices for old gear I decided to just buy one brand new from Mr. Begali himself! Boy is it nice. One of my complaints about the Vibroplex is how much space it took up. The Begali Expedition is small and a lot more solid feeling. I love it.


    Attached Files:

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  9. KW1L

    KW1L Ham Member QRZ Page

    Kelly what is the serial number and purchased date of your new Begali Expedition? Thanks Paul
  10. N1OOQ

    N1OOQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    My first key was one of those cheapo made-in-Japan straight keys. You know, the ones that look like they might be brass until the rust comes through from under the plating. It worked. I lost track of it years ago.

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