Semi-automatic keys or 'bugs'
The invention of semiautomatic keys, alias 'bugs' dates back to the early 20th century.
Until that time the conventional morse key was still the standard. These were operated by a down movement of the arm thus closing a contact letting the current flow.

Many professional morse code operators suffered from the 'glass arm' which was the result of the ongoing up and down motion of the arm. The 'bug' cured the problem because the motion was now sidewards and the dots were automatically sent as a string of dots generated by a lever and a weight bouncing back and forth.

These 'bugs' were also used by Ham operators well into the 60s of the last century when the 'bug' was replaced by the 'wabbler' connected to an electronic keying unit.

(updated 28-Dec-2007): Meanwhile I have added a number of Vibroplex bugs and a recent model made by GHD in Japan. The latter being quite costly but of fine quality. I will introduce them on my upcoming re-constructed web site.
japanese BK-201 bug
My second 'bug', a BK-201 which - I think - was made in Japan.
When I bought it back in theearly 70s it was low cost compared to the top notch Vibroplex bugs (USA).
I used this bug a few years before I converted to the 'el-bug' (electronic keyer).
Vibroplex Twins
'Original' and 'Blue Racer' (new version)
Vibroplex 'Original'
I bought this 'Original' bug in the late 80s. It was my first Vibroplex bug. As I was using electronic keyers for quite some years already it was quite hard for me to get used to the 'old' way again.
Today I only use it for some special events and it takes me an hour or so of training to get used to it again.
Vibroplex 'Blue Racer' (new version)
It's quite similar to the 'Original' but has a smaller footprint (slimmer) to save some space.
back to Morse Keys