I have a Vibroplex bug I bought at a swapfest sometime around 1980. I never had any intention of using it on the air. I bought it because it's a beautiful, iconic piece of radio history and tradition. It looks great displayed in my little shack. I've practiced with it a few times and it works fine, but it's really really difficult to "play" well. For operating on the air, I'll stick to a straight key or my Bencher paddle. Hams everywhere are grateful for that, whether they know it or not. 73
"Does history record any case in which the majority was right?" (Robert A. Heinlein)
I love my bug, but that's me. I can say I've heard as bad CW from keyers as I've heard from bad bug ops, but not as often. Not mentioned for a sending practice aid is the phone book. With all the numbers, it will help your keyer or bug sending speed quickly.
Skip adjustments, cleaning, and the clacking of high-speed metal, and go for a CW Touchkeyer. I've owned at least a dozen different styles of keys since the 80s, and I'll never go back after using one of these. http://www.cwtouchkeyer.com/
(I have no affiliation with the maker, or any other benefit than sharing my experience.)
As you are fond of historical and mechanical things I'd go for a straight key! Good old fashioned up and down keying. Is easier that way to learn CW anyhow. I have been a radio officer from 1965 - 1974 (the pre-paddle period) and am a HAM now and still love my good old KENT straight key. Keeps the pulse flexible and the mind alert!
Bert Trumpie PD3TRU
The Hague, Netherlands
Originally Posted by K5AKG
Hi all...I wondered how these type of keys worked then by accident I came across this Virtual key..
Last edited by VK2FAK; 06-20-2011 at 02:01 AM.
Reason: fixing link
VK2FAK beat me to it, great demo. AE4RV & I have a mutual acquaintance who'd sent me that, since I was looking for an additional toy to have around. Looking at the history of why Vibroplex came into being I've decided I must have a paddle in the near future. As has been said, not necessarily to send faster, but easier, which is what prompted the design in the first place. (A bug will be another matter if ever, but have fallen in love with with a Vibrokeyer standard.) Other than that, have only tried a few straight keys but enough to know that I much prefer the leaf springs in my J-37's to coil springs.
Get on the air & keep pounding brass as WA2WMR tells me.
If you like mechanical things, you'll love a bug. I have a '71 Vibroplex. It is way fun to use, and I kind of like the "swing". Gives my sending a bit of personality. Granted, I had to practice for a while using my rig's sidetone before I dared to go on the air with it. Took me a couple of days until I could send intelligible code, but the challenge is part of the fun.
You can usually find used bugs on ebay for reasonable prices.
Good luck, and have fun!
Everything that's been said, plus these thoughts. Above all else, you want to communicate. Uncooperative propagation, QRM, and a high noise level at the QTH of the guy struggling to copy you (as examples) makes hamming tough if you send erratic, jerky, or what some folks think is "cute" swing-style with their bug. Precise timing of CW helps the human brain decode. Great spacing makes a big difference when QSB is fast or QRN crashes are dreadfully strong. I've worked DX stations with ESP sig strength many, many times, and the QSOs were completed because of a good fist (and good ears) at the other end. Adding anomalies in the forms of irregular, personalized, CW characteristics works against you and against the other guy/gal. Furthermore, sloppy CW adds fatigue to my operating experience. However, with several more years than 59, I still copy clean, well spaced, properly weighted CW for hours on end with pure enjoyment.
Welcome to the world of CW, whichever way you go.
Yes tou are nuts, just like me.
I do have a Vibroplex 100th anniversary model.
And I love it.
But to be honest with you a paddle with electronic keyer is much easier to learn and to use.
But it sure is a work of art to have mechanical bug on the bench in your shack.
I often visit other ham friends and I cannot get used to a shack without morse keys.
In my shack there are 2 paddles ready for use 2 keys both military and the vibroplex.
So thinking practicly a paddle gives a much smoother hand, but a bug is more beautiful and gives that special bug writing.
I use them both on and off because both the pddles and Vibroplex are connected parallel to my rig.
The straight keys are just there for the feeling, I very rarely use them.