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Man, this thing is "bug"-ging me...

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I have always loved bugs, and always planned to learn how to use one once I got my ham radio license. They just look so awesome, all big and chromed and Art Deco-looking. So, I bought an old Vibroplex, which was advertisted as "good condition, all parts move freely." I guess that's true, inasmuch as the parts were moving freely around the bottom of the box.  :-\  But hey, that's the way it goes with buying used - you pays your money and you takes your chances. Plus, I like a fixer-upper, so I've gone ahead and torn it (mostly) the rest of the way apart. I think all the parts are actually HERE, which is a big plus. The contacts are so corroded that I can scrape the top layer with a fingernail, and about half of the screws either have gunked-up threads or seized locknuts, but that's OK. I think I understand how it's supposed to work mechanically, so if I just get each individual part back to a usable condition, then gob all those parts together.... well, it will probably take a few hours and a lot of cursing. Wish me luck!   :)

Hi Ray,

At least once you're done, you'll know EXACTLY how it works!


If my progress so far is any indication, when I'm done I think I'll know enough to go out to the shop and build a new one from old motorcycle parts.  :-\  Actually, it's not too bad so far. First thing I did was go through all the screws and bolts. A couple of them were bent, one of them about 15 degrees near the head.  Straightening them out was tense. This thing is no spring chicken, and those bolts weren't meant to be bent in the first place, let alone bent back again. But, everything went well. I had to use a needle file and clean up some of the threads where I straightened them out, but a test-fit shows they all thread in OK, and that all the locknuts are freed up and usable. I've got all these fasteners soaking in a little cup of Rem Oil right now to loosen up the rest of the gunk, and I'm firing up the Dremel and the polishing wheels to see if I can clean up the brass plate a little bit before starting on the body of the thing. Onward!

Prepper-related note: Aside from all the electronics tools you'll use, I've found that gunsmithing tools are some of the handiest things to have in your ham radio arsenal. A small brass mallet, a high-quality caliper and inch mic, a can of Rem Oil and a set of USAMidway gunsmithing screwdrivers will end up spending as much time on your radio bench as they do on your reloading bench. It's always good to have stuff that will multitask.

The operation was a success, and the patient survived! It works really well, but even at the slowest setting it's pretty fast. It'll take some practice to be able to keep up with it. For now, I stuck a clothespin on the end of the 2nd weight to slow it down to about 15WPM character speed. This thing is awesome.

White Tiger:
Wow, Ray...that's every bit as pretty as a '49 Panhead!!


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