Thursday, November 1, 2012


     In the far-off past when radio was nearly all Morse code (what's that Fessenden fellow on about?), everybody keyed fairly high currents in the primary side of big transmitters, especially spark rigs.  Commercial stations used big, purpose-built keys or keying relays.  Hams....improvised.
One key, two silver dimes and a nice big soldering copper (or electric soldering iron).  Add amateur ingenuity.
 Real dimes!  (Filed flat.  Honest, Mr. T-man, I didn't do it!)

     This example was found on Etsy.  "Dime keys" are often fakes; this one, the key's an older type, the solder looks like the old-time stuff, the dimes are sure-enough silver and the knob bears an "Aug 3, 1920" patent date; a little late but not too late.  So it's probably the real deal.


  1. I tried that with pennies in a starter motor once. It lasted about a week. It's not exactly a shirt-sleeve environment.

    Back then the dimes would have been real silver - a much better conductor than the slugs they give us now.

  2. And lots of surface area to carry the current.