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Reviews Categories | Keys & Paddles | Begali Intrepid Help

Reviews Summary for Begali Intrepid
Begali Intrepid Reviews: 17 Average rating: 4.8/5 MSRP: $590 incl. shipping
Description: Innovative mechanical bug with magnetic adjustments
Product is in production.
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W2RS Rating: 5/5 Jul 2, 2017 07:22 Send this review to a friend
Well worth the effort  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
As several reviewers have said, getting all the adjustments right can be complicated, but once that's done, the results well justify the effort. Piero's innovative magnetic design has produced a highly personalized key which is a joy to use.

My Intrepid came with a cable having three wires: red, white and bare. The bare copper wire goes to ground, while the others go to the two insulated posts. For right-handed operation, red goes to the side labeled "R"; reverse that for left handed operation.

For operation with Ten-Tec rigs, add a jumper between the two insulated posts. No jumper is needed for Elecraft.

This is my second Begali product; the other is a Signature iambic paddle. Neither is cheap, but the quality is well worth the price.
W6FCS Rating: 5/5 Apr 30, 2015 17:24 Send this review to a friend
Best Semi-Auto key ever  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
It is necessary to try all of the interactive adjustments this key offers. When you find the settings that work great for you, use it, but don't stop experimenting. If you come back to the same settings again, then you do not need to adjust any more.
I have a number of Vibroplex "Bugs" ranging in age from yr 1918 to 2014. They are now kept on the shelf in favor of this masterpiece of engineering.
I also ordered the plastic cover for it to keep it looking new.
N4LQ Rating: 2/5 Apr 7, 2015 10:22 Send this review to a friend
One of the worst bugs ever  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I used one for a while and it was almost impossible to adjust correctly. Also I have heard several others on the air and they all had bad contact bounce problems which causes a slurring or sloppy sound when transitioning from dit to dah. Even after many attempts to adjust out the bounce, the owners seem to have given up. Personally I feel this bug is overly complex plus way over priced and virtually any old Vibroplex can do a better job.
K6LPQ Rating: 5/5 Sep 25, 2014 05:25 Send this review to a friend
I'm impressed  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I finally bought my Intrepid at Dayton Hamvention 2014 after months of watching youTube videos and reading everything I could find. Others here have described the perfection of the Begali Intrepid, so I will not bore you with repeated details. The reviews here helped make my decision.

A plus for waiting for Dayton to buy the Intrepid was the opportunity to meet Bruna and Piero--wonderful people who go beyond what is expected to help with the purchase.

I will say one thing that is repeated over and over. The Begali Intrepid has become my favorite key.
N0YJ Rating: 5/5 Jan 11, 2013 18:12 Send this review to a friend
A great key  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I got my Intrepid in October of last year, it has been a true pleasure to operate. It arrived in perfect shape, and well adjusted. I played with the adjustments a bit to suit my style of sending, and was amazed at how consistent and repeatable the adjustments are. This is a great design, and the build and materials are first rate. I would highly recommend this key to anyone who enjoys CW, you will not be disappointed. I own two vibroplex bugs, an original, and a blue racer. I also have a Viz Key vertical bug, they are all fine keys, but honestly the Intrepid is the best hands down.
KA2Z Rating: 5/5 Apr 2, 2012 23:15 Send this review to a friend
Intrepid #083  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
First, the Intrepid arrived beautifully packaged with a real nice QSL card signed by Piero. The instruction booklet is really beautiful also on the cover. My name, date, serial number, and again signed by Piero! Nice!
Was the instruction booklet clear and well written? I have no idea. The type font is so small I could not read it. Even with a magnifying glass it was too much eye strain.
I initially had trouble wiring it. It came with a hook up cable with a 1/8 male connector on each end. I guessed I was supposed to cut it in half and have a spare cable. OK. Now I have the three wires, red, white, and green, and three terminals on the Bug, two insulated and a ground. I matched the red, and white to the two insulated lugs and the green to ground. I got dashes but no dots. I then started trying different combinations of hook up, leaving off the ground, using a jumper, etc. six different wiring methods before I thought to myself, "Is it possible that the green wire is not the ground?" Yes, that was it. I was always raised green is ground, but not here. It took me two days to figure this out. It's time consuming because you have to carefully secure the bug on its side while attaching the small wires, being careful not to scratch, or possibly drop it! So for your info, with the included cable the Begalis use the correct hook up is red, and green wires go to the insulated lugs and the white is the ground.
I got the basics on adjusting the Intrepid from the fine U Tube video by IK0YGJ.
I started to adjust my Intrepid. I worked with L1 the dot contact. I noticed as I rotated the adjustment screw the contact point did not remain true to center, it rotated spiraling slightly away from center. Not sure if this is a known acceptable action, or if perhaps the internal spring on my bug was creating this movement in the floating conical contact, possibly due to a part slightly out of tolerance. But this is insignificant on the Intrepid. And I want to comment here that this has always been a huge problem with the Vibroplex bugs. No matter what angle or spacing is used with the dot contact adjustment on the Vibroplex you can never get a crisp clean contact because the flat nose contact will never mate flush with the flat contact on the pendulum because the pendulum is traveling on a radius to try to mate with a contact that is at the wrong angle. This is where Piero really deserves a lot of credit. His design using a conical contact point with the internal spring reflecting energy back to the pendulum has beautifully solved this problem. No more mushy dots!
I love the way I can fine tune the dot spacing with L4. Also the R2 and R3 adjustment screws provide great fine tuning of the dash spacing.
I really love this Intrepid bug. The adjustment screws are well laid out and very intuitive to use. I wanted to practice sending before I got on the air with it. I sent the whole book of John from the Bible through my keyer with the Intrepid. Made a few more minor tweaks as I got warmed up. After, I noted nothing had loosened up, or needed to be readjusted. I had no fatigue in my wrist.
The Intrepid is really fun to use. I'm looking forward to a long and loving relationship with it as I burn up the low bands!

N0PL Rating: 5/5 Mar 31, 2012 17:26 Send this review to a friend
Super Bug  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
What a bug!! I've had mine for a month or better and it does what it is supposed to do and it does it effortlessly. It is truly a piece of art that functions as good (better) than it looks. I've used all the other forms of bugs from the coffin box to the Presentation and this Begali is in a league of it's own. It brings more joy to CW. If you like the feel of a bug, you can't go wrong with this Intrepid!
K1DPE Rating: 5/5 Sep 12, 2011 17:38 Send this review to a friend
Wonderful Key!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Got the key 2 weeks ago and I sure am impressed with the quality of this key. Adjustments with the instructions were very easy to do. Personalizing to your taste/feel takes some tweeking but not like constantly on the Vibroplex. Bruna was quick with email responses and very courteous (pretty too!). I like this key very much. It is a present to myself after a life threatening motorcycle accident. (She hit me in my lane head-on, and I survived. LOL)
WB2LQF Rating: 5/5 Jul 11, 2011 20:18 Send this review to a friend
Redefines "semi-automatic" key!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
The only bugs I've ever used have been Vibroplexes. They work fine; I just wanted something different. I felt that after 51 years of Vibroplexes, I need to be "refreshed". Well -- I got my wish! The Begali Intrepid is an amazing marriage of cw history, modern technology, and artistic Italian execution. I had a heck of a time getting it adjusted "just right" and that's a testament to the absolute adjustment control one has over this key. But, once adjusted, I hooked it up in parallel with my paddle/keyer, adjusted it to the old commercial speed (18 wpm) and made a digital recording of the same paragraph with each. Hard to tell the difference between the keyer output and the Intrepid. Once adjusted, the transitions between dits and dahs were so much easier to make than with my Vibroplex. The magnetic return is truly innovative and provides a level of precision that no spring key could hope to match. The Intrepid is a handsome key just sitting there on the desk. It's massive weight means it is going to stay exactly where you put it and it doesn't need anything underneath it to help it stay there, either. This is the most expensive bug I've ever owned. It's also the very best bug I've ever owned. One more thing - all my Vibroplexes needed to be debounced, even after installing brand new contacts. The Intrepid keys very clean; debounce unnecessary.
K4MSG Rating: 5/5 Dec 29, 2010 20:03 Send this review to a friend
Truly innovative!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I received Begali Intrepid s/n 049 for Christmas 2010, shipped from the U.S. distributor in Ohio. I had waited for a very long time before ordering one, mostly because of the price, but I finally decided to see what the fuss with Begali instruments was all about. I’ll save a little time in this review by saying that every glowing comment about workmanship, finish, etc., already made are right on the money, IMO. I cannot imagine any telegraph instrument being better made or better looking than a Begali.

Now to the nuts & bolts of using it: I am a die-hard bug user. I do not care for keyer paddles or electronic keyers, whether single-level, dual level, iambic or whatever. That’s why I bought the Intrepid instead of one of Begali’s other stunning instruments, i.e., to replace my aging Lionel J-36 with something more “21st Century” but still a “bug”. The Begali has not disappointed me in any way. The innovative design, incorporating the clever use of both “push” and “pull” magnets for control, allows a range of adjustments unmatched by anything on a conventional bug (by “conventional” I mean “of the basic Vibroplex-type design”).

From the get-go the Intrepid is a bit daunting because of the number of adjustments, but a little time spent with the manual doing a basic set-up, followed by tweaking this and that to see what controls what, will lead to an understanding of how the set-up can be varied to suit the user. The “feel” is somewhat different than a conventional bug and I get a distinct sense that an operator who uses a keyer paddle will probably acclimate quicker to the “feel” of the Intrepid than I did. But the better acclimated to it I become the more I find it extremely pleasurable to use.

The heavy base – I think it’s something on the order of 2.7 kilos (6 lbs) - is a godsend; this bug does NOT move, EVER, and I tend to have a heavy hand (I’m from the McElroy school of bug users, i.e., “You gotta slap that thing around,” etc.). It is also so SMOOTH that I’ve found myself making occasional mistakes with it because my hand & brain are used to having to “self-tweak” on the fly while sending to overcome the vagaries of the old J-36 (and several other “all-spring” bugs I own). However, I’m learning that if I just RELAX that the Intrepid is eminently predictable and just doesn’t have those kinds of idiosyncrasies; it always sends the same way no matter what I’m sending, and one of the real beauties of it is the “fineness” of the adjustments that allows me to tailor it to my hand.

There is the question of price, of course, and while the Intrepid has to be near the top if not at the top of that list I believe that its truly innovative design places it in a class by itself and, at least to me, well worth the price. I happen to own another very high-priced (and at the time of its original inception, truly innovative) item that is sometimes ridiculed these days because of its high cost – a Questar telescope – and I put the Intrepid in the same class with the Questar. Despite a high acquisition cost its beauty, innovative design and smoothness of operation qualify it for the same description favored by Questar owners around the world in describing their instruments, i.e., “functional art.”

A special thanks to Bruna Begali for her unsurpassed customer service, and to Piero Begali, I2RTF, for his wonderful skill & insight in designing such a world-class “bug.” Horace Martin would have loved it!
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