AI4FR Virtual Shack Tour 

CW Items

 

The good ole J-37(Signal Corps. stock number 3Z3437) key served with the U.S. military during WWII, the Korean War, and through-out the Vietnam era. The J-37 key was the real workhorse during those years and carried the bulk of the action. The J-37 key has been built into many numerous and different configurations with the addition of different bases.

According toThe Vail Correspondent #5 January 1993: The J-37 seen here is attached to its own unmarked base(Signal Corps. stock number 3Z3437-1). This base is cut away on the sides and shaped like the letter "I". It originally came with the AN/GSC-TI portable code training set which had 10 keys each in their own slot. Each key came with a 10 foot cord which was wrapped around the base(the reason for the cut away sides on the base) for storage. These keys were made by McElroy.

  

To view a J-37 key configured as a J-45(leg band assembly) please visit HERE .

To view a J-37 key configured as a  J-47  please visit HERE .

  

Where does the J-37 name come from?

Well, it was the U. S. Signal Corps that assigned their telegraph keys with the letter "J" and then a number. This practice started during the WWI era and ended in the 1950's. According to an article by W1IMQ in the The Vail Correspondent #4 July 1993, before 1943 both the Army and Navy had separate nomenclature systems. In 1943 these separate nomenclature systems gave way to the Joint Army Navy nomenclature system(AN System) for all new equipment. Although existing items continued to be made and marked under the old system. The AN nomenclature is known today(1993) as Joint Electronics Type Designation System(JETDS). Under the JETDS nomenclature keys and other keying devices carry the unit indicator KY. Thus the Signal Corps J-45 leg key became known as the KY-116U and KY-562/U. The Vail Correspondent goes on to note that the J-number keys range from 1 to 51. Excluded in that list are the J-8, J-9, J-13, J-39, J-42, J-49, and J-50. According to the book J-Series Telegraph keys of the US Army Signal Corps by Larry Nutting he states that J-49 seems to be an AC motor driven “Automatic Keyer” used with the BC-751. And he notes that J-13 and J-39 appear in a 1946 Signal Corps listing of type-numbered items, but that further information is unavailable. According to The Vail Correspondent #10 January 1995 the proper nomenclature for the Signal Corps closed circuit key alone, without a base, is J-30 and is described as being for "general purpose application".

The J-37 key in any of its configurations is a fun key to use. It is lightweight, portable and simply stated, as tough as nails. The J-37 key incorporates a leaf spring design that many folks find a pleasure to operate. Some believe that this leaf spring design gives the operator a smoother feel of the key over that of a coil spring design such as the J-38 key. The mechanical characteristics of the leaf spring, to some CW aficionados can not compare to those of the coiled spring design, even when modern keys such as a Nye Viking Speed-X CW key is used.

  

  

  

The picture on the left is a side view of the J-37 key on an unmarked J-37 base.

The picture on the right shows the bottom of this J-37 base. The covers for the two terminals can be seen in the upper and lower left corners.

According to page 21 of J-Series Telegraph keys of the US Army Signal Corps  by Larry Nutting(K7KSW), J-37 keys found on this style of base was made by McElroy. J-37 keys found on other base styles have many different manufacturers to include Hallicrafters, E.F. Johnson Co. and Winslow Electronics.

  

  

The picture on the left shows the 10' cord wrapped around he base. The picture on the right is of the top of the J-37 base with the key removed. In this picture we can see how the cloth cord is attached to the base. 

The base is cut away on all four sides and shaped like the letter "I". It originally came with the AN/GSC-TI portable code training set which had 10 keys each in their own slot. Each key came with a 10 foot cord which was wrapped around the base(the reason for the cut away sides on the base) for storage. The detents at the front and rear of the base were used to hold the keys into spring clips in the the lid of the portable code training set.

  

  

  

These pictures show the top and bottom of this particular J-37 key when removed from the base.

 

Provenance:

I purchased this key in November 2020 from Leland(Lee) Schwarz, K7LCS, who resides in Washington. I inquired about the history of the key and Mr. Schwarz stated that "The history of the key, as I remember it. The Signal Corps practice set was given to me sometime in the 1960's or '70's (along with a WWII tank radio receiver, sans converter, which had been converted to operate on the Citizen's Band. This has nothing to do with the key, except that I acquired the two items at the same time.) When I was first licensed in 1981 I gave the practice set to the local ham club in northern IN and kept one key. Until 2014, this was my only key which I used with my C-Line Drake twins. Since the Drake key input was a standard phone jack, I made an adapter without modifying the key in any way. At this point in time, the J-37 key is completely original, including the cable, just as it came from the code practice set." 

  

  

  

References:

Tom Perera's(W1TP) Telegraph Collectors Guidebook

Tom Perera's(W1TP) Telegraph Collectors CD-ROM

The Vail Correspondent #4 July 1993  

The Vail Correspondent #5 October 1993  

The Vail Correspondent #10 January 1995

J-Series Telegraph keys of the US Army Signal Corps  by Larry Nutting(K7KSW)

  

      AI4FR                                                                                                                                                                                                  AI4FR                                                                                                       AI4FR

Links below is NOT an ad but rather a 2hr video of Mike Lindell(My Pillow guy).

U.S. Election FRAUD occured in 2020 and here is the ABSOLUTE PROOF.

Mike Lindell Releases ‘Scientific Proof

Copyright © John Whitt 2021 All rights reserved.