I am getting "bugged"! Long.

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From: Jess Gypin (jessqrp@concentric.net)
Date: Sat Mar 21 1998 - 00:08:32 EST


Hi all,

As you might remember. I was looking to trade some stuff for a bug.
Well, I found one and made the trade. A fellow here on the list had an
old Vibroplex Original that he has nor used in years that he wanted to
trade. Now my 38S is in great hands and he is happy burning up 30 meters
QRp style.
Getting to know how to use a bug is really weird after learing iambic
squeeze keying. That is all I have ever done for the last 7 years or so.
Granted, my speed is not what it should be having been on CW for that
long, but what the heck, back to the bug.
I unpacked it and inspected the prize. It is a grey based original and
according to the research that I have done, it was made in the early
60's in New York. It has some of the original screws replaced with
common machine screws for the contact screws, and it had a lot of dust
and crud on it. I soaked it with Simple Green for about a half hour and
then took the tooth brush to it. It really cleaned up nice. Then started
through the process of adjusting it according to the instructions from
the army manual that I found on the Telegraph Office web page. It really
does make a huge difference if the thing is adjusted right or not. After
all of that and replacing one of the old common machine screws with a
stainless one that I had laying around, I thought that I was ready to
give it a try. Well, I hooked it up to the rig and a dummy load and all
the rig did was key up. I checked the cord that I had made and it was
ok. After looking at the bug for aminute and checking the wire posts
with an ohm meter, I found that the insulating nylon washers under the
dot and dash posts were missing. I found some fiber wahsers in the parts
bin that would fit and threw them under the posts. Now I don't mean to
leave you with the impression that the bug was not in good shape because
it is for being almost 40 years old. It is shiny and none of the chrome
or nickel sufaces are pitted and the grey base looks like new after a
good cleaning. It just has had a few of the original parts repalced and
are missing. Well, that was easy to fix. A quick call to Vibroplex and
all of the parts that I need to put it back in original order are on
their way. At lease for now it is usable and I am really enjoying trying
to learn how to use it.
It will take a while. The first QSO was WE6W Ed and he was using a bug
as well and we had fun. He sounds a whole lot better than I do. I have
gotten quite a bit better and the only thing that still needs work are
my dashes, but it does not sound any worse than my straight key!
The very next QSO was a guy in Washington state that was using a bug
that he got when he was 14 with lawn money. This may not seem like a big
deal, but he was using the same type of bug that I had and he has been
using it for 50 years! And he sounded a lot better than I did! He wanted
to know why I had chosen to try the bug with all of the good paddles and
keyers out there.
Well, I am willing to try anything that will further my enjoyment of ham
radio and especially CW. And I figure that I am putting a peice of
history back on the air. The only thing that I would like to know and I
will be finding out is who the original owner of the bug was as the
gentleman that I got it from ( and he is really a gentleman!) is the
second owner.
If any of you ever have a chance to pickup a bug, give it a whirl. I do
know that they are getting harder and harder to find and that the older
ones that are out there are being bought up by collectors. I was lucky
to find one that was not in pristine shape, but will be soon! I am just
glad that there is another 38S on the air out there and that the bug
that I have is being used again after sitting on a shelf for 15 years.

Best

--
Jess N0TFI <><
http://www.concentric.net/~jessqrp Personal Home page
http://qsl.net/N0TFI Fox Audio Page


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