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Reviews For: Vibroplex Square Brass Racer

Category: Keys & Paddles

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Review Summary For : Vibroplex Square Brass Racer
Reviews: 11MSRP: 149.95
Iambic paddles
Product is in production
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# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
ZS5J Rating: 2012-05-01
Close but no cigar Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
Scott, I hope you are reading this - I met you at your booth at Dayton last year, looking for one of these keys. I eventually got one through R & L Electronics .

I got serial # 111580. It is a magnificent key to look at and feel, and the folks at Vibroplex have come very close to a an excellent key, however they have stopped just short of that.

Yes, the adjustments screws are way too loose - after I applied a drop of blue thread glue to each of the adjustment screws, it is now firm and stays where I set it. I was worried about the magnets only being held in position by friction, but so far they have not moved...however if this key is ever moved around on the operating desk or taken on DXpeditions then they will constantly need to be readjusted after every move. I would like to see something that could lock the magnets in place.

My last gripe has to do with the cable that is used from the key to the rig. This cable was very poorly thought of. It is grey, and is highly sprung - meaning that it stands up in the air between the key and rig. If I try and push it down on the desk, it springs right back up grrrrrrrr.

When I get a chance I will replace the cable with BLACK slim and FLEXIBLE cable. It needs to be black to blend in - grey stands out too much, and it needs to be slim and flexible so that it stays neatly on the table, and moves to a position that I want it to move...without springing back !!!!

Once these few oversights by the manufacturer are sorted out, this is an excellent key. I run at between 22 - 30 wpm, and it has a good feel to it. The gripes are intended as constructive criticism, for the manufacturer, in the hopes that they can give their customers what they are looking for.

Purchase this key, but be prepared to make a few changes to it...

John, ZS5J
AD9DX Rating: 2012-01-01
Not that great Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I was really hoping that this would be one of the great values in keys. Well, this key is great when you first set it up. However when you use this key for more than a few min the key looses adjustment and starts to loose its feel. The contact spaces open up and the magnets that set return pressure move. This takes this key that really moves when set up right to nothing more than a Bencher with weak springs. If you can find one on Ebay for $25 than buy it... If you have some crazy idea about paying anything close to retail... DON'T.
VK2IMM Rating: 2007-04-27
Nice Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I have got this key not long time ago, however it dates back to 1996 by the serial number. The key still looks very good, apparently some brass surface protection component had been used. I applied two drops of glue onto the lever fixing screws as recommended. Magnets stay in place very tightly and the gap adjustment screws are fine. The key works reliably, I used it at the speed ranging from 22 to 30 wpm and did not have a problem with it. It has very nice light touch clicky action with magnetic paddle return. This is likely this key will suite medium to high speed CW operators. Those who like firm action paddles may prefer something different.
EXPRO Rating: 2004-11-19
One great paddle Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
After receiving this paddle I spent a bit of time playing with the adjustments and have to say this paddle is great it rivals the feel of a lot of the top end paddles. Smooth as silk action and looks pretty nice as well. Get this spend a little time reading the adjustment instructions and be happy with a paddle for less than $140 that thinks its a $400 unit. I wish when I was a commercial op they made things like this!
KB9MWD Rating: 2002-05-07
Great Key Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Like any key, you have to play with the adjustments until you get the right feel. But the ability to effortlessly send high speed code for long periods of time is remarkable compared to the Bencher. It is very easy to adjust. I haven't had to do anything but blow off the dust in close to two years. A dust cover would be nice. 73
W8KQE Rating: 2002-03-25
Merely average. Go with Kent or Schurr for precision feel. Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Recently, I was in the market for a more 'upscale', higher-end CW paddle, and tried the Vibroplex SBR for a while at home. Every negative thing that has been already said about this paddle is true. To me, when it comes to sending precision CW, a paddle MUST inspire confidence, and must have a precision feel to it without having to re-adjust settings. The Square Brass Racer does, to an extent, but it doesn't come close to the build quality and precise feel of the Kent or Schurr paddles. This is of course, just my opinion, and based on my personal experience. You may like this paddle. I do not.
AC7QG Rating: 2002-03-25
ok but not great Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Being new to paddles, but a 40+ year ham, I went with the "brand name" of Vibroplex. Was disappointed with the lack of quality instruction/assembly documentation. Keyer concept of magnets seems fine but the actual adjustment process is mickey mouse. I telephonically contacted Vibroplex and was told they only have 4 employees. "The man you need isn't here". The screws attaching the paddle arms are supposed to be "loose". This is not a very easy concept to replicate. If the screws are tightened snug the paddles don't work. The magnets came apart from the housing "new from the box". I finally got the thing to work and being new to keyers don't have much to compare with. Does not seem like the unit will stay in adjustment if it is moved. Magnet adjustments are not held in place with anything other than friction. Seems like they could move on their own. Have had the paddles about 2 months and am reasonalbly satisfied. Still don't think the engineering was the best possible.
WT8Y Rating: 2001-03-28
Needs Help Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Adjustments change and are hard to dial in. Bump it and the key levers fall off or hang up. Feels like MFJ built it, what more can I say.
KF9LI Rating: 1999-09-17
The Best Key I have used Time Owned: unknown months.
I really like the magnetic 'snapiness' over traditional spring action. It has a really nice feel, and I really enjoy using it.
KI7Q Rating: 1999-09-07
The feel is perfect for me. Time Owned: unknown months.
I like my square brasss racer a lot. The snappy feel is what I prefer. Far better than the bencher keyer I also use on occasion. My only complaint is that the vibroplex metal "sticker/logo" on the top bends up in the middle - this detracts from the look of "quality" I am after.