Ham Radio, Rooster Net, Telegraphy, Genealogy

Telegraph Instruments: Landline, Spark, CW

KD2UJ Telegraphy

A work in progress!

Schurr Straight Key

After reading a QRP article in CQ magazine, I decided it was time to reacquire what little Morse code skill I ever had and build a QRP rig from a kit. I settled on the Elecraft K-1 and construction is complete.

The unfortunate part was that, when we downsized, I got rid of all of my keys and paddles but one. That one is the Schurr straight key in the picture. So I started trolling eBay and discovered I have a bidding problem. My collection of straight keys, bugs, and paddles is growing. I have started to get them more-or-less cleaned up and posted on this site.

By the way, when I call a device "iambic paddles", I mean "paddles for use with an iambic electronic keyer." There is nothing iambic about the paddles themselves, they're just 2 levers with contacts. Along those lines, I used to think I was an "iambic-paddle guy" until I found out what iambic really meant. I immediately became a "single-lever guy."

Please, if you have any corrections, additions, etc. let me know! See the Contact page.

A Note on Restoration

Many of these instruments arrive in a deplorable state. But I do want them to look as if they have been well cared-for.

Painted or Bakelite/plastic bases get a thorough washing in dish detergent and water, then a light coat of Flitz*.

Since I find nothing particularly charming about tarnish, the parts made of brass get a good soak in ammonia and then are polished by hand with NevrDull* wadding polish. For chrome and nickel plated parts, I use a soak of 10% vinegar and water, followed by NevrDull. If I don't like the look of a part after soaking it in vinegar, I will go to the ammonia.

In the case of missing parts, I either order replacements from the original manufacturer, "borrow" parts from other keys by the same manufacturer, or save the key until I can get parts.

For knobs, all bets are off. If the key comes with knobs, generally they are left in place. If missing, I replace them with modern knobs that I acquire from a number of sources. When they look like they need it, knobs get a coat of black shoe polish.

I never, ever use wire brushes or power tools to clean-up a key. Just won't do it. If you see keys here that look like they've been subjected to this kind of treatment, that's because they arrived here looking that way.

* I'm sure names like Flitz and NevrDull should have a trademark or registered trademark symbol. Anyway, they are the trademarks of their respective owners. I found both products on Amazon.