Saturday, November 19, 2016

Video: Two-way vintage bug QSO

I had been hoping to have the oldest bug during the "Bug Round-up" but the club sponsoring the event beat me by two years - DOH!

The op at W6SFM was using a 1912 Vibroplex for our QSO which I video'd below. Sorry about the bad conditions - it was a bit early in the day for me to be working the west coast. I'm sure they'll be louder later on 40 meters. Still, it was fun to have a quick chat with both stations using century-old bugs.

As can be seen, I was using my KX2 and KPA500 for about 175 watts out. Is this the oldest key ever to key a KX2? What rigs did it key back in the day?! I bought this bug with the intention being to restore it but it's so much fun to use that I don't want to take it apart any time soon!

Earlier today I worked W0CCA who was using a 1938 Vibroplex DeLuxe and KI4ODO who was using a brand new Vibroplex. Both of them sounded great and were quite easy to copy.

The night is young - on to 40 meters now...



  1. Hi John,
    Inspirational, I bought a 1937 original from the US a couple of years ago. Spent its life on the North West Pacific railway. You have inspired me to get it out and practise with a view to a QSO.
    Isn't the KX2 a jewel of a rig.
    Cheers, Glen, VK1FB

    1. Good to hear from you Glen. The Bug Round-up is now over (but 7025 kHz is always a popular hang-out for those using them here in the States). The Round-up was my first and a lot of fun - I wish it took place more than once a year.

  2. 2016 Bug Round-up log:

    19 Nov 2016
    1510Z W0CCA 20m 589 589 Cap, using a 1938 DeLuxe
    2131Z KI4ODO 20m 599 589 Marvin with a new Vibroplex
    2210Z W6SFM 20m 559 549 Mike, 1912 Vibroplex double lever

    20 Nov 2016
    0001Z AC5K 80m 599 599 Wes, 1914 A-to-Z
    0144Z KP3W 40m 569 579 Jose, Vibroplex DeLuxe
    0316Z W6SFM 80m 569 579 Chris, 1955 bug
    1303Z WB6BEE 80m 599 599 Don, 1937 McElroy

    Tnx for the contacts - lots of fun!

    1. Just noticed this post. I have a 1905 Vibroplex original s/n 794 that I bought in almost new condition with its case. I better get my bug skills back to where they were 50 years ago when I was 15 so I can join in these old bug QSOs. BTW, my first Original was purchased as a birthday present in 1955, and I have a 100th anniversary Original model. Three Originals, each made 50 years apart! What other piece of technical gear has well over a 100 year production history?
      Steve KB3SII