The latest addition to my arsenal of CW-sending implements is a Vibroplex VibroKeyer. It’s used, but it works like a champ. Mine is somewhat different from the current production model. Instead of a shiny chrome base, mine is painted beige. Also, the nameplate is mounted so that it faces the right side of the base instead of being mounted in the middle.
The guy who sold me the VibroKeyer did not know how old it was, but by going to the Dating Your Vibroplex page, it appears that the VibroKeyer was first made in 1960, and my unit–s/n 260,385–was made in 1969. It’s still in pretty good shape for a 35 year old paddle. Aside from some scratches on the base, it looks almost brand new. The deluxe version has a jewelled movement and the action of the paddle is still quite smooth.
The VibroKeyer is not a bug, as you might think, but instead a single-lever paddle to be used with a keyer. That’s one of the reasons it wasn’t made until 1960. This is when electronic keyers were starting to become more popular.
The single-lever paddle differs from the iambic paddle in that only one contact can be closed at any one time. That’s kind of a negative if you’re used to operating in iambic mode, but since I’ve only been able to master the iambic mode when sending Q and Y, it’s not that big a deal.
Overall, I’m quite happy with my purchase. I paid $60 for a paddle that currently costs about $150 new, and it works really well. You can’t beat that.