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Hi-Mound HK-708

My original key from 1982

My HK-708 in all its glory

I got this key while I was still at school, in around 1982, to use for learning to send CW. It was all I could afford at the time, and must have been quite cheap. I've had it, and used it, for over 40 years now, and it's still my main straight key for most QSOs.

Inscribed with my original callsign in about 1983

(and if the recently announced OFCOM licence review goes through unchanged I'll be allowed to revert to G4SLV again, despite living in Scotland. And I can't wait to go back to my “real” callsign!)

I didn't like the original small plastic disc-like knob and at some point, at University in around 1985, I exchanged it for the channel select knob from a Decca Voyager HF SSB Marine transceiver that I had stripped for parts. This is a much larger and heavier aluminium knob which make the key feel much more solid.

The replacement Decca Voyager knob mounting details

The axle (trunnion?) ends are supported by ball bearings, tensioned with springs and the key, for all its cheapness, feels nice and smooth. I've often toyed with getting rid of it and getting something “proper” (a Marconi 365, a PS213, a Junkers, a NATO, or something modern and handmade and brass) but I keep coming back to it and don't see the need to replace it. Of course a small collection of keys is still an option, for interest and variety, but not a necessity while I have this one.

Modern version

I noticed recently that the currently available version of the HK-708 is significantly different to my old one from 40 years ago.

The new one has the same small disc-like knob (which I didn't like) but the main lever is straight, not curved downwards at the knob and I see that the tension spring is forward of the axle, towards the front of the key, so it must be in compression, rather than tension. Whether that makes a difference to the feel, I don't know. I also don't know if the pivots are still ball-bearings or simple bushes. I don't think I'll risk getting a new one to keep on hand in case of need!

John Pumford-Green 20/06/23 05:45

Further Information

public/radio/radio_database/himound_708.txt · Last modified: 02/04/24 20:37 BST by john