Vacuum tube based keyers

Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by AA4OO, Apr 5, 2018.

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  1. AA4OO

    AA4OO XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I finally picked up a Hallicrafters HA-1 and have it on the desk. It requires LOTS of practice to use since it does not buffer. Most significantly I find that I tend to hit and release the DIT following a DAH in characters like K, N, etc. and it misses the DIT. You basically have really clean up your sending to make it work. I think it will make me a better Bug operator after I master it because it causes you to perfect your inter-character element timing.

    [​IMG]

    I've used it in a number of QSOs over the past few days and find myself switching to my bug mid contact to alleviate my frustration (both mine and the other Op trying to copy me)... but I'll get there... It's a CHALLENGE
     
    W9RAC likes this.
  2. W9RAC

    W9RAC Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Interesting.
     
  3. K3XR

    K3XR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Initially (around 1961/62) I made the switch from a bug to the TO keyer and the Vibroplex Vibrokeyer. The transition was very smooth. To this day I do not use an iambic motion when using a keyer or key and mostly use the Vibrokeyer.
    [​IMG]
     
  4. KP4SX

    KP4SX Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    There's a lot to be said for refurbing it like any other 60-year old rig. The pink caps should go away and a complete check of all the resistors should be done. Many are 5% types and in pairs that must match closely in the circuit. Those 4 -digit tubes can also be critical and don't like being replaced by their 12*** equivalent.
    The keyer is very smooth and stable when operating correctly.
     
  5. AA4OO

    AA4OO XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Yes, I posted that initially almost 2 years ago... I waited patiently until I found one.

    I'm also using a a 1960 Vibrokeyer with the HA-1, but habits from using dual paddles with keyers that buffer are hard to break.

    [​IMG]

    Some of the 12AU7's in the keyer appear to be original, labeled Hallicrafters... I wonder who manufactured Hallicrafter's tubes?

    Both the key and keyer pre-date my entrance to this world and will likely still be useful after I shuffle off this mortal coil.
     
    N2EY likes this.
  6. AA4OO

    AA4OO XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Yes, the electrolytics and most of the polys are replaced. The resistors were amazingly good. I had to find a replacement for the neon bulb used in the sidetone circuit since the original was rattling around inside when I got it. I had a socketed neon bulb in my junk box that I wired leads to use as its replacement.

    The keyer is very smooth and stable when I'm operating correctly.
     
    N2EY likes this.
  7. KP4SX

    KP4SX Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I use a dual paddle but don't send iambic.
     
    K3XR likes this.
  8. AA4OO

    AA4OO XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I used iambic mode A when I'm using dual paddles (with modern keyers). I never gelled with mode B.

    I keep 4 keys on the desk (Junker straight key, NZ3n paddles, Vibrokeyer and a Bug). I switch between them during a ragchew to exercise my brain.
     
    N2EY likes this.
  9. W9RAC

    W9RAC Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I used a Vibroplex bug for a couple years plus exclusively. Switched to a NZ3SL, which is a single paddle hoping to be able to keep the general motion of the bug so I could move back and forth. That was a couple years ago. I have the bug back out and have of course lost the ability to use it effectively. So much so I only use it at this point to practice with on the rig, not on air. I may never get the skill to be able to move from one to the other. Im completely unfamiliar with the tube type keyer. tnx, Rich
     
  10. W9RAC

    W9RAC Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Regarding a keyer......... my keyer experience is very limited and only is from that of the rig. I did not realize that some keyers buffer, as in having a storage for sending ahead? tnx, Rich
     

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