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Author Topic: New to CW  (Read 4252 times)
KD0ACY
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Posts: 91




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« on: March 07, 2014, 09:32:58 AM »

Gust a beginner to CW and have a straight key and a Vibroplex. Don't know the difference between a cooty and a iambic.
Am wondering if Vibroplex uses two paddles or one. My unit has one paddle and a button on the other side and it has three contacts. I have wired two wires to my cpo and a third wire connection the outside contacts together which works with my cpo.
The question is, where do I go to learn the differences between these units. Ie:    cooty, bug, paddles, Vibroplex and what ever?
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2014, 11:08:05 AM »

Vibroplex is a manufacturer, not a key "type."  They make straight keys (I think), "bugs" (semi-automatic keys, which would only have two wire connections) and "paddle" keys (which are for use with electronic keyers, and have three wire connections: common, dit and dah).

If you have a 3-wire connection key, it's a "paddle" for use with an electronic keyer and not with a code practice oscillator.

A "cootie" key is like a straight key mounted on its side so you "slap" it to make contact (rather than push it down), and it has contacts on both sides (electrically common to each other), so no matter which direction you "slap" it (left or right), it makes contact.  But you, the operator, make all the dits and dahs mechanically -- it's just a switch.

A "bug" is a semi-automatic mechanical key that also operates "sideways," and you make all the "dahs" manually; it makes "dits" automatically, up to a point.  It can make enough dits to send the "error" prosign, which is 8 dits in a row, and it would never need to make more than that.  But it can't make them forever, it's just a spring contact that "bounces," with speed adjustable by sliding a weight down the lever arm of the bug.  It's still just a switch, but a fancier one that to some extent "makes" consecutive dits the longer you hold the paddle in that direction.

"Paddles" are also just keys, and only make an electrical contact when pushed one way (sideways) and make a different electrical contact when pushed the other way (sideways, opposite direction).  Usually the dits are made with the thumb and the dahs are made with an opposing finger (forefinger or middle finger, or sometimes both -- depends on the operator).  It's dumb and really just a single-pole, double-throw switch that requires an electronic keyer to actually make the dits and dahs.

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N6GND
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« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2014, 11:38:59 AM »

"I have wired two wires to my cpo and a third wire connection the outside contacts together which works with my cpo."

You have altered your Vibroplex paddle so it functions like a cootie.

That should clear up your confusion!
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AE4RV
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« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2014, 12:59:25 PM »

This is a bug: http://ae4rv.com/tn/education/bug.htm

It only uses two wires and from the radio's point of view it looks like a straight key (no keyer required).
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KK4MRN
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« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2014, 01:24:41 PM »

WB2WIK:

Good description of the difference between various keys.  I have only learned them by context from reading lots of posts by other CW operators.

I only have a cheap straight key now.  But when I make my first confirmed contact, I will reward myself with a better key.

- Daniel, KK4MRN.
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WB3CQM
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« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2014, 02:28:02 PM »

then you have the Vibroplex Vibrokeyer which is a single lever key that sends mechanical dash or dahs and electric dits 100% perfect and as many as you want to send. You adjust speed or weight of the dits by the cw speed dial on my radio. Same dial is used to adjust speed of memory keyer.  I can use the Vibrokeyer  by placing my Icom746 Pro cw menu into the bug mode. My radio has three modes , straight key , bug mode , and electric key mode .

So to use the semi automatic Vibroplex bug I place the menu in the straight key mode
The Vibroplex Vibrokeyer menu must be in bug mode
The electric key  or Iambic keys must have the menu in electric key mode.

So in a seance there is 5 types of cw sending - which are semi automatic  Bug keys , Straight keys , Vibro keyers , Electric key , dual paddle Iambic keys and Computer generated  cw with a keyboard.

did I miss any  besides side swipper or cottie keys ?
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N6GND
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« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2014, 07:01:47 PM »


did I miss any  besides side swipper or cottie keys ?

It sounded to me like the Vibroplex in the original post was indeed a Vibrokeyer. Which, as I pointed out, is being used as a cootie or sideswiper with the code oscillator.

Of course many cooties or sideswipers also have separate dit and dah contacts so that they can also be used in bug mode with a keyer that offers that function (not all do).

In that case a cootie and a Vibrokeyer are very much the same thing.
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KD0ACY
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« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2014, 10:26:45 PM »

Thanks to all for the comments! I am a lot wiser because your knowledge. Another question---- Do I need a keyer and what should I look for?
Mike

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KD8IIC
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Posts: 156




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« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2014, 02:41:39 AM »

 Long standing advice has Always been to fore go using a keyer for starting out and to use only a straight key. The reason being for one to develop a 'fist' by using and refining your natural abilities and concentration. I found using a straight key to be a bit uncomfortable, for me at least, and I have switched to using a Lionel J36 bug. I have it adjusted to use as a 'side swiper'... I am using just the main contact and not the weighted one towards the rear. I also have the weight and bar adjusted for zero movement for this application.I know real CW men are winceing at my 'hack' adjustment of a fine instrument but it works well for what I need and is a breeze to use.The spring tension and gap are adjusted to prefference of course.
 Maybe up the road I will have and be able to use a bug as it was designed to work.For the time being though, I am concentrating on sending and receiving accurately with improvements in both speeds over time. 15 months on a key now.
Had no Elmer so I am self taught. 73
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K7MEM
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« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2014, 03:28:05 AM »

Thanks to all for the comments! I am a lot wiser because your knowledge. Another question---- Do I need a keyer and what should I look for?

To make effective use of the Vibroplex Vibrokey, yes you will need a keyer. You don't have to buy one right away, if you have a computer handy. You can download EhoCW at "http://www.f8eho.net/". This software allows you to connect paddles or a straight key via a Serial Port. If your computer doesn't have a Serial Port, you can get a USB to Serial Port converter cable to do the job.

If you want to buy a separate keyer, try going to a ham fest. I have found some nice ones, for very good prices. I don't think I paid any more than $9 for a keyer at a ham fest. And that was a memory keyer. The keyer may be old, but as long as it work, so what. I picked up two Heathkit HD-1410 keyers for $10, total. They had some issues but were easy to fix.

I started with a straight key when I first got my license (1965). It was fine until I discovered how nice it is to use a keyer (~ 1980). I still have several straight keys, but probably will never use them any more. I also have a Vibroplex Blue Racer (1916 vintage). However, I modified it for use with a keyer, so it pretty much operates as a side swiper. I just use a piece of foam to quiet down the dits. This is probably similar to what KD8IIC described in his post.

I could use it as intended but, for me, that's too much work any more. I'm not out to prove anything any more. I just like to operate.

So in a seance there is ....

This is where the automatic spell checker fails people.

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Martin - K7MEM

http://www.k7mem.com
KJ4MPT
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Posts: 32




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« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2014, 03:20:53 PM »

Now with pictures!  Truly worth a thousand words.   Start here:

http://www.hamuniverse.com/n2eycodekeys.html
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VA7CPC
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« Reply #11 on: March 08, 2014, 04:27:08 PM »

Thanks to all for the comments! I am a lot wiser because your knowledge. Another question---- Do I need a keyer and what should I look for?
Mike



. . . What transceiver do you have?

Most transceivers made in the past 20 years, or so, have built-in keyers.  "Stand-alone" keyers have some advantages over most built-in keyers, but most hams use the built-in keyer.

.          Charles

PS -- the "Learn on a straight key, or learn on a paddle?" debate has gone on forever, and won't stop soon.  My vote is "learn on a paddle".   There are many old threads on this topic, in this forum.

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KD0ACY
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Posts: 91




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« Reply #12 on: March 08, 2014, 09:30:27 PM »

WOW!!! Am grateful for this wealth of information. I am without a Elmer and am teaching myself. Have had a ticket for a long time and never went to much farther. At this time I am hoping to be on the air by spring. I do have one more question,--- Is there a site that will check your accuracy in sending?
Mike
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VA7CPC
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« Reply #13 on: March 08, 2014, 11:48:51 PM »

"Sending" is the easy part!  The hard part is "receiving".

But to check sending accuracy:

. . . Download and install a computer-based "CW reader" like "CWGet".   "fldigi" also works, but is overkill for this use.

. . . Put your rig's loudspeaker (or your code-practice oscillator) next to the computer's microphone.

. . . Start up the CW reader software, and send some CW.

If the computer-based CW reader can "understand" what you're sending, you're doing very well.

.      Charles
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