Straight Keys

Relive the days when manually sent Morse was a common thread that bound ham radio enthusiasts

This weekend was a radio-active one for me. Snow and bitter cold across the Heartland demanded that I spend most of the weekend indoors. With little else to do besides watch football games being played by teams other than my own favorite, I spent more time than usual in front of the radio.

I’m a member of the Straight Key Century Club (3383T) which celebrates it’s founding in 2006 with a month long, K3Y Celebration operating event every January. It’s a busy time on the bands chasing slots and areas.

If a person were “all in” on the event, it takes 150 confirmed contacts to sweep the entire board. Fortunately, you don’t need to be that aggressive (unless you just want to) to claim success in the event. In working just 14 of those 150, I’ve managed to log stations in the 1,2,3,5,6,7,8,9,0 call areas — along with KL7, KP4, EU, and NA.

The EU station worked was Bert, F6HKA. I work him in nearly every SKCC event and on every band. He’s a great operator and must be driving a super station on the Continent. The bands can be completely abysmal, with not a peep heard from anywhere on the planet — yet there’s Bert. The NA station was Paul, VE1PVH in Nova Scotia. I don’t know about you, but I’ve always wanted to visit the Maritimes and whenever I work someone from a location that I’d like to visit, that contact becomes a special one for me.

There’s still a few weeks left in the event and though I’m only able to get on the air during weekends this month, I expect to work a “4” and at least sweep the lower 48 states.

One additional SKCC note — the club just surpassed 15,000 members, a truly impressive feat by any all-volunteer organization. It’s free to join and offers all the fun you’re willing to put into it. Why don’t you join us and relive the days when manually sent Morse was a common thread that bound ham radio enthusiasts from Nova Scotia to New Zealand. It’s an ACTIVE club with lots of events, contests, awards, and things to keep you busy on the air.


Speaking of straight keys, I caught this blog post from K2NCC who briefly reviewed his new Vibroplex Straight Key Blue. I love that blue finish and would have already whipped my credit card out and been on the phone to Scott, except I’m trying to get rid of stuff, not add more to the pile.

But this beauty could be yours. Just saying…

Author: Jeff Davis