a division of Milestone Technologies, Inc.
"Everything for the Morse Enthusiast!"
From Russia with Dits and Dahs...
(click image to view in full size)
"Key-8" Paddle with Keyer!
This superb example of Soviet engineering is a delight to use and a wonder to look at. The maker is the ElectroInstrument factory in Voronezh, Russia (RSFSR in the former Soviet Union). ElectroInstrument was a Soviet military contractor, specializing in aerospace equipment and electronics. They survived the re-structuring of the USSR and now make televisions as well as their more specialized products.
The first thing you notice about the Key-8 is the unique styling, which says immediately that this paddle is different. The body is polished chrome, and the base plate, machined from solid brass 3/8" thick, adds considerable weight-- this puppy weighs almost three and a half pounds! Somebody asked why they would use plastic parts on such a work of art, and hey-- guess what? The only plastic parts are the fingerpieces. The screws, lock nuts, and speed adjustment knob are all machined brass, laquered black. The paddle arms and contact posts are steel, again laquerred black. The base of the Key-8 is 4" in diameter and the height is 3", with the fingerpieces extending just over an inch from the front of the body.
Paddle tension and spacing are independently adjustable, and the action is smooth and precise. There is a small amount of "tactile feedback" which makes it feel a bit like a magnetic paddle, but in fact it's all mechanical. The contacts are silver.
The built-in electronic keyer is not iambic-- that is, squeezing both paddles will result in a string of either dits or dahs, not alternating dits and dahs, but instructions for bypassing the keyer (to use the paddle with an external keyer) are provided. The keyer is an interesting example of late-Soviet electronics, with some very foreign-looking ICs and components. The board is a custom shape, with an unusual layout, but possibly machine soldered. Click for an image of the component side or solder side of the board.
The keyer requires +6-15VDC. A side-tone oscillator is included, and the speed is set from a knob on the top of the body. Speed range is spec'd at 5-50WPM. Output keying is by means of an internal metal thread relay, so the key line is electrically isolated from the keyer and you don't have to worry about polarity or voltage (within the specified limits).
All connections to the keyer are by way of a 5-pin DIN socket on the back of the base (we'll include a matching 5-pin DIN plug and wiring instructions).
for setting up and
adjusting the Key-8 with a couple more photos, are available
here on the web site..
Specifications:Dot/Dash Ratio 1:3
Dot/Space Ratio 1:1
Speed Range (WPM) 5-50
Power Supply +6 to +15VDC
Sidetone Frequency 850Hz (+/-250)
Operating current 50mA max
Keying voltage 30V max
Keying current 100mA max
Weight 1.3Kg (3Lb 6.5Oz)
The Last Key-8 was sold in May, 2012
We've always supplied the Key-8 with a matching DIN plug, but we know they can be tricky to solder. We found some 3' DIN cables, with a molded plug on one end. The other end has stripped and tinned conductors for easy attachment to jacks or equipment of your choice. There are leads for power supply (+ and -DC), and for the transmitter key-line (which is relay switched, not polarized). The audio output from the keyer is not connected, but if you are using the Key-8 with a radio which has a side tone, you won't need the keyer's audio. The KEY8DINB cable is $3.00, and comes with instructions (click to view in pdf format).
What Others are Saying...
"Wow, what a neat key! This is definately something no one else has on
the block. Mine was adjusted almost perfectly right out of the box, but
of course, I played with it for about an hour to get it just right.
The internal relay has a really nice ticking sound to it when sending - it
gives you the impression that you are using a precision instrument that
has a life of its own. And the unique spring contacts give you a feel
that is completely different from any other key.
If you want something completely different that is affordable, buy this
key and have fun!"
73s de Bob KT8DX
I was given my Key-8 my a very generous Russian ( UA3 ) ham during a visit
to Moscow in 1993. I've used it ever since, partly as a memento of the
visit but mainly because I like it so much.
With careful adjustment you can get a a nice positive feel to the paddles to give
you the right amount of feedback.
I've used mine right through the speed range and had no problems at all.
My Key-8 has survived over 7 years of regular abuse, including being dropped
from a great height onto soft earth ( another story).
It's certainly very solid and highly recommended over the more flimsy types!
73, Larry G4GZG
Man, that's a pretty schnazzy keyer! It sends nice, even code, and I really
like that it's not computer chip based and has that relay in there. Makes it
sound....real. You know, sorta like a dot matrix printer sounds like a printer,
but an ink jet just doesn't? Having a non-computerized keyer is a real treat.
Especially one that sends good clean cw, and this one definitely does.
Not to mention that it's nice to have a keyer that doesn't slide around on
the desk. I'm really glad I chose not to bypass the keyer, because it sure
does send nice code, and I'd miss that nifty relay. Definitely count me as
a fan of the Key-8, and of Morse Express. Good customer service is hard to
come by (I know--I work in the service industry!), but you've provided
nothing but top-knotch service. Thanks much.
73, Buddy Brannan, KB5ELV
WOW!!! What a piece of work. I'm definitely impressed, and
I haven't even got it set up yet. Thanks. 72/73 Dennis KC2CCZ