Monday, May 31, 2010


One of the more interesting parts of a 1920s Arts & Crafts cottage like Roseholme is that you find unusual angles -- for instance, my ham shack as seen from the stairs:The white glare is not dust but the camera flash, bouncing back from the white stairway walls. Desk's getting a little crowded; I'm working on some ideas.

At the front edge of the desk near my chair, an early, nickel-plated Les Logan (of Speed-X fame) bug. On the far side of it and the pencil-sharpener is my very first and homebrew bug, a kind of Vibroplex "Lightning Bug"-inspired gadget built from whatever I could lay hands on. There's another Speed-X bug on the next-to top shelf, above the National speaker; called a "T-Bar" because the yoke has a nifty T-shape, which makes a nice carrying handle. It is in serious need of replating, though it may be zinc-alloy "white metal" and therefore not exactly long-lasting. My present plan is to hand the yoke over to a local machine shop and have them clone it in brass, which won't be cheap but gets me a working bug and lets me save the fragile part. Both of them have a Logan-unique feature, the yoke supports the lower pivot point as well as the upper one! (I should take photos, shouldn't I?) Also on the desktop, my Begali bug and Vibroplex Blue Racer and Zephyr.

The blue wires at the left are feeder from my G5RV (a sort of double Zepp) antenna; normally, they hang on the overhead part of the ground wire, but I was preparing to get on the air. I managed to work Florida and Quebec on 40 meters -- the band was active, though plenty noisy. Some real speed demons out there, though my Canadian contact had a very clean, 10 or 12 wpm fist. I slid the weights back on the Begali bug but ended up switching to a straight key to match him as much as possible. (This, for the high-speed fellows out there, some of whom either forgot it or were never told, is the polite thing to do: QRS, OM!) OTOH, there's a good chance he's a French speaker, so he may have been sending slowly so I didn't get lost! No harm in that.

(The initial parts of a CW contact are in a kind of Radio Latin -- or "QST English:" "R R R TNX FER CALL ES GE -- UR RST 599 ? 5NN -- QTH INDIANAPOLIS, IN ? INDIANPOLIS, IN -- NAME RJ ? RJ -- HW CPY? VE4XXX DE K9YYY KN" is a greeting, introduction and signal report that most hams understand no matter what language they use. ("Received you okay, thanks for responding & good evening. Your signals are very readable and strong at my location in Indianapolis. Call me RJ. How'd you receive that? [callsigns, him from me] Go ahead, just you and nobody else." [That's the "KN;" plain "K" is kind of a general-whoever go ahead prosign]) To a CW-minded person, the short-long-short pattern of an R says "I got it" and the long-short-long of a K says "go a-head," clear as any spoken word. N -- dah-dit -- becomes "onnn-ly" and there you go. In another context, it's given a long dash and used as shorthand for "9." Use of "?" to signal a repeated word is not universal; some hams just send twice and others, especially if they got a good signal report, don't bother. Hey, if it's "armchair copy," they got it first time).

(Update: My use of "yoke" may be misleading, as it is variously used to describe different parts of a bug! I meant the pivot frame, often a more or less inverted-U shape that holds the upper pivot bearing and usually adjustment screws).


  1. And you use the box of ammo when during a contact?

  2. Damn! You've got ALL the cool stuff!

    Bugs, Ammo, old rigs. What more could a ham want!


    God Bless Ya'll!

    Aggie, Class of '70
    An Anglican Firearms "Enthusiast" (ie: Gun Nut)

  3. Ed, don't get to excited, that's an empty box, set aside for reloads (if and when). I think it's from some .38SA I sent to the 'smith along with my (inaccurate) Colt. Didn't want him to have to use up his supply, it being spendy and scarce. He swapped out the link. I was expecting it to need a whole new barrel.

  4. I'm sorely tempted to get one of these ( for my PSK-31 QRP rig.