Bug Page

Bug Story

It was 1971 and I was a poor 15 yr. old. I'd just gotten my general class license and wanted to QRQ with the big boys. Back then electronic keyers where still cutting edge and rather expensive. Bugs were relatively cheap ($10 - $12). So I got a bug. A post war, gray based Vibroplex original with black knobs. Guess what? I totally stunk with it. I hated it so much that once I could afford an electronic keyer (Eico 717 & Brown Brothers paddle) I swore I'd never touch a bug again.

Since then I have graduated to a squeeze keyer and a better Brown Brothers paddle.

Fast forward to the 2002 Dayton flea market. I'm walking along looking for who knows what, and this old, somewhat broken bug tells me that I should take it home. $50 later its sitting on the back seat of my car on its way to 9 land. It had no weights for the dot pendulum and the plastic thumb knob was snapped off. Otherwise it cleaned up nicely. I looked up the replacement parts from Vibroplex. The parts plus shipping came to another $50. Forget it!

So I home brewed a new thumb knob made from the handle of a plastic spoon. I made a set of weights from the shaft of a ½ inch bolt. These looked good but weren’t heavy enough to get the bug below 30 wpm. So I next used an entire ½ inch bold with the head left on, tapped the head for the setscrew and had the option to add nuts for additional weight. This worked great, calming the bug down to about 23 wpm.

The bug is a 1949 Vibroplex original with a black crinkle finish.

So how did the bug like it’s new home? Just great! I took to it like a fish takes to water. And for some unknown reason, which I can’t take credit for, I have no problem moving back and forth between the bug and my squeeze keyer.

Bug Pictures



Here is the configuration I used for the first few years.


More pictures.


I couldn't fine the plastic spoon I used to make the thumb knob, but this fork is from the same flatware set.




A friend of mine (John K9KEU) went to Dayton in 2005 and kindly picked up a few odds-n-ends for me while he was there.


He got the black plastic knob set from the Vibroplex booth and saved me the shipping cost.


It looks better and feels better, though I had gotten accustomed to the spoon handle


Home Brew Weights

The two little weights were my first attempt. They look good, but just didn’t weigh enough.


The bolt with the two nuts has worked out great.


I kind of like the way they look. I bet there one of a kind.

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