Morse Keys - the most interesting item to a non-ham

I have had a friend called Robin who happened by yesterday, at the time I was in QSO with Don GW0PLP on SSB - we were having a brief rag chew whilst waiting for Allan EI/G4VPX/P to appear on 60 metres.

So I invited my friend into the shack whilst I signed off with Don. I have several computers running, transceivers, an ATU, power meters, switches, power supplies etc etc…

However, the only thing to capture my friends eye were the two Bench Paddle Keys I have - he asked what they were, so I explained they were Morse keys and gave him a small demo of the keys by sending, and talked about the Morse Code for a few minutes and how I had come to learn it.

That was it - nothing else seemed to interest my friend. I thought that was quite odd!

73 Phil


It’s the same on a summit. Unless you have something exotic coming out of the speaker, other walkers are not interested in voice operation. But send and receive Morse and they come over to find out what is happening.


Dr OM Phil,
I work as a volunteer in the Air War and Resistance Museum in Aalsmeer. In the Radio room there is always the sound of morse code because it attracts visitors. Children can ‘send’ their name and see on a display if they do it correct. After their visit children always say that the Radio Room was the most interesting place in the museum.
73 de Geert PA7ZEE


The idea of a Morse reader display is an excellent one indeed!

If you think about it, today we are surrounded by electronic gear in the home - TV, computer, hifi, cable box, digital clocks, phones, ipads and Satan knows what else. Electronics aren’t magic any more (though they probably really are to us) and are hardly noticed, but something that is a good old mechanical device will capture the jaded interest of the average person. A cuckoo clock or grandfather clock will always interest visitors, particularly if it is one where the mechanical parts are visible, and a good morse key is a work of mechanical art that will capture the eye if only because of its incongruence when surrounded by electronics! So in my view there is nothing odd about it.

…or perhaps the genuine interest of the average person?

My personal morse code anthem and one reason to learn it:

73 Chris


Superb! - thanks for that, Christoph

This is what i looked like today on a summit, VK6/SW-036 Mt.Dale, dress code was to avoid the VK6 Flies. I can assure you on this pretty popular drive up summit Nobody came and asked any questions :slight_smile:


John VK6NU


After a successful activation did you rob the local bank?:wink:


John - The invisible Man.

73 Phil

Thanks for sharing this Chris - Good voice (Trumpet and Voice!) and a good player as well. So along with Tom M1EYP here we have another professional musician who is a radio amateur.

Raul Midon - I confess to have never heard of him until today. Listening to this song I would be very happy to attend one of his live performances if he was playing within reach of the home QTH

From QRZ:

New Mexico native Raul Midón is a Grammy Nominated professional singer songwriter guitarist. He has made 10 albums of music and has travelled the world several times over. He has been an amateur radio enthusiast since Mrs. Redmond introduced he and his brother to the hobby back when they both attended the New Mexico School for the Visually Handicapped. Midón now resides in Maryland. He continues to pursue his music career tourig the world and spends as much time as possible using his Kenwood TS2000 together with his Multi-band 4 element 6 band yagi and Ameritron ALS1306 amplifier. He also has included CW in a song which was released on his debut album “State of Mind” on June 7, 2005. Being a well travelled musician has allowed him to buddy up with ARP - Amateur Radio Paris, an organization that embodies all the best of Amateur Radio and eats well too! He shares his new house with his wife Kathleen and their very furry family, Mocha (a havanese dog), Fuzzy their first pet and Noodles their Maryland native cat. No furry creatures are allowed in the basement so they are not actively pursuing any ham radio hobby! Kathleen was vying for a pool (and still is). Having temporarily ost the battle for the pool the tower now stands directly outside of her bay window… A trip to Paris softened the blow. One wise French ham said - allowing your ham husband to have whatever he wants pretty much ensures a lifetime of happiness for you the spouse. Thanks to local ham N8PK the antennas for the tower were generously assembled! We then hired W3MC who is a professional tower guy to install the 18 element Vertical UHF beam, 20 Element Cross Polarized 2 Meter Beam and the 4 Element 6 Band Yagi.

In March 2016 I received my Japanese Call Sign JI1SEW! Thanks to JE1LET and JH1AJT for helping me obtain the license!

In 2017 I implemented Remote Rig giving me full control of my rotator, amplifier, and transceiver. I use a Kenwood TS 480 as it is easy to carry around the front panel. As a working musician I travel much of the year and this keeps me on the radio wherever I am. When the audio leaks through to my home tv speakers it gives my wife a feeling of comfort - knowing I’m out there.

In 2017 I received my first Grammy Nomination for Best Vocal Jazz Album and thus my travels around the globe are guaranteed going forward!

Which is why a visit to the MAD Museum in Stratford upon Avon kept the xyl and myself entranced for several hours.