July 9th, 2011

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No, I don't mean the kind that invade the kitchen and carry away crumbs of food. I mean the semi-automatic morse code key they call a "bug".

Today my friend kindly lent me a semi-automatic key so I could try my hand at it. This kind of a key sends a string of "dits" when you press the lever to the right, but you have to time out the "dahs" by hand by pressing the lever to the left. Here's a simulator online: Virtual Bug by AE4RV So...what happened when I plugged the bug in?

Hmm, I press the paddle to the left and it doesn't make "dahs". Oh yeah, this isn't a paddle! hi hi=morse code laugh

Uhoh, I press the paddle to the right and nothing happens? Ah, I just needed to adjust the contact a little closer. Now there are "dits"...but...woah, they're rather speedy!

It appears that this nice little bug starts off a little above 20 wpm and goes up from there. I think can handle that! I adjusted my paddle and keyer to match the speed and practiced my timing of the "dahs" side-by-side with the bug plugged in the rig and the paddle plugged in the MFJ keyer. It went quite smoothly, I must say. The only trouble I'm having is adjusting between dits and dahs in the course of sending letters. The transition is trickier than what I'm used to. I may need to make some more adjustments to the bug or I may just need a few weeks of practice! Probably both :)

All in all, I have to say, the bug is fun stuff! I think I could become a fan.
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