Re: [cw_bugs] Re: cleaning and adjusting a Vibroplex
- Your wrist is "rocked" with the same motion that you use when opening a door
knob, the wrist and are lie on the desk and rock with that motion.
Finger motions are not to be used as they give carpal tunnel syndrome (glass
arm) the idea is to rock the wrist with a bug and cootie key. Unfortunately
the paddle used with an electronic keyer must be tapped with fingers at high
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Thursday, December 07, 2006 1:51 PM
Subject: [cw_bugs] Re: cleaning and adjusting a Vibroplex
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, KT5X@... wrote:
> Adjusting a bug. the old-timers insisted upon sizable gaps. In
> signficant gap for the dit lever moved against a significant spring
> resistance sets up a good vibration of the mainspring for producing
> avoiding the dreaded split dit.
I've been using my Vibroplex bug for a couple months now. I've had
no one to show me how to work it and none set up by someone who knew
what they were doing to look it. In fact, I'd never seen a bug in
person before mine arrived in the mail. I wish I had one to look at
to see what typical adjustments are. If there are "typical"
In my research, I've read to keep the gaps as small as possible to
allow a quick transition from dot to dash, which seems to be a common
problem with bug users. This seems to go against this advice.
Anyway, I set the gaps small, and was actually surprised how small I
could get the dot gap and still set up reliable oscillations that
last for at least 20 dots. By accounts of people who hear me,
(assuming they're honest and not just being polite) my transitions
seem fine. I've had one ham tell me he thought I was on an
electronic keyer before I told him I was on a bug.
But I do get "scratchy" dots. This is the first time I've read the
term "split dit" and wonder if it's the same thing. I've read that
the scratchiness is due to an undesired oscillation of the dot
hairspring contact. It has been suggested to put a piece of cotton
or similar in the hook of the hairspring to dampen it. I tried this,
and it didn't seem to do anything.
I think some bug users think the scratchiness is due to bad
contacts. If you're getting scrathy dashes, maybe so, but I'm
beginning to suspect that most problems are the hairspring
It had occured to me some time ago that if I were to increase the dot
return tension, the dot contact should be pulled back more quickly
when the paddle is released, hopefully before the oscillating
hairspring can make contact again. I tried this, but didn't have
much luck. I lightened the tension again.
Then I read this post the other day. Last night, I increased the
tension again, but also opened the gap quite a bit more than I had
it. I quickly adapted to it, and haven't heard an unintentional
scratchy or split dit since then - and K4VD made me give it a good
workout last night in our QSO.
The improper space between dots and dashes within a letter that I
feared didn't materialize. At least not at my current speed!
I left the dash paddle gap very close, like I'd set up an electronic
paddles. The assymetry doesn't seem to bother me.
I'm thinking one of the biggest aspects to learning to use a bug, or
even a straight key, is to LISTEN to the sidetone rather than focus
on the hand motions or stare at the key. Stare off into space or
watch your meter when you send, but concrentrate on listening to your
signal. of course, knowing what good code sounds like is important
if you're going to adjust your sending correctly, and I think having
some experience with computer code lessons and and electronic keyer
before trying a bug is helpful.
The other thing that took me a while to figure out on my own was hand
position. I never read really good instructions. And in this case,
I think the bug and paddle use pretty much the same position. I'd
read that the paddle is operated with a "rocking" of the wrist. I'd
read instructions that say to put your thumb on one paddle and index
finger on the other.
Well, I didn't find that natural, and I ended up using my middle
finger on the dash paddle. And how do you rock your wrist?
Well, maybe this was obvious to everyone else in the world, but I had
my palm flat on the table as though I were using a straight key. One
day, it occurred to me to rotate my hand so my hand were resting on
the SIDE of my hand. Amazingly, the index finger preferred to fall
on the right paddle opposite the thumb, and I could, indeed, get a
rocking motion pivoting on the side of the hand. I also decided that
I worked the dash lever best with a bend in my finger.
I also think I've concluded that Vibroplex has the paddle design
correct with the assymetric finger pieces on the recent model bugs.
No virus found in this incoming message.
Checked by AVG Free Edition.
Version: 7.5.432 / Virus Database: 268.15.14/578 - Release Date: 12/7/2006