Straight Key Night is a 24-hour event during which hams all over North America get on the air using straight keys (i.e., manual telegraph keys). Straight Key Night begins at 0001 on January 1st each year, and goes to 2359Z. Depending on what time zone you are in, Straight Key Night begins in the afternoon or evening of New Year’s Eve for most of us.
Straight Key Night is sponsored by the ARRL. Participants are encouraged to send in logs and comments on their activity, and their nomination for the “best fist” they heard or worked. The ARRL’s announcement for SKN is printed in “QST” or can be read on their web site.
SKN is not a contest as such, and participants are encouraged to slow down, chat a bit, and enjoy the ambiance which is reminiscent of the radio spectrum in the earliest days of radio telegraphy. You are forging a metaphysical bond with generations of manual telegraphers going back to the 1840s.