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Author Topic: Opinions (uh oh!) of Vibroplex and Other Differences Wanted  (Read 4883 times)
W7ASA
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Posts: 260




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« on: June 16, 2012, 09:28:16 PM »

I know - asking opinions can be DANGEROUS...

I love CW and 99.9% of the time I'm either on my long handle Swedish type pump made by G3YUH (Oooooh!) or my Vibroplex Original bug.  Hopefully the Op on the other end enjoys my use of the Bug as well   Huh Mine is a garden variety Vibroplex Original , standard grade from the late 1970's but I've revamped the upper pieces to a high gloss and painted the base a deeeeep black crackle so it looks more 1940's...  It is a good instrument and it suits my taste.   However - I want to move onto other models, possibly higher performance for my wants. I tend to rag chew in the mid 30's speed wise, though sprints into the forties are be welcomed on occasion.  Please bear this in mind in your thoughts about bug suggestions.

1.   Are there significant differences in  performance  between the various Vibroplex grades (Deluxe, Presentation) and models that you know from personal experience?

2.   Do the jeweled bearings make a noticable & significant difference as compared to a clean and lubricated pivot?

I am tending toward a 1950-60's Lightning Bug; jeweled pivot model if I can find one. I only wish that they did not come in chrome as I really like deep black crackle, probably because of the happy memories of the radios I remember as a young boy.

3.  What OTHER manufacturers of bugs do you recommend and why? (Begali - yes, but it's the cost of my house payment.  ;^)

     Lionel,  GHD (If I can find one), McElroy...



Thank you and I look forward to your thoughts.




73 de Ray
W7ASA ..._ ._

« Last Edit: June 16, 2012, 09:32:52 PM by W7ASA » Logged
NK6Q
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Posts: 202




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« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2012, 08:13:03 AM »

In my limited experience using my five bugs (one Original, two Lightning Bugs, two Blue Racers), any of these devices can reliably send at speeds exceeding 30-40 WPM.  That's not my comfortable code speed, but for contests I can send clean 35 WPM on whichever one is hooked up.

Of course, there's nothing wrong with acquiring a couple more bugs and doing your own evaluations.  Have fun!
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KE6EE
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Posts: 405




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« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2012, 11:53:28 AM »

I'm also the owner of five bugs. They're all different in feel. All can produce good code at the higher speeds most ops can copy, but it's the sender who actually produces the code.

Bugs are interesting mechanical devices and fairly easy to collect at reasonable prices.

The bottom line is that the feel of each bug is YOUR feel, not the bug's. Bugs are mechanical contraptions; sorry to say they're completely without feelings.
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K3STX
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Posts: 1009




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« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2012, 08:21:29 PM »

As I sit here looking at 7 bugs, having owned ALOT more.

1. I have never noticed a difference in performance between "normal", deluxe, or presentation models.

2. I have never noticed the jewel bearings making things any smoother.

BUT...

3. As you probably know, EVERY bugis different, even within a"category" (such as 1950's Originals). I am looking at a nearly MINT 1959 Deluxe Lightning Bug, but the dits are too "squishy", I hook it up HOPING I can figure out a way to make myself love it. But I cannot. I have a nice Deluxe Original from 1939 that sends good code, but the mainspring seems a bit stiff to me. I just don't like it. My current "favorite" is a 1923 Original, followed by a 1939 Lightning (Black crackle finish, like you mentioned. A GREAT key. I love Lightning bugs, I have a nice sending 1928 Lightning, but it is in such bad shape and needs restoration that I can not bring myself to use it much. The "new" 100th Anniversary Bug is also GREAT, I love it. But I still love the older thin mainsprings more.

4. Lionel, McElroy, etc.. are just Vibroplex wanna-bees. If I were in your shoes, and wanted another key, I would buy cheap eBay bugs, clean em' up, and use them. If you don't like it, re-sell it and lose next to nothing.  Collecting them, restoring basket cases, and using them is a GREAT sub-hobby.

paul
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WX7G
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Posts: 6146




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« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2012, 07:49:14 AM »

I have a number of Vibroplexes and a Begali bug. The Begali sure is a different animal. It can send slow or fast and takes less effort to send well. But it sure isn't traditional with magnets rather than springs.
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W8CQU
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Posts: 13




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« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2012, 07:53:07 AM »

     As my CW speed increased I decided it was time to move up from a straight key.  A fellow ham suggested that I buy a bug and said I’d love it.  So, I watched EBay for quite a while and finally ended up with a very nice Vibroplex key for a reasonable price.  Right off the bat I realized I was sending too slow for it to work properly so I bought the Vibroplex option slow down kit, I think it was called Varispeed.  I installed the kit and continued practicing.  Well after about three months of practice I gave up.  I hated the bug, made too many errors and could not send good consistently.  Ended up selling it at a Boatanchor swap meet for a loss.  Don’t care if I ever see one again. 
     So now what do I do?  Well, didn’t want to buy another mistake so I took a ride to Amateur Electronic Supply where they had several keys and paddles on display.  I played with everyone and settled on a Bencher paddle, just felt natural to me right from the start.  I love this paddle and that is all I use any more, actually I have two.
     My advice to you before buying anything is to try a few different keys out and see what feels good to you.  It really is a matter of personal preference.  Good Luck.

Paul/W8CQU
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W7ASA
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Posts: 260




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« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2012, 08:22:01 AM »

Thanks for the replies.  I was especially curious about the jeweled pivots on the deluxe and presentation.  I have to say, that using the .015" starting point on gap adjustment as per the old Western Union manual and etc. I must have gotten a good one, because my Original, standard model - now with highly buffed chrome and DEEP black crackle base is looking more like the key from mid-century, is a joy to send with from about 23 WPM upward.  Below that, I use my pump handle , Swedish type straight key. Mine is key #199 frm the site of G3YUH, a fine fellow and excellent craftsman too!

I'm pursuing another bug, even as we speak...     ;^)



73 de Ray
W7ASA
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KE6EE
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Posts: 405




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« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2012, 12:01:16 PM »

I'm pursuing another bug, even as we speak...     ;^)
73 de Ray
W7ASA

You've done it! You've gotten the bug bug. Success with one bug inevitably leads to another and so on.
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