I received a nice package in the mail today from K6KX containing a set of keys.  The price is not cheap ($99) but they are the best feeling keys I have ever used.  They come with two cables, either of which can plug into the back of the keys.  One is a normal USB to USB cable.  The other is USB to PS-2.

I have not connected it to a USB host yet, but I used it with my PS-2 keyer / kbd for over an hour this afternoon at 67 wpm.  This is definitely at my upper end.  I believe I can tell a distinct improvement in my error rate.

The key caps have excellent spacing between edges so I am less likely to accidentally hit two keys together.

The keys are mechanical using Cherry switches.  They have excellent tactile feedback and plenty audible feedback.

RK-9000 info

They are available from Rosewill through Amazon.

They are also the first set of keys I have had where the output cable plugs in.  No big deal, but kind of nice.  The dual format (PS-2 / USB) is handy also.  All of my kbds currently are PS-2, but I am working on one that uses a small embedded Linux board that will work with USB keys if it ever reaches the stage of being ready for use on the air.


Chuck, W5UXH


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Chuck - Thanks for the recommendation.  I picked one up from Amazon and have it connected to my Hamgadgets MasterKeyer using the USB cable.  Works great and built like a tank.  73




Hi Jim,

Glad you are happy with it.  At the price it would be disappointing if one did not like it after the purchase!  I understand that "gamers" use high quality, N-key rollover boards like this.  I don't know what gamers actually do, but they seem to have good tastes in kbd quality.


Chuck, W5UXH

Interesting guys !

Here is a nice review and close up of this keyboard:

Thought this was a good review of the types of mechanical switches available on these types of keyboards:


Common Key Switches

Introduction - A Switch is Not "Just a Switch"

Many people ask for recommendations about switches without knowing exactly what they are looking for, but instead only with an idea of what their needs are. Fortunately, this is not always a problem because most mechanical switches will always feel nicer than rubber domes. However, the final choice is very important because a switch is not just a switch; it is the heart of what makes your keyboard have its feel and your personal tastes can make or break a keyboard for your uses. If you don't like the switch when you type on it, most likely, you won't ever like the keyboard. 

Switches are generally rated by force using the weight measurement of Grams (g). Although force is more accurately described using Centinewtons (cN) However, 1g of weight applies about 1cN of downward force, so we can use "55g" when describing a 55cN-rated switch because that is sometimes easier to understand. For this fact; we'll use Grams as a measurement of force; though either term is correct. 

For perspective, it would be wise to remember that your average rubber dome keyboard requires between 55g and 60g of force to actuate. 

Cherry MX Black Switches

Type: Linear Switch
Link: Datasheet
Tactile: No
Clicky: No
Actuation Force: 60g (40g-80g overall) (Force Diagram)
Key Travel: 2mm to actuation, 4mm to bottom

Cherry MX-Black switches are linear (non-tactile) switches, these are considered one of the best switch types for gaming. When gaming, having a tactile bump does absolutely nothing because you're going to be bottoming out anyway. So these give you a very smooth feel. The actuation and release points are at the exact same position as well. So games that require a lot of double tapping become easier than on any other keyswitch. However, most people don't enjoy typing on them that much do in part, to their linear nature. 
If you're a person who tends to hit a wrong key every so often while gaming, these will be beneficial in that the high actuation force will help prevent many of those accidental presses.

Cherry MX Brown Switches

Type: Tactile Switch
Link: Datasheet
Tactile: Yes
Clicky: No
Actuation Force: 45g (55g Peak Force) (Force Diagram)
Key Travel: 2mm to actuation, 4mm to bottom

Cherry MX Brown switches are considered a middle ground between typing and "gaming" switches. They have a light, tactile feel half way through the key press that lets you know the switch has activated. This gives you an indication of what you can release the switch. The switch is considered a middle ground because the reset point & actuation point are close enough together than you can "float" at that point, enabling you to double tap faster. 

As a note: this switch actually has a peak force of 55G, it is 45G at the point of actuation. This is due to the design of the Cherry switch itself. 

Cherry MX Blue Switches

Type: Tactile & Clicky Switch
Link: Datasheet
Tactile: Yes, precise
Clicky: Yes
Actuation Force: 50g (60g Peak Force) (Force Diagram)
Key Travel: 2mm to actuation, 4mm to bottom

Cherry MX Blue switches are the best cherry switch for typing. The tactile bump can easily be felt, and the resistance is similar to your average keyboard. 

Although many people find them just fine for gaming, some don't like the fact that the release point is above the actuation point. This can cause some trouble with double-tapping. This is usually the case with someone who has experienced other mechanical switches before hand. 

As a note: this switch actually has a peak force of 60g, it is 50g at the point of actuation. This is due to the design of the Cherry switch itself. 

Cherry MX Clear Switches

Type: Tactile Switch
Link: Datasheet
Tactile: Yes
Clicky: No
Actuation Force: 55g (65G peak force) (Force Diagram)
Key Travel: 2mm to actuation, 4mm to bottom

Cherry MX Clear switches have often been called "stiffer browns" though some users note that they have more of a tactile feel than browns do. This really can be a subjective topic, though this is another switch that could be considered "ballanced." The force required is comparable to most rubber dome keyboards, with a nice tactile feedback to tell you the key has actuated. These switches are harder to find on keyboards. 

As a note: this switch actually has a peak force of 65g, it is 55g at the point of actuation. This is due to the design of the Cherry switch itself. 

Cherry MX Red Switches

Type: Linear Switch
Link: Datasheet
Tactile: No
Clicky: No
Actuation Force: 45g (Force Diagram)
Key Travel: 2mm to actuation, 4mm to bottom

Cherry MX-Red's are another switch that can be considered a "gaming" switch. It's essentially a lighter version of the MX Black, requiring less force to actuate. Some people do not find this switch that good for typing or gaming because it is so light, but others rave for this fact. Light or Stiff is always a matter of preference. This switch was hard to find; and was reported as EOL, but it is still in limited production with a higher than average MOQ leading to higher cost to board makers. Marketed with high demand, boards with this switch are becoming more common, but are generally more expensive as well. 

Buckling Spring Keyswitches:

Type: Tactile & Clicky Mechanical Switch
Link: Patent
Tactile: Yes, very precise
Clicky: Yes, loud
Actuation Force: 65g-70g (Force Diagram)
Key Travel: 2.3mm to actuation, 3.7mm to bottom

Buckling springs are pretty straightforward once you see them in action. After pushing the key down a certain distance the spring buckles under pressure, causing the hammer at the bottom to hit a membrane sheet and create an electrical contact. The buckling of the spring also provides tactile feedback and a satisfying click as it hits the shaft wall. And you might also notice through the force diagrams that this is the only mechanical switch where the tactile and audible feedback correspond to the exact moment the switch actuates.

Black Alps

Type: Tactile Mechanical Switch
Tactile: Yes
Clicky: No
Actuation Force: Simplified 60g, Complicated 70g (Force Diagram)
Key Travel: 3.5mm

Black Alps are one of the two most common Alps switch types. Many people do not like these switches due to the fact that they are stiff, bottom out hard, and tend to develop friction in the travel as they wear. Nonetheless, they are an improvement over most rubber dome keyboards.

There are two different types of Black Alps switch - an older type known as the "Complicated" due to the large number of parts in the switch, and a newer type known as the "Simplified", which was manufactured by Alps and some other companies. Complicated switches are common in many older keyboards, particularly the Dell AT101W, which is a very common mechanical keyboard from the 1990s.

The most well known Simplified Black switch is made by a company called Fukka, and was used in the ABS M1. The Fukka switch has less resistance, but many claim that it provides less solid tactility than the complicated switch.

White Alps

Type: Clicky & Tactile Mechanical Switche
Tactile: Yes
Clicky: Yes
Actuation Force: 60g-70g (Force Diagram)
Key Travel: 3.5mm

White Alps are one of the most common Alps switch types. These are far more popular than the Black switches due to more pronounced tactility, and the lower force requirements of some versions. Like the Black Alps, White Alps are much easier to bottom out on compared with other mechanical keyswitch designs.

As with the Black switch. there are Complicated and Simplified White switches. The two most popular Simplified White switches are the Fukka and the XM. The XM is almost universally considered to be a terrible switch, it was used on some older Filco Zero models, and some vintage keyboards. The Fukka switch is quite popular, and some people prefer them over the Complicated switch. It is used on some current production Alps keyboards such as current production Filco Zeros, Matias keyboards and some others. Complicated White switches were used on some well made keyboards from the 90s such as the Northgate and Focus keyboards.

There are also a variety of White Alps-like switches of varying quality. Some, like the SMK Monterey, are considered very pleasant to type on.

Topre Key Switches:
(larger image)
 Tactile Capacitive Switch
Tactile: Yes
Clicky: No
Actuation Force: 30g, 35g, 45g, 55g depending on model (Force Diagram)
Key Travel: 4mm

Topre switches are somewhat of a hybrid switch, and are capacitive by nature. The Topre mechanism uses a spring underneath a rubber dome, and the depression of the spring causes a change in capacitance between the underlying capacitor pads. With this change in capacitance; the switch activates. 

Topre Switches are considered some of the finest switches available, as they offer a very enjoyable typing experience with a quieter experience compared to a Cherry MX, Alps, or Buckling Spring switch. The reason is Topre switches have the smoothest force gradient even compared to Linear switches like MX-Reds and MX-Blacks. 

Edited by Manyak - 12/18/10 at 9:37am

Here is guy qrq typing about 130wpm on a mechanical keyboard !  

If you are interested in listening to the "live" sound of different brands of mechanical keyboards...

check out this link:


This pro reviewer really liked this keyboard too:



Today we have a review of Rosewill’s new RK-9000 mechanical keyboard. This also represents the first review of a mechanical keyboard on Guru3d.com, so hold on tight! You may be wondering what's in a keyboard that needs a review? Well, there's a surprising amount of detail to cover, much more than I thought when I started this review a few weeks ago. Let's get to it!

The previous model RK-9000 was an enthusiast favorite for being a less expensive mechanical keyboard, but still had the same high quality parts as other high end keyboards. The RK-9000 was even made in the same factory as the Filco, and the family resemblance is striking, but was discontinued in 2010 for mysterious reasons. Now we know why, they were working on new ones!

The new RK-9000 is based on the same clicky Cherry MX Blue switch as the previous model, but Rosewill changed the design to include detachable USB and PS/2 cables. It appears the same otherwise, the keycaps are the same, the pretty red plate under the keys is still there, and it still supports NKRO. Other than that, the RK-9000 hasn’t changed much. It's still one of the best mechanical keyboards you can buy. Rosewill also expanded the RK-9000 line from the standard clicky switch, to four different models, including MX Black, MX Brown, and MX Red switches to suit your taste.

There are other ‘value’ mechanical keyboard brands out there, Leopold from Korea specifically, but the RK-9000 has much wider recognition in North America in being Newegg’s in-house brand.

But, let’s deal with the elephant in the room, why would you want to spend $100 on a keyboard? Is it really worth it? Yes, I think so. Mechanical keyboards really are in a class all their own. Are mechanical keyboards really that good? Yes, they are. As I discovered, once you have used a mechanical keyboard, there is no going back to a regular keyboard. The differences are just too great, typing is better and gaming is better. It's just no comparison.

Now that's over with, I am pleased to present the new RK-9000!

Another good review just came out about this keyboard: get the write up -  HERE

here is the video that was included in the write up...

Update on RK-9000:  I have been using this set of keys for several months now and am still very pleased.  A few weeks ago I switched back for the day to one of my older Cherry boards that had been my #1 choice.  I wanted to see what my reaction was to the change.  I went back to the Rosewill again the next day.  So the Rosewill is #1 now.

They do not seem to be available through Amazon these days, but Newegg still has them, at the same price ($99) with free shipping:  http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16823201040

I ordered a RK-9000RE from Amazon today $95.99 shipping $6.59. I was at NewEgg to order it and my e mail was associated with an account and I had no idea what the password was. When I went to reset the password it was redirected to Amazon who had this keyboard. Hope I like it as much as Chuck does.


I hope so too, although the RE model is not quite the same.  The key description of the "feel" for the RK-9000 (not the RE) states:

"Cherry MX Blue Switch with click tactile feeling"

and the description for the RK-9000RE states:

"Cherry MX Red Switch with linear feeling and light force"

so it will be interesting to see what you think.  My guess is that all four models will be much better than the cheap guys.  Let us know what you think of it after you get it in use.

This is great stuff Chuck...I think Andrew originally told me about these on the telephone a while ago, and I definitely plan on trying one at some future point, though my old AT board really serves the purpose of providing audible and tactile feedback while sending QRQcw.  I have found that my accuracy goes way down when using modern boards with a soggy feel and no sound, and I will never go back.  Actually I started out using the old AT boards in 2004 on the recommendation of W3NJZ and W5UX and others, but went through a short period this year of having to use a modern board.  The new board was horrible.  It's nice to know that once my old AT clicky board fails, I can replace it with a modern equivalent.


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