A high repetition rate, MHz-class, high-brightness electron source is a key element in future high-repetition-rate x-ray free electron laser-based light sources. The VHF-gun, a novel low frequency radio-frequency gun, is the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) response to that need. The gun design is based on a normal conducting, single cell cavity resonating at 186 MHz in the VHF band and capable of continuous wave operation while still delivering the high accelerating fields at the cathode required for the high brightness performance. The VHF-gun was fabricated and successfully commissioned in the framework of the Advanced Photo-injector EXperiment, an injector built at LBNL to demonstrate the capability of the gun to deliver the required beam quality. The basis for the selection of the VHF-gun technology, novel design features, and fabrication techniques are described.