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Reviews Categories | Keys & Paddles | Vibroplex Square Racer Help


Reviews Summary for Vibroplex Square Racer
Vibroplex Square Racer Reviews: 13 Average rating: 4.7/5 MSRP: $139.95
Description: Iambic paddle with magnetic return
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.vibroplex.com
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K8AC Rating: 5/5 Apr 29, 2012 17:26 Send this review to a friend
A very nice quality paddle  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I recently purchased one of these new to keep at a remote location. At home I use a Begali, and didn't expect much from this paddle, but the price was right. I was surprised at the quality of the chrome plating and the smoothness of the action. This is a first class paddle. One other reviewer pointed out that the cord was a bit stiff - he's right, but that's a simple and inexpensive fix. It escapes me why anyone would pay double or more the price of this paddle for something else.
 
K3DNF Rating: 3/5 Dec 17, 2011 10:40 Send this review to a friend
OK paddle  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Once set up, this paddle is pleasant to use. Mine was backordered prior to the beginning of the holiday shopping season, so it may have been rushed out of the factory, but in any case, the paddle arrived in NO shape to perform. The instruction sheet said it should be factory set to use out of the box. Not so. Magnets were backed out all the way with NO return tension. Both contacts and both magnets needed reset. Also, the instruction sheet had several mixed up nuts/posts which were obvious, but perhaps not so obvious to some. I am light handed, yet find I need to readjust the magnets more frequently that I think I should. After reading several reviews here, I see I am not alone in this regard. I love my vibroplex original bug, but this paddle does not rate the same quality as the bug. Perhaps a minor gripe, but the supplied cord was very non-pliable and cumbersome. I would prefer to have my own cord. Easy fix.
 
K0XY Rating: 5/5 Jun 8, 2011 08:04 Send this review to a friend
...a bit of an odd duck but a real "quaker"  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
...for the price the VSR gets a 5 ! It's looks great on the desk, its' a Vibroplex, has a similar feel to the BY-2 (magnetic return) sets up easily once you know how (see below), and sends flawless CW !!! ...it is NOT a $500 work-of-art

...the initial setup, per the instructions, does not mention that the lever arms should be set slightly loose, if they are tight, the keyer will not work, Period ! and if they are too loose then the keyer lever arms can detach during heavy keying...remember tight or sloppy is NOT GOOD for this setting.

...once the lever arms are set you can than set the paddle spacing, contact spacing and paddle tension per the instructions...sort of

...the only "gotcha" is that paddle tension is set by moving the magnets "in or out"...the manual says use a twisting motion and that is misleading...the magnets are moved with a slight push-pull motion, just make certain that you do not remove the magnets during the push-pull action as the result will be similar to that of a nuclear reactor with the control rods removed !

all-in-all, a nice paddle for the price...enjoy !

 
KB2SEO Rating: 5/5 Aug 12, 2009 21:09 Send this review to a friend
Easy, Fun Stays Put SMOOTH  Time owned: more than 12 months
I got my Square Racer as a Christmas Gift from my All Ham Family! I am a Straight Key guy- but was recovering from some nerve damage in my right hand and subsequent surgery- this Key has been great on my IC-718. I run it in Reverse paddle mode- But I can run left or right hand- I am not a speed demon- But I can kick up a notch or three with this great paddle- I had no trouble adjusting, setting it up- Screws doing anything -I READ THE INSTRUCTIONS FIRST!

I owned a Original Bug- made in 1913. I would give ANYTHING to get it back- But I am so Happy to have a Vibroplex on my Desk- I know my elmer would be proud!
 
WT4C Rating: 5/5 Jun 30, 2007 19:09 Send this review to a friend
Replaces my BY-2 of 25 years.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I've never used a smoother paddle.

I'm satisfied and it's remarkable with my CMOS-4 keyer.

Slim
WT4C
 
N9SKN Rating: 4/5 Jan 26, 2007 20:49 Send this review to a friend
A kit worth assembling  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Vibroplex Square Racer Deluxe (Purchased new)

It's my first commercial paddle, and Vibroplex has been at this a long time, so consider that fact if I was surprised with some of this. For feel I have nothing to compare it to other than my hacksaw blade homebrew job I was practicing on.

However I also work everyday inspecting and maintaining machines and their sub-mechanisms so remember that as well.

Now that my opinion is qualified, I would like to share my thoughts on it as there are not many reviews for this newer model.

Since it appears to share the same lever mechanism, I later found that I completely agree with the below comments by other HAMS in the "Square Brass Racer" reviews at EHAM:

.....................
"The screws attaching the paddle arms are supposed to be "loose". This is not a very easy concept to replicate. If the screws are tightened snug the paddles don't work."
.....................
Agreed. This should be the first and most critical adjustment IMO. Following the instructions order when setting up the paddle - they omitted this most important part.
I found this adjustment very sensitive - and everything else is based on it. Also even if I got it right it would change after a couple of QSO's. The answer for me was BLUE/medium strength/NOT RED Loctite on the ends of the two trunnion screws. Now it stays where I leave it. I adjusted my trunnion screws so that just a very, very slight bit of play was evident while simultanously pulling out and moving up and down the finger pieces at the ends of the lever arms.

.....................
"Adjustments change and are hard to dial in"

"Does not seem like the unit will stay in adjustment if it is moved. Magnet adjustments are not held in place with anything other than friction. Seems like they could move on their own."
.....................

The magnet holder retension is not strong enough IMO either. The magnet holders do not stay in place due to stronger magnetic force when adjusted closer to the lever arms. The magnet holder tension spring and ball mechanism does not generate enough friction to retain the magnet holders at these closer positions. The magnet will simply slide and then 'snap' on to the lever arm at these closer magnet gap / higher tension settings. Thankfully that much tension is not to my own liking.

.....................
"The adjustments for spacing kept moving, so was constantly having to be adjusted. The magnet wasn't very strong, and moved a lot too."
.....................

I applied a small amount of BLUE/medium strength/NOT RED Locktite to my contact post screws as well as I also found them to actually vibrate and 'buzz' in the posts. Otherwise the gap would change along with some of the other adjustments after a few QSO's.

.....................
"I really like the magnetic 'snapiness' over traditional spring action. It has a really nice feel, and I really enjoy using it."
.....................

Yep, it does have a nice feel and thats the perfect word "Snap" as the lever tension feels like it 'unsnaps' as the fingerpiece is squeezed due to the return force decreasing instead of increasing (As with springs).

I also replaced my two nylon lever arm adjustment screws with 8/32 thread X 3/4 inch black steel ones from the hardware store and used a very small amount of BLUE Locktite on those as well.

I was rewarded in the end with an enjoyable, snappy, and light feel that now stays where I put it.

The price was reasonable. The support and parts you know ain't gonna go away. The looks are terrific. Just be prepared to spend some time setting it up and realize that unless you take some precautions regarding threaded fastener retention right from the beginning that you will be doing it over and over alot. Calling Vibroplex may have been of some help in this matter - but I chose not to.

5 for feel - after all that
4 for quality - due to the abscence of providing fastener retention

Aaron / N9SKN
 
K1FT Rating: 5/5 Jan 17, 2007 16:59 Send this review to a friend
Good Magnetic key  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I've used the square racer for about 6 months along with a Begali Simplex and a Schurr Portable Wabbler and have to say I find my cw less prone to error with this key than I do with the other two at about 30 wpm. I've used the other two for 7 years and 2 years respectively. Go figure. For high speed cw, it might be a different story, but for speeds up to 30 this key has a wonderful light feel. It holds adjustment well, although it takes a tool to change the gap. Given the Simplex or this key, I would chose the Vibroplex. The Schurr is in another class. The best thing about cw and paddles, is that everyone has an opinion that is correct for themselves.
 
NS6Y_ Rating: 5/5 Oct 19, 2006 22:41 Send this review to a friend
This wonderful key deserves a 5  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
OK, I figured out why the plastic paddle pieces on this shattered overnight, on a new key - LOCTITE. Yes, I'm one of those careful kind of people and just like I do with HT belt clips etc., I put a bit of blue loc-tite on the screws that hold the paddle pieces on. Well, how does loc-tite work? It seeps into cracks and expands. So, it seeps into the plastic/metal gap, expands, creates cracks which is seeps into, expandes, making more cracks.......

The stuff can just amazingly screw these plastic paddle pieces up!

My punishment for this poor decision was I had to prove I really care about CW by making new paddle pieces, which I did, out of thick PCB material, the new ones are cool and of a neat funky color.

Other than this, that you just have to keep your darned loc-tite in the toolbox, this is a great key. After a bit of adjustment, I showed it off to my CW fiend friend Dr. Dit, and he couldn't stop playing with it - I eventually had to unplug it from the rig and take it away since I had to go.

This is just a very nice key.
 
NS6Y_ Rating: 4/5 Oct 18, 2006 13:03 Send this review to a friend
Paddles not soldier-proof  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I got this at Pacificon. Got to try out a number of keys there and have experience with several keys - this is a very nice feeling key. Size, weight, stability, good fine feel, etc.

HOWEVER........

I put my new key together last night (put the paddles on) and this morning I just found out one of the paddles broke off!

Seems to be a brittle type break of the plastic, starting at the locator pin. The only thing that's bumped these is my modem cable so, it may be some stress caused by tightening the screw since if it's loose the paddle rattles.

I'm going to make new paddles out of PCB material, just take any piece of PCB, strip the copper off, or use blank stuff if you can get it, drill your holes, and attach. I will probably thread the locator holes, I have some small taps around here. Good thing I save all those neat little stainless Posidriv screws from HP stuff.......

Really neat key though, the only other improvement I can think of is the put a holder for the Allen wrench on the bottom so it will store like on the HexKey.
 
KG9HV Rating: 5/5 Apr 21, 2006 21:03 Send this review to a friend
Nice feel to it  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I am not a fan of all Vibroplex keys,but I do
like this one alot. I wanted a paddle with a light touch and the Square Racer has that feel.
If you are heavy handed, then this is probably
not for you. I use this while the Kent and GHD
sit on the shelf.
 
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