The picture in the header above was taken behind the fire station where I work on the day I picked my bike up from the Harley dealership. I had to ride almost 100 miles with the temperature at 36 degrees F. (Notice the snow piled up in the background).
I received my Novice ticket (KA5DAV) in November 1978, at the age of 15. My first rig was a Heathkit HW-7 that I borrowed from my Elmer (W5EXX - now a silent key). I picked up the code quickly and still love CW after more than 36 years.
I took my Novice code test by copying code being sent from a Vibroplex "bug", and I have been intrigued by the bug ever since. Check out my picture and bug descriptions at the bottom of this page.
My station currently consists of a Yaesu FT-2000 and an FT-990, with a Cushcraft A3S triband yagi at 45 feet, inverted vee antennas for 30, 17, and 6 meters, and an 80-M full-wave horizontal loop that I use for 80/40/12 meters. I use an inverted "L" for 160-M operation. I also operate 2-meter and 440 MHz FM.
I always wanted a corner operating desk, but could never find what I wanted commercially. I designed the desk and had a guy at work (who is a fantastic wood craftsman) build the main desk. I built the shelves on top of the desk, then stained and varnished the whole thing. It is built out of solid oak and oak plywood, and should last a lifetime.
I was born and raised in Sulphur, Oklahoma, which is located 75 miles south of Oklahoma City. Sulphur is home to the Chickasaw National Recreation Area (formally Platt National Park). Follow this link to see what the Sulphur area looks like: http://www.nps.gov/chic/index.htm
I enjoy CW ragchewing, dabbling in contests, and occasionally chasing DX. I have over 250 DX countries confirmed (both MIXED and CW) and hold 5-band WAS, all with 100 watts or less (I've never owned an amplifier). You may also find me operating on the digital modes, with my favorite being RTTY.
WAC Novice CW (No # issued) April 7, 1981
WAS Novice CW (#36,254) April 1, 1981
DXCC Basic (#34,472) October 10, 1995 (250 countries)
DXCC CW (#13,610) February 9, 2013 (250 countries)
5-Band WAS (#2,638) February 13, 1997
Triple Play WAS (#361) January 5, 2010
I am a member of NAQCC, SKCC, the DFW Contest Group, and a life member of the ARRL, QCWA and CW OPS.
QSL via direct, the bureau, and LoTW (preferred).
My operating desk:
My "BUG" collection:
1978 Vibroplex "Original Deluxe"
This was my first bug. I found it on E-Bay and purchased it from a guy in California. It was missing one of the weights, so I had my dad machine a heavier weight for this bug. I wanted a 1978 because this was the year I got my first ham license (at age 15). This bug has a solid feel and is fun to use.
Vibroplex 100th Anniversary "Original"
I bought this bug directly from Vibroplex when they were located in Alabama. The black base with gold trim is absolutely stunning, and the chrome parts against the black background really set this bug apart from the rest. I currently have this bug set for slow speeds. I use an alligator clip on the end of the pendulum arm to slow it down.
2010 Vibroplex "Blue Racer"
I purchased this bug new from Vibroplex after their move to Tennessee. This bug is, in my opinion, the prettiest of the bunch. A pretty blue base is offset by red finger pieces, and chrome adjustments. It is a fun bug to use - however, because of the smaller base, it tends to slide around on the table during use. To compensate for this movement, I use a piece of thin rubber "jar opener" material under the bug's feet.
Les Logan Speed-X (1937-1947)
I found this key at a hamfest in Ardmore, OK in October 2012. The guy I bought it from didn't know much about it, except that it supposedly had belonged to a judge from Seiling, OK (I have not been able to confirm this). The Speed-X bugs weren't assigned serial numbers, so it's rather difficult to find out much information on this key. Sources on the internet indicate that the Speed-X was made by the Les Logan Company (San Francisco, CA) from 1937 until 1947, at which time the Speed-X line was sold to the E. F. Johnson Company in Waseca, Minnesota. This bug is really fast but simple to adjust.
1963 Vibroplex "Champion"
I had always wanted a "1963" bug - the same year that I was born. In January 2013, just a week before my 50th birthday, I found this bug on E-Bay and made the purchase. Coincidently, my son was looking at this very same bug to purchase for my birthday - which really makes this bug special to me. It is in excellent condition, and came with the original box. It was used very little, if at all, and looks almost brand new. After a few initial adjustments, I put this bug to work right after I received it.
1959 Vibroplex "Lightning" Bug
I purchased this bug off of eBay in September of 2014. I didn't have a "Lightning" model, so I decided to add one to my collection. This bug was not in bad shape when I received it, but it did need some cleaning. I disassembled the bug, gave it a thorough cleaning, and reassembled it. There is some pitting of the chrome, and there are a few dings in the base paint, but overall, it's not in bad shape for a bug 55+ years old.
1956 Vibroplex "Original Deluxe"
I obtained this bug in March of 2015. It was in need of a good cleaning and polishing. I had to completely disassemble it to remove all the dust and grime that had collected over the years. After I reassembled and adjusted the bug, I found that its action is very fast. As a result, I have to slow this bug down with an alligator clip on the end of the pendulum arm.
1956 Vibroplex "Zephyr"
Seems like most of the bugs I purchase need a good cleaning before using. This '56 "Zephyr" was no exception. After cleaning and re-assembly, I put this bug on the air to see how she would play. The action of this bug reminds me somewhat of the "Champion" I have. In fact, there seems to be very little difference between the two bugs, except for the narrower base on the "Zephyr". I purchased this bug off of eBay in January 2016.
1928 Vibroplex "Lightning" Bug
At 88 years of age, this is the oldest bug in my collection. I acquired this bug in April 2015 from a guy in Oregon. This antique bug supposedly came from a railroad museum in McHenry, North Dakota. It is in excellent shape, and even has most of the gold pin striping in place. I am honored to have this piece of telegraph history in my collection. The action of this bug is slow and easy. It has quickly become my favorite of all my bugs. If only it could tell of its history...
7050742 Last modified: 2016-01-31 17:00:50, 13418 bytes
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