My Morse Code Key Collection  
                                                                     Plus thoughts and comments
I'm not a serious collector of keys I just purchase the odd one or two that catches my eye, mainly to try them out or investigate their construction to further my Home made key hobby, so the descriptions are more on my  personal thoughts than anything else, and my collection is fairly fluid, some keys I only buy to try and sell them later, other are bargains I couldn't resist :) all part of the fun of Morse Keys.
Well I suppose although I have great fun using Morse Code on the Amateur Bands I should say I'm not very good at it, I bumble along making mistakes as I go, which is probably the reason for my accumulating so many Morse Keys! That in the vain hope I may one day find one that increases my performance.
My very first Key which I still have (right) is a Japanese copy of an American speed key, bought for me by an old friend of long ago whilst teaching me the code to pass my R.A.E its an average Amateur key cheap and cheerful but it does have adjustable ball bearings  and pleasant to use if you like a low slung key I'd say 6 out of 10 performance

My Second key obtained some time later is a version of the 8amp type of which there are hundreds of versions this has been with me for many years and has some time or another been used in all my CW projects as along with the speed key it was all I had! they are really nice general purpose keys, This old all brass type looks nice cleaned up, and for any non key enthusiast probably all one needs..  5 out of 10 performance

And what a stunner this key is, made by VK2DLF, if looks and finish were all there was to a key this would be tops, unfortunately the action is not all that good, simply as it is out of balance having no weight in the "nose" in fact it hasn't got a nose, sad to say I would only give this key an average 5 out of 10 for performance, if the maker could only put this sort of finish on to an exceptional key action (like my 80 series:) then it would be a world beater.

This is an unusual key called a type 51, I believe it could have been made in Australia, and was used in the Vulcan A Bombers in a military role and also in a civilian role in the DeHaviland Comet Aircraft, so probably 50's vintage, It has a double spring tension arrangement which I can't seem to set light enough for me otherwise its a nice key if a little flimsy.. average performance 5 out of 10

And  here is the 7024 the smaller version of the type 51, which aircraft they went in
I don't know, information is a bit scetchy as far as the different types go.
All made by Walters Electrical London

And this one was a REAL find, its a Danish design from the company MP Pedersen, AMPLIDAN Model 50713 it is without doubt a really nice key, very complex inside and has a similar feel to the Morse Equipment key above only a lighter action, I like the feel of this key very much, and has time has moved on I've began to appreciate its professional action and tried to emulate it in some of my Hand made keys, (shown with cover off)
It is in my humble opinion one of the finest keys ever made, they don't come better than this, (except perhaps one of my own handmade 80 series on which the "feel" of this keys action is based ) Performance Simply the best 10 out of 10
I have since made a few keys from this design, you can see them

And another Amplidan, only a bit more primitive than the Marine version above could be an export model or maybe an earlier design, not sure, any info greatly appreciated, superb key, limited my the simple bearings but a fine action 9 out of 10

And another of these strange little Marconi keys, this is the better known version with an odd V shaped bridge but they are basically the same key
6 out of 10 performance.



And here is my Hi-Mound 804, I had long wanted one of these now quite rare and sought after keys, It is a heavy key and very adjustable with its strange horizontal round spring tensioner and adjustable handle length, but at the end of the day it has that flat spring feel to it, some say like sending with an empty baked bean tin, another hate it or love it action, there is no doubt it is a finely made key, but vaguely disappointing I found, perhaps I expected to much from the heavy bright finish. 8 out of 10

And now the predecessor of the HK-804 the HK-802, this is a different kettle of fish completely, firstly it is Heavy! weighing 1.2kg, and it is a very fine key key, although it is another spring type pivot type it has a much nicer feel to it than the 804 above,  a soft machine like action almost silent, I've tried most spring pivot keys and made a few but this one is the best by far, it is well made and nicely adjustable with a sliding knob, the front under slung gap adjuster is a little difficult to get at but that's being picky, this one seems to be an early type with a contact shorter on the upper left of the body, all in all an excellent key 9 out of 10.

And to complete this little trio of Hi-Mound keys the almost unknown
HK-902 this key has got to be 10 out of 10 for innovation nothing about this key is standard, it uses wire levers on cones for adjustment, the adjusters being on the knob end of the key it also has compressed rubber grommets on adjustable legs for stability, and of course the whole of the mechanism is enclosed in a crystal cover, however the action of the key is not that good lacking in weight and also suffers from the "baked bean tin" feel of most of the spring pivot type keys, only 6 out of 10 for performance.  

This is a French Saram key, I have been looking for one of these for a long time mainly to see how the unusual mechanism worked, I really like this key, so much so that I built a look a like version, I think the designers of this key deserve a cheer for breaking away from traditional key design, men after my own heart, and it works well, smaller than I imagined, but a responsive firm action 7 out of 10 (extra points for the design)

And now a very old Lindholm and Wikstrom, I've liked this key since the first time I saw a picture of one a couple of years back, so much so I even made a copy never thinking I'd own one, It has restored my faith in old keys, usually vintage keys have a pretty poor action but not this one, it is quite excellent, smooth and effortless to use, a real classy lady 9 out of 10 (should be 8 really but an extra point for it's classy looks :)

And this one is a real prize, an early Oller the Grandfather of the famous Swedish designs above and below, 9 out of 10, lovely action and looks to match,

This is the Military version of the Ericsson key, it has a simplified rake adjuster and the front terminals come out horizontal, I bought this key as a wreck, the key had been dropped and the front contact tower was twisted out of shape and some terminals and adjusters were missing, It has been completely stripped down cleaned and re-varnished replica parts made and given a nice polish, now looks as good as new, excellent action 9 out of 10..

And this heavy lady I believe is an Ericsson though not completely sure as it is unmarked, and is very similar to the Oller above but with a more complicated contact and terminal structure, a beautiful vintage key with an action to match 9 out of 10


And here is an unusual key just exactly where it fits in to the Swdish hierarchy
I'm not sure, it was made by Lindholm and Wikstrom, the company closed in
1905 so a real vintage item, unusual with its black crackle finish, again this is a rebuild
having made a new base, this is an excellent key, 9 out of 10 for performance

And this is the latest version of the Ericsson family of keys a Swedish Military key, to be honest this is about as good as it gets for simplicity of design and performance, with a superb pedigree everything about this key speaks quality, this one has a complex contact arrangement  there are simplified versions,see key
 below, an excellent key 9 out of 10 for performance.

    Simplified version of the key above, lovely action 9 out of 10                                                                                                                                                                                  

This is a small key by Telefunken Stockholm, a real miniature gem of a key with all the things I like, front contacts and can be adjusted to quite a light touch, needs to be bolted down on to something, a nice neat little key with a reasonable action 7 out of 10

This is a very rare Aircraft key, similar to the fairly common one below
but with no spark window or internal spark fittings, so far I know of three
variants of this key, real pieces of Aviation communication history. 


nd this is my early RAF spark key, so finely made, and has a little window to view the spark, almost everyone that collects keys wants to own one of these little gems, including me, quite rare now and getting expensive, not much of an action with all the spark contacts on the end of the arm but it can be used, 5 out of 10

I believe this is an  early Ericsson key, it really is an odd ball with its vertical contacts, but it has a surprisingly good action, very adjustable and pleasant to use, I'm hoping to find some more info on it,

And at last a Marconi PS213 another key that has a hazy past, there are quite a few variations of this design, I'm not completely sure about this one I think its a very early one as it has none of the Nickel plating or insulation of later versions, this is the state in which I purchased it, I have since fitted a tension spring so I could test it, but otherwise kept it as it is, And this is some key, the action is quite superb, easily a rival to the Amplidan, 10 out of 10 for performance a Classic key..

And my lovely Italian RG-1, made out of Bakelite, a sweeping design very nice to look at, sadly the metal used in its original construction was poor quality and corroded badly, here I have faithfully copied the damaged parts in brass and nickel plated them, if fitted with a heavy base it is a workable key, about 5 out of 10 problem being it has no weight but worth keeping for its historic WW2 value

And this key usually quoted as being either Russian or a Polish training key, at the time of writing they can be obtained for silly money, this one cost me 16 on Ebay, although the design is very basic they have a superb action, all the classic signs are there, a long balanced lever handle with end contacts, a heavy cast base with large easy to use adjusters, this is a severely underrated key , I'd say a good 8 out of 10.


This key was made by the "Elektrisk Bureau Oslo" and is generally known as the Oslo key, it has some unusual features, the ball race bearings are held in place by fine slotted covers, they usually had a plastic cover but these often broke or got lost, and were usually Nickel plated, this one is a bit unusual as it seems to have been plated with a gold or bronze colour which looks original. the tensioning arrangement is quite complex with threaded springs, quite a nice key, long lever action with contact spring and end contacts, I'll give it 8 out of 10.



An ORIGINAL Swiss Military key, in good condition many of the repros you
see today are based on this key, very unusual action, the best in my opinion for
a brass pounder key of this medium size, excellent a superb key 9 out of 10

   And this key is know as a Gerard, I have been looking for one for some time
It is quite unusual in as much as it has no bearings as such, the pivot is a slot
arrangement, the tension spring holding the whole assembly in place, it has a nice
reasonably crisp action, so I shall give it 7 out of 10 for performance                                                                                                                                                 

Another key I have wanted for a long time, A Cliff Dweller key, often called a presentation
key, It looks as if it has been made from Plumbing parts, quite big and eye catching  shine
of copper and brass, it has a very light action which is not adjustable as the tension is
just a spring clip fitted under the arm, even so I like it very much.
I can't seem to find out much about it, ie when were they made, how long for and how
many, this one is Sn 17    7 out of 10  for performance.