Scott Robbins, W4PA, to Purchase Vibroplex
Scott Robbins, W4PA, of Knoxville, Tennessee, told the ARRL that he has signed an agreement to purchase The Vibroplex Company, Inc from present owner Felton "Mitch" Mitchell, W4OA, effective December 21, 2009. "Vibroplex represents the great tradition of CW operation in Amateur Radio going back many, many years," Robbins told the ARRL. "I'm tickled to be able to continue the more than 100 years of history that has gone into this company."
Robbins -- who has been employed with Ten-Tec Inc since 1995 (he has been Product Manager for Ten-Tec's Amateur Radio equipment line since 1997) -- will leave his position in mid-December to take over full-time management and ownership of Vibroplex. "It's a great opportunity to continue the more than 100 years of tradition that the Vibroplex name represents," Robbins said. "I've known Mitch for quite a few years and it was an important consideration for both of us that Vibroplex continue operation building quality products for Amateur Radio long into the future. Mitch's experience owning the company will be valuable as we proceed with a seamless ownership transition over the next few weeks."
Robbins told the ARRL that he will move Vibroplex from its present location in Mobile, Alabama to Knoxville, Tennessee during the last two weeks of December, with a planned opening date of January 5, 2010. Vibroplex's toll-free sales line (800) 840-8873, Web site and e-mail contact addresses will remain in continuous operation under the new ownership, he said.
"My first Vibroplex paddle was given to me in 1980 by my father, W2DR; when I left home to attend the University of North Carolina in 1988, a rig, some wire and the key went with me," Robbins said. "Close to 30 years later, it's still on the table -- along with two Vibroplex products I've purchased. I used a Vibroplex chrome iambic to win the 2006 ARRL DX CW contest from Barbados as 8P9PA and I will certainly be using one at the WRTC 2010 competition in Russia this July."
Robbins told the ARRL that he has enjoyed his 14 year career at Ten-Tec, calling it his first "real job" when he was fresh out of college: "I have met literally thousands of hams over the years because of Ten-Tec -- all those exciting years when we were designing new rigs and I was writing the manuals for the Omni-VII and Orion; I'm really proud of what has been accomplished there. I am sure that Ten-Tec and Vibroplex will have some common ground in the future -- both companies already did one commemorative key together back in 2002. Another one would be great!"
Vibroplex is the oldest operating business in the Amateur Radio industry and has been in continuous service to the hobby since founder Horace Martin invented the "bug" semi-automatic Morse code key in 1904.