GM0LVI and the Czech Army Pump Key


Just about five years ago, in June of 2011, I was re-introduced back into amateur radio. For the first two years I used my Technician’s privileges at outdoor public service events.

I had never done any HF and was unaware of its mystic power. That all changed in February of 2013 when I saw a Morse code demonstration put on for a small number of Boy Scouts.

Since then I’ve traveled far down the amateur radio pathway with a great friend who’s helped me become an HF operator who enjoys Morse code. A few years ago I sat for the General exam and recently I was fortunate to earn my Extra privileges.

Each day I’m discovering more happiness and magic that’s out there in the ether. A tiny wire high above my roof snags it and delivers it into my radio at the speed of light.

Last night was one of those nights. It was just before dinner and I was finished working for the day. I decided to turn on my radio to try to get three QSOs completed before it was time to bound down the stairs from my man cave / ham shack.

I’ve been attracted to low power, so I adjusted my IC-7000 to five watts and started calling CQ on 14.060 MHz. I tried for three minutes and pretty much gave up. The reverse beacon network report was pretty dismal.

About twenty seconds after stopping, I heard a faint station calling me! I clearly heard his call sign the first time and sat straight up. It was GM0LVI.

I scored a nice DX contact with the amount of power the night light in my hallway puts out!

The QSO was not too long and there was some fading. I signed off and sent Dave a quick email thanking him. Here’s what I got back minutes later:

Hi Tim,

Just a quick email to say thanks for the QSO this evening. It may not have been anything special for you, but for me it was the first time I’d used a pump key for about 20 years. No doubt it showed too!!

The key was a Czech army key about 50 years old that arrived today in the original wax packing and I’d just finished adjusting the gap and tension and decided to give it a try. I still need a good few hours to get back to where I once was on a straight key, but will keep plugging away.

You were a good 559 on peaks, but QSB and latter QRM made things a bit difficult. I was running 5 Watts from a KX3 to a 2 el Quad.

Anyway, thanks for an historical QSO!!!

73,72, – Dave GM0LVI

First and foremost, I feel emails like Dave’s add so much to the overall radio experience. They often fill in some very important details one might never know that are surrounding the dits and dahs or voice QSO you might have.

I felt quite special to be the one-in-a-million operator that would make the historic QSO with Dave. I had never even heard of a pump key before.

How much magic is out there to still to experience? My guess is more than you’d ever expect. Here are two photos of that special Czech army pump key Dave was using.

Thanks Dave for allowing me to publish your photos!

Czech pump key Czech pump key inside


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