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Speed Reducer for Your Vibroplex Bug

Fernando Quinones (N2FQ) on March 10, 2019
View comments about this article!

Here is an inexpensive way to reduce your Champion/Lightning or Original bug speed.

Parts are from the local hardware store or hobby store. You will need one brass tubing and a brass rod that will telescope into the tubing. These come in small quantity packaged.

If you have an Original, take it with you to find a size that will fit over the ARM (shaft where the weights go). The chrome plating thickness will vary a bit on different shafts.

For the Champion, you'll also need one ring terminal that will accept a 10 gauge wire and a hole size for the thumb screw on the weight. The idea is to lengthen the ARM's length, hence reduce the dot speed.

A video here:
https://youtu.be/7l53HnmTuH0

Member Comments:
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Speed Reducer for Your Vibroplex Bug  
by VE1YY on March 10, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
Nicely done design and execution.
 
RE: Speed Reducer for Your Vibroplex Bug  
by K6AER on March 10, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
Nice article execution but why modify a bug for 5 WPM?
 
Speed Reducer for Your Vibroplex Bug  
by WX4O on March 10, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
Why not another weight? Or more weight?
 
RE: Speed Reducer for Your Vibroplex Bug  
by N2FQ on March 10, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
You can. The keyword here is "inexpensive". This is for the person who
has a bug but is not up to speed at the bug lowest setting. With time
and usage he won't need it.
 
RE: Speed Reducer for Your Vibroplex Bug  
by N2FQ on March 10, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
Not a modification, an aid. Similar to those sold or home-brewed.
It's my inexpensive take on it. As for speed, well, If I where to drive
a formula one car, it good for me to start in 1st gear at slow speed
and work up from there.hi..
 
RE: Speed Reducer for Your Vibroplex Bug  
by K5BM on March 11, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
I used a few turns of plumbers solder in the early 60's when when I was a novice. It was great at 5 wpm. After a few months it came off because I was sending cw around 20wpm and reading in my head.
It was only a temporary mod.

Tom,
ex k5zxe
 
Speed Reducer for Your Vibroplex Bug  
by K9CTB on March 11, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
I've seen this technique done before ... The ham who did so used a stainless (or maybe chrome) rod and it looked like part of the original Vibroplex. Cool idea here, but I'm afraid if I did something like this, the extension would have to be the length of my desk. :)

Great article, sir!!

73 de K9CTB
 
Speed Reducer for Your Vibroplex Bug  
by KR4TH on March 11, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
Good explanation and visual demonstration. I tried something similar, but found that the extension would occasionally bum my rig etc. I also added more weight to the pendulum but that changed the swing rhythm from dit to dah and it seemed to sluggish. The best device that I have found is the vibroplex vari-speed, it has a wide range of speeds without additional weights.

Setting up a bug up for our favorite speed may seem like a challenge, but worth the effort. They are fun to use.
 
RE: Speed Reducer for Your Vibroplex Bug  
by KW6LA on March 12, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
Not everyone has the tools, so this is a good example of what you can do with a saw and maybe a soldering iron.
I have a blue race running at 12 wpm. I made a copy of weight out of tungsten. This is double the weight and looks
like the real deal. I have use copper-tungsten ( not as heavy ) also to modify the speed. Good article for those needing
an easy fix for the bug!
 
Speed Reducer for Your Vibroplex Bug  
by KE7FD on March 12, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
I used a test clip attached to the knurled screw which slowed it down. A simple and cheap Novice modification.

Glen
ke7fd
 
Speed Reducer for Your Vibroplex Bug  
by KE7FD on March 12, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
I used a test clip attached to the knurled screw which slowed it down. A simple and cheap Novice modification.

Glen
ke7fd
 
RE: Speed Reducer for Your Vibroplex Bug  
by AC7CW on March 13, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
Quick and dirty: clothespins
 
Speed Reducer for Your Vibroplex Bug  
by W3NUS on March 13, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
I just used a sliding door track limiter available at any hardware store. It has a screw that screws against the rod. It is meant to limit the travel of a sliding door. Fits perfectly on the bug rod and you can add another one if you want. Also, you slow it down to get used to the action of the key.The you can seeod it up. Yu also wantit it slower if you can't copy at fast bug sppeds but want to get used to usin a bug to IMPROVE" your speed!
 
RE: Speed Reducer for Your Vibroplex Bug  
by K3FHP on March 15, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
Some ops consider it polite to answer a QRS op near the speed you are called at. Before I found a Varispeed at a good price, I used a big alligator clip on the weight screw with a bolt screwed into the clip and a wingnut on the bolt. Worked novels though the Vibroplex accessory is certainty more elegant.
 
Speed Reducer for Your Vibroplex Bug  
by KD2E on March 17, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
I tried this around 1973. I've learned that when you change the Vibro to go slower, you alter other characteristics of the "feel".

Have not found a bug able to send in the mid teens nicely, until the VIZ key was introduced.

Granted, the VIZ looks NOTHING near as nice as most any Vibro, but sends so much nicer!
 
A Quickie CHEAPER Way To Do It...  
by VE3CUI on March 17, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
An even quicker & cheaper way to slow down your bug is this: simply put the bug weight on it to its lowest speed, then clip a wooden hinged clothes peg, vertically, on the knurled knob…

Still too fast…? Then slip the metal hood off a PL-259 plug over the peg.

VOILA…!

A SUPER cheap & E-Z mod that can be accomplished in LESS time than it might take you to read all this…!
 
Speed Reducer for Your Vibroplex Bug  
by W5GNB on March 18, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
Seems like a lot of effort to do something as simple as a Clothes Pin can do .....
 
Vibroplex Vari-Speed accessory  
by AA1UY on March 25, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
I bought one of these off of eBay, but it didn't fit on the shaft of my Vibroplex Blue Racer 2000 Deluxe.

Instead, I bought the (admittedly expensive) Vibroplex Vari-Speed accessory which works very well and looks like it's part of the bug.

Per Vibroplex, it will slow down to 13 wpm, but I think it will go lower than that depending upon the number of weights you add and the positioning on the shaft.

It does introduce a tiny bit of lag at lower speeds though.
 
Speed Reducer for Your Vibroplex Bug  
by AA4MB on March 25, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
I have profound respect for anyone who can send with a bug at any speed. I sometimes have issues enough with a keyer, but the awful things I do to Morse when trying to send with a bug defy human description.
 
Speed Reducer for Your Vibroplex Bug  
by N1KW on March 28, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
Speed it up, don't slow it down!
 
Speed Reducer for Your Vibroplex Bug  
by K7MH on March 30, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
Now get out the Brasso and polish the speed reducer up!
You can also use a piece of K&S stainless steel tubing to closer match the chrome.
 
Speed Reducer for Your Vibroplex Bug  
by KF7ATL on April 1, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
I did something similar. I took apart the telescoping antenna from an old am/fm radio, and found a section that fit snuggly over the rod. Then it was simply a matter of moving the weight out past the damper until I found a speed that I liked.
 
Speed Reducer for Your Vibroplex Bug  
by K2IZ on April 2, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
I'm at the age where the arthritis is really starting to bother me, using a straight key for any length of time actually starts hurting. I'm using an original Vibro-plex and besides the original weight I found that adding additional weight helps slow the bug down enough to talk with the new people. Home Depot of Lowe's, brass stair gauges, with tax $5.00 for two of them, one of them fits nicely over the reed behind the other weight. If I want to speed up I just switch over to my keyer
 
Speed Reducer for Your Vibroplex Bug  
by WA4DOU on May 8, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
I won't be critical of the author, who found and carried out his solution, successfully.
In '65, when I acquired my first bug, a Vibroplex Champion, I had to teach myself to use it, since it was right handed and I was left. Left handed bugs were rare. Surprisingly, the transition was pretty easy. I took the down and dirty way of slowing it down for the short time I needed to. I used a clothes pin.
 
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