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Author Topic: Vibroplex Blue Racer..how to slow?  (Read 1128 times)
VE2CZ
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« on: April 11, 2004, 06:24:33 PM »

Bought a beautiful old Blue Racer at a local swap meet recently, circa 1940's or so. Bought it mostly because I like nostalgia, but I'd like to actually use it soon.

Trouble is, my CW is kinda rusty, and even with the weight all the way back, this thing is just too fast for me..... what are my options?

it's the model with the large U-shaped end stop, and the weight is about 2cm long. (3/4")

Chris
VE2CZ
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VE2CZ
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« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2004, 06:45:04 PM »

...more weight, right? Are these available?
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K5CEY
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Posts: 217




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« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2004, 07:48:26 PM »

>> more weight, right? <<

   Right. Some old timers used to clip on a clothes pin or what ever.

 To slow down my Presentation, I selected a nice heavy cylindrical metal spacer and drilled out the thru hole to fit the bug shaft. Then drilled and tapped two holes for #8 set screws.

If you can find more original type weights, you can use several side by side. Someone told that Vibroplex sells them for $12 each.A bit rich for my blood.

I prefer the new style thumbscrews with the nylon tips, but a good substitute are black nylon 8-32 machine screws with "binding" heads. Hand tightening is good enough and they don't bite into the shaft.

                John  
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K5CEY
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« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2004, 07:52:55 PM »

Ya know,
  I just happened to think, a Blue racer may have a flat shaft like a Champion. My suggestion about the round weight would not apply. The clothes pin idea may still work.
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KE4MOB
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« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2004, 02:08:01 AM »

I think (and I may be wrong) the Blue Racer was just a smaller scale Original on a 2 1/2 inch base.  My early '50's Original used a round arm of 0.15" diameter.  So if your Blue Racer uses the same arm diameter, you should be able to use Original weights.

You might can even use the "Bug tamer" sold by Vibroplex.  

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N4GI
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« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2004, 09:41:09 AM »

I've never heard anyone send comprehendible code with one of those !@#$% bugs.

Do not take offense, but if your code is rusty I BEG YOU to please put the bug on a shelf far away and use paddles or a straight key until you get better....  

Nostalgia is nice and all, but it's a real painful to copy someone who has no idea how to use one of those things.

73,
Blake N4GI

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NI0C
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« Reply #6 on: April 12, 2004, 01:48:54 PM »

My first bug was a Blue Racer.  I was determined to make my dot speed match my dash speed.  I used a wooden clothespin (the kind with the spring) clamped to the thumbscrews of the weights.  I fine tuned the speed by wrapping solder around the ears of the clothespin.  It worked rather well!  

73 de Chuck  NI0C
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K5CEY
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« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2004, 03:17:04 AM »

Blake, N4GI,
    If one is truely proficient with a bug, he can send excellent Morse. Yes, at times it will have a bit of individual character, even as we used to call Lake Eire or banana boat swing. But the characters will be clean and distinct and easy to copy.

    Mastering a bug gives one a terrific sense of self accomplishment. I learned the bug at the age of 11 and I felt that it was a blessed relief from pounding a J-38 hand key.

          John
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N7DM
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Posts: 671




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« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2004, 01:58:28 PM »

I had a lot of miles on a Bug...in fact, a few bugs! In the Beginning...I got a fairly large alligator clip. Then I found a one inch OR better long #12 machine screw. I slid on large hex nuts onto the shaft of the screw, then screwed it into the wire hole of the 'clip. "heavy".  That, I clipped onto the end of the rod/shaft. Slowed her way down.

I've known some great bug fists, until they try to run much over 25 ...  Then the weighting goes to 'heck', and you wind up with the BUZZ...Dah-Dah we have all come to know and hate.

All said, I encourage any CW Op to make the change to Iambic keying and keyers ASAP.....
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KE4MOB
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« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2004, 02:24:03 AM »

I have to admit, anything over about 35 WPM to me sounds like a buzz!

I'd be willing to bet that if you took someone who was using a bug that went buzzz-dah-dah and trained them on a keyer, you know what you would get?

Buzzzz-da-da da-da.

The problem is not in the bug.  It's in the person's reflexes.

Just like the bug operator who can't cut off the dah at the right time, the paddle operator can't cut off the second, or third perfectly formed dah from slipping out.

That being said, I don't think either bug or paddle operators have anything to worry about.  I've heard some straight keys that were horrendous lately.  Not to mention code that has so much chirp it sounds like a puppy whimpering!!!
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KD2E
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« Reply #10 on: April 23, 2004, 07:14:25 PM »

More that a few times I called Vibroplex and ordered a few extra weights to slow 'em down.
I ended up going to a keyer, but still like the old bugs!
....Dave
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KE4MOB
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« Reply #11 on: May 07, 2004, 02:40:40 PM »

I just got my first Blue Racer..a gray '63 model!  It has the large Vibroplex circular weight on it and will run down to about 15 WPM.  

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VE3WMB
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Posts: 282




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« Reply #12 on: May 25, 2004, 04:29:11 PM »

My suggestion is to buy a Bug Tamer from Vibroplex.

They also sell something called a Vari-Speed but what you want is the tamer. It fits over the end of the pendulum arm and extends it out the back by a couple of inches.
You might find that the bug is better behaved if you put a small weight on the arm before installing the tamer and then
add another small weight to the end of the Tamer.
It all depends on the stiffness of the leaf spring on the Bug.

Just adding weight to a Bug will only go so far to slowing it down. If you add too much you will find that operation feels sluggish. Keep in mind with a Bug that slower speeds mean you need larger spacing on the contacts. I recommend the adjustment procedures on the Vibroplex web site.

Contrary to popular belief you can send good code with a Bug. The secret is to slow it down to a speed that you can handle.

Best of luck

Michael VE3WMB
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