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Where do you buy your keys?

Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by KE0EYJ, Oct 12, 2015.

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  1. K7MH

    K7MH Ham Member QRZ Page

    Same here, Craigslist too. I have about a dozen I guess, most are not straight keys though. I have only bought a couple on Ebay that were a very good deal for repairing. You don't often find a real good deal on Ebay, they get bid up too high usually.
    I even found one at the gun show in Puyallup a bunch of years ago and bought it!
    I am working on a TenTec KR-20A right now. I picked up two of them not working and have one of them working so far.
  2. K7MH

    K7MH Ham Member QRZ Page

    That will get you started pretty well. Having a small code oscillator actually attached on the same "board" as the key is handy rather than having a separate oscillator to carry around and connect the wires to all the time. Having the key come attached to a base is handy. A lot of straight keys will need to be mounted to a base after you buy them. The key itself is nothing special, just plastic, but the base is pretty heavy metal with feet underneath and the code oscillator is somewhat built like a small tank.

    In time you may own several keys like many of us do. Everyone likes something different.
    KE0EYJ likes this.
  3. W8ZNX

    W8ZNX Ham Member QRZ Page


    cheap but work great the Soviet Military surplus Cherkassy family of keys
    most common are the TK and the TKF ( have one of each prefer the TK )
    next the Czech Mil surplus mouse key from the RM 31 set
    ( have two love them )
    top of the line the German Junker not cheap but very well built
    as good or better than most keys selling for 250 bucks or more

    there are others, but these are the straight keys use the most

    along with a very small Soviet Mil surplus miniature key

    got all on ebay
    keep looking Soviet Cherkassy keys are all over the place
    Czech and German keys are not uncommon
    don't just look on the US ebay check UK and German ebay

    still in the stacks
  4. KE0EYJ

    KE0EYJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    The more I watch vids of that ugly soviet key, the more I like it.

    It is growing on me.

    The ebay seller seems to have a pic and reviews of tubes as his photo with the key. Not sure if the ad will sell a key or a tube. Haha
  5. PA1ZP

    PA1ZP Ham Member QRZ Page


    $250 for a Junker, idiotic prices, you canb still buy them new for lots cheaper , enough around here for about 30-50 dollars, the green army Junckers eem to be cheaper as the grey navy Junkers, but both are identical exept for the colour of the cover.
    they are good but i think the Swedish postal key much better, they are rare but are still produced as very high quality remakes.
    Not realy cheap though . 1125.jpg
    M0PHE likes this.
  6. DK7OB

    DK7OB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Regarding the Junker key: The last version is a "poor man's" version with several construction details simplified for cost reduction. I got a Junker key from a coworker, and it turned out it's this "poor man's" Junker. Still a very nice key, but certainly not for $250.
    See here for some pictures of the Junker key variants (and many others, in German)
  7. M0PHE

    M0PHE Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've got a Swedish. Made by Lennart Petterson.
  8. PA1ZP

    PA1ZP Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi DK7OB

    Thanks for your list, I found a few keys in it that i also have.
    i have a very old Lorenz T1 and a W.T. 8 amp. MKIII.
    Also have a Speed X japanese J38 remake, bought it new for 9.95 Euros.

    I often see keys for sale at one of our hamfests in the Netherlands like the K40 and K64 for maybe 15 euros or so, but they are not in the same leage as the Juncker or even the Czech army key.
    The MT50 key is quite often seen also a flame proof DDR key a bit of a DDR Juncker key hihi.

    For M0PHE , yes the Lennart Petterson, a friend of my and my morse teacher in how to use a straight key (he tought me how to key with the Junker key for my exam) has one of these and that key is the best straight key i ever had in my hands, the form of the knob suits my clumsy hands best , as for me the most inportant thing on a morse key is the knob, I can not key very good with a flat top knob like on a Juncker or a Czech key or J38, i prefer a knob that I can grab between thumb and middle finger with my index finger on top of the knob.

    The best key that i own for me is the Japanese remake of a J38 that I fitted with a knob a bit like the swedish postal key that i can grab and hold like i want, and doesnt have such cheap flat top knob any more as that it came with from the factory.

    I almost all the time use my hungarian made single lever or my Vibroplex or the homebrew paddles.
    Hungarian single lever key made by HA8KN Yani.
    HA8KN Jani single lever key.jpg

    My homebrew paddles

    73 Jos
  9. W8ZNX

    W8ZNX Ham Member QRZ Page

  10. AC0H

    AC0H Ham Member QRZ Page

    If you bought the Kent on Ebay there's a better than 50% chance it's a Chinese knockoff. See the thread in this forum about it.

    To answer the OP's question I buy my stuff straight from the manufacturer.
    The quality of their websites are immaterial. They are manufacturers not webmasters.
    I bought my Vibroplex bug from Vibroplex. I bought my Begali paddles from Begali and I bought my Kent paddles from Kent. I also bought a Nye Viking SpeedX straight key from Morse Express. I'm in the market for a single lever paddle but haven't decided whether it will be from one of the four above of possibly from N3ZN.

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