A Scotia?

Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by NA7OM, Aug 31, 2015.

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  1. NA7OM

    NA7OM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Well, again I broke my promise to the XYL of bringing home no new (old) anything from a swapmeet! I admit it, I'm shameless and a true ham hoarder! I wonder if there's a 12 step system I can sign up for. Anyway, as I cruised the tables, I found a Brass Racer looking rather neglected, hidden amongst the detrius of some other ham's treasures that the XYL ordered gone.
    The price was right, about scrap price for the brass only so I picked it up. After cleaning it up and some fine tuning I was annoying the XYL at 20 wpm....such fun!
    What has me flumoxed is that it's missing any label, engraving or plate on the bottom or anything. The wood for the base is quite unlike the 1996 Brass Racer my buddy has and he swears what this is.... it's a Scotia by HamCo. Now he's got me scratching my head. Anyone know how to pin it down one way or another?
    The pic is off the net for reference only to identify similarity, what mine has is set screws thru the top to hold the magnets.

  2. N7ZAL

    N7ZAL Ham Member QRZ Page

    Nice looking paddle and I wasn't familiar with the key and had to look it up on the net. :)
  3. NA7OM

    NA7OM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hmmm, I found a few references on the net. Might of been off base to begin with. This pic is a spitting image of what I have plugged into the rig. Thanks to N0UF for his pictures of his key collection.
    [​IMG]A HamCo Carson! Production Run 1978 - 1982. Well, I'll be hornswaggled! Pretty little thing isn't? Quite the crisp action and fist improver, maybe no more multi dits and repeat AGN.....AGN from the other side of the circuit! HI HI.
  4. W9GB

    W9GB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Last edited: Aug 31, 2015
  5. NA7OM

    NA7OM Ham Member QRZ Page

    The vertical brass block was what I noticed was quite different from the Vibroplex Brass Racer and the cutie I have in front of me. ( read first post) This does have the set screws.
    What I have found further is this explaination of the difference between the two.

    "Hamco produced the key for a handful of years as the Scotia, Carson and Trinidad, with a base of wood and brass that was either finished with an engine-turned finish (Trinidad), polished (Carson) or satin (Scotia). Scotia made a significant upgrade to the original design by moving from springs to magnetic tensioning. Vibroplex bought Hamco and the paddle was rechristened “Brass Racer.” The Brass Racer and the Hamco Scotia model are nearly identical, save for one feature: All the Hamco-produced keys have holes in the top of the pivot frame for hex-key set screws that secure the tensioning magnets in place. Vibroplex eliminated the set screws, and the tensioning magnets are essentially press fit in place. While this sounds like a rinky-dink way to do it compared to having set screws, it has worked well for Vibroplex for the years the key has been in production."
    Question: Did Vibroplex make any early production models with the set screws thru the vertical block pivot frame? Anyone have one with the Vibroplex label and set screws?
  6. W9GB

    W9GB Ham Member QRZ Page

    The early Vibroplex Brass Racers had that darker wooden finish (like a Mahogany, but lighter than Walnut).
    It has only been recently, that the lighter maple/yellow pine colored finish
    was used on Vibroplex bases (at least since 2009, Mitch W4OA could pinpoint change).

    Scott Robins, W4PA (formerly Ten-Tec) became tbe 9th owner of Vibroplex on December 21, 2009.
    Shelly "Mitch" Mitchell, W4OA owned Vibroplex from 1994-2009.
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2015
  7. K7MH

    K7MH Ham Member QRZ Page

    The Hamco Carson EK-1 has the more polished brass base plate and has the keyer electronics mounted underneath the base plate with a small pot thumb wheel on the right side for the speed control. The Scotia much like the brass Racer has a more rough grainy finish.
    Hamco only had a rather basic sticker on the bottom for ID and a serial number. The Brass Racer has a nicer Vibroplex sticker and serial number. Either can be missing. Hamco seemed to have a "thing" about putting the sticker over the screw hole so they would get messed up if it was ever taken apart.
    Many early Hamco versions had white finger pieces. I have seen some Hamcos with a set screw adjustment in the top of the point post, not many however. Perhaps they were in a Trinidad model, I don't remember.

    The Vibroplex Brass Racers I have had used a very small steel ball that is under spring tension that comes up from underneath the magnet to hold the magnet in place...sort of. VERY EASY to LOSE unless you know it is there when you take one apart so beware!

    The correct size roll pins for the finger pieces were hard to find at a reasonable cost unless you wanted to order a ZILLION of them at once. I found them on Ebay and got 100 of them for just a couple of bucks. They were $1.50 each from Vibroplex at the time.

    Here's a custom Scotia I found a picture of.
    engraved scotia.jpg

    Here is my Hamco Carson EK-1 after converting it to more of a Scotia, refinishing it and making some new finger pieces.

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