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Found the perfect straight key for me

Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by KE0EYJ, Oct 13, 2018.

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  1. KE0EYJ

    KE0EYJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I just go this key yesterday, and it's the best of all 4 that I own (for me). And what do you know... it's the least expensive.

    This is the Czech Army Key. They were going for around $40, a few years ago. I paid $65 or so, including shipping. What a beautiful send, and such high quality! I place it on a non-skid mat when using. It's the perfect feel for me. Absolutely love this thing. Snag one, if you are into straight keys.

    I'll end up with a paddle, before too long (i own a bencher) but this is just so nice to use.

    cz1.jpg cz2.jpg cz3.jpg
    KE4OH, KQ4MM and KC9YGN like this.
  2. WB5YUZ

    WB5YUZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    So, I gather there is a built in TX/RX switch? How does it work? (Jak jdou?)
  3. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I wanted to order one of those but when I heard "the Czech is in the mail" I became leery...:p
    WB5YUZ, EA5IUY, NG9F and 1 other person like this.
  4. N0TZU

    N0TZU Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    At first it looked like a stapler.
    W7UUU likes this.
  5. KE0EYJ

    KE0EYJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    As I once read, there are 2 models. The older models required one to flip up the arm for RX. That was apparently how it worked, but either model works on today's rigs without needing to do that. The old models have a 4-prong plug, and needed to do that. Newer ones have 2, and apparently didn't. I put a new cable on it, as a previous owner had a thin wire replacing the old plug with a phono plug.

    I don't have a clue about the early operation of these things. I do know that no other straight key I have used sends so cleanly, quietly, and effortlessly -- the only equal being my $200+ G0NVT marconi remake, which has more adjustments, and only becomes noisy when you loosen adjustments a fair amount (that key adjusts to a wide range, but works best with a soft touch). I am learning that I prefer US sending style over Bristish, so I am leaning toward the Czech, as per this week. Haha
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2018
    WB5YUZ and NG9F like this.
  6. SA4BRL

    SA4BRL Ham Member QRZ Page

    About 6 years ago, I was at a radio fair and saw the same keys (brand new!) for sale. Although I virtually never used CW since I passed the mandatory exam about 30 years earlier,
    the price (even lower than you mentioned) was too good to resist.

    Since then, I started regaining my CW skills. Now, most of my QSOs are in CW.
    I like the key very much. The only key I (rarely) used before is a Sato 2700, bought new in 1965
    at the age of 12, eight years before I became a ham.

    Recently, I acquired a Junker key, that was the model that was used at the examination in 1980 or so.
    But, maybe because my fist is not very subtle, the Czech suits me best.
    It is the key that I prefer.

    I don't think there are two models. The difference is only in the connection cable.
    Mine has also only a cable with two contacts, but the send/receive switch is still there.
    You can still pull up the lever, as the text (= receive up/transmit down) indicates.
    Some day I may rewire the switch to enable send/receive on my non-QSK rig.

    However, since it was alledgedly manufactured in the 50s or 60s, it is definitely a heritage item.
    Therefore, I'm hesitant to take it apart.

    Wish you good DX with your new key!

    73, Bert.
  7. KE0EYJ

    KE0EYJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I see.

    For others who may be curious, the lever has to be pulled-up, and an area behind it depressed, to open it for adjustment.
  8. K1LKP

    K1LKP Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page


    N9HI Have a Nice Day.gif
  9. KC2SIZ

    KC2SIZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    It's sometimes called the "Coffin Key" for obvious reasons. It's a good key. I have one too and use it often.
    KE0EYJ likes this.
  10. KE4OH

    KE4OH Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hmmmm. I know the "coffin key" as the Hi-Mound semi-automatic key. So called because it had a cover over the mechanism and the whole thing resembled a coffin. Many were sold back in the 60's and 70's by Lafayette electronics under their own brand label. I believe they are still manufactured today.

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