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Reviews Categories | Keys & Paddles | Vibroplex Blue Racer Help

Reviews Summary for Vibroplex Blue Racer
Vibroplex Blue Racer Reviews: 23 Average rating: 4.4/5 MSRP: $189.95 (Standard), $229.95 (Delu
Description: Colorful bug
Product is in production.
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You can write your own review of the Vibroplex Blue Racer.

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K5RIX Rating: 5/5 Sep 8, 2006 05:34 Send this review to a friend
Super Bug for the Experienced  Time owned: more than 12 months
I must take issue with some here who claim that the "old" Vibroplexes, by definition, are better than these contemporary examples. This current crop from Alabama are of the highest quality, and of much more consistent performance unit-to-unit than any generation of Vibroplexes I have ever encountered.

The current Y2K Blue Racer may not be the way to get your feet wet with regard to semi-auto keys. But if you know yer way around, these little beasts just scream. All the adjustments are there, the exact same as a current Original. The parts are the best in the history of this fabled name. I do wish they still used nickle plating, though. I also wish the 20th Century Limited still ran.

I have a Vibroplex Original s/n 86416 manufactured in 1922 that sends the very best code, but even with two weights doesn't go below about 27 WPM. My Y2K Blue Racer sends about 25 WPM at the low end. Yet I own a c.1940 Lightning bug that can slug along at about 18 WPM. In my oppinion, the Lightning Bug/Champion/Zypher mechanism is inferior. I own a c.1960 Original that will go down to approximately 22 WPM. The whole thing is the spring rate of the particular piece and particular construction of each instrument. Each machine is different. Like the weather, if ya don't like it, just wait.

The current Vibroplex Y2K Blue Racer is a superb key. Even with modern manufacturing, the spring is the thing. Choose yours well. If you don't know, try a bunch. If you can't try a bunch, by all means improve your code and use the one you can get. If the guy/gal on the other end can only go 20 WPM, you can always use the dash paddle like a straight key. In fact, I do believe that was one of the original design objectives of Mr. Martin. Still there, and you don't need to break the law to buy one.
W6TH Rating: 5/5 Mar 26, 2006 10:41 Send this review to a friend
A pleasure bug.  Time owned: more than 12 months
I first started using the Vibroplex bugs back in the year of 1937/1938, both ham radio, commercial and military service. I have tried many different models in time. I find each and every model has a different feel and a different speed, dot to dash ratio.

Of all the Vibroplex bugs I find that my Blue Racer model (Y2K) year 2000 is a very fast bug for the more advanced operator. My Y2K came with just one weight and that is what I found is all needed for my operating skill, you may require two weights.

In my opinion, I believe that the Y2K surpasses all other Vibroplex bugs for higher speed and more for the more experienced cw operator.

Remember: Practice makes perfect, but don't try to sound like a keyboard and we will know who you are just by your sending techniques.

N2DE Rating: 5/5 Mar 9, 2004 16:29 Send this review to a friend
Blue Nostalgia  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I couldn't quite resist the temptation to have a Blue Racer with a blue base in the display cabinet, so I ordered a Blue Racer 2000 from Vibroplex ... This truly is a nice looking bug, and to my eye the Blue Racers have the most attractive form factor of all Vibroplexes. Compared to some older Vibroplex bugs that I own, I was surprised to find that you can adjust it down to fairly moderate speeds (I always thought of the Blue Racer as a high-speed only bug), and the workmanship seems as good as with any other Vibroplex key that I have seen. Although I'm much more at home with my Begali iambic paddles, and for bug nite I would probably prefer my Frattini Semi-Magnetico, I think this one will not only collect dust in the cabinet - it just looks too nice to not be taken out every now and then!
VE7BGP Rating: 5/5 Dec 14, 2003 13:29 Send this review to a friend
As Cute as a Little Bug  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I recently picked up an old Blue Racer Standard and a Mint '68 Original Standard from a local ham that put an add in the local Static our club's news letter. Boy was I thrilled to see a little post WW II Black Based Blue Racer sitting there. The serial # label is missing but it has the black crackle painted base and the lock screw for the trunnion pin making making it circa '48 to '51. It needed a real good cleaning, TLC and I got a couple of correct looking weights made up by machinist friends. Oh Boy! do I ever like this little Bug it has a real nice feel and action to it. It's a "real" Blue Racer with the smaller Castings not like the new sawed off Original they So Call a Blue Racer and charge Big $$ for. I am looking forward to the next Bug Nite and hope to see other Blue Racer and Lightning users out there on the air. See you on 40 or 15 low end.
AF8X Rating: 5/5 Mar 10, 2003 11:19 Send this review to a friend
Great key  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
The first Blue Racer I ordered was damaged in shipping. The second was also damaged in shipping. I emailed Mitch W4OA, owner of Vibroplex and he assured me that the problem would be taken care of. I think next time I will order directly fro Vibroplex rather than save a few buck from a dealer. As far as the quality of the key, it is first class and pretty to boot.
K6TBR Rating: 5/5 Jul 24, 2002 18:22 Send this review to a friend
Silky Smooth Bug!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I've operated CW primarily since upgrading to General class and have only used a Vibroplex bug except for a straight key for slower speeds. I started with a Original Standard , brand new, and loved it despite lack of 'jeweled' movement. I then found my father's old Standard Blue Racer, circa 1954, which also lacks the jeweled movement, but oh, the ol' Blue Racer is so much smoother than the new 'Original'! One drawback to these bugs is the inability to set less than about 25 wpm character speed, but one is able to separate words to compensate. Haven't used a bug tamer per se, but have added extra weight to existing hardware to slow things to about 20 wpm characters, give or take.
KB8WFH Rating: 5/5 Apr 15, 2002 22:20 Send this review to a friend
A pleasure to use  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I have an old champion bug and a new Millennium Blue Racer. Aside from the attractive looks of the Millenium bug, I very much enjoy using it. I was able to adjust the bug to a proper sending speed and smooth operation. My champion is a good key also, but the Blue Racer is a clean, simple key to use with my FT-100. My experience with this key has been very positive and I would recommend it to others.
ADAM12 Rating: 5/5 Dec 7, 2001 21:23 Send this review to a friend
Wonderful !  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I recently bought a Deluxe (all-chromed) Blue Racer 2000 and I love it !

I had a recent "Original Deluxe Bug" before it and the Blue Racer 2000 Deluxe is every bit as good as the "Original" which is not surprising considering most of the parts used are the same.

Although lighter and narrower than the "Original", the solid 2.5 inch wide base is plenty heavy and stays where it's put.

The chrome is truly immaculate, the adjustable contacts can be made to meet perfectly and the mechanism is very smooth after tightening everything up (above and below deck).

I also had some dealings with Vibroplex Customer Service as I thought there was a problem with the bug (problem was actually with the radio). They bent over backwards to be of help and I can't say enough good things about them.

That experience aside, I'm thrilled with the Blue Racer 2000 Deluxe and it has center stage on my operating desk.
K6JHR Rating: 5/5 Sep 22, 2001 21:57 Send this review to a friend
A1 Quality  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
After reading the previous reviews here, I wasn't sure I wanted a bug. But I kept remembering how, years ago, when I was first on the air, I had saved my quarters and dollars until I could afford one. I remembered how much I had enjoyed the feel, how much I practiced with it to learn its ways--so much different than a straight key.
So I bought one (with the knowledge that Vibroplex has always stood behind its products with a no-questions-asked money-back policy). It arrived 3 days ago, and it is beautiful. The chrome glistens, the blue is flawless--and the operation is perfect!
It was almost completely set up, but I went through the drill anyway, a quarter turn here, a trial with the VOM there. Then some getting used to it. Watch those extra dits! Careful of the length of the dahs.
Muscle memory began to take over after a while, but I still have a ways to go. But I've been smiling all day.

Cap, K6JHR
KD7IZZ Rating: 2/5 Apr 4, 2001 01:36 Send this review to a friend
Disappointing  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
The Blue Racer was the vibroplex I didn't have. I had all the other models in the post WWII era and had tested them out, taken them apart, and learned their speed and feel. So I ordered a Millenium Blue Racer and tried it out. I was disappointed. There is no set screw on the wand so that the height of the wand can not be permanently set on the trunion post. The wand is simply press fit on the pivot post. The result is that the contacts cannot be securely lined up on the Millenium Blue Racer. That is why some reviews and some users have found it impossible to line up contacts.

Also, this bug feels loose and sloppy when used. This contrasts with the bugs I have studied and used from the 1960s and 1970s and is the true test of a bug. My deluxe original from 1966 is smooth and silky, wonderful to use. I am unsure why there is this sloppy quality in the action of the Millenium Blue Racer. I had a crackle blue model, not the deluxe, and so it was not a jeweled movement (at least not in the model I had). This may explain some of the difference but I doubt if it explains all the difference in feel. To add to this, the paint on the bug on the label is poorly applied and does not speak to good quality. In sum, I was greatly dissapointed by the Millenium Blue Racer. There are better vibroplex bugs around for those of us who are fascinated by cw, radio, and the romance of the vibroplex name.
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