Monday, January 09, 2006

New CW Key!

The copy from the Morse Express website that completely and utterly sold me:

Variously known as the D-117, the K4, or just the "Chinese Army Key" these heavy duty straight keys were made for the Chinese Peoples' Liberation Army (PLA). The Chinese phrase "changshu dianxun qichai chang" translates as "Changshu Telecommunication Equipment Factory."

In 2000, Morse Express obtained remaining stocks which were purchased direct from the PLA as surplus. They are mostly in factory new condition, with some showing a bit of "warehouse wear" such as deteriorated packaging and dust. Supplies were limited, and apart from being a good heavy-duty straight key, they are also very collectable. See our Collectors' Corner page for some of the "varieties."

Late in 2003 we were able to get in touch with the factory, and were delighted to discover that the keys are still in production, and by going direct to the factory, we were able to get better prices. They are still expensive to ship from China, of course, but we are happy to pass the savings along to our customers.

The keys have chrome plating, machined needle bearings for the trunion, hard silver (K4) or copper (K5) contacts, and a felt pad on the base. They weigh around two and a quarter pounds each! Approximate base dimensions are 2-3/4 x 4-3/4 inches. They're 2-1/2 inches high and the center of the knob is forward of the base about an inch.

Of course the keys are "still in production", you silly American!

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