Radio and RF

Kent Hand Morse Key Restoration

I purchased a used and very tatty Kent Hand Morse Key from eBay and restored it to as new condition

I had been looking for a Kent hand key from eBay for some time as I plan to try to learn CW (Morse) to use with my Yaesu FT817 on the HF bands. As the Kent keys are around £100 new I thought that a used one would be a good way to try to learn morse with without spending a lot of money on a new key.

Last week I found a tatty and well used looking key on eBay and decided to bid up to £35 for it. I won the auction with a final bid of £32.00 + £4.00 postage and the key arrived on Saturday (also my birthday).

The key as it arrived from eBay

Kent Hand Key

Unknown to me when I bid on the eBay key, my brother Andrew had bought me a brand new Kent Hand Key as a birthday present so I had two morse keys to use!

Andrew offered to restore the used key and we stripped it down to all its separate components and proceeded to clean up and polish all the brass parts and the wooden base was sanded back to plain wood, stained and then painted with several coats of varnish until it had a strong protective finish.

The main arm and pivot assembly after cleaning and restoration.

Kent Hand Key arm

The used hand key had a made in England label but the new one had a made in Germany label and was slightly different in the way in which it was built with the centre link cable being under the key arm on the new model.

All the parts cleaned and ready to be reassembled.

Kent Hand Key components

The entire process to polish the brass parts, varnish the wood and reassemble took 2 days overall and about 3 hours total working time and resulted in a finish on the restored key which we think looks much better than the finish on the new morse key!

The restored Kent Hand Key next to the new model behind. The new model has a slightly higher wooden base and a matt finish to the wood.

Old and new morse keys

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5 comments

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Jay W8ES
14 April 2019 at 4:52 pm
Very nice job. I have a KT-1 and it is my favorite straight key.
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Alessandro Farese
14 May 2021 at 5:39 pm
Nice job, I just got the new Kent Straight key. You have both, do you find that the new one is noisy as the old one? I found that the new Kent is noisy
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Niko Awramow
11 February 2022 at 4:28 pm
Hi my name is Niko from Germany and my callsign is (DJ0GB) iam serching now urgently one so nice key to buy but it is very dificult to find one key. If you now please info where can i get one. I need normaly only the metal key without the wood base as it is to see on your first page. Best 73 and many DX from Germany. Niko February 11.2022
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Niko Awramow
05 March 2022 at 12:18 pm
Hi here is again Niko from Germany. I am needing urgent one Kent KT-1 stright key for my new Project. Can you sell me one of your both Keys. It is very urgently. I pay just the prise in Euro. It is unpossible to find one KT-1 key also on Ebay. please if you have one more sell it to me urgently. Best greetings from Germany.Niko (DJ0GB) 05.03.2022
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Brian
05 March 2022 at 12:32 pm
hi Niko
I am sorry but I sold the keys a few years ago
Brian

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