Vibroplex Magnakeyer Begali

Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by N4UP, Jan 7, 2019.

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  1. N4UP

    N4UP Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I started out with a straight key in the summer of 1963. In early 1964 I started using a Vibroplex bug. Not long after that I purchased my first keyer ( Hallicrafters HA-1 ) and Vibroplex Vibrokeyer paddle. Later on I acquired a what-was-then-new MFJ ( electronic ) keyer.

    Despite being off the air for the best part of 30 years, that MFJ keyer and Vibrokeyer paddle stayed with me, on the shelf, as a reminder of things to come.

    When I came back to the hobby in 2013 I tried the old MFJ keyer and it failed. Not surprising. It had weathered so many interstate moves that I have lost count. So I replaced it with the ( newer ) MFJ-495 keyer and it worked just fine with my old Vibrokeyer paddle and terminal emulation software. I added two more MFJ-495's and two more Vibrokeyers so I could have two stations set up at home and a third one for mobile operations. I was happy.

    In the meantime I added a Microham Microkeyer II and now have ten different ways to send CW, thanks to paddles, keyers, and software. But one still needs a paddle that works and works well.

    As my code copying speed climbed into the 30-40 wpm range I found that it was harder and harder to keep the Vibroplex Vibrokeyer properly adjusted for good CW. And thanks to a massive head injury ( and some loss of physical dexterity ), I now have trouble sending beyond 25 wpm.

    I thought about buying a Magnakeyer but there is apparently a huge backlog. So I just ordered a Begali Sculpture Mono and almost immediately received a confirmation email with shipping scheduled for early next week. If it works as well as I think it will, I will buy two more and retire all three of the Vibroplex paddles.
  2. W7ASA

    W7ASA Ham Member QRZ Page

    You are going to enjoy your Begali! For the record - I love anything by Begali I've touched. At moderate speeds (25'ish) , I prefer my bug, but above 30 wpm, I switch to the little Begali Explorer, which suits my operating style well.

    73 de Ray ..._ ._
    N4UP likes this.
  3. W1BR

    W1BR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    The Magnakeyer is a bargain. If I had deeper pockets I'd buy a Fratinni because it would be shiny and I like shiny objects. BTW, I retired both of my Vibroplex paddle keys. The Magnakeyer is my favorite, and the Bencher is my backup. I do own a Begali straight key, however.
    N4UP likes this.
  4. N4UP

    N4UP Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    From what I hear the Magnakeyer is indeed a bargain, and a good/great key. I may just try one some day.

    In the meantime I just love my Begali Sculpture Mono. I even took it with me last month for my 7300+ mile drive to the west coast and back, and made many mobile CW contacts with it.

    I have now retired my three Vibroplex Vibrokeyers. They now sit on display in my Vintage Radio Room.

    I am also in the process of replacing all my MFJ-495 electronic keyers with Microham keyers. Have two Microham Microkeyer II's for the radio room and a Microham CW Keyer for the truck.
    W1BR likes this.
  5. KB4MNG

    KB4MNG Ham Member QRZ Page

    Where can you order a Magnakeyer, a quick google did not reveal a link. I would love to try a Begali at least once in my life. They are very expensive but great quality. I was lucky enough to obtain a k8ra paddle and it is soild and very high quality. Not sure how it stacks against the Begali.

    Could you explain your mobile set ups? Really leaning toward going mobile with a tarheel antenna.
  6. N4UP

    N4UP Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    For Magnakeyer contact AE8J.

    Here is a quick ( older ) photo of the front passenger seat of my pickup truck. Shows the Vibroplex, not the new Begali. The ALS-500-M amp is behind the seat. Antenna is a Tarheel 100. More details at my page for N4UP/M. The current setup includes a laptop for logging and FT8, so the key is relocated, and the current setup has cell-phone holder for running the Grid Square Locator.

    Top row MFJ 826B SWR/wattmeter, MFJ-495 memory keyer, SDC-104-K screwdriver controller, and ALS-500 remote head. Bottom row Vibroplex Vibrokeyer, remote head for MFJ-495, MFJ-998 tuner, and Kenwood TS590SG. Power for radio and amp come directly from battery. Rest is powered from two accessory outlets with power poles. Not shown is the coax switch ( on floor ) to switch between the Tarheel and an external antenna or dummy load.

    W1BR likes this.
  7. KB4MNG

    KB4MNG Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thats about the best mobile setup I have ever seen!!!!
    N4UP likes this.
  8. KE6EE

    KE6EE Ham Member QRZ Page

    Talk about distracted driving! Or maybe it's hamming distracted by driving!
    Or, just possibly, texting distracted by driving and hamming.
  9. N4UP

    N4UP Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I do at times operate CW while driving, but only for casual QSOs when I am driving to or from an intended operating location. I pull over to log. For intended operating locations I find a safe place to park.

    I have now operated from 1558 different locations in 43 states. And from 1162 different counties and county-equivalents. I no longer run counties on county hunting frequencies, but I do sometimes run counties in QSO parties.
  10. W5KCC

    W5KCC Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I'll be getting my Magnkeyer in about 2-3 weeks. You have to go on a waiting list... period. However the wait is much shorter now than in the past several months.
    I contacted Andy on June 3rd and he emailed me today telling me I'm number 7 in the current waiting list and to allow another two weeks or so.

    Every review I've read here at QRZ and elsewhere say the Magnakeyer blows the socks off of the Bencher, Vibroplex and Begali. Plus now he offers the option of a 3.5mm jack port connection instead of the three terminals setup.
    W1BR likes this.

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