"Side Swiper" Morse Key

tedc
17th January 2007, 17:22
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, 17:36
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, 17:37
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, 19:14
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, 17:12
[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, 17:14
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, 17:55
[

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, 19:13
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, 21:59
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, 22:04
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, 22:06
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, 23:10
Sparkies Hey? The worlds a better place for having you been there!!

gwzm
19th January 2007, 16:54
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, 17:41
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, 18:44
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, 21:30
Fubar,

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

Brian

James_C
19th January 2007, 21:38
What he doesn't mention was that he flogged it to afford another night out in Danny's Bar!

Mad Landsman
19th January 2007, 22:16
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, 02:22
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, 11:09
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, 15:47
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, 01:31
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, 08:51
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, 15:02
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