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Morse keys
Under construction

This section of the website deals with a variety of morse keys – generally hand-operated switches – that were used for the transmission of single-bit messages in morse code. Although it is neither the intention nor the wish of Crypto Museum to build a complete collection of morse keys, they were commonly used with Special Forces radios, and with the spy radio sets of WWII and the Cold War. For this reason, the morse keys used with the equipment in our collection are listed here.

Hand-operated morse keys on this website
Czechoslovakia - Embedded key Japanese Air Force Morse Key No. 1 Japanese embedded morse key
Semi-automatic morse keys on this website
PIVOŇKA automatic morse keyer Prototype of PIVOŇKA
Embedded key
This miniature morse key was made in (former) Czechoslovakia, and was used during the Cold War in a variety of Czech spy radio sets. It was embedded in the radio or in the accessories box, and has an arm that can be stowed sideways.   
Morse key

On this website
PLUTO spy radio set (1958) SIRIUS spy radio set (1962) 50W transmitter used in Congo
Pivoňka was a universal solid-state battery-powered automatic morse keyer, developed in the early 1960s in Czechoslovakia, for use by the secret state police (StB). It was used with a number of Czech Cold War spy radio sets, including NEPTUN, NEPTUN II and LIPAN.

This keyer is also known as TI-509 and as OTA.

 More information
Operating the keyer

Pivoňka prototype
The image on the right shows an early prototype of the Pivoňka keyer featured above. It is housed in a bakelite enclosure with a transparent bottom panel, and has a different layout than the final version, but uses the same circuit.

The prototype was made in the early 1960s, when transistor were greadually becoming available.. Like the final version, it is powered by two 1.5 AA-size batteries.

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Early PIVONKA protype

Japanese Air Force Morse Key No. 1
This key was widely used during WWII by the Japanese Air Force, in bombers, reconnaissance planes and transport planes, often together with a Model 99 Tobi Mk.3 radio station, where it was commonly bolted to the table [1].

The key is housed in a dark brown bakelite box with a hinged lid. and is mounted on a wooden base. According to the identification plate, fitted on the wooden base, the one shown here has serial number 21031, and was made in October 1943 by the Tokyo Radio Electric Co., Ltd.

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Japanese Morse key No. 1

    Object kindly donated by Museum Jan Corver, August 2019.

Embedded key
This miniature morse key was embedded with Japanese communications equipment of WWII — probably a field telegraph set, or a portable radio device, such as a spy radio set.

The key is constructed in such a way that – when collapsed – the arm can be lowered by pulling the metal lip in front of the black bakelite knob. Once the arm is in horizontal position, as shown in the image, a spring keeps it in place.
Right view

    Object kindly donated by Museum Jan Corver, August 2019.

Inside view Outside view Arm in operational position Right view Internal view Bottom view
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Inside view
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Outside view
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Arm in operational position
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Right view
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Internal view
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Bottom view

Morse keys on other websites
  1. PA3EGH, Morse keys from Japan
    Retrieved August 2019.

  2., Japanese Keys
    Retrieved August 2019.
Further information
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Crypto Museum. Created: Monday 12 August 2019. Last changed: Thursday, 15 August 2019 - 14:24 CET.
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