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Reviews Categories | Keys & Paddles | Vibroplex Original "Presentation" Bug. Help

Reviews Summary for Vibroplex Original "Presentation" Bug.
Vibroplex Original Reviews: 12 Average rating: 4.8/5 MSRP: $299.00
Description: Vibroplex's top of the line Bug, with jewel movement, super speed control adjustable main spring and 24-karat gold base top.
Product is in production.
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You can write your own review of the Vibroplex Original "Presentation" Bug..

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N5LB Rating: 5/5 Feb 6, 2015 08:44 Send this review to a friend
Vibroplex Prentation  Time owned: more than 12 months
By the S/N mine was built in 1966 and I bought it at a hamfest for $10 in the early 70's; one of my better ham purchases. Recently I replaced the dot/dash contacts with service and parts from Vibroplex. The fast turnaround and new contacts and I am back to enjoying my bug. I believe the normal slow speed is around 20 wpm so I will slow down some more with either vari-speed or greater than 1 oz. weight for SKCC and such. This key is fun to use and once setup stays setup.
N6BIZ Rating: 5/5 May 22, 2014 15:48 Send this review to a friend
TERRIFC  Time owned: more than 12 months
W0EAJ Rating: 5/5 Jul 16, 2011 06:56 Send this review to a friend
Vibroplex PresDxe  Time owned: more than 12 months
I loved W4AMW's write up. I have a '64 PresDeluxe - used it as a Radioman in Uncle's Navy, and still do. It has "USN" in chrome letters atop it - got it in pieces from a fellow RM, and fixed it on Guam Island. I've had a bunch, including a WOODEN bug, made from scraps of packing crate spring, BIG copper wire, and lead for weights - yep, it worked! Most famous is my Johnson Speed-X that I used to send traffic concerning Kennedy's death, the Tonkin Gulf "incident", and our "official" entry into the Vietnam war. It flies, but you have to screw it to the table, as it does NOT stay still like the Vib. I can't use those silly keyers - sound like a 1st. class LID - so stick to my BUG - There's a REASON they're still around. ZUT AR
W4AMW Rating: 5/5 Jan 26, 2010 14:37 Send this review to a friend
BEST KEY I HAVE EVER USED  Time owned: more than 12 months
My folks gave me my first Vibroplex Original in 1964. I still have it and it works great. I have a few other bugs that have some story attached to them. One is a 1944 Blue Racer from the USS George Davis. I have a 1946 Original from a lady telegraher on a shortline railroad in Idaho. I have W4OYI's (SK) first bug, a 1950 Champion. George was the best CW operator I have ever known or heard. When he fired up at 50 wpm it was strictly "hang on to your lugnuts boys, it's going to be a rough ride tonight." He was my mentor and goto guy for all things dit dah.

These are all grand keys but my best sending bug is a 1951 Presentation I bought from the son of a James Kirk (no, not that one), a young man studying to be a RR telegrapher before he went to Korea. When he came home he followed other paths. His son kept the key all these years and when I bought it three years ago it was almost mint. I have one medium weight on it and I can send 22-40 wpm. It has the adjustable spring others here have mentioned but I have never bothered changing it. It has the best "feel" of any bug I have ever used. My CW buddy, K4FYI, told me he could tell on the air whether or not I was sending with the Presentation or some other key. Feel is hard to describe in so many words. It is an effortless back and forth swing of the wrist and the key seems like it is bolted down to the very bedrock. A great key literally becomes an extension of the brain. After a while you hardly notice it is there sitting on your desk. You "talk" with it just as easily and simply as those fellows with those little black plastic gizmos with the squeezy thing on the side.
K0EWS Rating: 5/5 Jul 1, 2009 21:00 Send this review to a friend
Very Nice!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have a Vibroplex Presentation s/n #188954, which means it was built in 1955. I got it as a present 9 years ago. It is a very nice bug. For being 54 years old, it looks nearly new. The gold plated base shines up very nicely, and the original movement and parts are still there, functioning as they should. I cannot believe how solidly built it is, and how well it performs. I have taken a long time to develop a bug fist, and just love the feel of this thing. As another poster said, what really sets this bug apart is that it has the variable mainspring, which makes it so easy to slow down. With the spring out, and the heavy weight, I can get it down around 10-12 wpm. It is a pity that they removed that variable mainspring from the design. If you can find one that has it, I really recommend it! It is what set the Presentation apart from the others. Anyway, it's been a favorite piece of mine for several years now, and this bug is wonderful! I highly recommend.
W7IS Rating: 5/5 Jan 1, 2006 11:00 Send this review to a friend
Top of the line Product  Time owned: more than 12 months
I purchased my first Presentation Vibroplex in 1958. Since then, I've had a total of 5 Presentations with the adjustable main spring. And all have been top of the line keys. Back in 1958 it took a long process of experimenting with the adjustments before I was satisfied. After a few months of practice, I could finally send code with it as well as any machine generated code. I recently put together a Journal of pictures and other info on all the keys I've used over the years at this web link that you might find interesting.
N1EA Rating: 5/5 Dec 24, 2005 13:01 Send this review to a friend
Not all "Presentations" are equal!  Time owned: more than 12 months
Unfortunately, between 1980 when Vibroplex moved from New York City to Portland, Maine, the Vibroplex Presentation model was changed. I believe it was also discontinued for a while, but when it returned it was not the same "Presentation" as the novel "super speed control adjustable main spring" had been eliminated from the design.

This device was designed by one of the Vibroplex employees and consisted of a mainspring (thin metal spring that sticks out of the think lever bar which is held in the yoke by the trunion screws and swings left to right, the end of which is attached to the vibrating rod on which the weights are attached. On the top of the lever, two machine screws were added and the slot for the mainspring was open on the top of the lever. By loosening the two screws and grasping the lever (or pushing) the mainspring could be lengthened or shortened. This adjustment gave the "Presentation" model a speed range of operation unlike any previous or present model. It could be adjusted to send slower than the "slower" speed Lightning Bug and Champion models, or faster than the speedy smaller scale "Blue Racer" (the original model was scaled down in base size and also the top parts were scaled down.) The current "Blue Racer" again is just a different version of the "Original" bug - with a small base and available only as a jeweled (deluxe) movement - however with "standard" and "deluxe" finishes!

Unfortunately, even the spare parts for this "La-Hiff" adjustable mainspring are depleted from Vibroplex spare parts inventory. If you have one, or get one - keep it. The adjustment isn't something you'd adjust every day - but it is an adjustment that will allow you to personalize your bug to suit you. No other bug allows this range of adjustment. You can tell if your "Presentation" has this adjustable mainspring by looking at the top of the lever - if it has two screws - it has the La-Hiff adjustable mainspring, if not, it is just a gold plated Original.

Except for the finish - a thin gold top plate over the chromed heavy base - the current "Presentation" model sold by Vibroplex is just an "Original Deluxe" model. Vibroplex also (now) sells a "Gold Bug" which eliminated the thin decorative gold plated top plate and instead gold plates the entire heavy base of the key. Except for finish these keys are identical with the "Original Deluxe" models.

There is a difference between the "Original Deluxe" models (and the former (original) "Presentation" and the "Original Standard" and that is that the Deluxe models use a synthetic "Jeweled" movement instead of the metal against metal pin and cup of the "Standard" movement. The "jewel" is NOT the little red decorative plastic piece that is seen in the top of the frame (yoke) of the key. The Standard models have an adjustable trunnion screw which sticks out of the frame. When first made (during the WW2) the Deluxe models had a similar screw (but with a jewel assembly afixed at the end) but it was found that some operators tightened up on the screw and cracked the jewel, so this "feature" was eliminated.

The model reviewed here according to the description is the old "Presentation" with the adjustable mainspring; the new "Presentation" models are simply "Original Deluxe" models with different window dressing of gold plating.


David J. Ring, Jr., N1EA
NC2F Rating: 5/5 Jun 8, 2004 16:31 Send this review to a friend
A class of it's own.  Time owned: more than 12 months
The "5" rating represents everything that the Presentation Bug stands for. It brings us back to a time when adjustment and tighteng out of the box was common place, and even necessary for getting the right fit and feel. The "presentation" aspect brings us those qualities and it does so dressed to the 9's.

The bug is an approach to CW all it's own. If you are an iambic paddler by routine, a bug is simply a different animal requiring more finesse and attention to use. Does that make it bad? Of course not, only different.

A timeless classic all dressed up for it's honor. I have several Vibroplex bugs and the presentation edition is my favorite of them all.

KA4KOE Rating: 5/5 Jun 8, 2004 16:11 Send this review to a friend
Smooth as a baby's behind...  Time owned: more than 12 months
I got mine in 2001 as a first anniversary present from my bride. Absolutely the finest key I have used. It really stops people in their tracks when they wander by the CW part of field day and wonder what that clicking noise is.

A bug is not for everybody, and its definitely not designed for slow sending, which is contrary to its original design intent.

Start on a cheap used Champion or equivalent prior to forking over the dollars for this baby.
Learn on something to decide if you like bugs in the first place.

KB2HSH Rating: 3/5 Jun 8, 2004 15:45 Send this review to a friend
Pretty...but...not built very well  Time owned: more than 12 months
I received a Vibroplex Original Presentation for Christmas back in 1998. It was given to me by my emulate the CW joy my grandfather (W2DGV) derived from his Presentation. Upon receiving my Bug, I was very disheartened to find that the Quality Control had allowed the key to leave the factory with a broken contact. Upon sending it back to the factory, they found "nothing wrong" with it...and promptly shipped it back. However after one week, the Bug failed altogether. It was sent back again, and replaced with yet another Bug. But this one also has defects in that, the "dit" contact/spring combo do not line up properly.

Finally, and I realize that this is personal preference, but I feel that the Bug should come with the different speed weights included, rather than making it an option. Nothing would thrill me more than to have the free time that I had in 1998/1999 so that I may use the Bug at 25+ WPM, but I have a preference to send/receive at around 10/15 WPM.

If not for the fact that my folks bought this key for me, I would have dumped this dog years ago. Hopefully, the older Bugs are built better than mine.
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