Restoration Project...

Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by W4HAY, Sep 18, 2021.

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  1. W4HAY

    W4HAY XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Sounder & Key 1.JPG
    These were given to me shortly after I got my Novice license back in 1954. According to the person who gave them to me, they were used on the Seaboard Air Line RR in southeastern NC until sometime in the '40s when more modern equipment was installed. They were both made by The Western Union Telegraph Co. The bug in the background was also part of the gift. It was in rough shape and missing some parts so Dad sent it back to Vibroplex, had it refurbished, and gave it to me as a Christmas present.

    Upon dissassembly, the gap between the sounder and the wooden base was found to be caked with coal dust and soot from the steam locomotives. One AAA cell will operate it.

    The key is now in use in the upstairs "armchair" station.
    W9RAC, KK9W, AD5HR and 4 others like this.
  2. N6MST

    N6MST Ham Member QRZ Page

    I haven't seen the bracket and phono plug setup before, I like it!
    WZ7U likes this.
  3. W4HAY

    W4HAY XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    All my keys are equipped with RCA phono jacks. Some of them are set up with two jacks so my bug can be in plugged parallel with them. The plugs and jacks, along with RG-58, are also used on QRP equipment for the antenna connections. They're much less expensive, lighter, and smaller than the usual RF connectors. Sure, it goes against the "low loss" convention, but I've never been able to detect any loss.
    N8TGQ likes this.
  4. VE3HIX

    VE3HIX Ham Member QRZ Page

    You are in good company.
    Collins S Line transmitters and receivers used RCA phono jacks for everything including the key and the 100 watt antenna connector.

  5. WA1GXC

    WA1GXC Ham Member QRZ Page

    Although it seems counterintuitive, "RCA" connectors--cheap looking, crappy materials, looking like rejects from a failed PRC knock-off
    of Archer Space Patrol gear-- are as good or superior in terms of impedance 'bump' and RF loss when compared to conventional UHF-series
    connectors thru at least 2m.
    The late Glen Zook K9STH, former Collins Radio employee and Motorola 2-way radio depot manager, wrote here on
    at length about this; lots of writings available in archived comments on the Collins Collectors Association website. All based on empirical
    laboratory testing and many hams trying to disprove the weird facts--and failing.
    It doesn't make sense, I know; but Collins used them on the S-line for reliable performance rather than price. Everything Drake uses them.
    They look like crap to me, but I have a gazillion of them active right now in the shack.
    I will say, stay away from today's offerings from across the Big Sea. They're highly plated like all that other crap from over there, and they
    shouldn't be. I buy a bunch at hamfests whenever I see some dull-finished USA manufacture ones.
    Good rule for quickly figuring out where they're from: If an electronic component is shiny and it shouldn't be (indicator lamps, connectors,
    hardware/fasteners)-- it's from you-know-where--stay away.
    If it's not shiny and should be--it's from you know where--stay away.

    I've never seen this guidance fail.
    Stay away from indicator lamps by WAMCO. Not a joke. Even the name is a warning.

    AD5HR likes this.

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