About Steve Roberts


Shack/Convertible Key #54 out the door

I can’t believe I’ve made 54 of the “portable” keys with brass bases already. Seems like just yesterday I was noodling around with the design on a napkin at my friends house over the Thanksgiving holiday. Thanks to all for taking a flyer on something new and reports continue to come in praising the Torsion Bar action and the tactile feel of the hand formed wood finger pieces. Onward and upward!


1945 Vibroplex Lightning Restoration

Got this key on eBay from a Pawn Broker. He didn’t have any real clue about what it was so I got it cheap. The key is in incredible shape and so is the storage case that came with it. I cleaned it up and then made a “dit tamer” which screws in to a small hole I tapped in the existing pendulum weight. That got me down to about 18 WPM. With the weight off the dit speed is about 22 WPM and with the arm removed all together, the dit speed is about 30 wpm. That’s why they called it the Lightning!

Close up of the homebrew dit tamer.

Close up of the homebrew dit tamer.

1945 Vibroplex Lightning Bug Restoration

1945 Vibroplex Lightning Bug Restoration


Overhead view of 1945 Vibroplex Lightning restoration

Overhead view of 1945 Vibroplex Lightning restoration

1st International Field Day May 28th

I’ll be on the air from my cabin here in Vermont. Hope to CU there!!!


The Field Radio group will be holding its inaugural International Field Radio Event in late May, 2016. Please note this is an activity and not a contest! Here is your opportunity to interact with fellow group members on air, so please support us in this fun activity.



The NEW Station Base for the TBP Portable Key is Here!

Many have requested a base for the TBP/Torsion Bar Portable key and now it’s here. The key base has been re-designed to accommodate screw-in rubber feet and to match up with mounting holes on the stainless base. The total weight of the key with the SS base is 13oz. Still pretty light, but because of the low center of gravity and the lightness of the key itself, it will NOT move during use. You can see the video here: