CW experts, what's your TOP two straight keys currently made today?

Discussion in 'General Technical Questions and Answers' started by AI6DX, Nov 19, 2008.

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  1. AI6DX

    AI6DX Ham Member QRZ Page

    I want to buy one, but I need one of you experts to tell me in your opinion who makes the best straight key, period. By "best", I mean manufacturing quality, operator comfort, smoothness of operation and long lasting durability features all tied into one package.

    Who in your opinion comes in first place and then a close second?

  2. AF2CW

    AF2CW Ham Member QRZ Page

    The only straight key I've enjoyed using is the old J-38. Once set up properly it is smooth and a joy to use. Have spent hours using it, and my longest rag chew was 90 minutes and never suffered from glass arm.
  3. W4INF

    W4INF Ham Member QRZ Page

  4. KB7GL

    KB7GL Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I wouldn't consider myself an expert but I've been doing CW for a "few" years. My favorite straight key at this time is the Junker. Very smooth and easy to adjust. It really comes down to personal taste. It's also a great excuse to buy more keys!
  5. N6NQZ

    N6NQZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I alternate between the Navy Flameproof and the Junker.
  6. W2BLC

    W2BLC Ham Member QRZ Page

    Navy FlameProof

    I have a Navy FlameProof on a piece of stainless steel. Very smooth and very quiet.

    Want a used one? See them on eBay from $20 to $50 all the time. Not rare, just nice to use.

    Anyone have an old Amplidan they want to sell?:)
    N5GJQ likes this.
  7. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    To me, stuff like a J-38 is terrible.

    Although I never use a straight key anymore (switched to paddles in probably 1967 and never looked back), I "test drove" this one and was very impressed. It is truly excellent in workmanship and feel:

  8. WA9CWX

    WA9CWX Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have the Vibroplex straight key.
    It sure isn't 'bad', but the arm has a minor 'spring' feeling to it, that I find annoying.....

    I have used the J-38, not substantial enough as a key, again, not bad but not a turn on either !:D

    I would say the J-37, is a bit heavier, feels a little more solid, is more 'smooth' to me....

    I have seen and bought some rather nice, SOLID, brass keys with solid, heavy construction that moved easy, stayed put, and worked great.

    MY advice is look on eBay, find a solid brass key that has enough pictures to appreciate the construction, the contacts, and the spring.

    I have had, and still have, many Navy 'Flameproof' keys.
    There have been some NOS ones lately on eBay, THAT would be fine.
    Otherwise get one ONLY if you can see the contacts in the picture. Basicly they are a great key.

    Now, I know that isn't exactly what you want, so my NEXT suggestion is the Junker, or some version of another SOLID key from Morse Express ( Read their reviews, they reveal a LOT )

    Good luck and welcome to CW !

    Last edited: Nov 20, 2008
    ERWIEST likes this.
  9. K7FE

    K7FE QRZ Lifetime Member #1 Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

  10. AI6DX

    AI6DX Ham Member QRZ Page


    It looks like all of the reviews on list this Cammelback as THE BEST keyer! Out of 20 reviews, it gets a perfect score of 5.0!

    Unlike the Vibroplex "standard" only gets 6 reviews with a score of 3.7, while the "gold" version gets 4 reviews and a score of 4.2.

    I also have been reading reviews that the Vibroplex has terrible customer service, unlike the Begali. Okay, it's settled, I'm getting a Begali Cammelback.

    Thanks everyone for your opinions.

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