W8HOG Bug Tamer

Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by KE5YUM, Jan 5, 2020.

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  1. KE5YUM

    KE5YUM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hello all, I am considering the W8HOG bug tamer to slow down my Vibroplex Champion. Has anyone had any experience with this item.

    Thanks in advance for comments.

  2. AA4OO

    AA4OO XML Subscriber QRZ Page

  3. WB5YUZ

    WB5YUZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I don't know why people fight the Vari-Speed so hard. I guess for a lot of people it's an aesthetic decision, like it is for this guy.

    It won't make the dits "mushy" if you adjust the keying weight (not the physical weight!) properly.

    But it will allow me to quickly and easily go from about 12 WPM to 30 WPM (which is about as fast as I can go). I can adjust to someone else's speed while they are calling CQ and answer them at their own speed. I wish I had owned one from the beginning.
    K5TSK likes this.
  4. K5TSK

    K5TSK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Forgive me if this is TOO far off topic, but while we are here, any mechanical engineers, 'bug' mechanics out there who can address whether extra weight affects the jewels, pivots, etc????
    Finally, got an old J-36 and I'll not be adding anything to it weight-wise, but does it hurt? Haven't tried the bug tamer, but did the vari-speed on new bugs, just looked out of place, but worked fine.
  5. WR2E

    WR2E Ham Member QRZ Page

    I doubt that the extra weight would wear out jewels or pivots in a lifetime... but I've found that lengthening the beam works best for me. I use a spring type clothes pin on my J-36.
  6. KA0HCP

    KA0HCP XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    After messing around with all sorts of home brew weights, I found the Vibroplex Vari-Speed to be a great device. Money well spent.

    It didn't require extra weights to achieve slower speed and did not distort dit clarity, etc. This on a Les Logan Model 515. Allows quick speed changes easily.
    WB5YUZ likes this.
  7. KE5YUM

    KE5YUM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks all of you for your comments. I really do like the Varispeed attachment, but to my knowledge it will not work on a flat arm Champion.

    I do appreciate the AA4OO comments and videos. They are very informative.
  8. AA4OO

    AA4OO XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I don't "dislike" the vari-speed other than it takes two hands to adjust and on the particular bug I used it with, it (a newer bug), it made the dits less distinct to my ear. I spend an inordinate amount of effort to keep the dits clean and have tried a few methods to damp and pre-load the dit spring.

    A couple years ago at a club meeting a number of members brought examples of all their semi-automatic keys. There were lots represented there and most of them were slowed down with extensions to the pendulums. A couple folks brought their Viz-key bugs and those were really sweet, allowing one-handed speed settings from quite slow up to 35wpm.
  9. KD4ZFS

    KD4ZFS Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have a similar weight I bought a while back from 2b radio parts, but Donnie has just ceased operation of 2b. The W8HOG weight looks like it should work nicely.

    My 2b weight works GREAT with my Cedar Rapids bug. With the normal weight, my bug adjusts from 23 to 35 wpm. With the 2 oz weight from 2b, it adjusts from 17 to 25 wpm.

    Richard, AA4OO is right about "mushy dits" if things aren't set up just right. Dit operation is exquisitely complicated and depends on the setup and the individual bug. The problem seems to me to be made worse with multiple weights if they are spread out so that the pendulum has a higher rotational moment of inertia. All the weight at one point seems to work better for me, so I'd suggest keeping all the weights together on the pendulum arm.

    In general, it works better if you set up for more movement with a bug. Dits get really mushy if there is not enough movement! I find that it works best to have about 1/8 inch of movement each direction on the tip of the paddle closest to the operator. You need to slap the paddle hard enough in the dit direction to really set pendulum swinging. (But not so hard that you hurt yourself!)

    Try the weight and see! It's an easy and cheap experiment.
  10. W9RAC

    W9RAC Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I run a Vibroplex original with the Varispeed kit for a couple of years solid. It works perfectly but looks, well ugly. I did manage to run across a ham who machined weights that look exactly like the factory original except much heavier that works perfectly. It keeps the original look of the bug. He's stopped making those, I got the last one hi hi. 73 Rich

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