Category Archives: Operating

Morse Express 2017 Christmas Key

In Celebration of the Season…

So far, Morse Express has designed and produced a special key for the holidays, every single year in this century. No, wait every single year in this millennium!

The Morse Express 2017 Christmas key is the seventeenth in the series. This year’s key combines a traditional camelback lever with a translucent red knob and a walnut base, for a stunning little key that will turn heads wherever it goes. The camelback provides for an elegant level transition down to the contacts but it also adds mass to the lever, giving it a smoother “feel.” That and the added leverage that you get with the trunnion at the rear of the key make it an excellent key for sending code.

The wires from the miniature binding posts are traced into the base and covered with a felt pad so the key will be less likely to slip, and won’t mar the table. The hardware is solid brass, highly polished and, gold plated so that it will not tarnish or corrode. Contact spacing and spring tension are both controlled by the single adjusting screw just forward of the trunnion. The 2017 Christmas key weighs 2 1/4 ounces (60g) and measures 2 3/8 x 1 5/8″ (60 x 40mm) at the base.

“The Christmas keys represent my annual opportunity to play around with key design and to work with a master craftsman to bring new designs to life,” Morse Express owner Marshall Emm, N1FN. “I hope the 2017 Christmas key will bring a little joy to your celebration of the holidays, and add something special to Straight Key Night.”

The Morse Express 2017 Christmas Key is a limited edition, priced at $89.95 plus shipping and handling. Each key has a label with “Christmas 2017” and a unique serial number.

CONTACT INFO: where you will also find secure ordering facilities. Call (800) 238-8205 toll free to order by phone, or (303) 752-3382.


The AZ Connection

by Dick Schneider AB0CD

[NOTE: This article is under repair. Via the oddities of the InterWEB an entire chuck in the middle has completely vanished! It will soon be fixed and play can resume — ed. 07/16/17]

During a recent trip to visit my oldest son, Kevin, and his family in Scottsdale, AZ, (and assist in a few home improvement projects!), I packed up a respectable field station and buried it in my single checked travel bag. I figured I had better start working my portable ham radio chops again, since I knew I would be drifting down to Arizona when the chill winds roar up here in Aworked stations on both coasts and a few back into Colorado and locales in the Midwest. It was great fun.

The station is rounded out with a Case Logic station bag, Palm paddle, earbuds, a compact logbook and, of course, an analog pencil.

In the evenings, after the hot sun vanished, Kevin, his family, and I used my Yeasu FT-60R to chat with son Trygve KB0WNZ back in Denver via IRLP.

With the panoply of flat trail/travel ready rigs available, a Buddipole and a little gumption is all you need these days to take the great hobby on Earth with you wherever you go.


The painter’s pole and nylon cord were left behind in Kevin’s storage shed for future visits. The Buddipole has since been sold. I do that. A lot. However, I like to make antennas, and I am building a pair of Buddipoles using the original homebrew designs by Buddipole inventor Budd Drummond W3FF. No scorpions were harmed in the making of this article.


Dick Schneider AB0CD is the current secretary and former president of the Colorado QRP Club. He spends his non-hamming hours with family, staring at trees, tutoring college students in writing, and writing mystery novels under his bigly name, Richard J. Schneider.

© 2017 Richard J. Schneider