The above straight key was originally purchased out of curiosity at an eBay auction but quickly went on the air. This type is not common when you surfing the Internet. In the search I have found more than 450 different straight Morse keys, for me, an amazing number. I'm not sure about the origin of this key. W1TP writes on his website that it was used with the high-powered R-102M radio sets.

A second source mentions that the key was intended for use with radios that are mounted on tanks. The contacts are trapped inside the cap to prevents sparks from spreading and avoid fire or explosion. According to another informant all Warsaw Pacts countries used the key for type R-102M, R-118 and R-140 radio stations.

I has noticed that Russian military keys for tactical use are black coloured and keys for static transmitters are grey hammer-finish painted. There are still doubts, because the device was offered on eBay as Polish or Hungarian key. I did not found a 100% reliable information.

Why this product? Everybody is different but I wanted more attention for this type. I really like this traditional straight key and it even replaced my Junker as (fig ») first key!




The device handles extremely well, smooth as silk and minimal fatigue! Slowly or quickly keying is possible, it feels good, it keeps dust and is stable on a slightly rough surface. It is best to mount the unit on a desk or a thick metal plate. Furthermore, it is very suited for training or someone who want to learn CW.


The (fig») lower black Bakelite base is assembled with a filter, possibly an anti-click system. I measured the value of the components. Probably the resistor is 50 ohms, but my Fluke77 shows 49 Ohm.



For some operators the minimum contact cap is to wide with («fig) the knurled lock nut at its original place. Screwing the contact pin on the black base upwards can reduce this. That takes a lot of work and it can easily through moving (fig») the lock nut below the metal lever.







I not really collect, but if there is an interesting key offered for a price that I want to spend, it will be purchased.

Part of the "collection" was a gift.


  1. Vibroplex Lightning No 190992 (Type No 6, 1927-1979)
  2. Hi-Mound BK-100
  3. MFJ-564 DeLuxe
  4. KENT TP1-B Twin Paddle
  5. ZA-4364 No.9, ZA-28656 No-19
  6. ZA TASTER TS-4 (former JNA)
  7. J-37-Gy Army Signal Corps
  8. SATO (training key?)
  9. Mc Murdo (lifeboat and UK, AU post-WWII fieldradio sets)
  10. J-37
  11. Junker S Mobile
  12. Warsaw pact key for R-102M, R-118 and R-140 radio sets
  13. Mechlabor key, see the photo's below



MECHLABOR key made in Budapest (1945 - 1985) for Warsaw pact.