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Entering the "Bug world"

Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by W4WVW, Jun 25, 2020.

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  1. PU2OZT

    PU2OZT Ham Member QRZ Page

    I got one of these jewels a month ago or so. I practice on-air, because I am yet to buy a second switch to put one back to my dummy load and just because in the 30m band no one hears me. Would be great, to have regular QSO with a buddy, propagation allowing, due to my very narrow directional antenna, between buildings.

    Most importantly, I am glad my sending will never ever sound the same as a keyer's, which I have not, OOK-Ersatz electronic commanded sending.
    The KN4YB doesn't need much to be out of rythm, part of the fun, to get it right in a second, but you'd like to have a straight key at hand.
    Just like a violin that de-tunes with a slight hygrometric variation, adjusting pegs should take 5 or 10s. Or just like a tubes amplifier or transceiver. Just like anything, actually, otherwise, I'd buy frozen food, heat it in a microwave oven.
    W5BIB likes this.
  2. WB5YUZ

    WB5YUZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Many articles about "how to set up your bug" state that the dit weight should be set so that the pendulum makes as many dits as possible before decaying to closed.

    Whenever I try that, I get scratchy dits.

    However, if I set the weight to make a string of only ten or twelve dits before decaying to closed, I have no trouble with scratchy dits whatsoever!

    Of course, this is a with a Vibroplex (DeLuxe), and OPs bug may have different characteristics.
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2020
    W9RAC and W5BIB like this.
  3. K1LKP

    K1LKP Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    write THANK TOU.gif
    animated-laughing-image- mouse.gif


    73 - K1LKP
    W5ESE likes this.
  4. W9EBE

    W9EBE Subscriber QRZ Page

    Same here with 12 dits. I do use a W0EB Dot Stabilizer on my Vibroplex Blue Racer 2000 that helps with "scratchy dits" and also eliminating slightly varying dit weighting.

    Plus, I figure I need a maximum of only 8 dits anyway, when I make an error and need to "erase" said error. ;)
    WB5YUZ likes this.
  5. KW0FRE

    KW0FRE Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I have been wanting to enter the bug world, too. I purchased a used Vibroplex bug and am waiting for it. I don't know much about them. On the knob side of the paddle down on the base there is a lever with a knob. What is that for?
    PU2OZT likes this.
  6. KL7AJ

    KL7AJ XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    That IS an old bug. On landlines, the switch was for closing one end of the "loop" while the other end transmitted. Telegraph keys and sounders were in series.
  7. WA1GXC

    WA1GXC Ham Member QRZ Page


    I suspect if you're getting scratchy dots with the string decaying after ten or twelve cycles, you've got oxidized or dirty contacts

    which is not rare , especially after non-use . A string of 12, objectively, is just not right.

    I'd recommend cleaning both the fixed and hairspring contacts by getting clean, heavy card-stock (such as un-coated QSL card

    or business card), wetting it with contact cleaner or alcohol if none available, and closing and squeezing the contacts gently with your

    fingers as you pull the paper through. You will no doubt see a grayish streak on the paper which is oxidation.

    Some operators do prefer dots that are slightly "heavy", which is OK--the key word is 'slightly'.

    If you put an analog ohmmeter across the bug terminals on the next-to-lowest range, you should see the meter needle bouncing just about

    vertical-mid-scale indicating 50% time ON, 50% time OFF which is perfect timing during an extended string of dots.

    My personal inviolable criterion for a properly adjusted bug of any age, cost, or configuration is a string of 25 dots minimum at correct timing

    noted above. If I get any fewer, the bug is not in proper adjustment. A well-adjusted bug typically yields 40 in a row before decaying to too-heavy.

    You cannot properly compensate for an electrical issue by changing the dynamics of the pendulum.

    K1LKP likes this.
  8. W9RAC

    W9RAC Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Have fun Mike. I'm back on my bug after 3 years off with N3ZN SN paddle. I will say moving to the paddle did help immensely improving my copy speed but is not nearly as much fun as a bug. This time I'm working both so I do not have to relearn something again. I'm on my 3rd day or so back, not doing so bad. Enjoy, 73 Rich
    W4WVW likes this.
  9. W5BIB

    W5BIB Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    The "Shorting Lever" was also used to close the key while tuning-up for on-the-air use.
    WB5YUZ, WA9FZB, PU2OZT and 1 other person like this.
  10. W9RAC

    W9RAC Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    You are on the right track. I have never been in a QSO that required an infinite amount of dits at once. I have mine set for around 10 very consistent dits. Works perfect, the only flaw is me. 73 Rich
    W9EBE likes this.

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