SOVIET KEYS

RUSSIAN  / HUNGARIAN MINIATURE MILITARY KEY:
 
 Tiny metal 3" lever mounted on a black plastic base. Mechanism covered by 1"x1"x1-3/4" grey metal cover. All mounted on a grey stamped steel base. These keys were used with R-143, R-159, Angara and some spy radios and some special radios. The key is also supplied in a small green case.
RUSSIAN MILITARY KEY MODEL TK (No Filter)
 
All plated metal key with large doorknob shaped knob integrated onto hollow plastic base with plastic cover which snaps over the key. It was made in Ukrainian Telegraphy Equipment Plant ZTA in Cherkassy between 1988 - 1992. Keys were mostly used by Arctic weather stations and the Military.
Russian Military Key Model TKF in steel case with switch

This scarce version of the TFK key is mounted in a steel case with hinged lid and lockable latch painted in olive green. It carries a label on the lid with its serial number 1122341169.  Under the serial number is УВУ = Russian=Устройство Выносного Управления = Remote Control Device.
Inside is a TFK key with a switch giving three possible positions, these being;
ТЛГ. = CW Mode
СЛ. Связь = Internal Communication
ТЛФ. = Phone Mode
On the underside of the key is an opening giving access to the switch terminals for wiring purposes. Also inside, apart from the switch, are the filter elements.
Obtained from Andy UT2WQ in October 2018 and who supplied the Russian translations. Andy also states that he has only ever seen two of these keys, one being this one, the other is in his collection.
  
RUSSIAN RB/RB-M/R-104/R104M MILITARY KEY
 
Light metal 4-1/2" lever mounted on a black plastic base. Mechanism covered by black metal swing over cover. All mounted on a black stamped steel base. This key was first produced before WW-2 in 1938.
RUSSIAN TRAINING KEY circ 1950 onwards
 
This inexpensive training key has black painted stamped metal parts with doorknob style knob integrated onto a narrow black plastic base. Many of these keys were made for use in training DOSAAF (MARS) and school children in the use of the code. Greg Ulsamer reports that DOSAAF represents abbreviations of the Russian words: Dobrovol'noye Obshchestvo Sodeystviya Armii Aviacii i Flota which means in German: Freiwillige Gesellschaft zur Forderung von Heer, Luftwaffe, und Marine. In English, it is: Voluntary Organization for the promotion of Army, Air Force and Navy, a pre-military organization to train children in these fields. They are found in various colours and although appear quite cheaply manufactured, actually are quite a nice key with a positive feel.
 
Russian Military Mini Spy Key circ 1950
 
A well made Russian Mini Key with original cord and plug but missing the sheet steel / aluminium cover that would have enclosed and protected the contacts. It has conductor strips on the top side of the base very similar to the Marconi "Roadmap Spark Key from circ 1912. My research finds that this Key was used with the R104M Radio and dates from circ 1950 but would welcome input from one of our Russian Key collectors.
   Russian Military Mini Spy Key circ 1950 (with cover)

This is identical to the above key which is missing the original cord and plug but does have the cover that is missing from the other example.
  
  
Russian Military Enclosed Key

This large heavy duty key has a 5-1/2" lever mounted on a black plastic base. Mechanism is enclosed in a grey painted aluminium cover measuring 2"Wx3"Hx4"D. It was used with the high powered 1kw R-102M radio sets. Earlier versions of this key were used with airbourne SB-5/R-801/R-807/Danube/RSB-70 which are the Russian replicas of SCR-274, ART-13, and ATC/ATD) radio sets. This key is complete with its original lead and plug and was purchased from Andrzej SQ5OBO in Poland in 2018/19.
  
Russian Military Enclosed Key Version 2

This large heavy duty key has a 5-1/2" lever mounted on a black plastic base. Mechanism is enclosed in a black painted aluminium cover measuring 2"Wx3"Hx4"D. It was used with the high powered 1kw R-102M radio sets. This key is a modified version of the standard key more frequently seen. This has a 4 switch assembly built into the cover along with a socket on the side of the base and a heavy duty braided lead and plug. I have tried to translate the switch positions with the top left switch the most uncertain due to the faded labels. Top left reads Utterly and Off, top right reads 50% and 100%, bottom left reads Included and Off and the bottom right reads Transfer and Reception. The use of the side socket is still unclear. I am always open to correction from one of our Russian friends and would welcome any further information on this great key.
  
 Soviet spy radio set PROTON R-353

This is the front panel of a Proton R-353 spy radio set which has the manual key and the semi automatic numerical dial along with the flexible work light which is missing the head.
 The R-353 is a valve-based spy radio set, developed in the late 1960s in the Soviet Union (USSR), and built at the Proton factory in Kharkov in Ukraine. The radio features a built-in tape-based burst transmitter that reduces the risk of interception and radio direction finding. The transmitter produces an output power of 50W, which is sufficient for an operational range of 500 to 3000 km. This rare radio is also known by its codename PROTON.

Like most Russian equipment of the era, the case was finished with Hammerite paint. Two colours are known to have been used for this: grey (most common) and green/blue Hammerite. The purpose of the different colours is unknown, but might be related to the end-user or the factory. In practice the colours were often mixed, so that a grey transceiver might contain green parts. There were three available modes of transmission, manual, semi automatic or automatic burst.

1. Manual transmission

In case of an emergency it was possible to use the R-353 for manual transmission of messages in Morse code, by using the built-in Morse key. This allowed any kind of message to be sent, even plain text, but required the operator to be very experienced in giving and taking Morse code.

2. Semi-automatic transmission

Another way of sending an emergency message is by using the semi-automatic Morse dial. This would be particularly useful if the operator was unable to send messages in Morse code manually at a reasonable speed. Unlike the manual key, the dial is only suitable for numerical data (0-9). The semi automatic dial is located at the centre of the interior of the top lid and is connected in parallel with the manual Morse key.


Once the frequencies are set and a radio link with headquarters is established, all the operator needs to do is dial the numbers in the correct order, using the circular dial. This involves pressing down the number and (whilst holding it down) rotate the dial clockwise until it blocks, and the releasing the number. The chosen number will now be sent in Morse code. Although this is a convenient way of sending messages without any knowledge of Morse code, it is still fairly slow compared to a burst transmission and therefore a potential candidate for radio direction finding.

3. Automatic transmission

The best and certainly the safest way of sending messages were by using the built-in keyer for a fully automatic transmission. This requires the (pre-coded) numerical message to be recorded onto a metal magnetic tape, which is then transmitted at very high speed as a so-called burst.

This unit was purchased from Andrzej Gawryś SQ5OBO from Poland in 2018/19, thanks Andrzej.
  
   Russian Military Air Force Key with switch

This is a Russian Air Force Key with switch. The two position switch moves between “receive simplex” and “send simplex / send duplex / receive duplex”. It has a removable cover although both spring tension and gap adjustment can be accessed by the two protruding screws. This example differs somewhat from others I have seen in so much that instead of long tension springs being present on these screws there are long locking nuts that are also accessible with the cover in place. There are no markings indicating a model number or a manufacturer and I am unsure of the date this key was used but presume that it would have been from between 1930 and 1960 but would welcome input from one of our Russian Key collectors.