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Author Topic: Bug to Keyer to Bug  (Read 1019 times)
NK6Q
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Posts: 202




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« on: May 23, 2010, 09:06:58 PM »

What a weird experience: after being on-air for a month pretty much 100% using my Vibroplex bug (with a Vari-speed "bug tamer"), I got the nerve to try out an old Heathkit HD-1410 iambic keyer I'd bought last year.  After about 5-10 minutes, I got the hang of it, but didn't like pulling the speed knob to tune up my rig.

Switching back to the bug after maybe a half-hour on the electronic keyer, I stumbled around trying to remember that I now needed to manually create the "dahs".  I couldn't believe I had forgotten in such a short time.  Those electronic keyers are like hard drugs: you get hooked fast!

For now, I think I'll stick to my old-fashioned bug. I'm scared to think what I'd be like after using the electronic keyer for a couple of days.  I could never go back again!

Bill in Pasadena, NK6Q

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N2EY
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Posts: 3849




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« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2010, 03:47:33 AM »

I've had the opposite experience - keep trying to make the dashes manually with a keyer.

I started with a straight key in 1967. Learned to use a bug in 1970, got my own bug in 1974. Messed around with keyers a few times but kept sending the dashes...

73 de Jim, N2EY
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IK0YGJ
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Posts: 43


WWW

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« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2010, 03:31:50 AM »

I agree, it is not easy to swap keys while manipulating.
It is now more than 6 years that I keep in parallel all the 4 kind of keys (stright, swiper, bug, paddle) and jump among them while manipulating.
At the beginning it was a terrific excercise, now it is a fun. From time to time I even switch off the sidetone !
I'll publish a video with the sidetone off and a decoding device to see how much fun is it.
73 de Carlo IK0YGJ

---------------
Download your free copy of "Zen and the Art of Radiotelegraphy" here:
http://www.qsl.net/ik0ygj/enu/index.html
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VE3WMB
Member

Posts: 282




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« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2010, 09:10:07 PM »

Bill :

What I have found is that using a different hand for each type of keying (i.e Bug vs Electronic
keyer) really helps to keep things straight in your head.

I am left handed and have been using a dual-lever paddle for Iambic B for the past 30 years with my
left hand.

About 7 or so years ago I got interested in collecting Bugs so I wanted to use them on the air.
Since 99% of the Bugs out there are right-handed I just hooked up the CPO and started practicing
with my right hand. After about 30 hours (I kid you not) of off-air sending practice I finally braved
an attempt at a QSO with a Bug using my wrong hand ! Now after a few years of using a Bug with
my right hand it feels pretty natural. I will never be a "speed-demon" on a Bug but it sure is a lot
of fun. The side-effect of this is that I can now send with a straight key using either hand and
switching between using a Bug with my right hand and a paddle with my left is not a problem.

I have been contemplating the idea of mastering the art of side-swipery (i.e. cootie key) but I think that I might need a third  hand ;-) .

Michael VE3WMB


What a weird experience: after being on-air for a month pretty much 100% using my Vibroplex bug (with a Vari-speed "bug tamer"), I got the nerve to try out an old Heathkit HD-1410 iambic keyer I'd bought last year.  After about 5-10 minutes, I got the hang of it, but didn't like pulling the speed knob to tune up my rig.

Switching back to the bug after maybe a half-hour on the electronic keyer, I stumbled around trying to remember that I now needed to manually create the "dahs".  I couldn't believe I had forgotten in such a short time.  Those electronic keyers are like hard drugs: you get hooked fast!

For now, I think I'll stick to my old-fashioned bug. I'm scared to think what I'd be like after using the electronic keyer for a couple of days.  I could never go back again!

Bill in Pasadena, NK6Q


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K3STX
Member

Posts: 961




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« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2010, 04:50:37 AM »

Like Carlo I have a bug and keyer/paddles in parallel.

My story is different, however. I got my ticket in 1978, and after a couple of months with a straight key I moved to paddles to increase speed (red Ham Keys, remember them!?). I stayed with paddles till about 2007, then for a number of reasons (end of code requirement being a big one) thought that "young" people (I was 44 at the time) should keep the bug tradition alive for future generations. So I got my first bug and use them for most of my CW. However, I just got nice Begali paddles, so have to work them in too. I've been working to increase my speed with the bugs, maybe I should just use the bugs for <25 wpm and the paddles for the rest. I still have not figured it out.

But back to the point, it DOES take maybe 15 seconds to get used to which kind of keying I am doing (rolling wrist or not), but then I THINK I am fine (ask the other guy!). One problem I ALWAYS have on the bug is the REALLY REALLY long dash; I think I must forget I am using a bug and wait for the dash to end (like it does with a keyer), but it never ends. That happens to me ALOT. For better or worse, the bugs add character.

paul
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NK6Q
Member

Posts: 202




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« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2010, 11:17:49 AM »

Paul:

Aren't you the guy who can copy at 60 wpm (!!)?  Going 25 for you would probably make you drowsy. 

For a returning newbie like me (first licensed in '67 as WN2BVN), I found it wasn't too difficult to get back into CW, but my code speed needs to be worked on.  Currently, both my bugs sport Vari-speed "bug tamers" so I can send at a speed I'm comfortable copying. 

Bill in Pasadena, NK6Q
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