Speed Key Certificates

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D.J.J. Ring, Jr.

May 29, 2022, 12:19:25 AM5/29/22
to CW Reflector
From: Nick K4NYW
Sent: Saturday, May 28, 2022 8:26 PM
Subject: [cryptocollectors] Speed Key cert/key

Examples of Speed Key certificates and a bug awarded to a (I presume) winner of a contest are at

The US Navy bought NT-26009 speed keys in WW2 from McElroy and Bunnell but I believe these stayed with the ship. 

I know that Radiomen often bought their own speed keys. 

The Navy bought a batch of Vibroplex Champion keys in the early 1950s but I don’t know if they were issued to RMs or the ship. 

Then there is this one from 1967
If it sounds like I am confused about what actually happened, it is because I am. 
George & Group

I was in the Navy from 1957 to 1961.  My last ship was the USS Hancock, home ported in
Alameda, California, across the bay from San Francisco.  We had one fellow arrive on
board, fresh from RM "A" school.  A few weeks after he arrived, his parents sent him
one of the Vibroplex "Golden Bugs" in a great looking carrying case.  At that time,
one had to be 'certified' some way to use any kind of auto or semi-auto keyer.  One of
the RM Chiefs, took him over to the FCC office in San Francisco and he was tested on
both sending and receiving with a straight key at the speeds needed for a FCC 2nd class
license.  I think he also had to show some proper ability using the 'bug'.

He passed both tests and came back with that certificate or 'ticket' to use the bug.

He was not required to take the written exam, since he was not getting a license.

He was still using that thing when I was released to inactive duty in March of 1961.

Remember those "Z" signals?  ZBM 1 and ZBM 2 stick in my mind.  I think that ZBM 1
translated to "Place on this circuit a qualified operator," and ZBM 2 was, "Place on
this circuit a qualified speed key operator."  ZUG was 'negative'.

Good old ACP-131!

For now,

Ralph Irish -W8ROI

On Sat, May 28, 2022 at 7:41 PM george keller <georg...@aol.com> wrote:
I wonder if any of you old timers remember back in the 60's when the Navy was awarding speed keys (Bugs) to RM's who qualified for the "Speed Key" License? I remember it well, never was an RM long enuf to even try for it, although I had my Extra and T-2.

I have good friend who is a retired CTR-1 who had 2 speed key licenses and didn't receive the "Bug".  Any back up info would be greatly appreciated.


George Keller

Nick England K4NYW


May 29, 2022, 11:53:14 AM5/29/22
to Chicken Fat Operators Club - CFO
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