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Author Topic: Guidance from BUG users please.  (Read 4904 times)
N1RND
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Posts: 69




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« on: January 13, 2013, 06:45:34 AM »

Well check this out.  I have been licensed for over 30 years and been active on and off for various reasons.
I've always loved CW and have been using a Bug.  Although my fist is "alright", its not like some of the elite bug users out there.
So I started doing research on the internet to see how others use their bugs and discovered two things.  I am LEFTHANDED and have been using a RIGHTHAND key all this time.  I never new untill now that Vibroplex makes special order LEFTHANDED keys.
So what do I do, try to improve my skills sending with the lefthand and a backwards key or try to retrain my brain.

On a somewhat different note,  I noticed all the good Bug users on YouTube operate their Bugs with a lot of swing.  I'll have to "open" mine up for sure.
Go to YouTube and see Denise Stoops (aka DA) of coastal station KPH send code.  She handles a Bug with such precision.
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PA0BLAH
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« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2013, 09:27:31 AM »

So when you were using a right handed bug left handed, price yourself lucky.

Normal bug users make dots with the thumb and dashes with the neighboring finger.
However when it comes to precision and controlled reaction: the finger is better then the thumb.

Highest precision and reaction is required for the dots. So you have the right method, never change a winning horse and don't exercise  the opposite, because the majority of hams and of bugs in trade are right handed, and for you that is the best.

Bob
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N1RND
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Posts: 69




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« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2013, 10:48:33 AM »

Maybe I should just reverse the paddle. 
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N6GND
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Posts: 348




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« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2013, 12:11:52 PM »

I hadn't seen the youtube video of Denice sending before this--thanks for the reference. She shows clearly how much dancing there is in the hand of a proficient bug user. Her whole hand and wrist are in motion all of the time. A bug properly set-up has lots of space between contacts and for the lever motion. A bug is a mechanical device which won't work properly with the smallest-possible settings.

This is very much in contrast to the preference of paddle-and-keyer ops who are likely to prefer very close settings between paddle contacts and minimal spring or magnetic tension. Even the most highly-refined contemporary bug designs (Begali Intrepid for instance or GHD double-lever) need to be set-up with adequate motion to allow proper timing and separation of code elements.

Learning to use a bug is very different from learning to use a paddle. You have to be very physical with a bug--daintiness typical of paddle operation does not produce the beautiful code that Denice or other another great KPH/K6KPH op Richard Dillman make.

Hams in the San Francisco Bay Area or visiting here should pay a visit to KPH which is in Bolinas just north of San Francisco. I did so a couple of years ago and met Denice, Richard and other hams committed to preserving maritime radio history. There are several bugs at the station whose historical contact/lever adjustments are carefully preserved by op Richard Dillman because he, properly, considers the adjustments to be important historical records in themselves. I used some of those bugs and sure enough the settings were far wider than you would find on any paddle. One of the bugs in their collection demonstrates just how much physical energy is required for good bug work: it's a Vibroplex with a double base (two regular bases are stacked). You can work that bug very hard and it won't move.
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VA7CPC
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Posts: 2374




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« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2013, 01:49:52 PM »

As you will find out, if you try:

. . . You can't just "reverse the paddle" on a bug.

There are just enough "right-handed" parts (including the paddle base, I think) to make that a real pain.


But if you mean you'll reverse the "dit" and "dah" paddles on your iambic paddle, so that it agrees with your (right-handed) bug:

. . . Yes, that's a good idea.

.           Charles
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K7KBN
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Posts: 2782




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« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2013, 02:37:12 PM »

Put the right-handed bug on the left side of your position, with the paddles AWAY from you.

Carefully reach across the top of the bug and operate the paddles the usual way (dits with thumb, dahs with fingers).  It's awkward, but I've done it when my right arm was laid up for rotator cuff surgery.

Some southpaws in the Navy made small wrist and forearm supports to be able to stand a regular 6-hour at-sea watch.  Beats the price of a Vibroplex!
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73
Pat K7KBN
CWO4 USNR Ret.
K3STX
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Posts: 972




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« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2013, 06:43:40 PM »

I am certainly no expert, but a rolling motion is the way to go with a bug, not fingers only. But hands flying around the desktop LOOK nice, doesn't sound too nice to me.

Check out these for sending and setting up a bug:

http://vibroplex.com/1946_deluxe_n8ux.mov

setting up a bug  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qekmyx31Uxw

Also, left handed bugs DO show up on eBay, that's a thought. And see what you like better. But if you LEARNED to send right-ey, I would stick with it.

paul
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N6GND
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Posts: 348




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« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2013, 08:12:55 PM »

I am certainly no expert, but a rolling motion is the way to go with a bug, not fingers only. But hands flying around the desktop LOOK nice, doesn't sound too nice to me.
paul

The hand motion and muscle output required of a good bug op is significantly greater than is typical with a paddle op.
Unless, of course, the paddle op learned on a bug and sets up his paddle with the kind of space and tension appropriate to a bug. The code on the Denice Stoops youtube video sounded excellent to me and her hand was moving. With a typical paddle op, you don't see much hand motion at all.

Because bugs demand more of the hand, bugs are significantly more difficult to use well to send perfectly clear code. On the other hand perfectly clear code sent on a bug can also express individuality unattainable with a paddle and keyer.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2013, 08:15:28 PM by N6GND » Logged
K3STX
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Posts: 972




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« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2013, 08:19:18 PM »

The hand motion and muscle output required of a good bug op is significantly greater than is typical with a paddle op.

Yes, I know this. After 30 years with paddles I am now a bug op.

paul
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PA0BLAH
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Posts: 0




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« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2013, 02:41:58 AM »

Maybe I should just reverse the paddle.  

Due to the different answers you got in the mean time, it looks like I understood in my  first reply , your
question wrong. But when I reread ,I still think I interpret the question right. Am I wrong? If so: sri. If not: Repliers: read the question before you write an  answer, hi.

I understood you have a right handed bug and you actuate it with the left hand, because you learned it as such,

So don't learn it another way, was my thought, it may be even a better way to learn to play a bug with the dots at your index finger,


Next question: shall I change the paddle, is understood by me as just keeping the mechanism as it is, and only interchanging the knob and the paddle. By unscrewing knob and paddle putting knob right side for your left thumb and paddle left side for your left index finger.

That question, I can't answer.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2013, 02:49:53 AM by PA0BLAH » Logged
N6GND
Member

Posts: 348




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« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2013, 09:58:32 AM »

The hand motion and muscle output required of a good bug op is significantly greater than is typical with a paddle op.

Yes, I know this. After 30 years with paddles I am now a bug op.

paul

After 50 years as a bug op, I first tried paddles a couple of years ago. Paddles are easier even when I set my paddle up much like a bug. If I use my keyer in bug mode (dahs sent manually), it's easier than with a real bug. In some ways, the paddle used in bug mode is the best of both worlds.
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N1RND
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Posts: 69




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« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2013, 05:33:36 PM »

Thanks for the help everyone.
Well I decided that trying to learn to send with right hand is totally out of the question.  Its just like trying to shave, brush your teeth, etc. with your off hand.  You can get by, but its awkward.
I backed off both adjustments to get more swing.  I never saw another op using a bug untill looking online.  I always thought it had to be tight like a pair of paddles.  I reversed the knob and paddle.  With more swing and not being afraid to "man handle" the key alittle, I am sending better.
So the only thing that is technically "wrong" is I am still making dits with my finger and dahs with my thumb.  But I think I am better to just hone my skills with the bug I have, Even if I got a lefthanded bug tomorrow, I would then have to teach the thumb to do dits and finger to do dahs and seems too extreme.
Hey Jimmy Hendricks was lefty and learned to play a righthanded guitar.
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KI4DYA
Member

Posts: 13




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« Reply #12 on: January 17, 2013, 06:10:02 AM »

Its just like trying to shave... with your off hand.  You can get by, but its awkward.
Hey, I shave half my face with my off hand with a straight razor every morning!
You can do it, it's just muscle memory, although it is awkward at first.
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K3STX
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Posts: 972




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« Reply #13 on: January 17, 2013, 07:48:10 AM »

Hey, I shave half my face with my off hand with a straight razor every morning!

Hey, me too!!  I thought the same thing when he talked about using his "off" hand. I wonder how many CW ops are also straight razor users? I'll bet it is higher than the proportion that are phone ops.

paul
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KH2G
Member

Posts: 252




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« Reply #14 on: January 17, 2013, 12:16:34 PM »

It doesn't matter if you use your left foot. It does matter if your comfortable and sending is clean. I like hooking a decoder to my monitor so I can see if it can decode what I'm sending as that will tell me if I'm clean -hi
One thing is to observe how long you can send without getting up tight or tired as that will tell you if your set up right for you.
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