N1FN Key Collection

Posted on Feb 6, 2014

A Morse key is nothing more than an electrical switch, capable of defining two states- on and off! But within that simplicity lies a lot of scope for artistry, and some Morse keys are truly works of art. I never intended to become a collector, but one thing has led to another and here I am. All of these keys are in working condition, and most of them have been used `on air` for at least one amateur

N1FN Key Collection
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radio contact. Apart from proving that they work, this "laying on of hands" makes them truly mine and establishes what I feel to be some sort of mystical bond between myself and all the other operators who used them over the years. Most of these devices were at one time the "tools of the trade" for professional telegraphers. As an amateur radio operator I use telegraphy extensively, in fact almost exclusively, but I still find it difficult to imagine what it must have been like to pound brass for 8 hours a day, every day, as one`s means of putting bread on the table! This is the star of my collection, a K. P. Thomas Automorse key made my Hitchcox Bros. in Adelaide, SA, Australia, circa 1920. The device sold for five Pounds, or about a week`s wages for a journeyman "telegraphist. " It is distinguished by three paddles- automatic dots, automatic dashes, and manual dashes. The metal parts are nickel-plated brass, and the finger-pieces are some sort of fiberboard. I added a base for it made from maple, and it is in working condition with all original parts. Thanks to Larry, VK6CP, I can show you an image of a contemporary ad for the Automorse. The ad says it is "guaranteed forever against wear, " and so far it is living up to the guarantee! A more recent device from the former Soviet Union, this is the ElectroInstrument Key-8 paddle/keyer. Manufactured by a former Soviet military instrument factory specifically for amateur...

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