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DX IS! Finally got Honor Roll in early 2016. The picture is from working the 2013 ARRL phone DX contest from a friends location. I was on 20 single op. My favorite mode is CW. My equipment is an IC-7600, Elecraft K1, Ameritron AL-80B, Lightning Bolt 6 band quad and a 102 ft. doublet. Former calls are WN7QII, WA7QII, and KO7G.

 

The Lightning Bolt quad. 6 meters has been added since the picture was taken. The tower is a Wilson TT45B.

 

  Before and after of my restored Vibroplex Iambic Deluxe. I replaced the screws with stainless steel screws which look much better on chrome than the originals.

 

  I recently decided to refinish my Hamco Scotia (sort of) recently and made a couple sets of custom color finger pieces for it from acrylic cutoff pieces I got at Tap Plastics. I say "sort of " a Scotia because it was originally a Hamco Carson EK-1 with the built in keyer with the Curtis chip. I took out the board and had a good wood base from a Vibroplex Brass Racer I once had so swapped it out and sold the Brass Racer with the keyer board. The Scotia was the first  commercially available key to use magnetic tensioning.

 

  An old early 60's Autronic single lever key I restored and made new fingerpieces for. It is an interesting design with a second saddle lever that is designed to eliminate contact bounce at high speeds. It has a very heavy base that just does not travel while the key is in use. You don't see many of these keys anymore. I don't remember ever seeing one for sale at a hamfest!

 

Here is my homebrew double speed "Cootie" key made mostly from coffin key parts. The base is a piece of Delrin.

 

This is a capacitive touch key I made from an article by N8EPE.

 

  Here is a Palomar Engineers IC Keyer from SeaPac I bought for $15. It just needed some cleanup and minor repairs.Some seem to think the key is a Brown Bros. but it isn't, it is a Ham Key. You don't see many of these around but they are not very valuable. It has the discontinued Curtis chip in it and the key sits up pretty high. The switch selects iambic (auto) or bug semi automatic keying.

 

This is the key I used as a novice (WN7QII), a Nye Viking Speedx from about 1970.

 

  Another recent aquisition from SeaPac 2013 an early Hamco Scotia with white finger pieces you won't see very often. The finger pieces have cracked and and been glued back together but I should be able to restore them. Other than that, it is in amazingly good condition for it's age. (Sold)

 

  Here is an old Leeds & Northrup strap key. it is about as simple as it gets! They made a few different models of strap keys. They made precision instruments starting in 1903. I have no idea how old this is. It is not adjustable at all and the gap is about 3/16 inch! Update:I found out that "strap keys" were used in testing as more of an on-off switching device than as a formal key. More likely used in lab or repair situations more than anything else. (Sold)

 

  A Nye Viking Master Key. It has a relay inside that the key lever actuates and gives it a mushy feel.It has a very heavy base and the parts are nickel plated. It would never be a favorite of mine. I far prefer the more conventional straight key design and feel. (Sold)

 

  The ubiquitous Bencher, the chrome model. This is the third one I have owned through either a trade or buying a handfull of gear from another ham. It is not my favorite and destined to be sold like the others I've had. I don't like that the paddles can become dislodged fairly easily when moving it around and that the fingerpieces are rivted to the levers. They are nice looking however and do a good job when you get them adjusted to your liking. (Sold)

 

  Here is an early Ham-Key HK-1 that was given to me. Same keying device that the earlier mentioned Palomar keyer has. Later models had a hammertone finish and also had RCA jacks for the connections mounted into the front of the base.

 

  Here is yet another Chrome Bencher BY-2 after a lot of clean up. It just has a sticker instead of a plate for the logo like the previous one has. It also has the finger pieces held on with self tapping screws instead of rivits so I made a set of new ones from yellow acrylic. The originals are rather blah looking. and could use a little color. I will make a set of transparent blue pieces also when I get a chance and maybe get a new spring for it.

 

  Here is the old Heathkit HD-10 keyer. It's quite the door stop! The built in code oscillator sounds better than most. It is a nice smooth sine wave tone instead of the more usual raspy square wave tone. As old as it is, it is in very good condition and still works well. The finger pieces are thin and very close together. I don't much care for the black knob where it is.

 

  Another Ham Key product, the HK-3 straight key. I found it on Ebay for a dirt cheap buy it now and couldn't resist! It has a couple of chips and cracks in the plastic but nothing that keeps it from working well. It is very clean for it's age so probably didn't get a lot of use.

 

  I just picked up this Heathkit HD-1410 at SeaPac 2015 for $15. It works just fine which for the price, surprised me. It had a long cable coming out of the rear with an open wire panel mount jack which I kept but shortend up and changed the jack to an enclosed one. It is kind of a tank!

 

  I picked this up at SeaPac 2015 as well for $10. It only had a couple minor repairs to make to it and so far it seems to be working okay. It was missing the finger pieces so I wll have to make a set of them. I have an outline of the original finger pieces on the way to use as a template. I will also see what I can do to tack down the front of the keypad that has loosened. it has a pretty rough square wave sidetone for my liking. It's a little hard on the ears to me.

 

  A couple of TenTec KR-20A keyers that were for repair on Ebay. It was a bit of work getting them going again! The one on the left just needed all the paddle parts taken apart and cleaned up. There is a vertical brass pin in the lever that makes the contact. It can get really grubby and not make contact. I spun them clean in a Dremel tool against a piece of sandpaper. If you need to replace the pin, you can go to some hardware stores or hobby shops and get a length of K&S 1/16" brass rod or tubing. The one on the right needed the same cleanup and also had some PC board issues to resolve. It didn't have a pilot lamp so I used a 5mm LED and housing from Radio Shack and a 220 Ohm resistor to drop the 5 Vdc the original lamp ran on down to about 2Vdc for the LED. They have a sidetone but no internal speaker for it.

 

  I picked these up at hamfests over the last couple years. I thought they were neat little radios when they were being sold at Radio Shack. They are likely not to work when you get them these days but are not hard to troubleshoot. Usually broken wires, bad battery connections, and cold or non existant solder joints. The weatheradio had a solder joint that that was only a blob of solder that was somewhat pressed up against it's component leg. No real solder connection. I'd bet the radio didn't work for very long after it was originally bought. There was also a cigarette lighter cube, and a tray that would fit three of them together. The cigarette lighter and the tray are hard to come by.

 

  Here is a before and after of a 1957 Vibroplex Original Deluxe I just went through. It now sports a W7IS Extendadot "tamer" to slow down the dots to a reasonable level making it much more pleasant to use. There are a lot of parts in these bugs! Some are very small so you must be careful when disassembling them and take lots of pictures too if you are not very familiar with all the parts.

  Most of the screws are 6 or 8-32 machine screws so not hard to find if you need replacements. The older bugs like this one has a 4-36 screw and nut for the damper wheel. Somewhere along the way Vibroplex changed it to a now more common 4-40 thread. There are two small screws on the Deluxe that connect a short ground strap from the frame to the dot arm. Oddly, they appear to be M2 metric machine screws and the only metric screws on the key. The red decorative piece on top was orignally threaded so screwed into position. A replacement from Vibroplex is not threaded so is held in with a dab of contact cement. When the bug is adjusted correctly you can send seemingly endless dots and the action is very nice.

 

 

 

7722511 Last modified: 2016-11-26 23:52:34, 12167 bytes

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