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
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
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
Good old ACP-131!
Ralph Irish -W8ROI
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.