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so I want to buy a bug .. never thought I would say that!

Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by AE8W, Aug 2, 2018.

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  1. AE8W

    AE8W Ham Member QRZ Page

    I am ripvanham. I have used this as my moniker although I probably shouldn't as I have read many a post of those who are the same. I think it is a meme! (One of my newer fav words.) My career is as a tech geek and so my interests. Check my zed page. Or so I thought. Long story short, I'm thinkin' retro to gettin' a bug.

    Little background, I am a sentimental dufus. The guy that taught me code long ago used a bug up to 40 wpm, probably more. How did they know? He was blind & I now wonder about braille punches per minute as he took notes.

    Then, as a snot nosed kid, he did not impress me as I had known him for quite a long while. Copying code in his head AND telling me what was said in real time, I thought normal! Sadly he is sk. Because I think of him often and I like to do things that are not popular ... I want a bug. But, I personally would rather not go thru a buy/sell cycle. That could be called lazy, but I think at this late date of mechanical tech there ought to be a lot of still living experienced hams out there. Can I read about your experiences & thoughts? My speed is ~30wpm with a paddle and planning for more.

    Bug users, what brand & model do you like?
    What features do you not like?
    Do you think you are proficient with this thing that sounds like a coke can with rocks in it?
    What is a very high speed for a bug?
    N4FZ likes this.
  2. K6GB

    K6GB XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I have three bugs, a Vibroplex standard, a Vibroplex Champion and an old Hi-Mound coffin. pretty all can go as fast as you could possibly want, the problem comes when you want to slow down. I like the Champion best. I'm really not that good but a friend who is uses a Champion he bought new when he was a navy op.
    N4FZ likes this.
  3. WB5YUZ

    WB5YUZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    If you decide on a Vibroplex, get a vari-speed attachment. Lots of QSOs take place at about 20 WPM these days, and a typical Viborplex with two weights can only slow down to about 25 WPM or so.
    N4FZ and KQ0J like this.
  4. AE8W

    AE8W Ham Member QRZ Page

    @YUZ I have heard about the vari-speed attachment.

    How quickly can you change the speed of a bug and do it right? A keyer is just the twist of a knob or something similar. I have never used a bug, yet another reason for the interest.
  5. KB5ZCR

    KB5ZCR Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have and use a Vizkey verticle bug, it will go slow (10 wpm). I don't know how fast it will go but guess 35 or more.
    It is all brass and is a beautiful key. They also make a right angle bug that won't go quite as slow and may go faster (I don't know).
    Check them out on Google and youtube. I'm very impressed with mine. They run abt $250 new.
    I don't want to talk bad abt vibroplex, but Vizkey seems like a more refined product to me.
    K4YNZ likes this.
  6. K7KBN

    K7KBN Ham Member QRZ Page

    Loosen the thumbscrew on the pendulum weight. Slide the pendulum to where you want it. Retighten the thumbscrew. Time, maybe five seconds.
    What it takes is practice. Knowing how much YOUR bug will change per quarter-inch (or other distance) of moving. Lots of practice, over many months or longer.
  7. AE8W

    AE8W Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks for the feedback. I have read other's preferences for different brands but didn't think I waould be interested then. Vibroplex is about the only brand seen on ebay and there are some nice ones there. I had forgotten about VizKey.

    I have a GHD straight key and think it is my final straight key. I will use it for anything below 25 wpm.

    Anyone have a GHD bug?

    Money is not burning my pocket so any purchase is out a ways. I also plan to listen to what youtube geniuses:rolleyes: have to say.
  8. WB5YUZ

    WB5YUZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    When using the vari-speed, the device is put on the pendulum, and the weights are put on the device. You loosen a thumbscrew and pivot the shaft that holds the weights.

    When the shaft holding the weights is pivoted toward the trunnion, the bug sends faster than it would if the weights were on the same spot on the pendulum the device is occupying. When the shaft is pivoted away from the trunnion, it sends slower.

    It's not as quick as turning a knob, but it only takes a few seconds.

    You can also get a standard Vibroplex to send slower than 25 WPM by adding any kind of weight to the shaft. I used to have an alligator clip that worked perfectly to slow the speed of my bug down to about 18 WPM, but I have lost it. All the other alligator clips I have tried do not work as well; they are too heavy, or not heavy enough, or too large, or don't grip the end of the pendulum well enough, etc., etc., ad nauseum.
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2018
  9. HB9FXW

    HB9FXW Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've built my own "varispeed" with a broken telescopic antenna. It's a snug fit and changing its length takes less than 2 seconds. I'm happy with my old Vibroplex, but I'd be interested in trying the Begali Intrepid, as their keys are often cited as the best (no straight key comes close to my Begali Spark, so I'm confident their bug should be great too)
    K1LKP and K2CAJ like this.
  10. AE8W

    AE8W Ham Member QRZ Page

    Does anyone know anything about dual lever bugs?

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