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[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

My New 6L6 Transmitter

(W8WZ) on April 2, 2007
View comments about this article!


My New 6L6 Transmitter

Carl W. Davis W8WZ

I have always wanted to build my own transmitter. I got my first Amateur Radio License when I was 14 years old. My grandfather was still alive then, and he helped me build a Hartley Oscillator for 20 meter CW operation. Unfortunately, he passed away before we finished the project's power supply and I never did get that transmitter on the air. That rig was later lost in a flood. I have not had any formal training in electronics. All I know is what I have learned from my grandfather, from books while studying to go from no-code tech, to technician plus, to general, to advanced, to extra, and what I have learned from listening to more learned hams on the air. I have found listening to the AM operators on 75 meters to be a great source of technical information, as well as a source of entertainment.

I have always been interested in tube radios, since tube theory is what my grandfather taught me about. My first HF rig was a Drake TR-3 lent to me by a local radio club. Since then, I have always had a piece of “hollow state” gear in my shack. Before I graduated from high school. I bought an old HW 101 that was not working, and fixed it by removing parts from the boards, testing them, and then replacing the faulty components. I had a working HW101 on the bench next to it and would use that as my default parts tester. That's not the best method, but it did work for me. I have also built some kits. In addition to solid state projects on circuit boards, I built a 1 tube 1 watt 40 meter CW transmitter from www.glowbugkits.com and I built a 1 tube QRP transmitter based around a 12K5 tube from a kit produced by NN8G. Kit building and fixing older gear is great, but I still wanted to actually build a transmitter from nothing but a schematic and some parts. This winter, I decided to finally do something about that goal.

After reading through some articles in old magazines that had belonged to my grandfather, as well as searching the Internet, I decided to build my CW transmitter around a 6L6 tube. Since 40 meters is my favorite band, I decided to make my transmitter for use on that band. I wanted a radio more stable and “user friendly” than a basic Hartley Oscillator, but I knew that building a VFO would make this project more difficult than I wanted it to be. So, naturally that meant that the transmitter I was going to build would be rock-bound with those specifications in mind, I sorted through the various schematics I had found. I decided on a schematic that I found online at www.io.com/~nielw/6l6/6L6.htm. I like this design because it is designed to be as easy on tubes and crystals as a single tube transmitter can reasonably be. Since parts are hard to get, and because I'm more concerned about longevity than RF output, being easy on crystals and tubes seemed like an important quality to have in my transmitter. Also, since parts are so expensive and hard to find, I liked this transmitter's low parts count. That web page shows the transmitter built breadboard style. I decided to use a metal chassis instead. I decided to do that for several reasons. First, I felt safer with 450VDC being on insulated wires under a chassis and behind a faceplate instead of on an open buss screwed to a board. Second, I already have a 1-tube transmitter made from a kit that uses a PC board, and one that is made breadboard style. Using a metal chassis for this rig will give me one “glow bug” using PC board, Breadboard and point-to-point chassis construction. I figured I could then use them when I teach ham radio licensing classes again to demonstrate the different types of radio construction. Also, I think a homebrew transmitter with a full chassis just looks cool!

Once I had chosen a schematic to follow, I made a list of all the parts I would need. I then searched through the “junk” boxes in my closet and found which parts I already had. Then I set about acquiring the parts that I lacked. I was very fortunate to have QSO with WB0ZNY on 75 meter AM. I mentioned my winter project to him, and he offered to send me what he could from his parts collection. Tom's assistance with parts helped lower my cost of my transmitter quite a bit and his advice on construction was priceless. I got the rest of my parts by placing “Want To Buy” ads on www.qth.com also from Antique Electronic Supply, Surplus Sales of Nebraska, and Radio Shack. My total cost for the project was just under $125.00. The project could have been completed at lower cost, however I wanted to use top of the line parts, a vintage ammeter, and a full metal chassis and faceplate. I also needed to buy hole saws to drill out the openings for the meter and the tube socket. I included the cost of those tools in my total project cost. Also included is the cost of shipping when I ordered parts.

After I had collected all the parts, I set about assembly. I had read enough articles about building transmitters by this time to have a good understanding of how to proceed. I laid the parts out on the chassis to make sure everything would fit. Next I figured out where I wanted to place the capacitor, coils, tube, and connectors. Then I began drilling out all of the holes needed to mount the parts. Since this is how kits arrive, I figured that was a good first step. Building this transmitter from scratch gave me a great appreciation for mechanical engineers. For me, actually doing the mechanical lay out and tooling was the hardest part of this job. Even though I measured twice and drilled once, I still found that some of my holes didn't exactly line up as I had intended. After I got the major components mounted, I followed the schematic and built the transmitter with point-to-point construction. I found that if I highlighted the schematic as I completed a section, it helped me remember where I left off when I came back to work on the project later.

I built the power supply first. I used an old cake pan for the chassis and decided to use solid-state diodes as a full bridge rectifier, and computer grade electrolytic caps in the filtering section. I thought about using a more vintage power supply design, but I thought that the higher reliability and lower construction costs of using the design I chose out weighed the nostalgic effect of using a tube design. Although, my transformer does have a 5-volt tap, so if I decide to modify the rectifier circuit in the future, I do have the option of using a rectifier tube. I debated weather to build the power supply in the same chassis as the transmitter and just hard wire the connections, or to build a separate power supply and use hookup wire to connect the two units. I decided to build a separate power supply so that I can use this supply with any other transmitter I may choose to build in the future. The supply gives me high voltage of 450VDC and 6.3VAC for the 6L6's filament. It is fused, has an on/off switch and a bright red neon lamp to tell me when it is on. Other than those luxuries, it is just a straight rectifier/filter design using a center tap transformer that another ham, whose call I regrettably forgot, sold me for only the cost of postage. When I got the transformer in the mail, I was not sure which wires carried which voltage. The color had worn off the primary windings so they appeared light gray or dirty white instead of black, there were another set of wires that looked sort of black or gray also. The 1957 ARRL Handbook had great information on testing and identifying transformer values. I was able to use my Ohm Meter to find the Primary leads, then learn that the green leads carried 6.3V, the red leads were the high voltage leads, and the red/yellow checked lead was the center tap for the high voltage secondary winding. I also learned that the other set of leads provided 5 volts for the rectifier tube. Once I had borrowed an isolation transformer, I tested this transformer with my voltmeter and found that the data in the ARRL Handbook was exactly correct.

I used rubber grommets in each hole in the chassis to protect the insulation on my hookup wire. I also decided to insulate my negative DC voltage from the chassis ground instead of using the traditional method of connecting DC negative to chassis ground. I thought this technique would make it more difficult for an accidental short to take place, thus adding a little bit of protection for my hard to replace high-voltage transformer.

Once the power supply was built, I started working on the transmitter. I sent e-mail to W0VLZ; he was very helpful and supplied me with the tube socket pin connection information for the 6L6.

I thought about winding my own tank coil. However, I have never liked winding coils, and I decided to buy a section of B&W coil stock from Surplus Sales of Nebraska and use that. I did wind the pick-up coil myself, and was amazed when it worked!

For hookup wire, I used wire from a discarded computer power supply that was a gift from my friend Fred, KC9KLL. This wire worked perfectly! It is stranded silver wire, and came in 8 inch lengths insulated in many different colors of plastic. This allowed me to follow the standard usage of green wire for my filaments, red wire for my positive DC; black for my negative DC and another color for my general hookup wire.

Once the transmitter was assembled, I anxiously powered it up. To my joy there was no great flash of smoke, or explosion of flame. However, to my disappointment, it didn't transmit any RF either. I called my friend Fred, KC9KLL and he came over to take a look at it. He found that my low watt soldering iron had left a cold solder joint or two, and he graciously fixed those for me with his high watt gun. I then tried again and found that it was showing oscillation as soon as it was turned on. Fred's eye saw that I had wired the key jack backwards and so the key was always closed. Fred fixed that for me too. Since it was showing the proper levels of plate current, and responding to the closing of my Speed-X straight key, we assumed it was putting out RF, although I had no RF meter that worked at that low of a level to verify our thoughts. I decided it was time to invest in a QRP wattmeter and later learned that the reason no one answered my CQ calls was because I still had no RF output. I was puzzled about how my transmitter could be oscillating, showing proper levels of plate current, yet still not be transmitting any RF. I figured there had to be some bad connection between the antenna connection and the tuned circuit.

I decided to follow the schematic right through the radio and look for my problem. I found it when I got to the pickup coil's connection to the capacitor. Instead of connecting the non-ground side of the capacitor to the coil, I had connected the grounded side. Once I had fixed that problem, I had RF output of about 8 watts! When I called Fred over to see my working radio, he suggested adding a .01 capacitor at the B+ input to ground for added filtering. Once that modification was made, the radio was deemed an official transmitter at my station.

Building this radio was a wonderfully fun way to spend some winter nights. I enjoyed the process of building a transmitter from scratch, and I enjoy having a transmitter that I built in my shack. I feel like I have accomplished a ham radio goal that I have had since I got my ticket 14 years ago. I could not have finished this project without the help of the hams mentioned in this article plus others who have helped me with their technical knowledge over the air and in person.

The radio operates fine. Like any radio of this design there is a very slight chirp at times. It chirps more with some crystals than it does with others. Until I get some more FT-243 crystals, especially one for 7.040, I operate on 7.050, 7.005, 7.222 or 7.150 because those are the only rocks I have for 40 meters.

Hams in the “old days” built their own transmitters to save money. Today that is not the case. I could have bought a much better transmitter on e-bay (such as an HW101) for about the same amount that I spent for this transmitter's parts. Nevertheless building this transmitter represents for me, what ham radio is all about. I built this transmitter to apply the technical skills I had learned, and to learn new things, and thereby improve myself. In addition to those things, I had fun! I hope that in the future I can build even better transmitters, maybe a plate modulated AM transmitter will be in my future someday. Until then, I am grateful for the chance to use this rig and for the knowledge I gained while building it. I am especially thankful to all the hams who helped me, and for those of you who answer the CQ on 40 meters that sounds a bit like a Cuban Islander, but is actually being sent by a W8 in Indiana. Thanks es 73. Carl W8WZ.

Member Comments:
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My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by ONAIR on April 2, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
That's awesome. It would be fun to build AM or SSB tube transmitters today. I wish we could bring Heathkit and Knight Kit back into existance!
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by W0IPL on April 2, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Nice article Carl.

I remember doing something like that back in '59 when I was in High School. The advantages of doing the chassis work in metal shop are significant for a teenager :-) Unfortunately, my first effort like your first, didn't make it on the air either.

I clearly remember the many happy hours building kits. Unfortunately, with the number of people "needing" instant gratification, we'll not likely see anyone doing kits like Heath.

Thanks for sharing!
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by WB5OAU on April 2, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
>I wish we could bring Heathkit and Knight Kit back into >existance!


You can, and it's called Elecraft!

John k5mo
 
My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by K3RKS on April 2, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
This reminded me of my first transmitter. It too used a 6L6, but with a 6AG7 as an oscillator in an MOPA confiuration. After I used up all the 6L6's I had, I revised the circuit to use an 807. I had pushed the 6L6 hard enough to cause it's plate to glow, resulting in short tube life. The transmitter served me well as a novice in 1962.
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by KG4RUL on April 2, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Even though it took me until 2002 to actually get a Ham ticket, as a teenager (early 1960s) I helped build or built many Heathkits for various Ham friends.

The one thing that stuck from all of this was that tube radios carry voltages that can be injurious or life threatening. So, if you decide to do a little kit-building or homebrewing in the "glow bug" realm, be respectful of this potential. Learn the safety rules and follow them religously.

An obvious piece of advice is: if you have to work on the circuitry, make sure you turn off the power to it first. When equipment is connected by a power cord, check that the power plug is removed from its socket before you put your fingers in. However, in spite of removing the power supply source, the equipment might still not be safe as there can be capacitors left charged up to a hazardous voltage.

Here are a few safety tips for working with Energized, High Voltage Circuits:

- Avoid "live circuit" testing if at all possible. Analyze the circuitry involved and try to troubleshoot using resistance checks.

- Keep your distance from energized circuits.

- If you need to measure the voltage of a circuit, install the voltmeter with the power safely off, back up, and only then energize the circuit. Remove the power before disconnecting the meter.

- When building equipment use interlock switches that remove power when enclosures containing high voltage circuits are opened. NEVER defeat an interlock switch!

- Don't assume that a circuit is not energized even with the power off and the power cable disconnected; electrolytic capacitors can maintain a charge for a considerable period of time.

- A bleeder resistor connected across the high tension of a transmitter power supply to discharge capacitors is a good in-built safety measure and is, hopefully, incorporated in the equipment. However, you can never rely on a bleeder being fitted and after first turning off power, it is a wise procedure to short out the high tension line with the metal shaft of an insulated screwdriver. If the energy stored is large enough you might burn a hole in the screwdriver but this is better than endangering yourself.

- Remember the "one hand in your pocket" rule; if you must hold a probe to take a measurement in a high voltage circuit, always keep one hand in your back pocket to eliminate a low-resistance path across your chest and heart.

- Make sure someone is in the room and that they know how to remove the power safely so that they don't become victims too.

- Keep your test equipment probes and leads in good condition.

To others, feel free to add to this list. The object here is to keep Hams learning and experimenting and also alive and operating!

Dennis Zabawa KG4RUl
Public Information Officer, ARRL SC Section
 
My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by N3PM on April 2, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Thanks for the trip back to '65. Sounds very familiar. I remember seeing a water cooled metal 6L6. It was an orange juice concentrate can with a hole in the bottom, slipped over the tube.
 
My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by KG8JF on April 2, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
My first attempt at homebrewing, while not technically successful, provided a great learning experience. I built a project out of the Handbook from about 1957. It was a 40 meter cw transmitter. I bought everything the parts list called for and even some things not listed. One of these included a Greenlee chassis punch. The problem that this young builder had was trying to follow the schematic verbatim. It was electrically correct, but I did not dress the wires down against the chassis. I had what one would call stray capacitance. I tested the thing with a light bulb and boy, did it work. It worked real well on the crystal fundamental and on 40 meters. Then it was heard by an official observer on every harmonic that his equipment was capable of receiving. While I never made a contact with this transmitter, it provided a great learning example for building gear and learning construction techniques..I kept the paperwork he sent me for several years but in was lost in the intervening time
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by KB2FCV on April 2, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Great article!

I built my first single tube transmitter years ago back in 1990. I liked the way breadboards looked and the fact that they were easy for me to put together (it's alot easier to mount stuff using a drill to a piece of wood for a 16 year old than it is to drill a chassis). Collecting the parts was half the fun. Different club members helped supply some of the parts, hamfests or my junk boxsupplied the rest. The Transmitter was an 80 meter Tri-tetter out of a 1988 or 89 CQ Magazine article. I was overjoyed to hear the transmitter come to life. I made many QSO's with the little transmitter. It sat proudly on a shelf for several years until I decided in 2002 to bring the transmitter out to Field Day to use with a K2

Years later in 2003 I decided I wanted a receiver to go along with the transmitter. I found an article on the ARRL website to build a 80 meter two tube regen. I immediately started collecting parts. By this time my junk box had grown but there were still many needed parts. A trip to Hamvention found the dials and a few other parts. Construction took a while. I spent alot of time laying parts out, planning coils, etc. My goal was to have it operational for Field day and to use it with my 80 meter transmitter! Well, the Friday before field day in a club members basement we applied power and the receiver came to life. The receiver worked surprisingly well.

That field day of 2003, around 3am Sunday morning we started putting the station together. With a little work, we got the station together. Keep in mind, this was an all-battery field day for us, so to keep in the rules... alot of 9 volt batteries were purchased! T/R switching was handled by a few clip cleades clamped to a piece of paper (see the photo in the below link). The frequency was 3579, the colorburst crystal frequency. After a few CQ FD's, someone came back!! In the hour or so I had the station live, I managed to make some qso's!

Here's a link to the radios:
http://www.smooth.net/~jkern/regen/regen.html

My latest project is a Hartley transmitter. The transmitter has been completed but I am repairing my variable power supply. 73, de James KB2FCV
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by AI4NS on April 2, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Now you've done it! I built my first Novice transmitter out of the handbook. I picked up the 1974 handbook at a hamfest, and the plans are there for the one I built. Now I have to add this to my list of projects to build and get on the air. Great article! If only more people were as interested in homebrew... My project list:
1. linear amp with four 4X150A tubes married to an AM-6154 transmitter power supply. (Most of the parts gathered, need to sit down and draw a schematic)
2. 140W solid state amp to use with QRP rigs (almost finished)
3. Finish the 100W amp for my K2.
4. APRS stuff for rockets.
5. W7ZOI spectrum Analyzer(Still in planning/gathering stage)
I think I need a few more hours in the day...

Mike
AI4NS
 
My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by W1YW on April 2, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
The thought of building a NEW tubed transmitter for hams, in 2007, is a disappointing throwback to a primitive era. You will learn nothing from the enterprise, that contributes to Part 97.

73,
Chip W1YW
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by WB3ERE on April 2, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Way to go Chip, that's telling 'em.

Then it's NOT really about learning is it, when one goes backward and builds or makes use of old technology it's for enjoyment, FUN, nostalgia even. That's what this HOBBY is mostly about, doing what one enjoys doing.

73
Ed wb3ere
 
They Do Work, but....  
by AB3CX on April 2, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I enjoyed reading your article. As a young ham, then WB2PTS I built essentially the same rig and used it. Same 6L6 and 8 watts. I worked Europe and lots of the USA with it. I also did receive several FCC citations for my harmonics with it. I did learn one other important lesson. The rig tuning was via a variable capacitor with a screwdriver adjusted shaft, so it was necessary to tune it with a small screwdriver through a small hole in the front panel. The rotor was hot, with 450-500 volts on it. While sitting in my operating position in a wooden chair, with my two feet on the floor and with a finger accidently touching the shaft of the screwdriver, I experienced a 450 volt shock from fingers all the way to my feet. The force of it threw me backwards and out of the chair, ending the shock. The same thing can happen if you have a hot shaft and come in contact with a set screw!! I still have the transmitter, it's a nice memory despite the sizzle.
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by N0EW on April 2, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Too narrow viewpoint Chip, IMO.

I'll bet there was a lot of practical knowledge gained by taking "book learning" and translating it into "practical hands-on experience". Not everything has to be bleeding-edge technology anyway.

Furthermore, no one begins on the bleeding-edge. They first _learn_ the basic skills and build upon them as time, interest, and finances allow.

( Since we are not paid to engage in these activities, all three conditions must simultaneously exist. This in and of itself presents a barrier to many of us. )

And this is nothing to say of all our collective moaning about how the service / hobby is fading into oblivion, and then turning upon someone that shows a creative interest and initiative, and smack them for not measuring up to someone's questionable standards as to what is right and proper activity for hams to engage in as an effort to learn and enjoy an aspect of amateur radio. ( Taking a deep breath... hold it... release.... again.... and, a third time.... Rant Concluded. )

I found this both interesting to read about, and a commendable effort. An effort to applaud.

Thanks for sharing your experience with us!
Erik n0ew
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by SSB on April 2, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I hope those hans that end up spending alot of money to relive the past aren't too disappointed since you really can't relive it, just doesn't work. I see hundreds of old hams buying old radios like SR150 or Swan 350, Johnson Rangers, ect. primarily because they couldn't buy it when they were in high school. Now, they think, they can have the toy they drooled over. And there is also the "the big linear builders" that drive up prices on eBay for all those junk parts for the big amp they are going to build which they will never finish. 99.99% of all parts bought on eBay just keep circulating around and around. Very few hams actually build something after the fun of buying parts wears off.

Live now, not in the past. You will be much more successful. The past is really gone.



Alex.....
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by AE6RF on April 2, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
So Chip...

How much did you learn going down and buying that Icom ProIII?

I know... I know... "Don't feed the troll"

 
My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by W1YW on April 2, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Actually I find the ProIII to be an excellent heurisitic demo of the effects of filtering; shoulders; noise floor; phase noise; and so on. I already 'knew' this but it helps to see and hear it.

RE: thread comments---Water cooling a 6L6...unbelievable.
 
My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by W1YW on April 2, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"I'll bet there was a lot of practical knowledge gained by taking "book learning" and translating it into "practical hands-on experience". Not everything has to be bleeding-edge technology anyway."

----------------------------------

I heartily agree. But there really is nothing to be learned by building a 6L6 transmitter with a 60 year old crystal. It's just too outdated and irrelevant.

I think building Elecraft or other solid state kits is a super idea; fun AND educational. And "practical hands-on".

73,
Chip W1YW
 
My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by W1YW on April 2, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Then it's NOT really about learning is it, when one goes backward and builds or makes use of old technology it's for enjoyment, FUN, nostalgia even. That's what this HOBBY is mostly about, doing what one enjoys doing.

73
Ed wb3ere
---------------------

Ed, I'm not into hobby radio. Part 97 says nothing about that.

SWL is a hobby; CB is a hobby; ham radio is a forward-looking licensed service.

73,
Chip W1YW
 
My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by K3SUI on April 2, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Great transmitter! My first transmitter I built from an old Emerson TV set. It was a pair of 6L6 tubes driven by (I think) a 6AC7(or 5)tube. It was from a 1960 Handbook and worked on 80,40 and 15 meters with around 75 Watts. I really only used 40 meters. On 80 my signal was stronger on the outside edge of 40 meters and on 15 my receiver was no good. Anyhow, I worked all over the place with that rig. I've had the urge to rebuild it and put it back on the air. You article has given me an additional push in that direction. Thanks for a great article.

All the best ...

Barry - K3SUI
 
My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by WA1RNE on April 2, 2007 Mail this to a friend!

These "1 Tuber's" are fun projects, but there are some great solid state alternatives for homebrew transmitters, receivers, amplifiers and accessories in kit form. The solid state building experience would more likely be carried over into another modern homebrew project and/or repair experience.

Ramsey and other manufacturers have some great stuff at right around the same power level - 1 watt - and for only $40:

http://www.ramseyelectronics.com/cgi-bin/commerce.exe?preadd=action&key=QRP-SERIES

They also offer a 20 watt amplifier for $50. Not including the power supply, that's just $40-$90 to go from 1 watt to 20....not bad.


Either way, it's always great to see other hams building their own gear.....


WA1RNE
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by N7BUI on April 2, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Great article!

Reminds me of my first homebrew transmiter. I had just assembled and was using an Ameco AC-1 while in high school. I looked at the schematic and figured I could build a similar one from scratch. Tore apart an old tube TV and used the chassis from it to build a different version AC-1. Money was very tight and I had to use what the TV supplied. I finally got the crazy thing to oscillate and put it on the air. I had lots of fun with that project.
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by WA1RNE on April 2, 2007 Mail this to a friend!

Ed, I'm not into hobby radio. Part 97 says nothing about that.

SWL is a hobby; CB is a hobby; ham radio is a forward-looking licensed service.


>>> The FAA says you need to be licensed to fly, but not all pilots are flying for United or Fed-x are they??


"Poignantly literal" today, aren't you Chip?


.... WA1RNE
 
My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by KD7KFT on April 2, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Wow!!! All this experience and all you advanced ticket guys can say is it's a waste of time. I only have a Tech license. I grew up on tube radios in the U.S. Navy. They really do work. If they break you can fix them. Can you fix your computer controlled, IC chip heavy PC board in that foreign box you so proudly display on your desktop or do you need to box it up and send it off to tech support.

If you've never built anything, you will never get it and I for one don't respect your opionion or your two cents worth of bandwidth.

Homebrew for many hams was a necessity because they couldn't afford the commercial stuff. The cost of some radios today is so expensive that I purchased much of mine and will have to fix it because I can afford the Collins, or the Highend Ten-Tecs, etc.

I applaud the homebrewer. They have initiative, are able to overcome obsticles and deal with practically anything whithout having to box and ship something off.

Sorry for the band width but, your type of ham just ticks me off.

I'm going to homebrew a transmitter, receiver and power supply and your GRINCH opnion is neither requried or desired.

73 to all other

John


 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by KD7KFT on April 2, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Do a search for the Glowbugs listserv. We are a group of hams that like to homebrew stuff with tubes.

Cheers,

John KD7KFT
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by W6TH on April 2, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
.
Carl W. Davis W8WZ, what a great story and read every word, very slowly as did not want to miss a thing or thought.

I have hopes that some day we could meet and have a long talk of my radios back in 1933 when I built my first transmitter, the TNT oscillator which does not use crystals and can change frequency across the band.

I later went for the 6L6 vacuum tube self excited oscillator called the "ECO" which meant the Electron Coupled Oscillator and later added another 6L6 for a final amplifier which I had to neutralize.

I then went to the receiver as I could not get my ham ticket unless I had a workable station to immediately go on the air. The receiver was a "TRF" which meant a Tuned Radio Frequency receiver which was made with home made coils and three vacuum tubes number 27 triodes.

I could go on forever and do not want to bore you at present, but would suggest to continue on and now build yourself a nice superheterodyne receiver which will make a fine companion to your 6L6 crystal controlled oscillator.

I will add this however; my age was 11 years and I learned all my theory from the ARRL handbooks to build my ham shack, parts were picked up from neighbors that gave me radios that did not work.

Let me know should you build yourself a receiver of some kind and not need to be a superhet and when you do so, I will scrounge through my basement and see if I can supply you with some variable capacitors and a few thousand of ham radio vacuum tubes.

Thanks again Carl.

73, Vito W6TH.
.:
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by KC9JUB on April 2, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
To me, amateur radio is both a hobby and a service. The many activities available, from hobby, technical, and service perspectives, are what make the activity attractive.

CB is also both a hobby and a service. It permits both business and personal use, as per Part 95.

The FCC calls most anything a service, from GMRS to R/C to FRS to Aviation to Amateur Radio.

I am well aware of what Part 97 says, and nothing it says precludes one from considering and using Amateur Radio as a hobby, as a service, or anything between the two extremes that is permitted in the regulations.

I see no reason why people who only like to talk on 2m repeaters or only like to ragchew on 40m or only like to build and test their own equipment and/or antennas or only like to do emcomm or only like to fox-hunt or only like to work CW or only like to work digital modes or only like boatanchors or only like EME are, or should be, any less (or more) entitled under Part 97.

Different strokes for different folks!

73,

Bob - KC9JUB
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by W7ETA on April 2, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
OHHHHHHH NOOOOOO!

Whenever I think of it, I cringe, writhing on the floor from oscillations of horror transmitted through coil of my core--someone learning about, and building a transmitter.

What could be worse than building your own power supply and building a one tube transmitter, and then winding a coupling coil for the tank circuit?

Maybe, building an antenna for it?

Great prose; interesting article.

Its rather strange that I read about "Electron Coupled Oscillator" this weekend, and wondered if a 6L6 would be a good candidate for that set up.

73
Bob
 
My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by K1HC on April 2, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Great article! Nothing wrong with having a little fun building something like this, despite comments to the contrary about advancing this or that.

Thanks for taking the time to write the article and share it with all of us. Don't let the detractors discourage you from submitting another article in the future.

Dick, K1HC (ex-WA1KDL and WV1U)
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by K0FF on April 2, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Great project!

Geo>K0FF
 
My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by N0AH on April 2, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Love the look- Would you ever start building these for sale?
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by AA4LR on April 2, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Great article!

I was simiarly bitten by the building bug. Last year, I found a "Novice" transmitter chassis in my junkbox. There wasn't much left of it, since it never worked and was cannabalized for other projects.

I re-built it and got it on the air for SKN. You can read about in my SKN soapbox comments here: http://www.arrl.org/contests/soapbox/index.html?con_id=127&call=&ofst=10

While it looks like a piece of junk, it works very well, and it didn't cost me anything -- built entirely out of parts in my junkbox.

To all the nay-sayers -- you are forgetting the fun factor. Sure, it's antiquated technology, but I had a blast operating my tube transmitter. As well as a lot of fun building it.

It was a chance to experience something that I never did before -- building and use a crystal-controlled "novice" transmitter.

I also have plans to build a companion receiver. I'm looking at a modern, all solid-state design, very similar to the receiver on the Elecraft K1: NE602 mixers, MC1350 IF, crystal lattice filters. I think I'll call the combination the "Odd Couple".
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by KA4KOE on April 2, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I'm building a 10 tube theremin based on Mark Keppinger's excellent design. It has two oscillators in the VLF range, one of which is fixed.

Nice big honking project. Lots of vacuum tubes. Neat.

PHILIP
KA4KOE
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by K4KRW on April 2, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Carl,

Thanks for a great article and for the pictures.

I feel that you can learn a lot messing around with 'outdated' technologies.

For Example:

I think all computer programmers should understand how to program a computer using assembler.

I think all math students at the high school level and higher should understand how to use a slide rule.

Will they ever use assembler or a slide rule in their careers?

Probably not.

Will they benefit from understanding how to?

Absolutely!

73,

Richard
K4KRW
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by K3SZ on April 2, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I built a guitar amp based around a 12AX7 and a 6V6. Having built tube based ham stuff in the past certainly helped with my "learning experience".

Good job on the 6L6 project!
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by NXET on April 2, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
by W1YW
The thought of building a NEW tubed transmitter for hams, in 2007, is a disappointing throwback to a primitive era. You will learn nothing from the enterprise, that contributes to Part 97.

___________________________________________________

Really!!! Hmmm lets see do you know the colpits from the hartly osc ? probably when you got your 7800 they supplied you with a marked diode as to which end conducts

Their is a lot to learn from building one of these. In the old days it was the only way we could get on. Money, what was that. If you had any you were into Collins, drake, national or hallicrafters. The rest of us made our first transmitter from.. yes a tube that you kyped from a TV set or radio. And if you look our writer also used the same thing we did back then... moms cooking wear for a chassie. Hey it was alu and looked like a commercial built box. So the cake didn't get made.. you never said where it went.

So when you say noting to learn. Mechanics, ability to work metals, taking something.. that was junk, designing and building it into something that you could make contacts with. This then gave you pride and intellegence in what you accomplished.

Now I am sure you can tell us all about the reasion that the crystals cracked if you drove the tube too hard. Then how to make the crystal shift frequency so your not stuck on the same one all the time.

Nothing to learn!!! Are you kidding? the mental stimulation, ideals, imagineering and designs weren't something that you went down to the store and bought. That was where hams cut their teeth and became walking thinking engineers that were sought after. They could take a TV set and make it talk around the world.

We used to have a saying... most of the new appliance operators couldn't pour the "liquid" out of a boot even if the directions were written on the heel.

Oh the fun of building and using. Experiances that one can only remember it was loaded with all kinds of experimental knowledge. So we blew up some tubes driving them to 800 volts. We know why they didn't work now... in the end caused you to wonder why it didn't work as good and what you could try to make it work better, something that you can't do with the proIII huh.

FUN is FUN
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by W7ETA on April 2, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Just imagine if the builder started looking at different tank circuits, and then started reading about Q of different circuits--waisted effort!

More waisted time learning about power supply filtering.

He could have really screwed up if he started reading about screen supply regulation; or, the differences between 6L6, 6L6G,A,B, 6L6GC, 5881, 5932, or 7581 and Euro KT versions.

Yea gads! He might have even stumbled upon similar WE tubes!

Bob
 
My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by W1YW on April 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Really!!! Hmmm lets see do you know the colpits from the hartly osc ? probably when you got your 7800 they supplied you with a marked diode as to which end conducts

----------------

Yep. I built 'em both. In fact, I remember the Colpitts (that's the correct way to spell it) oscillator schematic I DREW --yes DREW-- for my General exam.

I imagine that if I bought an IC7800, I would indeed have the PIN dioide dilemma you discuss ( I wouldn't know what it was, that is)-- until I put on my reading glasses. Unfortunately, the roll top desk has no space for a 7800, and the ProIII fits fine. (Basically I don't need a 7800 so the money gets spent elsewhere on spatial hearing addons in the studio.) The Henry 2KD, when not being used elsewhere, fits nicely in the foot space underneath. I cover it when not in use. Now THAT's where tubes still belong-- QRO--not in ham exciters.

I hope that helps!

JUST SAY NO TO THE GLOW!

73,
Chip W1YW
 
My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by W1YW on April 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Why don't you guys just build and use Tesla coils and Branley coherers? Why discriminate solely for a
--specific-- defunct era. That's not fair now, is it? And why 6L6's? Why not the radical 'new' technology of NUVISTORS at HF? They're TUBES you know....That would be very educational!

Why I bet you can even get experimental licenses for this 'spread spectrum' mode with a Tesla coil!!

Think about the grand ol' days of Leyden jars and wafting ozone...
 
My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by NG9D on April 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Nice article Carl!

Last weekend I had a minor homebrewing mishap. But 1) I had spare parts on hand and 2)was able to ventilate the smoke from the basement before the XYL found out.

Thanks for sharing your story. Very fun read.

73

NG9D
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by AE6RO on April 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Last time I built a one-tuber it was a 6L6 Tri-Tet in 1988. I worked a few Northern California guys with it (from So. Cal) on 40M. About 5 watts output. But divorce hit soon after so I had to get rid of it.
It was pretty nice looking, too. I built in a cabinet from some defunct 1960s laser power supply.
A tri-tet isn't a good choice nowadays because it's hard on crystals. With proper design you can work around that but why take chances?
I used to get beautiful FT-243s from CW Crystals but he went out of business a few years ago. Now all you can get are so-so HC6/U that cost a bundle.
Regarding your chirp, just put in a VR-150 or OA2 to regulate your 6L6's screen voltage. Maybe your friend can help you. It'll get rid of the chirp and protect your crystals too.
Why work with tubes someone asked? They're fun and the circuits are easier to understand. It's like asking why play a guitar when you can make exactly the same music with a keyboard clown on a synthesizer?
73, AE6RO
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by K3MOV on April 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
See the Ameco AC 1 group @
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/amecoac1/
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by W7COM on April 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"I think all computer programmers should understand how to program a computer using assembler.
I think all math students at the high school level and higher should understand how to use a slide rule.
Will they ever use assembler or a slide rule in their careers?
Probably not.
Will they benefit from understanding how to?
Absolutely!" -K4KRW

They should also know how to use a logic probe and have at least read some of Don Lancaster's cookbooks.


 
My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by WA0ZZG on April 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I'm sure your Grandfather would smile and nod his head
in approval. What would he have said next?
Dave WA0ZZG
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by KB1LMO on April 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Wow chip, guess you have some harsh words for me then eh?

I have restored and operate a beautiful little Hallicrafters SR-34AC I use regularly on 6 and 2, a National NC-98 that has better ears than my MKIIG, and a very cool B&W 5100 S that I am in the process of lovingly restoring to perfection while I get ready to upgrade.

Sure, I could go ahead -buy- a modern project to work on but why bother? These are much more fun! And they sound so good on the air.

As for learning, I have learned quite a bit from my endeavors. Proper component layout, tuning, parts identification and fabrication, VT theory, I could go on but why bother? You don't care anyway.

Guess I'll just get back to building out that Sun F25k in the data center now, those processor boards don't install themselves.

Oh, and W8WZ, rock on! That is most definitely VERY cool! Thanks for the work log, it is inspirational.

Todd
 
My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by KG6R on April 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Carl,

I really appreciate that you wrote this article. It was well written and will inspire others to homebrew equipment.

I have built many qrp rigs but I would like to try a project like yours.

I saw the photo of your shack on qrz. You sir are the kind of ham old timers will appreciate! You build tube gear from scratch, use CW and own Drake rigs.

You show a respect for our heritage and I think that is great.

I hope you will not take some of the negative comments to heart, some people would complain if it were raining $100 dollar bills.

73 de KG6R formerly KG6QHP

Jim
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by W7ETA on April 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Crystal clear.

It helped a lot.

Maybe you could start a web site: Chip's chirps.
You could kick off your site with your two tube NUVISTOR 40 meter CW rig article.
;-)
73
Bob
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by KC8VWM on April 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I just gotta have one of these.

What a fun looking project!

No one needs to blow a tetrode, I am just sparking in with my glowing comments on the subject. :)

--... ...--
-..
.
Charles - KC8VWM
 
My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by W1YW on April 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"As for learning, I have learned quite a bit from my endeavors. Proper component layout, tuning, parts identification and fabrication, VT theory, I could go on but why bother? You don't care anyway. "
----------------------------------------

That's correct: Such tube oriented exciter and receive technology has no place in modern radio engineering.

Thanks for getting it!

73,
Chip W1YW
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by KB1LMO on April 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
But Chip, I'm not a radio engineer.

I am a computer engineer.

And I am a radio hobbyist. As in I do it for fun, not profit and if I "advance the art" what ever. I doubt most HAM operators do this as an engineering exercise.

I guess I don't "get it" since I am in love with tubes, boat anchors and AM signals that were considered narrow in 1959.

I am also a musician and I don't own one piece of musical gear that has transistors or IC's. In fact all the musicians I know are working very hard to lose as many transistors from their rigs as possible. Guess we're all just throwbacks to the dark ages or electronics.

In fact the only thing I got is that you want to be a radio engineer. That requires a degree (can't call yourself an engineer without that legally) in communications technology. Best of luck on that, I'm sure you'll do well in obtaining that one since you are an authority on what is important and what is obsolete or trivial. ;)

73!

Todd

 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by KA4KOE on April 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Wish someone could point me to a good AM transmitter design that outputs between 5-50W, with tunable bandswitching, and something I could mount in a 19" wide rack.

Thanks

Philip
KA4KOE
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by K3MOV on April 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Chip, I just read the below in your QRZ.com listing:

"I don't do tubed radios. I've suffered enough when I was younger with these clunkers. Keep tubes for QRO, not for telecomms."'JUST SAY NO TO THE GLOW'.

Exactly what was it that caused this exaggerated negative feeling toward tube radios:
1) Did you drop a Boat Anchor on your foot when you were a boy?
2) Did you burn yourself on tube while you were playing inside of a radio?
3) How exactly did YOU SUFFER and why should it make any difference to the rest of us who enjoy a different aspect of the hobby than you do?
4) Why do you make an exception for outdated tube amplifiers when modern solid state amplifiers perform just as well and are obviously the wave of the future?

With all of your alleged credentials, I find it strange that an eham article discussing a tube radio could get your knickers in such a knot. It appears that you enjoy many facets of our hobby. Let the rest of us enjoy ours. 73 and chill out, Tom K3MOV
 
My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by W1YW on April 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Well I tell you what: when you do the discovery on my 'alleged credentials', and see the truth as already presented, then I'll be happy to fill you in with additional detail.

What it comes down to is this: is ham radio a service which is forward-looking.... or not? If not, then why this contemporary emphasis on living in, and glorifying,the past? For example: do you think there were 'spark aficianados' in 1970? Why not? Was ham radio more forward-looking then than now? If so, what does that tell you?

73,
Chip W1YW
 
My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by W1YW on April 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"In fact the only thing I got is that you want to be a radio engineer. That requires a degree (can't call yourself an engineer without that legally) in communications technology. Best of luck on that, I'm sure you'll do well in obtaining that one since you are an authority on what is important and what is obsolete or trivial. ;) "
---------------------------

Nah; I don't want to be a radio engineer; I am too busy mentoring them. And I have more than enough degrees already. But thanks for the encouragement.

73,
Chip W1YW
 
My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by W1YW on April 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"I am also a musician and I don't own one piece of musical gear that has transistors or IC's. In fact all the musicians I know are working very hard to lose as many transistors from their rigs as possible. Guess we're all just throwbacks to the dark ages or electronics. "

------------------------

The 6L6 was designed for audio, not RF. It excels in audio and does have it's place. When driven to non-linearity it produces a rich source of even harmonics which go well in certain applications. A 12AX7 as a pre-amp can also have such benefits for audio.

However, the use of tubes in RF is wasteful, because they are highly energy inefficient; short MTBF; heat hogs; and limit the functionality options within a given form factor. They are not cost effective in multifunctionality RF. Basically there is no case in exciter or RX RF where tubes have any advantage. You cannot show any contemporary receivers and exciters which use tubes in the RF stages.

Didn't you ever wonder why? Did you think it was some conspiracy by the Japanese??
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by KB1LMO on April 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Hey Chip, relax!

I know all about why I want to use tubes in my musical gear, you preach to the choir here. After all, I am here extolling the virtues of tubes now, aren't I? ;)

And where my radios are concerned I use modern gear too, I just enjoy the hollow state as well.

Based on your present attitude I'm betting your charging at the bit to proclaim how wasteful AM is as well. Were you in on that fiasco of a thread a couple of months back? Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing came to mind after a day of that QRM.

Limit yourself all you want, that's your prerogative.
I just don't understand why you, an highly educated person, are over here slamming somebody else's accomplishments just because you don't like the technology involved. Doesn't sound too educated to me. Or, considering some of my professors, maybe it does.
Did you do that to your students as well?

My college years opened my mind up to the plethora of possibilities available, what happened to you?

As for this guys project, pretty cool. He may not be manufacturing fractal antennas but he's having fun just the same. I'm betting from your posts that he may even be having more fun than you are.

73

Todd
 
My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by W1YW on April 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Hi Todd!

I AM relaxed....but I just saw a picture of a 24 foot alligator with a buck-deer in it's mouth...that's getting a bit edgy!
 
My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by W1YW on April 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
My college years opened my mind up to the plethora of possibilities available, what happened to you?

---------------------

A: I make them happen.

73,
Chip W1YW
 
My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by W1YW on April 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"Did you do that to your students as well?"
----------------------------------

Nah; I created a multi-million dollar company and hired'em. Some, anyway.

73,
Chip W1YW
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by KB1LMO on April 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Me oh my!

Hubris and arrogance are unbecoming a professor.

Bye bye!
 
W1YW  
by WW3QB on April 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
OK, Chip (W1YW), I think I know who you are. If I am correct, I would like an antenna from you that I can use on my boat anchor Drakes. I'm willing to mix old and new technologies (the best of both worlds), and I have limited space for an antenna.

We all know the limitation of tubes. That is why they are not used in new equipment anymore. But we do like to use old radios, drive vintage cars, and restore antique furniture every once in a while. You are clearly a forward thinker, but the past shows how we got here.

73,
Bob
 
My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by W1YW on April 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"Me oh my!

Hubris and arrogance are unbecoming a professor.

Bye bye! "

----------------------


You bet!

That's why it is so satisfying to know, and accept, oneself for what one really is. And has.

Wisdom: Try it.

73,
Chip W1YW
 
My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by W1YW on April 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"We all know the limitation of tubes. That is why they are not used in new equipment anymore. But we do like to use old radios, drive vintage cars, and restore antique furniture every once in a while. You are clearly a forward thinker, but the past shows how we got here.

73,
Bob "

-------------------------------------------


The most intelligent thing anyone has said here. I buy that.

73,
Chip W1YW
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by KB1LMO on April 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
No thanks Chip. Being unpleasant is, well, unpleasant.

And being mean as well as arrogant about ones meanness is small and petty, not wise.

For all you learned and taught in the Universities, your education appears to be lacking.

Your not wise Chip, just arrogant.
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by KG6R on April 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Ahhhh Chip? Chipper? Is that you???? When Uncle Charlie and I raised you, you were such a nice kid. Where did we go wrong?

Your Dad,

Steve Douglas -- in the great beyond playing radio on a drake tr-4
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by W8JI on April 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Do a search on "N1IR" and "fractenna"

It's a hoot!
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by W8JI on April 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Don't let some fool discourage you from building a transmitter, even a simple transmitter.

It's the very core of how things work that this country and our educational system is and our poupulation is missing. That core is found in things like 6L6's just as well as it is found in spending a lifetime staring at a computer modeling random shapes and pretending like you understand how antennas really work.

Personally I'd rather depend on a guy who builds 6L6's than someone who thinks fractals hold magical radiating properties. Keep up the good work and ignore old Fractenna.

73 Tom
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by AE6RO on April 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Vacuum tubes are currently manufactured in Russia and China. They use tube equipment in their armed forces.
New vacuum tube audio equipment is being manufactured and so are some QRP tube radio kits.
In Japan audiophiles prefer single-ended triode tube amps to solid state--almost a calling.
IMHO tube receivers have tougher front ends than soft and squishy solid state radios. No-one talked or cared about dynamic range in the 1960s.
Unlike spark radio, tube radios are compatible on-the-air with modern radios.
Lastly if the gremlins pay a nocturnal visit to your rig, you have some hope of repairing a tube rig yourself. 73, AE6RO
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by KC5CQD on April 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"No thanks Chip. Being unpleasant is, well, unpleasant.

And being mean as well as arrogant about ones meanness is small and petty, not wise.

For all you learned and taught in the Universities, your education appears to be lacking.

Your not wise Chip, just arrogant."



Although I may not agree with everthing he says I must admit that I kind of like Chip! hihi! Nothing wrong with a man, who after being called "uneducated", defends himself by pointing out his accomplishments in life. Good for Chip!!!!
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by KZ4RV on April 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Nobody cares about how much juice is lost to efficiency in an 8W xmitter.
All tubes have a low MTBF relative to solid-state counterparts. So what if he only gets a thousand hours or two out of it?
And, of course, after an 'EMP event', his transmitter will still work, and yours will not.
And, I do believe that there is no such thing as the 24 foot alligator you referenced in another post.
Also, a spark-gap xmitter would not have met spectral purity requirements at the time in question, and largely were not, to my understanding, commonly used in the HF spectrum allocated to us at that time, but I could be wrong.

KZ4RV
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by KB1LMO on April 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I'm not seeing where Chip was called uneducated anywhere on this thread prior to my pointing it out in response to his lack of understanding regarding the meaning of wisdom, if you have an example please enlighten me.

He on the other hand has been calling us uneducated and unenlightened throwbacks for our love of an aspect of the hobby he has no interest in. Or hadn't you noticed the offhand insults?

His first post was to denigrate the authors efforts and accomplishments, I guess you didn't notice that as well.

His life's accomplishments, while respectable, do not warrant personal respect. He came here to show us how great he is and demand respect, not earn it.


What a man does and what a man is are two different things. And Chip seems to need considerable work on the latter.
 
Babylon 5 Quote - Paraphrase  
by KA4KOE on April 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"Ahh, arrogance and stupidity in one package. How efficient of you..."
 
My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by W1YW on April 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I fail to see any instance where I have attacked anyone here; certainly not the author of this article.

What kind of ham radio do we have when we can not discuss THOUGHTS, approaches, and IDEAS?

Where is it written that we have an obligation to always agree?

I have made it very clear why the THOUGHTS expressed here have no greater validity in the reality of contemporary radio engineering with RX and exciters. I have invited any and all counter examples. None have been proffered.

What HAS resulted is not only personal attack, but in at least one case, defamation from a competitor.

Are people 'thoughts'?

Think.

73,
Chip W1YW

 
My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by W1YW on April 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"His life's accomplishments, while respectable, do not warrant personal respect. He came here to show us how great he is and demand respect, not earn it."

----------------------

If showing the error in your comments garners disrespect, then tell me exactly what the value is of truth.

Or do you wish to attack those who call you wrong-- for good reason?

73,
Chip W1YW
 
My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by W1YW on April 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"Although I may not agree with everthing he says I must admit that I kind of like Chip! hihi! Nothing wrong with a man, who after being called "uneducated", defends himself by pointing out his accomplishments in life. Good for Chip!!!! "

--------------------------------

We all need role models; I am quite content that I am not some folks' cup of tea. That's OK! It's a big, beautiful world out there. Go look around and see what resonates for you.

73,
Chip W1YW
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by KB1LMO on April 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
You are disingenuous as well I see.

First post:
"The thought of building a NEW tubed transmitter for hams, in 2007, is a disappointing throwback to a primitive era. You will learn nothing from the enterprise, that contributes to Part 97."

Here you flat out state the authors work is a waste of time and a disappointment to hams everywhere (as statement not borne out by the posts of interested amateurs here).


Third post:
"I heartily agree. But there really is nothing to be learned by building a 6L6 transmitter with a 60 year old crystal. It's just too outdated and irrelevant.
I think building Elecraft or other solid state kits is a super idea; fun AND educational. And "practical hands-on".

Once again denigrating the author work as meaningless and wasteful.


Fourth post:
"SWL is a hobby; CB is a hobby; ham radio is a forward-looking licensed service."

Here you lecture us on what ham radio is, but the publications I have from the ARRL and other places state quite clearly that it IS a hobby.


Arrogance and denigration throughout. Not disagreement, abuse. You know better than anyone here was your message. After these posts you start having to defend yourself, but by now you yourself have set the tone of any conversation you received from here on out.

You spent the rest of your time pointing out your what you perceive to be your superiority, pretending to be a fount of wisdom to the end.

Now you play at the truth while abusing it.
Disappointing from a man of your assumed stature.
 
My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by W1YW on April 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I have not in any way denigrated the author. I have taken exception to the thoughts and approaches discussed in the article. I have presented clear evidence why these thoughts and approaches are counter to modern radio engineering with RX and exciters.

We are here to discuss articles, ideas, and approaches. Not people.

I do not know the gentleman and cannot comment on him. Nor intend to here, for the simple reason that I do not have a basis in fact to attack him--HIM-- in any way. Nor interest. Nor is that the intent of this forum.

73,
Chip W1YW
 
My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by W1YW on April 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I am truly sorry that some of you are married to ham radio as a 'hobby'. It is not defined that way by the people of the United States. If you choose to consider that, then you do so at your own peril.

It's just not in Part 97.

73,
Chip W1YW
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by KB1LMO on April 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Stop parsing there Chip, I didn't say you denigrated the author.
I said you denigrated his work as meaningless and a waste of time. Which you did.

You dig yourself in deeper every post Chip.
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by KD2KU on April 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Amateur radio
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Amateur radio, often called Ham radio, is a hobby and public service enjoyed by about six million people throughout the world. An amateur radio operator, also known as a ham or radio amateur, uses advanced radio equipment to communicate with other radio amateurs for public service, recreation and self-training.

duh
 
My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by W1YW on April 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Well, if you feel that way, especially given our proximity in the Commonwealth, remedies are posed by formal complaint. If you feel that is the case, then IMO you have an obligation to pursue.

With Best Wishes,
Chip W1YW
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by KB1LMO on April 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
And it is defined as a hobby even here on this sites description page:

http://www.eham.net/newham/whatis

Your host Don VE3XD say the same:

http://www.eham.net/newham/

And in the UK:

http://www.hamradio-badarc.co.uk/amateurs_hobbie.htm

And the ARRL says:
"Although the main purpose of the hobby is fun, it is called the "Amateur Radio Service" because it also has a serious face. "
http://www.arrl.org/FandES/ead/hamfaq.html

Perhaps you are unfamiliar with the use of the search engines here on the Internet?

You may be a smart guy, but don't let it go to your head. There are plenty of smart guys out here in the world. Most of us just aren't dicks about it.
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by NB3O on April 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Who remembers simple Conar tube transmitter kits?
How about the old SDK-8085 training kits?
Fast-forward to the BF561 EZ-KIT Lite, MCIMX31LITEKIT, etc etc.

Despite the wide range of disciplines between them, i.e. soldering, working sheetmetal versus programming versus algorithm development, they all allow the end user to develop skills using a portion of the brain which would otherwise atrophy in today's cash & carry engineering world.

Kudos should go to anyone taking the initiative, however mis-guided some may think, because his path might be a one tube TX today, and a spread spectrum correlator in an FPGA tomorrow. Sure, many of us have done both; but what percentage of us have gone beyond the status quo and invented a new mousetrap? It only takes one to change the course of our technology, as reminded by KA4KOE's articles. If Edwin H. Armstrong were alive today, would he encourage or discourage the guy learning about a 6L6 oscillator for the first time?

The Conar was not the state-of-the-art when they were available. Neither was the 8085 kit. And while the Blackfin DSP's and various new ARM processor development tools may no longer be cutting edge in a brief few quarters, years from now their kits can still provide an experience to the end user much different from figuring out how to navigate the menus of some high end appliance.

If we allow our peers spit on someone for discovering a little piece of history through hands-on, what incentive is there for him to progress to the next level, and eventually on to the future?
 
My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by W1YW on April 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
The incentive lies in the explosive and universal access to information and opportunity afforded by the internet. At your fingertips, you have the world's best library--allowing you the info to affect changes; nurture new technologies; change the future.

And that includes radio engineering.


Don't get stuck in the traps of yesterday; look to tomorrow.

Part 97...Forward looking!

73,
Chip W1YW
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by KB1LMO on April 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"Well, if you feel that way, especially given our proximity in the Commonwealth, remedies are posed by formal complaint. If you feel that is the case, then IMO you have an obligation to pursue."

Interesting Chip, I don't know what to say.
What remedies might that be? I don't see how there could be any legal recourse over any of this since calling you arrogant and pointing out where does not pose libelous intent. I think we would just get fined for presenting a frivolous lawsuits should we even try anything with what is presented in this forum. That's out then.

There isn't anything here that can be presented to the FCC by either of us, so there goes that one out the window eh?

So what are you proposing? A fox hunt, loser admits to being a sh*thead in a 1500 word essay right here on eham? Or maybe a DX contest? Naw, you'd win that one hands down.

So what are you saying there Chip?
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by KB5DPE on April 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"These "1 Tuber's" are fun projects, but there are some great solid state alternatives for homebrew transmitters, receivers, amplifiers and accessories"

I saw solid state devices every workday of my life for 35 of my 40+ working years. I'm tired of them! A project like this would be a delightful change and allow me to relive some very happy memories at the same time. This article really got me enthused and may renew my interest in what I had considered to be, for me, a "dead-end" hobby.

"SWL is a hobby; CB is a hobby; ham radio is a forward-looking licensed service."

Funny, I couldn't find that ANYWHERE in part 97. Must be one of those "unwritten" laws that rellgion is so fond of quoting!

"I think building Elecraft or other solid state kits is a super idea; fun AND educational. And "practical hands-on"."

More solid state, just like another day at work!

" I hope those hans that end up spending alot of money to relive the past aren't too disappointed since you really can't relive it, just doesn't work."

Don't forget to mention that to all of the "vintage car" buffs! I'm sure they'll be glad to find that out. Personally, resurrecting my Motrans and "loktal tube" Compa Stations ('50s and '60s vintage commercial radio)has been very rewarding and lots of fun as well. Of course, I'm not trying to relive the past, I just like messing with that stuff!

"The thought of building a NEW tubed transmitter for hams, in 2007, is a disappointing throwback to a primitive era. You will learn nothing from the enterprise, that contributes to Part 97"

Talk about "SOUR GRAPES"! UCKKKKK!

"Ed, I'm not into hobby radio. Part 97 says nothing about that."

In the 60's I knew a ham that thought that all VHF ham communications should be brief and to the point like public safety communications are supposed to be. Sure was nice when he just went away!!!

Sure would be nice if certain people wouldn't try to inpose THEIR ideas on others. Suggestions are welcome; sour grapes and sarcasm, on the other hand, should just go back into that "junk box".

Tom
 
My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by W1YW on April 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!


So what are you proposing? A fox hunt, loser admits to being a sh*thead in a 1500 word essay right here on eham? Or maybe a DX contest? Naw, you'd win that one hands down.

So what are you saying there Chip?

---------------------------

My comments have been clear to my ability; I regret that I see no value in repeating them for you.

73,
Chip W1YW
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by KB5DPE on April 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Forgot one:
"The thought of building a NEW tubed transmitter for hams, in 2007, is a disappointing throwback to a primitive era. You will learn nothing from the enterprise, that contributes to Part 97"

What about EMP resistance? Has anyone looked into MODERN tube technology favored by the Russians? I thought the "forward-looking" ham of today should be prepared for "any" contingency! One thing for sure, your shiny new solid state "marvels" would be nothing but expensive doorstops!
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by KB1LMO on April 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Actually, you told me I should resort to some formal complaint process.

Your accomplishments were never in question Chip, just your social skills.

So I ask again in a clarified manner:

What is this formal process that you think I should be taking against you? I am unaware of anything anyone can do about what amounts to a flame war on an internet forum as long as libel is not introduced into the conversation.

None of this has been libelous.

So to whom should I be filing this afore mentioned complaint?
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by KB1LMO on April 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Oh, maybe slander?

Nope, no slander here either.

Damn, you got me stumped there Chipster.
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by KC5CQD on April 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"I'm not seeing where Chip was called uneducated anywhere on this thread prior to my pointing it out in response to his lack of understanding regarding the meaning of wisdom, if you have an example please enlighten me.

He on the other hand has been calling us uneducated and unenlightened throwbacks for our love of an aspect of the hobby he has no interest in. Or hadn't you noticed the offhand insults?

His first post was to denigrate the authors efforts and accomplishments, I guess you didn't notice that as well.

His life's accomplishments, while respectable, do not warrant personal respect. He came here to show us how great he is and demand respect, not earn it.


What a man does and what a man is are two different things. And Chip seems to need considerable work on the latter."



All I saw was that the man disagreed with the majority of the responses. He merely stated his own opinion about a technology that he viewed as antiquated. Personally, I love tube radios. Cut my teeth on an old Swan 350 and Siltronix 1011C.

But the one common denominator that I've observed on "internet ham radio" sites seems to be intolerance of opinions which differ from the majority's opinion. I've never experienced any of this on the air. Just on the internet. What is it about the internet that makes hams act as though they have to be of one like mind or fight?
 
My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by W1YW on April 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"What about EMP resistance? Has anyone looked into MODERN tube technology favored by the Russians? I thought the "forward-looking" ham of today should be prepared for "any" contingency! One thing for sure, your shiny new solid state "marvels" would be nothing but expensive doorstops!
"
----------------------------------
My IC-7000 sits in a Faraday cage. Take comfort in knowing I am not the only one.

73,
Chip W1YW
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by KB1LMO on April 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
In any case Chip, taking action is not what I want to do.
I take offense at your admitted arrogance, you revel in it and take offense at my offense.

Way too funny!

Hey, on a different note, those antenna you make? Pretty slick there Chip. Also very cool. And yes, even impressive.

And your right about our proximity, piss poor soil over here. How did you get the DX1 award with soil like this?

Perhaps we should sched someday and try to out arrogance one another, eh?

Best of luck to you and your business.

73
Todd KB1LMO
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by KB1LMO on April 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I'll use my B&W 5100 AM and you can use your 756Pro SSB.
 
My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by W1YW on April 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Well Todd, it took me 29 years to get #1 Honor Roll. And especially in those early years, there were plenty of people who told me my goal was stupid and unrealistic. My novice period was, well, very humble.
Fortunately I had a father who saw the value it brought to me and helped me out, later augmented by menial jobs for cash.

The appealing thing about DXCC is that it is totally cumulative. Few things in life are: net worth perhaps. So even though it is a glorified version of a hunt and 'your it', it did provide a focus that united a 11 year old through to a college professor. That's pretty amazing that we, as hams, have that opportunity to transcend our own stages of live, and go after the goal on our own time line and effort.

Learning electronics is the same. That's why I'm encouraging you guys to look beyond tubes. Decide it at your own pace.

73,
Chip W1YW
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by KC8VWM on April 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Learning electronics is the same. That's why I'm encouraging you guys to look beyond tubes. Decide it at your own pace.

----------

This is a generalization.

Vacuum tube technology is still a technology being utilized by the "forward thinking" NASA space program.

Vacuum tube technology exists in most modern day x-ray medical diagnostic equipment.

Vacuum tube technology is above your head inside practically any modern day light fixture.

Vacuum tube technologies are far from being "outdated" as they are used by billions of people on the globe every single day.

Who knows, perhaps you are even reading this very internet posting on a cathode ray tube for that matter.!?

Modern day vacuum tube technology is a wonderful addition to modern day life isn't it?

If somehow one thinks that modern day vacuum tube technologies suck, they are quite correct. In reality, all vacuum based tube technologies do.

73 de Charles - KC8VWM
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by SM7EQL on April 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I enjoyed reading Your article Carl,

I built my very first tube transmitter at age 13, in the mid 60īs. A simple one tube design with 6L6. Me and my friends had lot of fun, playing pop music at 1620 kHz MW. At that time, we did know absolutely nothing about radio laws & regulations, antennas or antenna matching. The ERP was probably less than nothing and nobody was complainingÖ In 1969 I got my amateur radio license - no more pirating - only CW. Today, some 35-40 years later, I am still an active homebrewer. I love those old vaccum tubes glowing in the dark.

Last year, 2006, I decided to build a replica of one of my very first good working 6L6 transmitters. Found one of my original hand drawn schematics from the late 60`s in a dusty binder. My plan was to stick to the original design as I remembered it, using old components and the same set of hand tools.

Please have a peek at http://www.sm7eql.se/radioteknik/tx6l6.htm

(The article is written in Swedish language. However, the pictures sure tells the whole storyÖ)

In my opinion, every new baked HAM, should try to build at least one (1) transmitter from scratch (based on tubes, transistors, IC:s or even a kit), to get an idea of what is "real ham radio" and to better understand what we OT:s and OF:s are talking about from time to time. Then, if your transmitter works - congratulations and welcome to amateur radio!

No fun? - well, go ahead then, spend all your money on the biggest and most expensive SuperHyperMegaDeluxe ICOMKENWOODYAESU rice box you can afford and get lost for ever. J

73
Ben SM7EQL
http://www.sm7eql.se

CW is!
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by AF9J on April 4, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
HI Carl,

Nice article! Isn't it cool reaching out and contacting someone hundreds or thousands of miles away, with something you build with your own hands? I think it is, I've experienced the feeling myself, every time I build a QRP radio.

OK, as for the "why waste your time with old outdated technology?" argument, that's being made by an individual or two, for the umpteen millionth time, out of the blue on an e-ham thread - yes, it may be older technology, but it still has its uses. For instance, I may not be into QRO, but most higher power applications are typically better with tubes. Yes you can make a KW or legal limit amplifier with high power bipolars or FETs. Guess what?, they can be more expensive than say a 3CX800. Also, you typically have to run several of these solid state devices in parallel in order to generate the power you want. AND, if you do not have impedances properly matched (which can be a real bear with some of these high powered FETs and bipolars), you can trash them. Start to generate serious amounts of power (on the order of say 20, 30, or even 100 kW), like a shortwave broadcast transmitter does, and guess what, many, if not most of the shortwave braodcast transmitters run power tubes.

Case #2 - you say hollow state is over the hill? Then you're so involved with sitting in a pileup for the same old "ur 59" report, so you can add another country to your Honor Roll, that you've forgotten about the microwaves. Yes, MMICs can generate RF nowadays, as high as 100 plus GHz, but they sure don't have much power. At 10 Ghz, solid state devices will maybe get you 10 to 20W at the most. You know what they use to generate serious power on the microwaves? Traveling wave tubes, which are of course, hollow state. BTW, don't forget, Klystrons are still used in many UHF TV stations to generate serious power. Are they efficient. Of course not, but there aren't many other technologies to choose from even at UHF to generate the kind of power a TV station needs.

We all know about the EMP resistance of tubes. Yes, a Faraday cage can protect solid state devices. We knew about this in the 80s. But I wouldn't exactly say that the DOD (who's funded the lions share of research on Faraday caging) has been very forthcoming with the data on them. So you takes your chances, and build one basing it on whatever theory you have, and hope it works. BTW, we all know that theory oftentimes doesn't necessarily play out 100%, in the real world.

There 'nuff said. I think I'll just ignore the trolls. Don't worry about Troll #1. I had some wonderful profs in college. But by the same token, I had some profs who were like troll #1 - they thought they were visionaries (some of them even wrote their own books), and everybody else was a shortsighted fool in their minds. The had little patience for people, and oftentimes, while they had phenomenal knowledge in their area of expertise, they were horrible teachers, whose communication skills were so bad, they couldn't even show you how to tie your own shoes. When it came to getting their hands dirty, trying out cutting edge theory, it was either beneath them to do the work, or they were completely incapable of doing any hands-on work (people who are like this, are fond of saying that they're "the brains of the operation"). You're not going to change the trolls' minds. Don't even bother trying. They're right, even when they're wrong. Besides, trolls enjoy baiting people.

Once again Carl, thanks for the neat article on the 6L6 transmitter (6L6 - a cool tube; I used to use guitar amps that used 6L6 tubes).

73,
Ellen - AF9J
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by OLDSWAB on April 4, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
You know I think I built a transmitter just like that around 1956. I think I used on of moms cake pans and even borrowed some Greenley hole cutters to make the tube sockets.did good on old surplus crystals that we bought and forund you could grind or polish to get them into the cw band of 80 meters. that thing worked good on a center fed dipole. still have my s-38-b. That think has been on board a Navy ship and half way around the world and back. Still works and shows how good a Ham you can be in picking out different signals with all the hash on the band. I my case I will settle on just being a good SWL'er.
 
My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by W4CAS on April 4, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Congratulations, Carl, on your 6L6 transmitter! There is room in our hobby for every aspect of technology, and no one should be criticized for going down whatever path they choose. And remember - it IS a hobby - so whether it's tubes, transistors, ICs, AM phone, CW, SSB, digital communications - whatever trips your trigger, go for it! I build all sorts of state-of-the-art digital and analog circuits at work everyday, and when I get home, I get a real kick out of sliding back into tube technology, whether it's resurrecting old commercially-bought or govt.surplus tube-type gear. I haven't built any tube projects from scratch lately, but after reading your article, Carl, I just might! And hey, some of you guys - lighten up! Don't criticize Carl or anyone else for dabbling in "old" technology! At least he's got the gumption to build something and experiment! How long has it been since a lot of us (me included) built ANY ham project from scratch? Go Carl!!
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by AC7ZL on April 4, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Wow, Chip... A guy finds pleasure in homebrewing a piece of radio equipment,shares his enthusiasm with his peers, and your answer to it is this? Don't get me wrong, you're entitled to your opinion, but I'm puzzled by the darkness of your response.

As to the assertion that one learns "nothing" from a homebrew effort like this, well, I totally *disagree.* Tubes or not, a project like this brings one face-to-face with:

power supplies: transformers, rectification, filtering
oscillators
crystals
amplification
l/c circuits
cathode keying
voltage dividers
mechanical design
parts layout
lead dress
basic metal-working
qrp and Morse
parts... research, procurement, and as necessary, intelligent substitution.

Another point... A novice building something like this isn't going to have to worry about blowing up a FET with ESD or blowing up a BJT because he reversed the supply rails.

I think this project has great value in terms of both entertainment and education.

Atta boy, Carl!

73
Pete
AC7ZL


>by W1YW on April 2, 2007
>The thought of building a NEW tubed transmitter for >hams, in 2007, is a disappointing throwback to a >primitive era. You will learn nothing from the >enterprise, that contributes to Part 97.
>
>
>73,
>Chip W1YW
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by W7ETA on April 4, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Just imagine if the author mistakenly decides he wants to use a pair 6L6s in the output stage! More waisted time learning about parrel and push-pull circuits.

Could one person survive all of the FUN in learning about electronics, and survive the FUN of building something just to see if it will work?

New hams, old hams beware!

You might be at risk of having too much FUN learning about something, simply because you are interested in it.

Its totally un-American to do that.

:-))))

73
Bob
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by OLDSWAB on April 4, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I like your tongue in cheek approach to replying to the article. It sounds like it would it might belittle you to learn something from old technology. I'm sorry! Learning from trial and error is somthing everybody should try at least once.I mean in the order of trying to build somthing,rebuild a lanwmower engine or a radio or anything you feel that might give you a feeling that "I did that and it makes me feel good". As for the reply of trying two 6l6's go one step farther and make that one tobe transmitter a modulated transmitter. Then tryit to see how many contacts you can make. Thats my two cents input! Ted
 
It's a Floor Wax, AND A Dessert Topping!  
by W3WN on April 4, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
*sigh*
It's so simple. You'd think even a college instructor would recognize it.

Amateur Radio is an internationally recognized Radio communications Service, under ITU & other international regulations and within the US as defined and administered by the FCC under FCC Rules Part 97.

Those of us (or most of us) who participate as licensed members of the Amateur Service do so as a hobby. Our part of the hobby may involve person to person communications, contesting, public safety, message handling, 'pushing the envelope' in communications technology and techniques, or reliving the nostalgia of days gone by. Or any combination thereof, to say nothing of those other reasons I neglected to mention.

Amateur Radio -- overall -- is a Service.
WE participate in Amateur Radio as OUR hobby.

okey dokey?
 
My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by W1YW on April 4, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Speak for yourself OM.
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by KB5DPE on April 4, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"How long has it been since a lot of us (me included) built ANY ham project from scratch?"

Speaking for myself, about a week and glad to hear so many others that enjoy it too. To borrow an old expression, "try it, you'll like it!"
 
My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by VE3OVS on April 5, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Great article, Carl. Enjoyed it very much. We just have to ignore the "Chips" that suck the life out of a great hobby. Keep up the reports on your future building projects.
Jerry - VE3OVS
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by KD2KU on April 5, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Where else can you go and post to your heartís content? Chip is a good example- a prolific poster- yet he and few others (including the author) donít help support eham. Thatís sad.
 
My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by W1YW on April 5, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Maybe one of the owners should ask me...
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by KC9JUB on April 5, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
The day eHam.net provides an ignore button and provides effective moderators on these forums, will be the day I begin to consider offering financial support.

I certainly won't pay to read semi-literate rants, childish arguments about non-issues, personal attacks, attacks on peoples' religious beliefs, peoples' ethnic backgrounds and peoples' sexual orientations, all of which I have seen here.

73,

Bob - KC9JUB
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by KD2KU on April 5, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
W1YW on April 5, 2007
Maybe one of the owners should ask me...
-----------------------------------------
Lame answer... see "Support the site"

KC9JUB on April 5, 2007
The day eHam.net provides an ignore button and provides effective moderators on these forums, will be the day I begin to consider offering financial support.

I certainly won't pay to read semi-literate rants, childish arguments about non-issues, personal attacks, attacks on peoples' religious beliefs, peoples' ethnic backgrounds and peoples' sexual orientations, all of which I have seen here.
----------------
So- condemn the whole site because of a few weirdos?
There's far more good here than bad.

 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by K5PSH on April 5, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
just check W1YW's profile on QRZ.COM--it will explain a lot

k5psh
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by SM0AOM on April 5, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
SM7EQL wrote:

"In my opinion, every new baked HAM, should try to build at least one (1) transmitter from scratch (based on tubes, transistors, IC:s or even a kit), to get an idea of what is "real ham radio" and to better understand what we OT:s and OF:s are talking about from time to time. Then, if your transmitter works - congratulations and welcome to amateur radio! "

In my opinion, it would indeed be a reasonable requirement that every "new ham"

(1) built a simple transmitter from scratch;

and

(2) made a Morse telegraphy two-way contact using it

YMMV

73/

Karl-Arne
SM0AOM
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by WI7B on April 5, 2007 Mail this to a friend!

The last two articles popsted on eHam have be great! Building your own transmitter and and building your own trapped, multi-band antenna. True ham stuff.

However, I do subscribe to eHam and I enjoy Chip W1YW's commentary even if he doesn't donate and he does criticize my articles.

73,

---* Ken
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by WA8MEA on April 5, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I had a couple of Ameco AC-1's with a 6L6 and a 5U4. I put my golden screw driver in the wrong place one day, and felt the electricity go across my chest. My heart did stop for an instant. When it fired back up, it was racing to beat the band.

I didn't have my hand in my back pcoket. But what probably saved my life were my shoes. I was only 16 and everybody wore Converse All Stars at the time. I credit those rubber soles with saving my life.

Since then, I've pretty much stuck to 12 volt QRP rigs when it comes to homebrewing.

73, Bill - WA8MEA
http://HamRadioFun.com
 
My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by W1YW on April 5, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"just check W1YW's profile on QRZ.COM--it will explain a lot

k5psh "

--------------------

Thanks! WYSIWYG is my philosophy. Thinking is a G-O-O-D thing. Rare in ham radio nowadays.

73,
Chip W1YW
 
My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by W1YW on April 5, 2007 Mail this to a friend!

I had a couple of Ameco AC-1's with a 6L6 and a 5U4. I put my golden screw driver in the wrong place one day, and felt the electricity go across my chest. My heart did stop for an instant. When it fired back up, it was racing to beat the band.

I didn't have my hand in my back pcoket. But what probably saved my life were my shoes. I was only 16 and everybody wore Converse All Stars at the time. I credit those rubber soles with saving my life.

Since then, I've pretty much stuck to 12 volt QRP rigs when it comes to homebrewing.

73, Bill - WA8MEA

-----------------------------------------

Damn happy you are around to tell us, Bill!

73,
Chip W1YW
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by K8LEA on April 5, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Built one of those back in the late 50's or early 60's....

Fried at least one crystal because the tube I used and the one in the Handbook had different biasing requirements.

It worked....

(Miracle!)

I built a lot of kits since then - including a Heathkit Color TV - but no more homebrew transmitters. (The TV, in 1972, was a weeks worth of "after supper". Naturally, it blew up when first powered up. There were two ways to wire the degaussing coil if you looked at the instructions and the schematics. I picked the wrong one. About $5 worth of replacement parts - it took a couple hours to find out which parts - fixed it. The kid killed it when she started walking and played with a couple of by then very critical "hold" controls. But that was in 1986.)

I miss that. The new kits just don't excite me for some reason.

Regards,

Stu K8LEA
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by K0FF on April 5, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
W7ETA on April 4, 2007
Just imagine if the author mistakenly decides he wants to use a pair 6L6s in the output stage!
73
Bob "

A TWO-TUBER! Is that even legal? I toned my 6L6 rig back by using a 6V6 instead. Never did like that high power stuff.

Geo>K0FF

 
My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by KG7RS on April 5, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Carl, it's a thing of beauty, nice work! Your pride shows through both in the project itself and in the enthusiasm conveyed by your article. I enjoyed it. I too built a similar rig some years back, a 6J5 xtal oscillator driving a 6L6G and a matching power supply. The entire project was enjoyable from conception, through scrounging parts, to assembly and finally many nights of on-air fun. I'll have to get busy laying out a new one. Maybe something neat like an 807 this time! I'll be listening for your 40M CW signal and hope to work you. Again, great job and thanks for a very enjoyable article. 73, John, KG7RS
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by G3RZP on April 6, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Interesting on the colour coding that Carl used. The only colour coding for wiring I've ever met this side of the pond was back in my early days at Marconi - brown for heaters, yellow for cathodes, green for grids, orange for screen grids, purple for grid returns, blue for plates, red for B+, pink for general other wiring, black for grounds, grey and white for other signal leads. Not that it matters if you always use the same scheme.

I'm not so sure about not learning anything from using tubes. MOS transistors are so very similar, and it's not so easy to play on the bench with them, as they're hard to get. At work, I've dug out the old copies of Terman so that the youngsters can appreciate why triodes (and MOSFETS) exhibit negative input resistance under certain feedback conditions - something they weren't taught at college. They elarnt a lot of digital electroniccs, and a lot of 'how to drive' the simulators, but the circuit theory side seems a bit weak.

Do you have to have a degree to be a radio engineer? i don't have one, but I am a Senior Member of IEEE, and a reviewer for the IET (used to be IEE) Electronics Letters, and for the Transactions. As well as chairing an international standards committee on Wireless Medical applications......and being employed to do systems design of such things as radios to go into pacemakers and the like. I claim I'm an engineer....
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by KC5CQD on April 6, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"Where else can you go and post to your heartís content? Chip is a good example- a prolific poster- yet he and few others (including the author) donít help support eham. Thatís sad."



Sad? Really? hehe....

Let me tell you something.

Over the years I've watched many a "paying member" be booted from this site because he/she was antagonized by non-paying visitors and their flaming comments. The "paying member" was ostricized and yet the non-paying visitor just changed their name/email address and they were still here posting.

eHam will get more support whenever they tighten their security measures and watch more closely what goes on in here between posters. In other words; If you don't have a license, you can't join or post! And whenever things get heated between members, you go back and check all posts to see what led up to that pivotal moment and then decide fairly.


 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by K1OU on April 6, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Per KC9JUB...

"The day eHam.net provides an ignore button and provides effective moderators on these forums, will be the day I begin to consider offering financial support.

I certainly won't pay to read semi-literate rants, childish arguments about non-issues, personal attacks, attacks on peoples' religious beliefs, peoples' ethnic backgrounds and peoples' sexual orientations, all of which I have seen here."

And again, get ready to say with me in unison....


"It's those America-hating liberal ARRL supporters fault!!!!!"
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by KD2KU on April 7, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
A quick review of those who have posted:

12 subscribers and 48 non subscribers- many of which have posted elaborate profiles, photos, personal websites.

Iíve looked at the advertising rates and the advertisers- thereís no way the income from that could support this site.

To me it boils down to that old saying ďhams are cheapĒ. If that appears insulting- sorry, I see what I see.

I, too, am a bit perturbed that eham doesnít wield a bigger stick in the forums but maybe if more complained they would. Iíd also like to see an indication (symbol) after the call showing that one is a supporter.
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by OLDSWAB on April 7, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Gentleman, I am a SWL'r. Have been and will be for the rest of my life. If you think that by me taking on a subscription will stop the arguments of who is better and who is not doing something that is not in the true light of the ARRL or FCC then "So be it." I will gladly support this web site! But the Subject was to start a simple story or comment of which has gone, ( including myself), to a knock down drag out, "I'm Better Than You", comment site. If you wonder why I'm not a Ham it is a very long story and this is not the place for it. The problem is everybody has their own opinion and have a right to it,Yes? well this posting started out as a very simple thing of which has been blown out of complete context.Again I appolize for my two cents but If you want to speak out against me for saying what I did you should send me the E-mail and not blast it all over the posting which I still say when I built one of these projects it did work and whish I had that unit back but it was lost during the time I was in the service. 73's from a Swl'er and hope to here you on the bands somtimes.
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by WA8MEA on April 7, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Copied from a previous post:

>>A quick review of those who have posted:

12 subscribers and 48 non subscribers- many of which have posted elaborate profiles, photos, personal websites.

Iíve looked at the advertising rates and the advertisers- thereís no way the income from that could support this site.

To me it boils down to that old saying ďhams are cheapĒ. If that appears insulting- sorry, I see what I see.

I, too, am a bit perturbed that eham doesnít wield a bigger stick in the forums but maybe if more complained they would. Iíd also like to see an indication (symbol) after the call showing that one is a supporter.
-----------------------------------------------
-----------------------------------------------
Have been a subscriber. I'm surprised Eham doesn't send a little reminder out when your year is up. Just found out the other day my subscription ran out.

Second, Eham makes a TON of money off of banner ads. (As far as ham businesses go.....) Don't let anyone tell you otherwise! You'll hear people yelling about the cost of bandwidth, electricity, servers, etc. Actually, sites like Eham.net, QRZ.com, the DXZone, HamTrader.com, HamCall.net and QTH.com have VERY little overhead compared to the AES's and Ham Radio Outlet's of the world. Plus, they work with a 90% volunteer staff. I'm aware of one gentleman who owns one of the above named companies (and who shall remain nameless) raking in six figures from his little operation.

BTW, I've supported Eham both ways: as a subscriber and as an advertiser.

73, Bill - WA8MEA
http://HamRadioFun.com
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by K4JF on April 7, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"Thinking is a G-O-O-D thing. Rare in ham radio nowadays."

Rare ANYWHERE nowadays, Chip. Probably less rare in ham radio than other venues.
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by WA2JJH on April 9, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Nice job! 6L6's will also be around for cheap, because
Rock bands use tube amps with 6L6's in them.

73 DE WA2JJH in Pattaya Thailand
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by AF9J on April 10, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Yep, Fenders, Mesa Boogies, some of the late 80s/early 90s Marshalls (when the EL34/6CA7 that Marshalls usually use, were in short supply, they used the 5881 variety of the 6L6), Soldanos, VHT, etc., all use 6L6s. The only downer - they're so heavy to carry (a Mesa Boogie with 2x12" speakers weighs almost 100 lbs; I used to just about throw out my back lugging tube amps, when I was gigging as a lead guitarist)!! Good sounding tube - 6L6 amps are usually a bit bassier than your typical EL34/6CA7 loaded Marshall (I like lots of bass, it's easier on your ears, and much of the very extreme rock is bass heavy frequencywise). It was the audio characteristics of the 6L6, that made it a favorite tube back when, for modulators, in AM transmitters.

73,
Ellen - AF9J
 
My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by W1YW on April 10, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Hey Ellen--

I don't use any 6L6's--and I get any and all guitar tones I --or anyone-- want.

And I don't use Fenders; Boogies; Marshalls ---at all!

In fact, I don't have ANY tubed guitar amps...

Think: how, in 2007 is that possible?
 
My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by K2LS on April 10, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Seeing this brought back fond memories.

Back in '56 my friend Steve K2PTS ( SK) had a 6AG7 driving a 1625 (12v 807). We were playing in some sort of contest when the 1625 died. We turned the transmitter over. After connecting the antenna circuit to the 6AG7 and applying the HV for the 1625 to the 6AG7 plate. We then supported it with books on the ends so that the 6AG7 was siting in a bowl of ice water. I do not remember how long the 6AG7 lasted but it sure was a lot of fun while it lasted.

There was a "stray" in CQ many years ago that read the following:

TX 6L6
Plate volts 2000
Plate current 1 amp
Tube life 3 cq's

Tubes can be fun!
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by AF9J on April 10, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"Hey Ellen--

I don't use any 6L6's--and I get any and all guitar tones I --or anyone-- want.

And I don't use Fenders; Boogies; Marshalls ---at all!

In fact, I don't have ANY tubed guitar amps...

Think: how, in 2007 is that possible? W1YW:"


You know Chip. I don't either anymore. They are great sounding amps, but, like I said, I found the weight a hassle. Besides, I know enough about gear to get a decent sound out of solid state amps. One of my favorite amps I owned (and wish I still had - I had to sell it to pay bills 6 years ago), was a Marshall Valvestate. Total death tone. Yep, sure beats that wimpy overcompressed Rockman sound that Tom Scholz overindulged in, or the generic, "sort of tube" sound other solid state & modeling amps often have. Oh yeah, and don't forget that there are other musicians who have gotten great heavy guitar sounds out of solid state amps: Dimebag Darrell of Pantera (Randall amps), Ty Tabor of King's X (a Lab series L5 of all amps!).

Chip, since you're taking a position of authority on guitar amps, do you have any experience to support your authority, such as gigging out (and I don't mean playing in the garage, or one or two dinky gigs)? I have. I even played a few festivals. I'd be doing it now, if it weren't for my stupid asthma, making smoke filled bars, hell on my lungs. Oh yeah, and as long as you're being so opinionated?, here's a couple for you. Strats & strat style guitars bore me. Strats sound wimpy to me. Les Pauls are OK, but everybody and his aunt uses them. PRS - decent guitars, but they don't interest me. Give me a Howard Roberts Fusion (I miss mine) or a 335 (I have an Ibanez copy at the present time). Nothing quite like hearing a semi-hollow scream & roar. The feedback's easy enough to control & fun to fool with too. 'Nuff said. Let's cool it, OK?, & get back on the subject.

Ellen - AF9J
 
My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by W1YW on April 11, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Chip, since you're taking a position of authority on guitar amps, do you have any experience to support your authority, such as gigging out (and I don't mean playing in the garage, or one or two dinky gigs)? I have. I even played a few festivals. I'd be doing it now, if it weren't for my stupid asthma, making smoke filled bars, hell on my lungs. Oh yeah, and as long as you're being so opinionated?, here's a couple for you. Strats & strat style guitars bore me. Strats sound wimpy to me. Les Pauls are OK, but everybody and his aunt uses them. PRS - decent guitars, but they don't interest me. Give me a Howard Roberts Fusion (I miss mine) or a 335 (I have an Ibanez copy at the present time). Nothing quite like hearing a semi-hollow scream & roar. The feedback's easy enough to control & fun to fool with too. 'Nuff said. Let's cool it, OK?, & get back on the subject
---------------------------------------

Hi Ellen,

I knew Dan Armstrong towards the end of his life, and implemented the changes he suggested for Strats; basically you get about a dozen variations with his changes. That includes humbucker/P90/Gibson type sounds. Between that and the Strat VG I get all the types of pickup sounds I need, that then go into modelers. Amplifiers are used as linear devices--not for tone generation. I use DA Cerwin Vega speakers that are then miked into the PA. I never break my back because all my gear fits into the Caddy, and roadies take care of it. Basically my feeling is that if you can't afford a roadie you shouldn't be doing it; at my age I try to help the young musicians and techs by providing either career paths or exposure to same.

For live situations I use a customized relic strat; a Terry Kath inspired tele, and a Art and Luthier AMI acoustic. Of course, I also play about a dozen other instruments, but when live, singing and guitar playing take precedent, along with a harp (harmonica).

I use Kustom amps for amplification--not the tubey ones that were out a few years ago.

Yes Ellen, I have played out. I have the notch in my hearing response at 1 KHz to prove it. Why don't you assume that I use vacation time in the Summer to do festivals--and that in 2008 I expect to play before at least 200,000 people. This Summer is dominated by other committments, including musical ones. Sorry! Won't fill you in:-)

I hope that helps; you haven't a clue who I am, but that's really OK. Keep'em guessin!

73,
Chip W1YW
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by AF9J on April 11, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Hmmm, sounds pretty good. I'm just not a fan of super-Strats. Kustom amps are pretty good in their new incarnation. I'm just not a fan of single coil guitars. They leave me feeling frustrated, and like that very old Wendy's commercial, saying "where's the beef?" soundwise (of course there are exceptions: the occasional Rick, without the toastertop pickups; Telecasters, with beefier wound single coils, P90s in an SG Special or Les Paul special, run into a jacked up amp). Like I said, tube amps are OK, I just got sick of killing myself trying to lug them. You sound like a Fender man, Me, I'm a Gibson girl (I just can't afford them at the present time, and to replace my Howard Roberts would cost me serious money). Dan Armstrong lucites sure do weigh a ton.

Ellen - AF9J
 
My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by WA6BFH on April 12, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I looked up the spec's for a 6L6. Would putting such B+ on an MRF245 provide better output?

Or, if I decide to go with the 6L6, could I build a stripline tank circuit for it? What would be the typical bandwidth over the HF spectrum? Will I need to Q-spoil the tank for various bands?

Thanks, John ;-)
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by WA6BFH on April 12, 2007 Mail this to a friend!

Oh, and while Elecraft radios are nice -- they don't glow in the dark!

John ;-)
 
RE: My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by OLDSWAB on April 12, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
You have to remember when the first 6L6 tume transmitter was put on the air that a lot of different power supplys were built (depending on which transformer you could get)therfore a lot of output or heat or a little . You still had a hot key unless you built in a relay to trip with the key!
 
My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by K5BOI on April 12, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
such a nice article. I actually got a little emotional at looking at your pictures. It really took me back about 47 years ago when I was a novice. I too started out with something similar. I used a 6AQ5 and a medicine plastic bottle for my tank coil for a 40 meter one tube rig when I was 13 yrs old. Later on, I did the 6L6 thing and Mother was scared I would get hurt or elctrocuted so she bought me a DX-20. WOW!! I was into the bigtime Novice stuff. Those were the days. Thank you so much for such a good article. I did the cut and paste and have it on my hard drive. That is one fine looking 6L6 rig. I would have killed for that 40 years ago. Kindest Regards, and Best of 73's. Really good Stuff!! John Wilson, K5boi, Plano,Tx.
 
My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by VE3CGE on April 14, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Regardles of the flames posted I have a soft spot for the retro rigs.

You have just kindled my next winter works project. I hope to have the bits and pieces by then for MY new 6L6 transmitter.

Thanks for a great artical

73
 
My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by N3NL on April 15, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Nice homebrew rig. Keep up the great work.
As for kits, there are a lot of low power (5 Watt
QRP) rigs available as kits. They are quite
inexpensive. QST had an article reviewing these
kits.
73, Nick Leggett, N3NL
 
My New 6L6 Transmitter  
by AF3D on April 16, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Well your transmitter looks much better than the one I built in 1960. Mine was on a breadboard with a toilet paper roll as the coil form. Had one crystal for 7025 (which I still have). My plan was from the 1942 ARRL handbook.
Nice job and have fun with it.
 
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