The NATO Morse Code Transmitting Key.

This impressive key incorporates the classic Scandinavian long tapered lever (see "The Swedish Pump Key"). It was designed for use by NATO forces. Made by Pryce Edwards Ltd. and Marconi S. & R. Systems Ltd (see below) in the 1960's/70's & 80's.This great example is marked "NS No 5805-99-580-8558. Serial No IMR/YB 863.R/PES.78" The cover of this key is battleship grey painted brass. It weighs a hefty 3-1/2 lbs. The cover measures 8" by 3.25" (203mm by 83mm) but the keys overall length is 10.5" (268mm).

Above left you can see the label "NS No 5805-99-580-8558. KEY TELEGRAPH. SER No IMR/YB 863.R/PES.78" Also the MOD record check boxes 1 to 12 with a line through just the "1". On the right hand picture can be seen the large round black knob with numbers "1" through to "0" that adjusts the contact gap. The small screw (arrowed) adjusts the tension.

A Navy Nato key made by MARCONI S.&.R. SYSTEMS LTD.

I am lucky to own one of these keys that, when I got it, was still sealed in its original packaging and labels. One label reads: "5805 99 541 1439. KEY MORSE TELEGRAPH. SPIS. ASWE/A 289787. Iss.2. P.P.QTY.1. SER. No PES 108.84".

  • The second and most interesting label reveals the manufacturers details: MARCONI S.&.R. SYSTEMS LTD. CONTRACT No. NSW/22B/1609. DATE.5/85. PKD. BY. E. P. S. (SCOTLAND) LTD. ISP. BY. [circular stamp reads E.P.S.S. 5] With all packaging the weight is 4 lbs 14 oz ( 2.200kg ). The outer box measures about 12 & 1/2" by 5" by 4" high (315mm by 128mm by 102mm).

    The Key Unpacked After 26 Years.

    Interestingly the cover of this model is made of fibreglass and the label on top of the cover reads: "5805.99.541.1439" "KEY TELEGRAPH" "SER. NO. PES. 108. 84". The MOD RECORD sticker has check-boxes 1 to 20.