Vibroplex Bug Question - new to this

Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by KN4CQB, Mar 22, 2020.

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  1. K5TSK

    K5TSK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Just looking at the last few comments. Lots of bug bashing on the zed. Some of it is deserved.
    Learn the straight key. If you are not really 'bug qualified', buy one and learn to use the dah paddle as a straight key at lower speeds. It's like having two keys built into one. I do it often. Learn to send that way at the minimum speed of the bug without extra weights. Then start hitting the dit side. Not until.

    After you get your sending capability up to par, then use the bug at the speed it was designed to be used at. Respect the bug. Respect yourself and other ops. All the extra weight thing is like taping a sledge hammer head to a shovel to make it dig deeper. If folks would do the simple thing of learning the bug at speed, a lot of the bashing would go away. We would have some new bug ops worthy of the name.
  2. K5YDD

    K5YDD Ham Member QRZ Page

    Here are two good links of the commercial -- professional bug fist....

    and at leisure...

    KD4ZFS and K5TSK like this.
  3. WA1GXC

    WA1GXC Ham Member QRZ Page

    U.S.C.G. RM2, Communications Area Master Station Pacific /NMC
    Radiotelegraph Operator, RCA SANFRANCISCORADIO/KPH

    No, that's not a paddle. It's a Vibroplex Original Deluxe bug. She uses lots of air between
    the fingers.

    USCG RM had to pay for their own speed keys. Nothing from the Government.
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2020
    K5TSK likes this.
  4. KC3EWA

    KC3EWA Ham Member QRZ Page

    Depends on the bug. Mine's from 1920, was clearly meant for railroad telegraphers (has the hole in the base to nail it down), and with the original weight goes about as fast as any railroad telegrapher could have ever copied.
    K5TSK likes this.
  5. VE3HIX

    VE3HIX Ham Member QRZ Page

    Some bugs such as the Vibroplex Blue Racer or most E.F. Johnson SPEED-X bugs have a minimum speed of 25 wpm, whereas others such as the Hi-Mound Japanese coffin bug can go as low as 19 wpm without adding extra weights. Congratulations to anyone who can manually send dits at 25 wpm using the dah paddle.

    W4WVW likes this.
  6. K5TSK

    K5TSK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    And also the op behind it. I'm a real newb at the bug. Other than a really brief encounter with a Blue Racer years ago as a result of a kindness by an elmer, I've only been playing with them about 3 solid years now.

    That does NOT qualify me to tell the real ops on here how to do anything, but I've made enough mistakes to have learned something. After playing at SKCC for a while I bought a new VB Original and started down that path. Same with the GHD cootie and the W1SFR beautiful FatBoy cootie. I let my desire to get on the air and get my 3Key award outweigh my respect for my own fist (as an op) or my respect for the ears of those who had to listen to my cootie. I wasn't the only one and at the start of the 3Key thing on SKCC, the bands did sound a lot like the old Novice bands. After a couple years of operating I think I've found a better attitude on jumping in on things CW related. That said, the experience of sending in QSO is different than sending in a casual manner on an oscillator and at some point you simply have to jump in.

    There are plenty of bugs out there which are designed to be sent on at 17 wpm without extraneous weighting. Look at the ads and compare, then buy something in your class of sending. For those who know good code and send good code, they don't need my rantings. I have a Vizkey vertical bug, which at its slowest runs about 17 wpm according to RBN and I get plenty of spots on there so my fist is at least marginal. I can easily send Morse using only the dah paddle at that speed. I wonder if an op could not do that whether his bug fist would be something I'd want to listen to. I usually cannot do that on the 1940 J-36, but sometimes get close.

    For those sending me videos of MS. Denise, thank you. I love her code. Wish I could do that well. Do not share her style, but that's OK. Been trying to find a YouTube video of someone sending on a bug using only the dah side. If you know of one, let me know pse.
  7. K5TSK

    K5TSK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Just tried to hard copy that down. Anybody else do it?? Got most on paper with a pen. Still have work to do. Thanks.
  8. WA1GXC

    WA1GXC Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've been doing this longer than you. Got all of it, 100%.

    Posting this reply from the Emergency Room. Ortho guy says 2-4 weeks.

    K5TSK likes this.
  9. WA1GXC

    WA1GXC Ham Member QRZ Page

    Seriously, I was curious if I could maintain easily readable handwriting for the entire run. I think a lot of the high-speed
    transcription ability comes down to the same thing as going fast on a straight key, bug, or what-have-you--it's relaxation,
    muscle conditioning and muscle "memory" which I think is both a brain-interface and physiological phenomenon.

    I've been copying code in block capital letters, fairly fast, for over 50 years. I've also been sending with a straight key with
    a lot of tension for 50 years. Musicians playing all kinds of instruments with all kinds of fingerings have strong, quick fingers
    with supporting musculature in the wrist. Pianists really have to have all the strength and the technique (My mother was a life-long
    gifted pianist. I have her musical brain).

    Writing in cursive hand-writing, which I maintained from age 5 thru 21, is no longer a skill I can utilize. I write that way now like a little kid,
    just beginning. I've lost the Muscle Memory and I have to purposefully put it down on paper.

    Fun fact--The FCC allowed use of a typewriter for Amateur Extra (20 WPM) and Commercial code exams at 20 and 25, likewise speed-key
    allowed at 20 and above. Although it would certainly feel fulfilling to be able to do these things without mechanical intervention, it's
    nothing but a party trick to impress drunk friends--You're no less skilled as an operator copying with a pen or a typewriter keyboard.

    I hear some Old Timers who I know are trying their very best and are being beat-up by arthritis and other physical limitations. Some day
    that's gonna be me and I hope I have the grace to remember what I once had with gratefulness.

    When copying W1AW at 30 and 35 and military encrypted traffic at about 23 WPM, I always use a manual typewriter. Banging away hard,
    no touch-typing technique, 4 fingers and a thumb. Wish I had taken typing in high school. My co-worker Higgins said, "You type just
    like my uncle on the Soo Line Railroad!"

    K5TSK and WN1MB like this.
  10. W6MK

    W6MK Ham Member QRZ Page

    I don't think the sending style of Denice Stoops is unusual, but rather the typical style in the days when professional ops generally used bugs. Electronic keyers were not the norm.

    As evidence, out at the Marine Radio Historical Society there are several Vibroplex bugs which were
    used by KPH commercial ops. At least one of the bugs was modified so that it had a double (doubly thick)
    base. That would be a good way to keep a bug from moving under the kind of use shown by Denice.

    Currently the tendency with electronic keyers and paddles is to use minimal physical effort in sending.
    Contacts are set as close as possible in the assumption that to send faster one needs to use as little effort
    as possible. It's as if sending code with a keyer is going to cause unhealthy weight loss if contact spacing is
    too great.

    Actually the close-spaced, minimal spring or magnetic tension method is simply a belief system. If you watch
    videos of experienced ops using manual keys of any kind at significant speeds, you will see a lot of energy
    expended in finger, hand, wrist and forearm movement.

    Just as the highest speed ops use single-lever paddles rather than double levers, there are good reasons
    to use other than the smallest, weakest muscle groups in operating a key or paddle. I think, and I am not
    alone, that larger contact gaps, higher tension settings and use of larger muscle groups contributes to
    fewer mistakes in sending for many ops.
    K5TSK and K5YDD like this.

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