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Reviews For: Hi-Mound BK-100 Bug

Category: Keys & Paddles

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Review Summary For : Hi-Mound BK-100 Bug
Reviews: 10MSRP: 140
Japanese-made single lever bug.
Product is in production
More Info:
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
SV1WS Rating: 2019-06-19
VERY NICE BUG Time Owned: more than 12 months.
for the clicks 300nf is solve the problem
ON6AB Rating: 2010-12-31
Very nice bug Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Don't underestimate this one because of its price tag or because it was not made in the USA.
This is a very nice Japanese bug, able to send both slow and very fast code without messing up.
Adjustment is just fine and stays put.
I like it more than many Vibroplexes.
The fact that it's easy to use doesn't mean its for a beginner. It just means its a fine bug.

As with all bugs, use a de-bouncing circuit (reed relay) for use with modern transceivers.
KA2DDX Rating: 2010-12-08
Nice bug Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I had one of these in the sixties and used it extensively. Recently, I reacquired another one and relived old times with it.

If you are a beginner, this will be a great tool to help you build your cw capability.

VK4QC Rating: 2010-12-08
My first bug Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I used one of these when I was a marine radio operator in the '60's. Bought it from an operator I was relieving on some ship in Panama and used for years until it was replaced with an ETM squeeze keyer around 1970. Sent hundreds of QTC's with no trouble. I have two in my small collection but hardly ever use them now as I prefer a paddle. Very easy to use if adjusted properly.
WB5AGF Rating: 2008-05-16
The dream of my early teenage years Time Owned: more than 12 months.

I had to make a review of the old Hi-Mound semiautomatic key. This is going to be purely personal and non-technical but perhaps it will give somebody a good laugh.

When I was an early teenager, probably about 1964, Lafayette Electronics sold the BK-100 under their name. I wanted one so bad but money was in short supply.

I didn't realize it but that desire apparently got stored in long term memory and was just waiting to surface.

When I went to Dayton in either 1994 or 1995 I decided to use the 'technique' for hamfesting expressed by my friend Dr. Fun Fong (W5FS). His belief is that if you're not waiting at the gate at an insanely early hour .... then you're going to miss out on something.

When the gate opened, and the crowd surged forward, I was near the front. I broke left about as early as possible and within not more than 30 seconds I saw a guy set up to sell stuff from the back of his pickup.

I cruised over and was going to take a quick look when my eyes were riveted to a leatherette box. It had a certain 'look' to it. I reached out, picked-up the box, and when I turned it over there was the Lafayette sticker, identifying it as a key. I opened the box (by that time I was getting pretty excited) and ... yes ... it was the key I'd dreamed of as a kid.

I asked the guy how much and he said $35; I didn't even try to haggle, just pulled out my wallet.

I know it will sound silly to somebody who hasn't experienced the sensation but I've enjoyed owning that key as much as anything ever found at a hamfest .. it made that Dayton trip for me.


Paul, WB5AGF

KA2JIZ Rating: 2005-08-11
VERY nice bug Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I bought this bug perhaps 15 years ago at a hamfest. I liked it then and I like it now. It has been uncovered in a damp basement for 10 years while I was QRT and I just resurrected it. Gee, this is a nice bug and in perfect condition. In fact, I think I like it better than all my Vibroplexes. To look at it, it looks like it might have come from the local "Just a Buck" store, but looks can be deceiving. It is a solid, well constructed key. Once adjusted it sends easy, wonderful morse. If you come across one, don't hesitate to buy. I'm looking for the cover but doubt if I will ever find one. This bug is going to be the one I take on my overseas trip.
G0CJM Rating: 2003-01-27
Excellent key. Time Owned: more than 12 months.
In 1985 i bought my key because i wanted something similar to the Vibroplexer that i could afford. It was not cheap at £89ukp. I soon got to work with it but it was too fast for me so i set the weight at its furthest point and added a piece of blu-tack for extra weight and it soon became clear that here was a key i could really work with. My style of sending soon became recognised from the many other hams who use this key. I find it so easy to use and ive noticed that my speed has increased too, i have nowt but praise for the lad who made this great key and heartily recommend it to all other *key-people* 72/73 Reb G0CJM
W7IS Rating: 2003-01-11
Hard to adust Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I found a hardly used Skillman bug that came from an estate sale. Its the CalRad Radio Shack version of the Himound D100. These of course were sold by both Radio Shack and Laughette. And I considered those outlets low end CB radio outlets, and not ham quality. But after all these years, I had read these Japanese made bugs did send good code. So I waited till a good one showed up on ebay. I spent several days messing with the adjustments on this key. My goal was to be able to send code that sounded just as good as an electronic keyer. And thats difficult with a bug. Most bugs cant be adjusted for proper weighting on the dots and therefore have the twang of a bug. And I almost gave up with this key. But after talking it apart and examining it in detail I was determined to get it adjusted properly. Its actually a well machined work of art. Even though it might look like a coffin!! I was surprised to find that all the finally machined parts are nickle plated brass except for a small length of spring steel for the dot arm. What I ended up with is very close spacing on the dot contacts, less than 1/32 inch. And then if the stablizer weight at the rear is set just in the correct spot, there is a combination that allows for perfect code. Now that I found the correct combination, there is no way you can tell its code from a bug. And the speed is acceptable from about 15wpm to as fast as you can send. I recommend this product to anyone who is interested in a fine working bug as well as a piece of art. The plastic base is weighted with a large piece of steel. So it holds the desk without moving around as long as you dont have a large spacing in the contacts. But good luck on finding the perfect settings for the dot spacing.
VE3WMB Rating: 2002-08-25
Good Beginner Bug Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I bought one of these used on Ebay a year ago. I decided that after 20 years of using an electronic keyer it was time to learn to send using a bug. Mine would only slow down to about 18wpm so I installed a large square Vibroplex weight(made for the Champion/Lightning Bug) and was able to get the speed down to somewhere between 12 and 15wpm. The bug has a nice crisp feel to it and works quite well. Inevitably the used ones have cracks in the clear covers. Morse Express does sell replacement covers, but beware the fit may not be perfect if you have an older version of this bug. Overall a decent working key, great for field day or an outing where you don't want to drag along your shiny Vibroplex.
N4EKV Rating: 2002-01-11
Lil clunky, but sends good CW Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
This particular example is branded "Skillman" but it was clearly OEM'd by Hi-Mound and is the older version (see for differences).

Morsex describes the speed range as 12-40 WPM, and it's ability to send slow-speed dits is amazing. Even at its slowest setting mine will pump out 20+ dits before winding down.

Mechanically, the parts are of a high quialty and they seem more resistant to corrosion than some other old bugs I've come across. Though the feel is heavier and clunkier than my Vibroplex, this bug does send good CW once you get the feel for how it likes to be treated. Moving the weight is a one-handed operation which is nice, except that you have to remove and replace the clear plastic cover in the process.

The downside is that it's kind of loud, particularly when the dah contact is actuated. Still, I'm happy to have it in my collection.