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

Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by NE1U, Aug 2, 2018.

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  1. W9RAC

    W9RAC Subscriber QRZ Page

    With your skill level a bug will not be a problem. I am a less skilled OP, I did go thru the bug stage. I had a Vibroplex Original with the vari speed kit added, which you do not need. I was running mine at around 18 wpm. As a receiving OP I have had the most unfortunate task of attempting to decode QSO's buy those sending bug OP's who had far less than the skill level needed to properly use it.... without the speed kit. The "swing" created by 30 wpm dit's and 15 wpm dahs is extremely frustrating on the receiving end. I have gotten to the point of not answering CQ's sent in this manner, and may elect not to answer a call who is responding to mine, its just no fun. So........ for the bug OP's lurking out there reading this, who are in the "swing", no it does not sound good nor is it a display of skill. Just sayin 73 Rich
  2. NE1U

    NE1U Ham Member QRZ Page

    I don't have skills, yet. I found a used Begali CW Machine. It can decode my practice sending within a fairly narrow speed range. So there will be no 30 wpm dits & 15 wpm dahs. This might sound frustrating to some, but I am finding it a good experience. Maybe it is because I was "there" a long time ago and know that it is possible although my goal is to get to a much higher speed that I ever did. I am an electrical engineer and enjoy something that I can get into without the usual assortment of little boxes & gadgets. On the air I won't need the CW Machine.
  3. WB5YUZ

    WB5YUZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I should have added in my post on Earhart and the Itasca that Itasca's call sign was NRUI (Earhart's was KHAQQ). I regret the omission.

    Chief Radio Officer was Chief Leo Bellarts; the other ops were Radioman 3rd Class William Galten, Radioman 3rd Class Walter Thompson, and Radioman 2nd Class Frank Cipriani. Radioman Cipriani was detailed to use a semi-experimental HF DF setup on Howland Island; the HF DF setup had problems with inadequate gain and excessive battery consumption, and as a result Bellarts, Galten, and Thompson were the men listening to Earhart's broadcasts (Earhart disdained two-way communication, for some reason) and sending messages to Earhart in CW and 'phone.
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2019
  4. W9RAC

    W9RAC Subscriber QRZ Page

    I like the sound of a bug with a OP who can use it. I think lots of OP's want to run it slower, like I did but did not want to invest in the additional vari speed kit. The kit allows a lesser OP like me to send decent CW with a bug, CW that sounds correct but at a slower level. Giving the lesser skilled OP the chance to use a bug with some dignity. With your 30 WPM skill level you will have a great time. I finally figured out I am not really ready to use it properly.... so maybe someday. I'm still working on a solid 20 wpm head copy so that is my goal at this time. Even at 20 wpm the bug is to fast without weights. Not sure but maybe 25ish and beyond is where a guy could let it rip....Ill likely have to just enjoy others sending at those speeds and maybe pick out a letter here and there. 73 Rich
  5. KR4TH

    KR4TH Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have used straight keys, electronic keyers and bugs. I enjoy bugs the most. I have a Vibroplex Original Deluxe and a Presentation, both from 1967. Neither bug is goes much below 25 wpm. When I added more weight to slow down the speed, the swing from dit to dah was not smooth and the speed range was limited. I purchased the vari-speed and it was a worth while investment. Both bugs slow down to 15 wpm. It takes a little time to find the best place to set the weight and vari-speed. I use a single small 0.4 oz from the Presentation at the end of the vari-speed arm. The overall speed range will depend on where I place the vari-speed on the pendulum.

    I like them both but prefer the Presentation. The speed can be changed quickly, which is not to often only prior to calling someone who is operating at slower or faster speed. Once I found the sweet spot for the adjustments, the cw flows and is a pleasure to use.
    VE7PJR likes this.
  6. WB5YUZ

    WB5YUZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I believe that is correct.

    My understanding is that most Standard, Deluxe, and Presentation models shipped with two pendulum weights. With the two weights on the extreme end of the pendulum, most bugs do right at 25 WPM.

    When I could still send at 20 WPM with a straight key, that wasn't so bad. But now I find I can't send cleanly much faster than about 15 WPM with the straight key.

    So I finally ordered the Vari-speed yesterday. I've had the bug almost 30 years, now, and have never been able to use it at speeds lower than 25 WPM. I've tried all sorts of extra weights - clothespins (which came highly recommended by older ops but were not stable enough), washers, alligator clips - but nothing I came up with ever felt right except for one alligator clip that was rather more carefully made than most are (it came with a set of probes), and I promptly lost that.
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2019
  7. KA2CZU

    KA2CZU XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    This always confuses me, as I was sure I was using a vibroplex bug way back mid-70s, when I was a cw only novice. It was my brothers, and I am also sure I was not up to 20 wpm, probably hanging around 15-17 max. As such, I don't remember having folks complain about a swing or poor sending. I was young and perhaps my brother had modded it with heavier weights, I just know it didn't have those variweight options (with the arm sticking out etc).

    Anyhow, one of these days hope to get my speed back up to "bug speed" love this thread :)
  8. W8REA

    W8REA Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've been reading this thread with interest. So much talk about slowing down Vibroflex bugs. What do you guys think about the VizKey bug?
    I'm just a beginner, comfortable at about 10 wpm with a straight key. However, at some time in the future, I know I'll want to use a bug. With that in mind I bought a VizKey horizontal bug and have been practicing daily with it. Using the PCW-Fistcheck software, it looks like my VizKey sends well formed dits at about 13 wpm, using the furnished weights, at it's slowest setting. I wonder why they are not more popular.
  9. KA0HCP

    KA0HCP XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Gee, nobody has mentioned the VizKey offerings in ages. I wasn't aware there were so many models, nor that manufacturing had changed hands. Nice.

    90 degree bug.
    WB5YUZ likes this.
  10. WB5YUZ

    WB5YUZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'd never seen one of those before!

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