Trust the military to call a Morse key a “Key and Plug Assembly No. 19”.

It goes with the Wireless Set No. 62, which was vehicle mounted. You strap the key to your leg so that you have one hand free to hold on for dear life while presumably frantically tapping out code with your other hand.




Well, almost. In Ham Speak, a boat anchor is an old, large, probably obsolete piece of radio equipment. I have more than one.


The Heathkit HW-32 only qualifies if you have a tiny boat. At about 30cm wide and 15cm high, it’s actually quite small for a 14 valve transceiver rated for 200W PEP output. OK, it only does this on a single band, 20m in this case (the HW-12 and HW-22 covers 80m and 40m respectively).

Frequency coverage is 14.2 to 14.35 MHz, for mobile SSB operation. There’s no provision for CW and no coverage of the CW portion of the band.

At 5 1/2 kilos, it’s also too light to be a boat anchor — but that’s because it doesn’t have a built-in power supply. You need to supply 800V DC, 250V DC, and -130V DC bias, as well as 12V for the filaments.

We’ve come a long long way in 50 years.