Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by sagamore, Sep 28, 2017.
Home-made "bug key" - complete with oscillator and loudspeaker -
I've operated one or two similar to this back in my RAF days.. I've also used a 'side-swiper' morse key, but in truth I always preferred the bog-standard up-and-down key.
I the key above is a "side-swiper!" Designed and built by myself - a one-off! I began using a bug when I was serving as radio officer aboard passenger liners in the mid 60s! I just could not keep going on a standard key when I may have to be sending for an hour or more at a time. The bug key made life a lot easier, and I continued to use one until I left the sea in late 1992! I decided to build this one on a whim, several weeks ago! The vertical pillars are empty rifle shells! I have used magnets instead of springs for the tension, and a magnetic reed switch for the dot contacts
Hmmm! Interesting. I found a side-swiper gave my keying a rather blurred effect where the dits and the dahs ran into each other, whereas using the standard key articulated the letters and figures with greater clarity. But all this was many many moons ago, long before Samuel Morse's daughter properly understood how "da-da dit-dit".....
I don't see how the dots & dashes could run into each other on a side-swiper. Pushing the paddle one way makes the dots, and pushing it the other way makes the dashes, they cannot join together, it is one or the other! Maybe the transmitter could not follow the bug key properly, I have known that to happen on some transmitters with they key connected direct. I had a keying relay connected to my key to isolate me from the transmitter keying circuit, and that allowed the transmitter to follow it correctly.
Well, it's probably the case that in the short space of time that I used the side-swiper, I probably didn't get to grips with the subtleties of the key and thus the blurring. I have to say that the one you made (as per image) looks to be extremely sophisticated when set against the plain, even rudimentary, keys I was accustomed to.
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