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Author Topic: Bugs  (Read 1998 times)

Posts: 215

« on: September 14, 2003, 01:42:30 AM »

I've recently been sorta taking inventory of my hand keys and bugs.

Among my modest collection, I have my father's first hand key from 1929 and his 1st Vibroplex.

When I got my first job in 1962, Christmas rolled around and I tried to think of a nice present for my father. I knew that he had used that old Vibroplex for many years, so I decided to buy him a new bug for Christmas.

The place to go in those days was Crabtree's Electronics on Ross downtown Dallas. Sure enough, in the display case, they had a brand new Vibroplex gold plated "Presentation" model for $29.95. At my salary of $1.25 an hour, that was quite an investment, but it was for my Old Man. I bought it and gift wrapped it.

I presented it to him on Christmas morning and even hooked it up in place of the old one.

I was sure surprised that about a week later, the new bug was in the desk drawer and the old bug was back in use.

Just today, I wired both bugs in parallel, and compared the two.

I'll be darned if the old bug doesn't have a nicer feel, and is easier to use. (It's the one I learned on back in the 50's). Recently, after researching serial numbers, I found that his 1st bug was manufactured in 1924.

I've been fooling with the new bug trying to make it "feel" right.

Think I'll have to agree with my old man, the old bug is probably the one that I will use.

                        John   K5CEY


Posts: 38


« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2003, 10:31:13 PM »

Interesting story.  It could be that you Dad was just used to the feel of the older model, but upon your testing of them both, it could be the newer bug was not as nice.  
I only have one bug in my collection.  It is a nearly mint condition Vibroplex Presentation, made in 1955, and was purchased by my father-in-law for my birthday a couple years ago at an auction.  It had belonged to the last land-line operator for the railroad in my town, and when he retired, they retired CW, and he got to keep the key.  After he passed, his estate was auctioned, and now the bug is alive again, and on the air, making QSOs.  I would think that somewhere out there, that old landline operator would think it well that CW survived him, and that someone found his bug and put it to good use.  Since I'm only 37, hopefully it will have a few good years left. Smiley
Anyway, I only have that one, and after spending a long time mastering it, I notice that I get pretty picky on how it is set.  I've always heard that bug operators get really personal with their bugs and how they are set.  Your post seems to confirm this as well.  Thanks for the post.  It was interesting to read.  73

Posts: 9


« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2003, 11:50:48 AM »

When I got my General license two years ago now, I wanted very badly to use my Dad's old bug to work CW with the ol' FT-101E, but couldn't find it anywhere!  Not willing to wait, I went out and bought a brand new Vibroplex Standard Original and started making contacts! I was having the time of my life - not knowing any better, when my sister told me she had found Dad's old '54 Blue Racer when she was cleaning out the house, which we were preparing to sell after my mother had passed away.

Long story short, Dad's old bug feels so smooth compared to the new one! In fact, while I'm trying to learn the feel of a new iambic with the built-in keyer of my FT-1000D, I'll often 'need' to go back to the bug to send with fewer mistakes.  I guess I need more time to get used to the keyer...  Well, the 'new' Original is used very infrequently now and I will continue practicing with the iambic, but for now anyway, Dad's old Blue Racer is my "go-to" key!
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