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New to CW - Go for Vibroplex/Vizkey?

Discussion in 'Working Different Modes' started by K5AKG, Jan 6, 2011.

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  1. KB2FCV

    KB2FCV Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've tried and never could get used to that technique either. My first set of paddles (homebrew!) were essentially iambic (built out of circuit board, rubber cemented onto sheetrock) type. Most of my paddles are iambic but I don't send iambically. I use them essentially as a single lever.
  2. K7NRT

    K7NRT Guest

    check out website LCWO.COM as a CW fan, you might find it interesting...
  3. KT4AE

    KT4AE Guest

    I bought a Vibroplex bug as a motivator

    I've never really forgot the CW I had to learn to get my extra and about once a year I'll get the "bug" to polish up the CW and get on the air with it.

    The problem is that my first love is audio and I can't quite get up enough interest to stay with CW. I bought the Vibroplex as a motivator because as the OP said, I like things historical and things mechanical. As a motivational tool, it didn't work. I can't face selling it, though.

    I'll say this though, when I hooked up a Bencher iambic paddle to an MFJ keyer I said, "Ahhhh" like what my wife would say when we went car shopping and ended up at the Olds dealer (R.I.P.). I knew instantly that if I ever got serious about CW it would be with a paddle. I can see the attraction of the "squeeze".

    Later, I got a couple of Halli TO keyers (twofer price). I feel like a single paddle would work better with a TO. It wasn't designed for the iambic and seems like I had problems with overlap and such but it's been a while.

    I still can't get up enough interest in CW to do the work. I'd rather play with microphones and associated gadgets.

    Harry, KT4AE
    Maryville, Tennessee
  4. W2BLC

    W2BLC Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'll try to answer the original question as simply as possible. A Vibroplex bug is a part of history. You can buy a new one, a collector one, or a used one with real history behind it. In a way, a Vibroplex bug is a working piece of history. It will also sound like a thrashing machine while being used and, if you are heavy handed, you will chase it all over the desk.

    A VizBug has a lightly smaller footprint than the Vibroplex and stays glued in place due to its wide footprint. It is, to me, easier to adjust and keep sounding good (no scratchie scratchie dits). Due to its right angle design, it uses less desk real estate. It is a light key to use, not requiring a heavy hand. The slight noise it does make when in use is like comparing a thrashing machine to a sewing machine. All you hear is a slight tickity tickity tick.

    There is nothing bad I can say about the ViBug and the builder support you will get cannot be beaten. You can also buy paddles in the same format as the VizBug.

    Want to learn more about radiotelegraphy? Go to
  5. N5PTV

    N5PTV Ham Member QRZ Page

    The good thing about a bug vs a keyer is that you can make it hard for a computer to copy, while a seasoned cw op has no issue with the bug generated cw. Keeps the cheater with decoders out of the mix. Go with the bug! They look great, are a pleasure to use, and you will have a conversation piece at your operating position.
  6. W5BIB

    W5BIB Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    For some real fun/challenge, get hold of a "Bunnell Sideswiper":eek: Not the quickest thing in the world, but certainly different !! To become more proficient with a straight key, copy your own sending on a reader/decoder!..At WLO I would sometimes use my left hand on a "keyboard" and my right hand on a "straight key". Finally got to where ya couldn't tell the difference. (Had to break the monotony of an 8 hour watch!);)
  7. WA4OTD

    WA4OTD Ham Member QRZ Page

    Opinion: Sending good CW with an electronic keyer is hard enough.
  8. DL7GEM

    DL7GEM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Considering that you are just learning CW using a bug as your first key might not be a good idea.
    Although they can be "tamed" to 15wpm (use a Varispeed or Extend-A-Dot) bugs are built for speeds of >20wpm.
    Using a bug is great fun if you have mastered the speed but you might be in for some frustration if the bug keeps running away from you.

    Although not semi-automatic, a cootie key (a.k.a. sideswiper) might be an option for you. You can start out real slow and gradually build up your speed to >20wpm with a cootie.

    I am using both mechanical and electronic keys. The paddle is for contest use only when speed exceeds 28wpm. My favourite keys are the cootie and the bug. I am using the bug when I am looking for QRQ contacts, the cootie works best for me at speeds from zero up to around 24wpm, and the straight key feels most comfortable between 16 and 20wpm.

    73 de Marcus / DL7GEM
  9. W5BIB

    W5BIB Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Yea the "cootie" "sideswiper"is a challenge up to about 20-22 wpm. "Course ya can always slow the "bug" down with a couple of "clothes pins" hi hi lol
  10. WA8JXM

    WA8JXM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Although I have many years with a historical Vibroplex, I know that I am kinder to my contacts if I use the electronic keyer....or even a keyboard ;-) My Vibroplex has a March 1942 U.S. Army plate on it. I wish I was good enough to turn out great cw with it but I'm not :(

    I agree, see if a computer can read your fist. You will find others much more willing to chat with you if you send top quality code.

    Practice only sometimes makes perfect. Practicing slop just makes well practiced slop.

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