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. KW6C

    KW6C Ham Member QRZ Page


    How did the original discussion evolve from straight keys to include iambic keyers and bugs? O well, guess it's the game of telephone-hi. I've had great performance and results from the Begali Camel-back key (smooth and solid). I guess that cootie keys would sort of come under the umbrella of a type of straight key. If that's the case then the BegaliHST could fall into that category-also a smooth operator. My favorite,however, is the old J38 used by my ex-father in law at the Burlington Northern telegraph office in Grand Island, Nebraska. Though it's not as smooth as the former keys it has great sentimental value. I DO use an iambic 99.9% of the time; a Begali Magnetic Pro. However from my prospective, the Camel-back is by far the easiest straight key to operate and offers the least stress on the fist. 73/161:p
  2. W9GB

    W9GB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Vibroplex recently has a OWNERSHIP CHANGE ... SO keep that in mind with reviews about previous ownerhsip/operation.

    BTW, the Maine owner of Vibroplex in late 1970s was the absolute WORST (Bar none) ...
    Telephone customer service people arguing with customers about what they woulsd and would not sell.
    BAD Period ... and damaged brand name for a few years.

  3. K9ZMD

    K9ZMD Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I used a J-37 (J-44 configuration) as my only straight key for about 46 years; worked fine then and still works fine. However, I've expanded my choices:

    One Ameco K1-style key that I bought when misrepresented as a real key in a zed ad. This type of key is a toy. I keep it only as a caveat emptor reminder, but I did use it for portable operation in the 2007 time-frame (until I could get a J-37 sent to me from home).

    Ten J-37's in various configurations - these are the focus of my collecting effort. All work well in spite of their age & I rotate them into service for fun during the SKCC events. I still need a few more - anyone have a J-48A they'd part with?

    One Lionel J-38 that I bought when the price was right. It works OK, tough as nails, but I think its action doesn't feel as smooth as the J-37. Others disagree, and personal preference ultimately rules.

    A couple of navy flameproof keys. I like the soft, quiet, keying action of these un-beautiful keys, and they're rugged enough to still be working "good as new" long after I am dust. I rate these as better than the J-37/J-38 keys.

    Four Hi-Mound keys ranging from HK-706 thru the Swedish Pump edition. All are pleasant enough to use, but the long arm pump is primo for looks and action.

    One Junker key (had two, but sold one) that is impressively precise and easy to use; the "feel" is a bit stiffer than the navy flameproof, and more precise than the low-end Hi Mound models. These are not pretty keys, but they are very tough.

    One SKCC Pro Pump designed by NT9K. This is my favorite key to use - smooth, precise action, and prettier than a speckled pup.

    Next - still in UPS channels - a chrome-gleamy GHD straight key that has a higher MSRP than anything else in my line-up. I bought it waaay below MSRP for comparison to the SKCC Pro Pump. If it works as smooth as it looks, this piece of eye-candy may share the left hand with my cootie key, but the Pro Pump will be forever at my right hand.

    Now - with all that said - I'll add that I honestly can't send Morse much better or faster with the Pro Pump than I can with a K1, but smoother keys let me send longer without fatigue. Actually, my total operating satisfaction kicks in at the quality & feel of either a navy flame proof or a Junker; I could comfortably use either for the rest of my days. The more expensive keys will grace my desk only because of their craftsmanship & beauty . . . and that is the ultimate personal preference factor.
  4. K3ROJ

    K3ROJ Ham Member QRZ Page


    The old J-38 has to be my best straight key since by adjusting the contacts just right, a person can send 15 to 20WPM as they did when the military used "real" communications, CW.
  5. N6NQZ

    N6NQZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Is that the one hump or two hump camelback?
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