Odes to the great bug users

Bug key, it is an accompaniment to land line and, eventually, radio communication. It has lived since the days of ham radio pioneer together with us. Its simple structure produces musical code. The dots are so powerful  that it pushes on codes while the dashes calm down the energy from the dots. Both of them comprise the music of Morse code. It sounds like highly individualized music. There is no way the same keying in the world. Unfortunately, nowadays, there are less bug users on the air. Especially much less proficient bug users now. It seems like a perishing art. It might be worth remembering those good bug operators like instrument virtuosi in music in the old days.

Robin ZS5KI used to be on 40m at midnight in our time back in 1960s. He used to work with the West Coasts such as Merle K6DC at that time.  He used to send fluent code from his bug. Not very loud but still very fascinating to me, a beginer teen age boy.  Unfortunately, I heard he had had health problem and had gone SK not so long after those days.

Merle K6DC, formerly W6ULS, was one of the regular big guns who used to work with ZS or europeans through the long path on 40m at midnight in our time. A real big gun. Always S9 plus. His bug was weighing a little bit heavily and flowing smoothly. A warm hearted guy with a good sense of humor. He used to break in me telling go to bed when I stayed up late at night in 1980s. An elmer for me.

Kemp K7UQH was a great bug user as well. His bug sounded orthodox with crisp dots in fairly slow speed. His code was always constant. With his warm personality, it has always relieved me a lot whenever I heard him with bug. He has been a good friend of mine since 1960s. He knew very well of each model of Vibroplex. He used to send me cloth to clean the contacts of bug. a few years ago. He has had a problem with his ICOM gear and has told me it was the time of QRT when his gear acted up. It was not so long before I could not hear him any longer. No reply to my inquiry by mail.

 AH2G Joe has sent a crisp and beautiful code from his bug. It was in 1980s when I used to chat with him. He used to tell me he won't need any QSLs for he has received boxes of cards already. A serious and interesting guy. I surely miss his beautiful bug CW.

Sam W6TSQ was a keen DXer. With his S line, his bug sounded powerful and fluent. S line produced a bit of chirpy signal but the tone sounded mellow and pure. He was a ragchwer as well. I have visited him at his home on a hill. His wires were set among high trees around there. His warm and mellow signal is surely missed.

Del W8KJP, formerly HL9DC, was a great bug user. He operated with a perfect bug in Korea around 1990. High dot dash ratio code. So neat and constant. He is still active from Fl but his health problem won't let him use that bug any longer. I surely remember of his beautiful bug.

Me? Out of any objective of ode. I am just practising it to be a real bug user after those old friends. A long way to go. Nowadays, there are less and less real good bug users on the air, I am afraid. Is there anyone who would make a record file of those great bug user's signal?

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