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Reviews For: Vibroplex Champion

Category: Keys & Paddles

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Review Summary For : Vibroplex Champion
Reviews: 14MSRP: 9.95 in 1946
Called the "Chevrolet" of Vibroplex bugs, the Champion consists of a Lightning Bug frame and pendulum with the simpler "I" damper. Produced from approx. 1939 to 1980, the bug was available thru the years in black crackle, gray, brown and beige bases.
Product is in production
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# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
N4MJG Rating: 2022-11-04
love it Time Owned: more than 12 months.
i brought this off ebay years ago but mine is a 1974 champoin bug. very easy setup and feel great my is like new off ebay love it i have try on my yaesu ft 847 works great ! atfer i wanted one for years right atfer they drop the code

can't go wrong with this bug i paid less 100.00 for mine !

SKCC 7305
NAQCC 5233
OMISS 11548
W0AZ Rating: 2021-11-27
A Great Bug Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Update: I do love my Champion bug, and they remain an excellent value in used bugs, but my new favorite is a 1964 Blue Racer given to me by a friend. Like the Champion, my Blue Racer has a native speed range (no additional weights or vari-speed device) that suits my operating habits.


I’ve owned and enjoyed bugs since my first two which were a brand new 1962 Johnson Speed-X and an upgrade later that year to a used Deluxe Original Vibroplex.

Only recently, I acquired my first Champion, a 1948 model, in like new condition. What a great little bug.

Mine has a native speed range (no added weights) of 18-35 WPM, which is slower than any of my other bugs. I have a Varispeed on an Original Standard. It slows that bug down, allows a wide speed range and is quick to adjust. I also have extra weights on an Original Deluxe - it came that way - but the Varispeed or additional weights make the bugs they’re on feel just a bit sluggish.

I’ve also got a Lightning Bug without added weight. It’s speed range is about 22 WPM to too fast for me to accurately measure.

For working other operators who want to work a bit more slowly, the range of the Champion is perfect. Truth be told, if I could keep only one of my bugs (perish the thought!), I’d choose the Champion both for its excellent feel and speed range.

As far as feel goes, my favorites are the Champion and the Lightning bug. That the Champions are also usually less expensive on the used market is just a bonus.

KB5KWO Rating: 2015-03-07
Love It.. Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I've owned a few of the Vibroplex Bug Models over the Years and the Champion is My Favorite. Its Simple, Small and Easy to Adjust as and Operate as well..
I Made a mistake and let my Champion go a few years ago and had regretted it ever since..
..However.. A Friend of Mine just relinquished His Champion Bug to my care and now this Bug will remain mine forever..
N4EES Rating: 2013-04-10
simple and reliable Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Of the many bugs I have used over the past ten years, only three have have been of them is my 1945 black base Champion. It has a simple, no nonsense, down to business styling. It is smooth and precise, and allows me to send good code without having to focus on any shortcomings in my key. This is the highest praise I can give to any key.
VE3CUI Rating: 2010-12-03
A SUPER Bug...!!! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Back in the autumn of 1973 I'd been licensed for just over 2 years, & decided that the time was right to upgrade from a straight key, to a Vibroplex Bug. Unfortunately, being a student (and short of cash!), my options were limited in terms of price---and so I opted for a brand new "entry level" Champion, which was acquired for the princely(!) sum of $32.50 at the now long gone C.M. Peterson Radio, in London, Ontario.

It's been a great partnership ever since. The Champion is smooth, easy to use, and has a nice range of speeds---actually far greater than that of my 1985 Presentation model!

In 1983, my XYL gave me a new Yaesu FT-980 transceiver with a built-in keyer: I gave a new lease on life to the Champion by converting it to a poor man's Vibrokeyer...but I kept all of the parts that I'd removed in making the conversion (NOTE: I have a good used Vibrokeyer on the way to me as a self-served Christmas present---the Champion will return to its original form & function as a semi-automatic key shortly thereafter!).

Here's a hint to those Bug users who find the low end of the speed scale isn't quite slow enough for them: (A) Procure a wooden spring-loaded clothespin. (B) Slide the Bug weight to the limit of its travel at the slow end of the pendulum. (C) Clip the pin to the head of the locking screw on the weight. (D) Enjoy QRS QSOs!

Still not slow enough for you...? Slip the hood of a PL-259 coax connector (or any other similar-weighted item) atop the clothespin! You may have to increase the separation between the dot-forming electrodes to accommodate TOO much weight, however...

AB2CF Rating: 2010-02-14
A good bug still priced fairly Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
after using an Original for 19 yrs decided to get a 2nd bug. Found a beautiful 1944 Champion on Epay.

What a pleasure to operate, smooth, crisp, tactile. Has a similar feel of my '37 #6 and my '38 Martin Flash Key Blue Racer. I miss the shorting circuit for tuning up the T-4XC. It's a good bug and available at reasonable prices.
I've given in a 4 only because 4.5 is not an option.
W0EKS Rating: 2008-01-05
A Bug for Life Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I won a fierce bidding war on eBay to obtain my 1945 Champion. Extremely good condition -- not a single chip in the paint (black base) and all the original parts. It's not as pretty as an Original Deluxe model, but it has a quieter mechanism and I send more consistent code with it. I wish Vibroplex still produced new ones -- I'd scoop one up in a heartbeat!

--... ...--

Jack, N0NV
AA0CX Rating: 2007-02-10
solid performer Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have a Champion (vintage 1969) given to me by my Elmer, now a silent key. It' the plainest of my bugs -- I have a Blue Racer and an Original Deluxe. But, the Champ is rock solid; never falls out of adjustment, and its utilitarian design is a work of art in and of itself. Every bug operator should have a Champion in their collection. Mine proudly sits at my main operating position.
W8ZNX Rating: 2006-06-22
good bug to learn on Time Owned: more than 12 months.
my first bug was a used Champ

never owned a bug ?
want to try one ?
Champion is the bug to start with
don't have collectors value like othe old bugs

are much easier to master
than the Orignal

you can't go wrong with a Champ

WA4DOU Rating: 2004-10-01
My first! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I bought a "Champion" used in 1965. I had to learn to use it right handed; I had used a straight key left handed. Mine may have been missing a weight, I think I used an impromptu weight to slow it down some. It was a fine bug and I learned to use it well. I eventually acquired a Bencher iambic paddle and built an Accukeyer. I kept the two in parallel for a year and would retreat to the bug when I found myself flustered. Eventually I cut the bug loose. I'm sorry I didn't keep it and remain proficient with it, but I made the classic mistake in believing that one should continuously cut loose with the past. If I find another in nice condition, I may acquire it. I recommend it to others.