"Side Swiper" Morse Key

tedc
17th January 2007, 16:22
It's sad, I know, but I'd like to get my hands on a side-swiper morse key like the ones we used in the "good old days".

Not the electronic ones but the one with the flat spring steel bar which swung back and forth in order to give dots on one side and dashes on t'other.

Having noticed how my desktop pc area resembles an old ship's radio desk, I thought I'd add a touch of vintage flavour to the environment.

Maybe I'll put my favourite call sign up on the wall also.

I think that would be the "Maskeliya" (MRSQ) which feels good when being keyed in - not as good as the old "Beef essence" but that would look daft up on the wall!

I wonder if there are any others.....?

K urgess
17th January 2007, 16:36
Sorry but you're not having mine[=P]

There's a 365B for sale on eBay at the monent if you've got two hundred quid spare

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&ih=019&sspagename=STRK%3AMEWA%3AIT&viewitem=&item=290070341331&rd=1&rd=1

I think you can still get genuine Vibroplex "bug" keys from the States

http://www.vibroplex.com/

Not sad at all just nostalgic.(Thumb)

Cheers
Kris/

gwzm
17th January 2007, 16:37
Hi Ted,

Take a look on "e-pray" and do a search on Vibroplex. There's usually one or two for sale from folks in the UK.

All the best,

John

mikeg
17th January 2007, 18:14
I still practice with my two electronic keyers, I've got into the habit of sending a question on one keyer with my left hand and replying on the other keyer in my right hand.
(==D)

All together now 'there coming to take me away ho har' there coming....

tedc
18th January 2007, 16:12
[QUOTE=Marconi Sahib;101708]Sorry but you're not having mine[=P]

There's a 365B for sale on eBay at the monent if you've got two hundred quid spare

[
I think you can still get genuine Vibroplex "bug" keys from the States

http://www.vibroplex.com/

Thanks Kris!

Had a look at the Vibroplex site and the "Original" looks to be just the ticket.

When I get this set up I'll probably send all my e-mails using a "bug" key...!

tedc
18th January 2007, 16:14
I still practice with my two electronic keyers, I've got into the habit of sending a question on one keyer with my left hand and replying on the other keyer in my right hand.
(==D)

All together now 'there coming to take me away ho har' there coming....

yes. It's amazing how much fun you can get just using your hands.....!

mikeg
18th January 2007, 16:55
[

When I get this set up I'll probably send all my e-mails using a "bug" key...!

Now that would be a novel idea. A conversion from morse to ASCII, bypass the keyboard and you're there :-)

DitDit DitDit

Mike

K urgess
18th January 2007, 18:13
Now that would be a novel idea. A conversion from morse to ASCII, bypass the keyboard and you're there :-)

DitDit DitDit

Mike

I did do some experimenting with the opposite (typewriter to morse) but decided when teletypes and punched tape arrived that it was pointless.

In the morse transmissions Mike, does the left hand not know what the right hand is doing?(Jester)

My advantage was that I transmit morse with the right hand and write with the left hand so I could send and receive at the same time.

Believe me, they've already been to take ME away.(==D)

benjidog
18th January 2007, 20:59
I bloody KNEW Marconi Sahib would have one as soon as I read the first post on this thread!

I wonder why people think R/Os are wierdos?

Keep taking the tablets chaps and those nice men in white coats will look after you! :)

(I have to confess to playing with teleprinters and punched tape when I worked for the Post Office Research Station in the 60s. The official use was to encode the output from measurements of submarine repeaters that were under test. I used to encode my own messages on the tape and send them to other people in the internal mail. When they printed them on the teleprinter they got a load of abuse and didn't know where it had come from. The devil definitely makes work for idle hands to do.)

Brian

mikeg
18th January 2007, 21:04
I did do some experimenting with the opposite (typewriter to morse) but decided when teletypes and punched tape arrived that it was pointless.

In the morse transmissions Mike, does the left hand not know what the right hand is doing?(Jester)

My advantage was that I transmit morse with the right hand and write with the left hand so I could send and receive at the same time.

Believe me, they've already been to take ME away.(==D)

They usually speak to each other (==D)
I wondered if it might be a left brain right brain thing...

That got me thinking to how automatic the receiving of morse became after so many years, especially using a typewriter, news, long wx or navs/naveams etc. were boring so I got into reading a book as well. You're mind could drift off somewhere else but the brain kept transcribing, only if something out of the ordinary happened did it click back again, infact it's better that way. Same as keeping up a conversation with someone in the RR whilst sending morse, seemed impossible in the early days.. like the way when you first heard 500kHz it was a jumble but after a short while you start hearing those background weaker signals. The mind sure is a clever device, it causes me to ramble on like this sometimes...(Smoke)

K urgess
18th January 2007, 21:06
Brian

When I first started in computers a lot of the "minis" had only punched tape to program them and no retained memory so they had to be re-programmed every morning when switched on.

Substitute a tape, they were usually mathematical solutions, or punch an extra hole and watch the frustration mount as they tried to work out why their results were suddenly off the scale.

Sorry, we're well past the tablet stage here I'm afraid. It a straight-jacket in a glass case marked "break in the case of emergency", now.(==D)

Pat McCardle
18th January 2007, 22:10
Sparkies Hey? The worlds a better place for having you been there!!

gwzm
19th January 2007, 15:54
I got fed up having to do fair copies of long weather reports etc so bought a portable typrewriter and learned to touch-type using one of the Teach Yourself (insert subject) books - remember them? On most ships I sailed on the R/O faced fore/aft. However, on Brocklebank's SS Malakand the operating position faced to port. Imagine the scene: sailing home through a storm in the Mediterranean and rolling big time. Having a meal on watch so stuffing food into mouth with fork in left hand and copying traffic on typewriter with right hand. We took a big roll to starboard and I ended up lying on the floor of the radio room with typewriter and tray of food on top. Said a few nice thing like, "Well blow me down, there's a thing!"

I took up amateur radio after I left the sea and now use an up/down key or a Vibroplex right-handed or an electronic keyer left-handed.

John/gwzm

mikeg
19th January 2007, 16:41
I got fed up having to do fair copies of long weather reports etc so bought a portable typrewriter and learned to touch-type using one of the Teach Yourself (insert subject) books - remember them? On most ships I sailed on the R/O faced fore/aft. However, on Brocklebank's SS Malakand the operating position faced to port. Imagine the scene: sailing home through a storm in the Mediterranean and rolling big time. Having a meal on watch so stuffing food into mouth with fork in left hand and copying traffic on typewriter with right hand. We took a big roll to starboard and I ended up lying on the floor of the radio room with typewriter and tray of food on top. Said a few nice thing like, "Well blow me down, there's a thing!"

I took up amateur radio after I left the sea and now use an up/down key or a Vibroplex right-handed or an electronic keyer left-handed.

John/gwzm

When Shell provided R/O's with typewriters they were the long carriage style pursers type. Severe rolling could make the carriage shift all by itself which was not a good thing when copying traffic, so I first I tried lots of rubber bands linked together between the carriage and the body of the typewriter finally settling for some springs from an anglepoise lamp - it worked. Usually I carried my own portable typewriter, the carriage was small so was not affected by the rolling. Blutack came in handy though to stop it sliding around the bench though.

Do you remember in the saloon during severe weather they used to wet the tablecloth to stop the sliding.

Mike

K urgess
19th January 2007, 17:44
Mike

And you couldn't use them to write home 'cos they didn't have lower case only smaller upper case. Elastic bands to stop carriage movement or moving from an athwartship desk to one that was fore and aft depending on the weather and ship movement.

Took my portable typewriter away pretty soon after I started. It was a lot easier than handwriting everything. Never ended up on the floor though GWZM. Maybe that's why I never went the amateur route after key bashing for 11 years.

Fiddlies(?) up around the table, wet table cloths and only half a bowl of soup. Timing the spoon dips to the roll if you'd got your sea legs. Do I miss it. Too bloody true, mate.:sweat:

PS Benjidog - No I have NOT still got the typewriter!(Jester)

benjidog
19th January 2007, 20:30
Fubar,

I am afraid that you have just gone down in my estimation - I thought you kept EVERYTHING! ;)

Brian

James_C
19th January 2007, 20:38
What he doesn't mention was that he flogged it to afford another night out in Danny's Bar!

Mad Landsman
19th January 2007, 21:16
I once doctored up an old Remington 55 typewriter (the one with glass windows) for a Seafaring man - That must have been the reason. I tensioned the carriage return spring and then tweaked up the detents. The thing really crashed at every stroke but that was what he asked for. I don't know how long it lasted like that.
On the subject of multi-functional people I used to see a watchman who had a radio playing Classical music, a television showing a film and at the same time reading a History book. He could still report the situation AND tell you what was happening in all three 'inputs'. I don't think he was an R/O but he did know Morse.
Oh, and Telex machines used to use punched tape, after a while you got used to seeing it and could get the gist of the message by looking at the holes. Am I sad?

mikeg
20th January 2007, 01:22
I once doctored up an old Remington 55 typewriter (the one with glass windows) for a Seafaring man - That must have been the reason. I tensioned the carriage return spring and then tweaked up the detents. The thing really crashed at every stroke but that was what he asked for. I don't know how long it lasted like that.
On the subject of multi-functional people I used to see a watchman who had a radio playing Classical music, a television showing a film and at the same time reading a History book. He could still report the situation AND tell you what was happening in all three 'inputs'. I don't think he was an R/O but he did know Morse.
Oh, and Telex machines used to use punched tape, after a while you got used to seeing it and could get the gist of the message by looking at the holes. Am I sad?

No you're not at all sad. There were also folk who could look the groove pattern of Long Playing records (remember those) and tell you the title of the music. (==D)
My take on being multi-functional in the radio room is that it arrives anyway, regardless of what is happening around you, being mind-locked into 500kHz is a beginning to multi-functionality. Next is daydreaming whilst taking long mind numbing messages, I guess it started with me when taking the regular messages of long series groups of numbers for weather map decodes (before wx fax), that progressed to reading a novel whilst receiving and talking to others whilst sending. It's not something you conciously do but just gravitate towards and became automatic long long before the end of my 20 years at sea. I suppose if you do anything long enough you can do it blindfold in your sleep (Jester)

Mike

BeerSailor
20th January 2007, 10:09
Brian

When I first started in computers a lot of the "minis" had only punched tape to program them and no retained memory so they had to be re-programmed every morning when switched on.

Substitute a tape, they were usually mathematical solutions, or punch an extra hole and watch the frustration mount as they tried to work out why their results were suddenly off the scale.

Sorry, we're well past the tablet stage here I'm afraid. It a straight-jacket in a glass case marked "break in the case of emergency", now.(==D)

Fubar, if you keep this up, the men in white coats will soon be knocking at your door!

K urgess
20th January 2007, 14:47
BA

They've been, I won, they left. I only have to wear the straight jacket on alternate Thursdays. The pills ain't working. Thinking of going back to a fag & booze diet.
I was alright then.[=P]

djringjr
21st December 2014, 00:31
Hello Ted,

I do not know if you mean the Semi-Automatic key made by Vibroplex, or the true side swiper which was similar to the up and down key but it was side to side and could send much faster - 30 to 35 wpm comes easily to those who can only send 20 wpm on the up and downer. One company that made them was J.H. Bunnell (http://www.jhbunnell.com/bunnellcohistory.shtml) of New York, NY. then to Brooklyn, then to Kings Park, NY on Long Island, NY. A photo of the Bunnell Double Speed key is attached.

Recent Silent Key, and author of "Electronic Communication" which included the study materials of the USA Radiotelephone and Radiotelegraph examinations at the FCC, former Radio Officer, Bob Shrader http://www.sideswipernet.org/keys/w6bnb-keys.php assembled a side swiper from junk parts, but this key had one distinct advantage, in his words: "I have a Bunnell cootie key but prefer the homebrew model I put together in 1985 from spare parts I had laying around here. It is built in the form of a bug on a 3 by 5 by 1/2 inch heavy iron base with 3 rubber feet, but without any vibrating parts on the dot side. Instead, I put a dash contact on both sides. Unlike the Bunnell and other similar hack-saw keys it has a definite off position, not an undetermined center area. I can adjust the length of the thumb and finger throws, although I don't think they matter as much as I thought they would.
I also have a cootie made from a hacksaw blade with dash contacts on both sides. I also have a cootie made by bolting two straight keys base to base and setting them up at 90 degrees. All three of these cooties work OK but none have the nice feel of my HB model. [W6BNB]."

A very interesting (hopefully) resource is our Side Swiper Resource page (http://www.sideswipernet.org/resources.php)with links and articles about the keys and videos and audio files of sending with them.

The Russians, East Germans, French (Dyna) were often users of this type key. It is an excellent key for shipboard use as it's faster than the nice Marconi 365 keys (or other up/down keys) and 30 wpm is easy to send as the motion is side to side. I have a paper (http://www.sideswipernet.org/articles/n1ea-sending.php) on how to send with this key.

I have many links in this message, so hover over the message with mouse to find them!

73
David J. Ring, Jr. - Owner of Google Groups radio-officers list. (https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/radio-officers)
N1EA (http://www.qsl.net/n1ea/)

R651400
21st December 2014, 07:51
I'm no longer a QRQ sender with an up and downer but I'd like to see it proved the side-swiper is faster and better than a Marconi 365.
#22 the Bob Shrader link has an audio clip by CN8YR which indicates the dots are definitely not as crisp as an up and down key.

Victor India Papa
21st December 2014, 14:02
Oh, and Telex machines used to use punched tape, after a while you got used to seeing it and could get the gist of the message by looking at the holes.

Working on Aussie coast stations the ability to read 5 unit punched tape was a requirement set out as "The ability to.. ..read a five unit tape at the rate of ten words per minute.." Most of us could read it at 25 to 30 words per minute after a while.

The 5 unit tape below says between the black arrows, reading left to right : (space) HAS (space) STEADILY (space) GROWN (space) UNTIL (carriage return)(linefeed)
NOW (space) (lettershift errorcorrects) IT (space) HAS (space) ABOUT (space) (figureshift) 900 (space) (lettershift) MEMBERS

Messages taken in Morse were transcribed directly on a Siemens or Sagem teleprinter with the tape taken by the landline operator for transmission through the Post Office network or to a Telex number. The landline operator would process hundreds of metres of incoming and outgoing tape during a shift so the ability to read the tape was essential.

A typical message sent to line would look like:

ZCZC
NR1 CENTAUR/9VGQ PERTHRADIO 12/11 22 0200UTC GB08

HARBOURMASTER
FREMANTLE

ETA GAGE ROADS FAIRWAY BUOY 0700LT 23RD

REGARDS

MASTER

(0700LT 23RD)

NNNN

There might be 20 or 30 messages ranging from OBS to AMVER to paid traffic on a length of tape. The ZCZC indicated the start of a message and the NNNN was the end of message indicator. Messages would usually be split up by ten lettershifts.

I initially used the OTC issue Junkers up and down key but changed over to a Vibroplex

richardwakeley
22nd December 2014, 05:57
G'day VIP,
If that MSG you quoted was from 1979, it's me that bashed it out on Centaur's key!
Rgds,
Richard

trotterdotpom
22nd December 2014, 06:45
I didn't realise that Centaur was Singapore flag. you live and learn.

John T

Victor India Papa
22nd December 2014, 08:52
G'day VIP,
If that MSG you quoted was from 1979, it's me that bashed it out on Centaur's key!
Rgds,
Richard

Either you Richard or Keith Walsh. I can't remember if Keith had come over to VIS then VIP by 1979. He was Manager at VIP when CW ceased in 1999 and VIP finally closed in 2002.

I was at VIP from October 1975 until August 1992.

Cheers

Murray

hawkey01
22nd December 2014, 10:52
JT,

I am sure that originally she was British callsign. Cannot remember why she changed but maybe she was re registered to something like Straits Steamship. I am sure Richard will know.

Neville - Hawkey01

johnvvc
22nd December 2014, 14:45
It's sad, I know, but I'd like to get my hands on a side-swiper morse key like the ones we used in the "good old days".

Not the electronic ones but the one with the flat spring steel bar which swung back and forth in order to give dots on one side and dashes on t'other......



I presume you mean a bug key? That gives dots on one side and dashes on the other.... I never could get used to a bug. A bug key properly driven could sound good but it was very easy to send s**t morse with a bug as witness some FOC ops who'd send a string of dots for the figure 5 !!! Keeping control of the dashes was easy but depending on how it was set up it could send more dots than what you wanted !!!

The side swipers I used I used at sea could have the dots and dashes on any side - you effectively used whichever side came next - sending an I you'd move the paddle over to the right (or the left if you preferred to start on the left !) for the first dot then to the other side for the second dot. Sending a H meant flicking the paddle between the two sides alternatively.

Electronic paddles do the same of course. I have a Kent paddle and that's a lovely key to use, you can programme the accompanying keyer to give dots on either side and dial up your speed. I think the usual is dots to the right, well mine is set up like that anyway.

I had a home brewed side swiper on the old Matina which I'd made out of an old hacksaw blade. I used to regularly work a guy on one of the US Coastguard cutters in the Carribean, both of us going like the clappers of hell - great fun.

I have a commercial side swiper or Coty key as they're called made by Llaves Telegraficas in Spain. I've tried to use it but I seem to have lost the knack, probably a bit of practice would bring it back.

I also have an old 365 which I occasionally plug into an oscillator, conditions must be pretty bad as I just can't raise Portishead though - and no one's offering to QSP !!!

Happy days...

richardwakeley
22nd December 2014, 22:10
Yes, Centaur was originally GLRU, but transferred to Straits SS Co and reflagged in the mid 70s, stilll manned by Blue Funnel. I was the last R/O from UK there. We were replaced by Straits officers in November 1979, except for seniors.

trotterdotpom
22nd December 2014, 22:14
Thanks, Richard.

John T

Troppo
22nd December 2014, 23:17
I used an electronic keyer for my entire time at sea - from my first ship as a makey-learnie.

MikeK
23rd December 2014, 08:17
I still practice with my two electronic keyers, I've got into the habit of sending a question on one keyer with my left hand and replying on the other keyer in my right hand.
(==D)

All together now 'there coming to take me away ho har' there coming....

Always thought Sparks' were a bit 'different'

Merry Xmas to all the many sparkies I have sailed with - and everyone else for that matter !

MikeK

Varley
23rd December 2014, 09:41
As they say - mad, queer or alcoholic by the age of 30 - but I see nothing wrong with this particular two handed exercise, a feat that Leodardo would have appreciated. (Lest you turn your sceptic gaze hither, I had migrated to the engine room well before 30. Even then can't claim to have completely escaped inoculation. I have just bothered to tot up my working life. I was ashore at 30 and not fired for another 30)

trotterdotpom
23rd December 2014, 10:53
I tried one of those "side swipers" once and couldn't see the point. With my beautiful up and down morse, using a bug key would have been like giving a carpenter a chain saw. Load of sh1te, in my opinion.

David, "mad, queer, or alcoholic by age 30" ... two out of three ain't bad.

John T

richardwakeley
24th December 2014, 04:09
John,

I didn't know you were teetotal.

Richard

Alex Nicolson
24th December 2014, 17:31
I used an Eddystone while at sea. Used a variety of Vibroplex and Electronic keys over the years after coming to Canada. Still prefer the Eddystone. Good fast Morse can be sent on any key - so can "shite".

Alex

R651400
25th December 2014, 08:57
I used an electronic keyer for my entire time at sea - from my first ship as a makey-learnie.Electronic keys only came into their own with transistors tho I've seen a 19 inch rack valved el-key.
Before el-keys personal bugs were the norm at sea and depending how they were placed a tad inefficient if the ship was rolling heavily.

richardwakeley
25th December 2014, 14:22
R65,
I completely concurr. I have a small collection of morse keys rescued from various defunct ships, and pride of place in my collection is a real Vibroplex i bought in the 70s, but hardly ever used at sea. Its useless when rolling. Good on the railways or an amateur radio shack I suppose.
Richard

Mad Landsman
25th December 2014, 15:53
Working on Aussie coast stations the ability to read 5 unit punched tape was a requirement set out as "The ability to.. ..read a five unit tape at the rate of ten words per minute.." Most of us could read it at 25 to 30 words per minute after a while.


I just spotted the above reply!

In my defence I would point out that in my case it was neither training nor requirement - I just picked up the idea because it was useful, and impressed the uninitiated.
It must be getting on for 30 years since I used Telex so it was a good bit of nostalgia to be reminded of the five unit tape format. (Thumb)

My Morse was always appalling, much to my father's despair, and I only ever used a WD or GPO up and downer - Hence why I failed to follow the thread.

Bibi.

MIG

R651400
25th December 2014, 16:27
... Good on the railways or an amateur radio shack I suppose....Richard terra-firma was no doubt the bug-key's forte but Vibroplex had a heavy enough base to place thwart-ships or wherever to defeat the ship movement affecting the dot weight whereas bugs such as the Japanese Dentsu-Seiki with supposed plastic suction feet were totally useless.
Used the latter all the way from GTZB to GND and counter-acted the problem by placing the feet on old fashioned sticky insulating tape opposite to any ship movement during severe wx condx.
How about some of your morse "gems" appearing in your SN gallery?

Troppo
25th December 2014, 23:02
I always used a Bencher external paddle.

It never, ever moved. Even in a Force 12.

I still use it in my AR station.

david.hopcroft
26th December 2014, 11:47
I bought this in CapeTown when I joined ZSHI. The desk was fore/aft, so yes indeed, it's operation was quite dependent on rolling, and so had to be moved according to roll !

It isn't connected to anything in this thumbnail.

David

+

R651400
26th December 2014, 12:26
Definitely a Dentsu-Seiki without it's clear plastic cover and typically like everything Japanese in the sense aesthetically pleasing with a slight hint of functionality.

R651400
26th December 2014, 14:35
I always used a Bencher external paddle.........to drive an electronic key but hardly the same as a mechanical Vibroplex/Dentsu-Seiki/Eddystone bug key susceptible in it's performance by the rolling and pitching movement of a ship.

david.hopcroft
26th December 2014, 19:28
I still have the plastic cover albeit slightly damaged. A victim of rolling sadly. Used it all the time at GKZ, just clipped on to the PO key.

David
+

Troppo
27th December 2014, 00:13
....to drive an electronic key but hardly the same as a mechanical Vibroplex/Dentsu-Seiki/Eddystone bug key susceptible in it's performance by the rolling and pitching movement of a ship.

Yes....which is why I posted it.....an external paddle with a seriously heavy base got around the rolling problem...

I never liked vibroplex type keys...for all the reasons posted in this thread...

duncs
27th December 2014, 03:45
It's very interesting reading about the various keys. I only ever used an up and downer. I had an electronic key supplied on one ship; practiced, dead loss, embarrassment.
I could imitate a bug with my MIMCO up and downer.
But, here is the question.
Did anyone of you ever get a blast of the 'joe blakes' while sending?
It happened to me and I can't explain it. Hooch, nerves? I don't know.

Duncs

R651400
27th December 2014, 07:47
Best up and down morse I ever come across was Des Kernighan from NI during the 1963 GKA induction course.
Des who eventually went to GKZ was a "nerve sender" with speeds of 35 plus wpm and could imitate any morse style of the time particularly that of the Greeks.

trotterdotpom
27th December 2014, 10:17
Best up and down morse I ever come across was Des Kernighan from NI during the 1963 GKA induction course.
Des who eventually went to GKZ was a "nerve sender" with speeds of 35 plus wpm and could imitate any morse style of the time particularly that of the Greeks.

Obviously you never heard my fantastic morse.

What's the point of sending morse at 35 wpm when few folk would be able to write it down at that speed?

I recall some foreign ROs complaining about those peculiar "Rs" that UK Coast Station operators used to send - sounded like "e n" - what was the point of that? There were a couple of other things they did that I can't remember now.

John T

J. Davies
27th December 2014, 10:26
well, at Brunel tech in Bristol we were taught on basic straight keys bolted to the desk. Stiff back, upper lip and arm old chap ! Bugs and electronic keys were for the "Greeks".

I used Marconi straight keys mainly at sea then when I became a radio amateur nutcase I started dabbling with bugs. They can send faster for longer.

The KPH ops used bugs extensively and I was always impressed with those guys. Never heard a bug from a UK station though. Probably far too radical old chap.

Nowadays using all sorts of keys at whim on the air, sideswipers, bugs, iambic you name it. Fun.

R651400
27th December 2014, 10:36
#50..The morse etiquette norm is to reply at the speed you're being sent at.
As for the quality of one's morse (if you want to continually brag about it) one can only take one's word for it..

trotterdotpom
27th December 2014, 10:49
#50..The morse etiquette norm is to reply at the speed you're being sent at.
As for the quality of one's morse (if you want to continually brag about it) one can only take one's word for it..

That's true, one can.

Your "etiquette" point is correct.

John T

hawkey01
27th December 2014, 11:59
JD,

33- there were many RO's at GKA and on the coast that used bug keys of various types.

Hawkey01

Troppo
27th December 2014, 20:46
I remember "e n"....as well as "s n" (understood).

R651400
28th December 2014, 05:54
Have to admit e-n "R" caught me on my first TR to GPK so I asked for a QSL and got it.
For a lot of R/O's SN "understood" was used more like a kick-start.

david.hopcroft
28th December 2014, 12:08
Someone at GKZ used to use a vibroplex, or at least I think it was. It had a rounded metal case with a knurled knob to hold it on. The casing narrowed at the back, so someone else had affixed whiskers and ears to make it look like a mouse, and I have to say did improve it's look. Maybe it even sent 'squeaky' morse !!

David
+

G4UMW
28th December 2014, 12:30
It had a rounded metal case with a knurled knob to hold it on.

That sounds like an Eddystone bug key...

http://dl4py.darc.de/images/p188_1_01.jpg

TABNAB
28th December 2014, 16:02
I bought this in CapeTown when I joined ZSHI. The desk was fore/aft, so yes indeed, it's operation was quite dependent on rolling, and so had to be moved according to roll !

It isn't connected to anything in this thumbnail.

David

+

Hi David, Still got mine, can confirm everything you say, bought it in Otaru for 5 1958, it still works. rgds Tabnab

RayL
28th December 2014, 22:14
For a lot of R/O's SN "understood" was used more like a kick-start.

Yes, it was a handy way of commencing one's transmission--rather in the spirit of "Here I am, so start listening!" Rather than "SN", it was very often sent with such emphasis and bravado that it was more like "EEEN". It was so enjoyable, indeed, that one often repeated it a couple of times before launching into the transmission proper. Ah, great days! Bring 'em back!

Troppo
29th December 2014, 03:33
Yes, I remember E E E N.

Halcyon days.

trotterdotpom
29th December 2014, 09:37
SN - I thought that was when they were thinking what to say.

John T

R651400
29th December 2014, 10:25
In non morse and by those lesser exponents of the English language it has been taken over internationally by the world "like"..

Probably the worst is talking to a Glaswegian who starts his each and every sentence by...

"see ah wis like that!"

Translation... "Look I was like that!"

What the eff does that mean?

trotterdotpom
29th December 2014, 10:53
You just gave your own translation, hen.

John T

R651400
29th December 2014, 10:58
Ah well at least I don't post photies o' ma daughter's wedding tae draw attention tae masel... hen

trotterdotpom
29th December 2014, 11:11
Did I do that? I just looked in my photo file and can't find that. At least I was invited , were you invited ot your daughter's wedding?

John T

R651400
29th December 2014, 11:15
Oh dearie me if it's no number three...

david.hopcroft
29th December 2014, 19:17
Rob - Yes, that's the one.

TabNab - I took the four sucker feet off as they proved useless, and stuck on a rubber pad with a spongy back. Worked fine and it is still there !!

When on 500 at GKZ, if I wound it up a bit and went out imi (?) GKZ on CW, I was just about guaranteed a Russian would answer with an obs message !!

David

+

J. Davies
29th December 2014, 21:58
I stand corrected and didn't know GKA used bug keys. I didn't work them much though. The usual routes were in the Far East or Australasia.
I do remember that when I did work GKA they were very good and would try to match their sending speeds with the ship's R/O. In my case they would have to slow down quite a bit !

ernhelenbarrett
3rd January 2015, 03:23
Re reading fast morse, if anyone was at Sydneyradio/VIS they would remember Kev Hiscock who could take it easily at 35 wpm direct on the teleprinter, light and puff away on his pipe, talk to you ,then catch up with the
traffic, especially working the Islands, Nauru or Norfolk Island air traffic. He also designed the PNG flag whilst up at VIG/Moresbyradio
Ern Barrett

ernhelenbarrett
3rd January 2015, 03:31
Also meant to say that at Moresbyradio/VIG we worked all telex messages out of Papua and had to read 5-unit tape, also worked the Top20 R/T Channels and CRS at the Receiving Station out at Jacksons Airstrip, did a spell there then a spell in the Town Office hammering out messages on the thumpingbanger machines in 5-unit whilst receiving the incoming stuff from SOR/Sydney. We were also on callouts during the night if somebody wanted to phone out which meant a drive out to Jacksons to contact Vis and arrange a phone channel then
shut everything down after the call was finished, drive home the 9 miles and still be up in the morning to start your shift. There was only the Manager and 5 R/o' for this job too...The good old days!!!!

Victor India Papa
3rd January 2015, 05:32
Re reading fast morse, if anyone was at Sydneyradio/VIS they would remember Kev Hiscock who could take it easily at 35 wpm direct on the teleprinter, light and puff away on his pipe, talk to you ,then catch up with the
traffic, especially working the Islands, Nauru or Norfolk Island air traffic. He also designed the PNG flag whilst up at VIG/Moresbyradio
Ern Barrett

I can verify the legendary abilities of Kev. I met Kev Hiscock briefly at VIM in September or October 1974 when my wife-to-be and I called in to the station. He was working a ship on MF while talking to us. He gave "K" and the ship's R/O started into his next message. Kev continued talking to us while stuffing his pipe with tobacco, lit it up and at about 20 words into the text he began to bang away on the Siemens T-100 teleprinter copying the message. He continued to puff away and talk to us throughout and never missed a beat.

That's Kev far right in the photo.

Cheers

Murray

Troppo
3rd January 2015, 05:35
There was only the Manager and 5 R/o' for this job too...The good old days!!!!


Pity they aren't still there!

P2M is a mess.

R651400
3rd January 2015, 09:04
Always remember the rapid-fire dot speed coming from Sydney/VIS on 500 kcs and was told they used an Australian made "Buzza" key.

http://www.morsemad.com/bugs.htm

Victor India Papa
3rd January 2015, 09:52
Always remember the rapid-fire dot speed coming from Sydney/VIS on 500 kcs and was told they used an Australian made "Buzza" key.

http://www.morsemad.com/bugs.htm

There may have been Buzza keys used on the coast stations, but I never saw one, and it would not have been supplied by OTC aka On The Cheap! The standard key supplied to all Australian coast stations in my time (1972 to 1992) was the Junker shown below.

If you wanted to use anything else it was buy your own. The Japanese Dentsu Seiki BK-100 was popular, as were the various Vibroplex keys and iambic paddles and electronic keys.

Cheers

R651400
3rd January 2015, 10:06
VIP.. I don't think a Junkers key could be referred to as "otc!" They're still recognised to day as the creme de la creme..
My Buzza link does say VIS and my time was late 50's on the Singapore East Oz run. The only other station I recall that sent morse in the same style was Shanghai/XSG.

Victor India Papa
3rd January 2015, 10:40
VIP.. I don't think a Junkers key could be referred to as "otc!" They're still recognised to day as the creme de la creme..
My Buzza link does say VIS and my time was late 50's on the Singapore East Oz run. The only other station I recall that sent morse in the same style was Shanghai/XSG.

Hi R651400. I agree, Junker keys were certainly not "otc" and were indeed creme de la creme. I have one that was liberated from VIP and I cherish it. On The Cheap (as OTC was called by the employees) because OTC wouldn't spend any more money than they had to - on anything. They did not provide bug keys to R/Os on coast stations in addition to the Junker. In my time in the coast radio service I didn't see any of the Buzza keys being used, but I did see many other brands. I'm not saying the Buzza wasn't used, just that I never saw one.

djringjr
4th January 2015, 06:44
VIP I probably worked you around 1989 to 1992 from SS KING/WAKL. I often heard VIPpurring away idle on SiTOR so I called up. The Op said VIP had a log perodic on receive, and I gave my QTH which was in North Atlantic near New York as we were awaiting pilot boat.

W5PEH Pete has a nice recording of a sideswiper on the web site I mentioned for side swiper net.

Marconi 365 would make great code. I can manage 23 wpm with one, I qualified for my first class telegraph with a Vibroplex and a Royal Empress all caps with slashed zero typewriter, or MILL.

A sideswiper cand faster than a up and down key, 35 wpm is possible andbit is non fatiguing.

73

DR

trotterdotpom
4th January 2015, 09:43
djringjr: "....A sideswiper cand faster than a up and down key, 35 wpm is possible andbit is non fatiguing."

You're correct dringir but what's the point if nobody can read it? Fast typing is the same - you probably wrote your message at about 50 wpm and made three typos.

John T

R651400
4th January 2015, 10:26
Give W5PEH credit for his ability on a side-swiper but to compare crispness with a good up and down/bug/el-key sender sri not in the same league.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-eZoV_sajE

Troppo
5th January 2015, 02:38
His dot/dash weighting is a bit off. But it sounds pretty good.

R651400
5th January 2015, 03:10
Agreed and I don't think you'll get any better.
The only side-swiper I came across at sea was a Greek R/O who uniquely along with the Captain and the rest of the Officers actually owned their ship (a Sam-class liberty). His sending was much the same as the W5PEH link.

Victor India Papa
5th January 2015, 03:41
Going slightly off topic.. Ok, way off topic!

I wish these were around when I was in the job. Vostok Amphibia Radio Room watch on the left and Smiths PRS-28 on the right.

I prefer the Smiths and would like to buy one. BUT. I already have a large collection of military watches and the missus would not be happy with me buying another watch!

R651400
5th January 2015, 06:55
At 245 a time? Wonder why the Rolex and Co fakers have not latched on.

R651400
7th January 2015, 10:26
No takers on Bangkok replique watches complete with sp's?

Morse keys/paddles in their finest "Maserati" form showing the cult is far from dead.

http://www.i2rtf.com/html/anniversary.html