Monday, October 8, 2012

1954 Elite Skyriter Comes to Life, Almost

 As you can see my problem is not completely solved.  I think a complete dis-assembly and a good polishing of all the parts of the pivot assembly may help.  I'm open to suggestions.

The pivot joint and adjusting screws.  The right one after I adjusted it and the left as both were found.

 This is the lever that moves up and down into the escapement ratchet gear to hold the carriage as it moves only one space.
This is the pivot joint engaged to hold the platen after one letter is typed.
What I found is that this would stick engaged to the tooth or it would be in the middle of 2 teeth when the machine would skip or not feed to the next space.

First repair was to replace the original screw.  This screw has 2 shoulders. One fit into the slide and the bigger one held out with a small washer.  Without the washer there is too much slop in this joint.

More of the machine.  I stopped typing to take this one.

My Bunnell Spark Gap key. 

My Vibroplex Brass Racer Iambic Paddles.
Even more Bugs

If you'd like to see more keys Google Morse Code Key and look at the images.

Many ham radio operators collect keys.  At one time code use is what separated hams from the other radio folks.  That is not so true any longer as the code is not required for a license.  One can have a lot of fun and never use the code.  I discovered that I can use the code and have even more fun.

I was one that did not like the code when it was required to go to the F.C.C. field office and prove you could send and receive the code.  I forget the requirement for the Novice class I think that was either 2 or 5 words per minute and was administered by a local ham operator with a General or higher class license.

To get a General required 13 words per minute.  I do not remember what the Advanced class required.  Extra required 20 or 25 words per minute.

I looked at it as a way to keep people out of the hobby.  After I got my Technician class I decided to at least get a General class license.  Anyone can learn 5 words per minute!  I found that to be true with all of the modern computer code programs available.

To make a short story and not bore you; After I got my General and got on the air I soon found CW or the Morse Code to be much more enjoyable than the phone bands.  I was soon building QRP (low power)  transmitters and doing mostly code no matter what power I used.

I encourage anyone interested in building or using radios to get their license and get on the air, learn the code and have fun.  Amateur radio encompasses much more than merely radio and the code.  There really is something for everyone.  One day I may make a USB typewriter to send code.  Then there is always RTTY (radio telegraph)  Many use a keyboard now, but the many teletype people still have the old typewriter keyboard teletype machines.

73 de Bill


  1. It sounds like you're "getting the bugs out"!

    I like the Skyriters too; perhaps someday I will have one. I liked Mike Clemens' machine a lot.

    Is the term "STACK" yours, or is this a general term? This happens occasionally on my Smith-Corona Sterling (1945). It doesn't skip; it just "stacks".

    1. For the lack of a better word I use stack to describe when one or more letters print on top of each other in the same place before the carriage will move to the next space. Habit, I guess, from when at one time memory was referred to as a stack or the stack.

  2. I need to get my Skyriter working properly. It's such a neat little machine, but not without its issues. I love how ultra-portable they are.

    Cool info on Morse and ham radio operations! It's something I've wanted to do for quite some time but have no real idea how to get into.

    1. Email and I will see if I can point you in the direction of your Technician Class License. It's a good place to start if you do not have an electronics background. There are now some HF privileges also. I have worked code and side band on VHF, but not too successfully. It costs more than HF too.

  3. Good work! The worst escapement issue I've dealt with so far was with a totally seized 1930s Olympia. It still needs pinch rollers, bushings and feet before it can go back into service. I'm happy to have tracked down and killed the skipping problem in my Noiseless Eight. It was somewhat similar to your Skyriter problem in that a screw that engages the escapement plate needed to be tightened.

    For A.R.M.S.: Find a local Ham club that offers a class other than a crash course. My middle school daughter and I got our Technician licenses after a series of classes with far better practical knowledge than what a cram class would have given us. This is a guy heavy hobby, but girls and women who like tech blend in fine.

    1. Bill: Email coming at you shortly!

      Dwayne: Good info! Any hobby I jump into I like to learn about before really getting involved so I don't find myself out of my depth, so classes from a club would be a good fit for me.

      All of my hobbies are guy-heavy. That doesn't phase me a bit. I've always been a tomboy!

  4. The Skyriter has a cult following and I can see why. Good to hear there's some progress in your restoration, I'm sure you'll solve that escapement issue.

  5. Thanks for the pics, they will certainly help. This post is a good repaur reference