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[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

10 Meter AM -- A Blast From The Past

Ray Soifer (W2RS) on December 4, 2012
View comments about this article!

I am primarily a CW operator, but I've always had a soft spot for 10 meter AM. I was first licensed as a Novice in 1955 and passed my General test in 1956, when 10 meters was just beginning its wildest ride in history. From then until around 1960, you could work the world, on 'phone, with only a few watts and a simple antenna such as a dipole or a mobile whip. And 'phone, on 10 meters, meant AM. While a few hams were using SSB, especially on 75 and 20 meters, AM largely ruled the 'phone bands.

The current sunspot cycle, Number 24, is a long way from the historic peak of Cycle 19 in 1957-58, but it is high enough for ten to be open much of the time, during daylight hours. If you're old enough to remember Cycle 19, a great nostalgia trip awaits. If not, join in the fun anyway! Most of the AM activity takes place from 29.0 to 29.1 MHz, so anyone with a General or higher license is welcome.

Many modern transceivers in the 100-watt (PEP) class will work on AM, typically putting out about 25 watts carrier power. On 10 meters, that's usually enough; either the band is open or it isn't. My Ten-Tec Orion II is one of those, and I've had many fine AM QSOs with it.

Much of the fun of AM, though, comes from using boatanchors. I've worked hams who were using everything from Heathkit DX-35s to the king of amateur AM transmitters, the Collins KW-1, as well as FlexRadio's latest.

Looking around my shack, the only older radio I have that transmits AM is a Yaesu FT-102. It was the top of their line in 1982-84, and the last of their "hybrid" transceivers. The three 6146 tubes in its final will put out up to 175 watts on CW, and about 40 watts carrier on AM. The FT-102 is known for its high quality transmit audio, so I set it up on 10 AM and began working stations.

This particular FT-102 has the accessory AM/FM board and FV-102DM digital VFO, but not the AM crystal filter for the receiver. That meant that I had to receive AM through the 2.9 kHz SSB filter, using RIT to tune off to one side. That began to get old, so I set up another of my boatanchors, a Collins 75S-1 receiver, and turned off the receiver section of the FT-102. The 75S-1 receives AM with a bandwidth wide enough to sound really good, especially in the wide-open spaces above 29 MHz.

Those, and my Hy-Gain AV620 vertical antenna, make up my present 10 meter AM station. How about you?

Member Comments:
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10 Meter AM -- A Blast From The Past  
by K2BN on December 4, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Like Ray, I too was licensed in the 1950s. I used a pair of Gonset twins G66&G67 in the car and loved operating DX while mobile. Not much power required but lots of great contacts. Unfortunately I no longer have the AM rigs but I can still get on 10 meter mobile with my ICOM 7000.
 
RE: 10 Meter AM -- A Blast From The Past  
by WA2DTW on December 4, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
What we need is some activity. How about everyone with AM capability get on and call CQ on 29 at least once every day?
 
RE: 10 Meter AM -- A Blast From The Past  
by KD5RGJ on December 4, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Any particular frency?
 
RE: 10 Meter AM -- A Blast From The Past  
by KE5JPP on December 4, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Listen around 28.900 to 29.050. When I operated 10 meter AM in cycle 23, I stayed around 29.010 MHz.

Gene
 
RE: 10 Meter AM -- A Blast From The Past  
by W7AIT on December 4, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Iím on 10 AM almost every day at 29.000 MHz. I usually work at least 1 or 2 stations a day, east coast, Alaska, Australia with 25 watts and a vertical. Lots of fun, monologues etc.
 
10 Meter AM -- A Blast From The Past  
by HA7WX on December 5, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Hi All! Too bad AM is neglected these days. I started on 11m and had fun in the 80s in AM. I then got my ticket in the mid 90s and stopped working AM lacking of stations actually willing to use this mode (obviously because of its drawbacks). Happy some of you still use it, i'll sure check and call on 29.000 +/- in case we can make an AM contact between Europe and the US. Thanks for talking about that fine mode (i'd also would enjoy using it on 80 or 40m, but no way here in Europe...).
Best 73s and Merry Christmas de HA7WX Christophe.
 
10 Meter AM -- A Blast From The Past  
by K4YRK on December 5, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Don't overlook the AM activity on the other HF bands, mostly on 3.885 and 7.290. AM activity is alive and well with many hams involved in it.
 
10 Meter AM -- A Blast From The Past  
by N1LWK on December 5, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Nice write up!! I did some 6-meter AM a few months back and had a blast. I will start monitoring the 10-meter AM band starting this afternoon.

Thanks....Ken, N1LWK
 
RE: 10 Meter AM -- A Blast From The Past  
by N0XE on December 5, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Don't forget converting old CB radios, even the old tube ones that are all crystal based, to keep the cost down you don't need to change out all 23 or 40 channels , just a few is plenty to get you on the action. PL types will be even easier and will give you even more range. I use to have an old Lafayette converted to 10 meter AM and it was a blast. 73 Jim N0XE
 
RE: 10 Meter AM -- A Blast From The Past  
by W2RS on December 5, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Jim, you're right on. While in college in 1962, I took a Japanese 100-milliwatt CB walkie-talkie, put in a war-surplua 10-meter crystal and re-tuned it. I took it up to the dorm roof and called CQ. Was I surprised when somebody came back!



 
10 Meter AM -- A Blast From The Past  
by TTOMAS59 on December 5, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
This solar cycle has been a stinker. If the sun is going to do something it better do it fast. The peak is about a year away.
 
10 Meter AM -- A Blast From The Past  
by KA5DWI on December 5, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
My first phone QSO in 1981 when I got my General was on 10 Meter AM with a converted CB rig, a Realistic Navaho circa 1970. I still have it.

Besides the Navaho, I have a converted Gemtronix and had the pleasure of operating a Gonset G28. I made many a real QSO and really enjoyed a Press Exchange QSO Party while traveling between Texas and Florida in early 80's.

As mentioned earlier, this solar cycle is not very good. Stay as active as you can and don't forget that there is a Spring/Summer Es season. Es are there more than you think.

I guess I need to blow the dust out of the Navaho.
73s
 
10 Meter AM -- A Blast From The Past  
by WA2CWA on December 5, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Back on October 18, I had a great morning on 10 meters AM. Band opened around 9:30 AM into Europe. Worked on AM included: OR0A, GW8TBG, DB5ZP, UU5AI, G8ETD, G4ZXN, G4CZU, EA1GGX, UZ2HZ, G4FHI, RK6DP, GW0AGZ, GU4LJC, G7OSR, MM0OPX, GW3TMP, G3XGW, G3YBY, SM0ZCQ, G3VWH, SM2A, AND ON3KA. All the antennas were taken down off the tower just before hurricane Sandy arrived on October 29. Finally got the tri-bander back up today, so I'll be back on 10 meter AM. Probably will play in the 10 meter contest this weekend too.

Pete, wa2cwa
 
10 Meter AM -- A Blast From The Past  
by N4VNV on December 6, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I was on 10M AM in the 1980's. The Call Freq then was 28.890 and move up to QSO. After reading this I will start looking on 29.000 to 29.100!
 
RE: 10 Meter AM -- A Blast From The Past  
by KW6LA on December 6, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Last year about this time I loged 30 stations in 3 weeks of casual operating. When I found people using AM on 29 MHz some 23 yrs ago I was hooked.
The fidelity and technical aspect of AM was a winner for me. Although I use a TS 870 rice box and amp at 100 w carrier, I get some decent reports
doing some audio processing with my RCA 77 DX ribbon microphone. Other bands have AM call frequencies, but 10 meters is tops for me. I hope
propagation will improve for more fun. You donít need a boat anchor with plate modulation to get on Ten meter AM, so give it a try. I just about
gave up on the lower end of tenÖÖ.shame !
 
10 Meter AM -- A Blast From The Past  
by WA4KCN on December 6, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I am looking forward to more AM activity on 10 meters in the next couple of years. The AM calling frequencies on 40 meters usually have AM activity. However it is usually the same few operators heard daily. At night after 9 PM central 40 meters above 7.250 is a no mans land for radio amateurs working SSB. I operate AM by calling CQ at night between the broadcast stations anywhere above 7.250. Normally I have to call for about 15 minutes but always get an answer. Many times the call is from a ham making their first AM contact. Its best to have a receiver that can operate ssb since some are going to answer your call in ssb. For those wishing to make AM contacts without always working the same gang on the calling frequencies, try this. You can make AM contacts at any time of the year and at any part of the sun spot cycle utilizing all the dead space on 40 at night.
 
10 Meter AM -- A Blast From The Past  
by WA4KCN on December 6, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I am looking forward to more AM activity on 10 meters in the next couple of years. The AM calling frequencies on 40 meters usually have AM activity. However it is usually the same few operators heard daily. At night after 9 PM central 40 meters above 7.250 is a no mans land for radio amateurs working SSB. I operate AM by calling CQ at night between the broadcast stations anywhere above 7.250. Normally I have to call for about 15 minutes but always get an answer. Many times the call is from a ham making their first AM contact. Its best to have a receiver that can operate ssb since some are going to answer your call in ssb. For those wishing to make AM contacts without always working the same gang on the calling frequencies, try this. You can make AM contacts at any time of the year and at any part of the sun spot cycle utilizing all the dead space on 40 at night.
 
RE: 10 Meter AM -- A Blast From The Past  
by WA0NDN on December 6, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
In the early 1960's a former neighbor, W0TRF, would come in load and clear on our television while he was transmitting with a homebrew transmitter and modulator on 10 meters. By 1965 I was a Novice thanks in part to that.
 
RE: 10 Meter AM -- A Blast From The Past  
by ONAIR on December 7, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Lots of old CBs can be converted to 10 Meters. Plenty of them available on Ebay for peanuts!
 
10 Meter AM -- A Blast From The Past  
by K3XI on December 7, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
In Northern Virginia we have a 10 meter AM Net every Sunday at 12:30 PM. It has been in operation since 1947. Most of use use verticals and 25 to 40 watt.
After the offical net, we go into the rag chew mode.
Stop by see if you can hear us and please join in the group.
 
10 Meter AM -- A Blast From The Past  
by K3XI on December 7, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I forgot to tell you the frequency of the 10 Meter AM Net 29.200 Every Sunday at 12:30 PM
 
RE: 10 Meter AM -- A Blast From The Past  
by W4KVW on December 8, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
When the MAGIC BAND(6 meters)is open there are usually PLENTY of stations on 50.400.00 or just above & below it as well.{:>)

Clayton
W4KVW
EM80
 
RE: 10 Meter AM -- A Blast From The Past  
by KD5KKH on December 10, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
hi all,first time poster here.AM was great.started in 11m back in final days when still needed a lic. yet.Finally upgraded to no-code w/cw endorsement 1993.Did some 10m as real radios were expensive for me then.Only wished more would have gone right with am stero an such,shame maybe.Will do more am 10m in future i hope.oh,had 2yrs exp with 'time n weather jock' time.same comm station,7yrs apart.Miss days of going low power at sunset too.It was all fun.
 
10 Meter AM -- A Blast From The Past  
by WA8H on December 12, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Well after all the nice comments, I would love to give AM a tray. Sounds fun. Let's see who can produce that thousandfold booming audio. with all it's tones and rich vocals. way back in the day. Me and my SWL radio under the covers of my bed. I would listen. till it turned day or my folks would catch me.

73 to all good luck with the AM stuff
Glenn WA8H
 
RE: 10 Meter AM -- A Blast From The Past  
by KA5DWI on December 15, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Wasn't there a AM Net around 29.450 on Sunday mornings? Philco Radio Net or something like that?

Sometime in the early to mid 1980's
 
10 Meter AM -- A Blast From The Past  
by W2RS on December 15, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Dunno about the 1980s but 29.3-29.5 is reserved for satellites in the ARRL and IARU band plans. 29.450 is right in the middle of the AMSAT-OSCAR 7 downlink passband.
 
10 Meter AM -- A Blast From The Past  
by KA5PIU on December 17, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I was a Novice for YEARS!
The Novice has voice on 10 and 220.
The Super Trucker CB starts out as a sort of 10 meter rig and gets converted to CB by clipping a wire.
The Yaesu FT 101 was also super popular.
Needless to say there are plenty of former super truckers who have lost their license and sell radios.
I get this trash and bring it back into service.
220 is even easier.
90% of all older UHF aircraft radios will tune from 220 to 400MHz by simply removing the mechanical block from the thumb switches.
In fact once this is done a lot will go all the way to 450MHz on the high side.
AM it is but the never ones have FM also.
 
RE: 10 Meter AM -- A Blast From The Past  
by WA2OLZ on December 17, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I just happened to notice this subject on the front page of eHam.net and went wild! I got my novice (WV2OLZ) in late 1959 or early 1960, wish I could recall which. It was 100% CW and listening to the big guys on AM. The Tech came a few months later and I used a 2M Gonset from CD to get on phone. What a blast. It was only a few months later WA2OLZ was a General class and ten meters was where it was at.

My rig was a WRL Globe Scout 40A and Hallicrafters S-38, soon replaced with a SX-110 by Santa. The antenna was an indoor 10 meter dipole in the attic. Oh, did I mention I was in the attic too, right next to the antenna? All of us kids were on 10M AM and having a ball. My best story was hearing a guy call CQ on 10, and I went back to him with my rock crusher 6146 and indoor dipole and he came back. Problem was I couldn't really understand his whole call. It was WA2TC? or WA2?TC, I just couldn't get it. We ragchewed awhile and he finally gave his call slowly enough for me to understand. There was no "W" in his call. It was 5A2TC in Tripoli, Lybia! Try that one today. As I recall he was in the USAF stationed at Wheelus Air Base. I was dancing on clouds after that. None of the local guys believed me until I got his QSL. That stopped them cold.

Long winded story - sorry. I will crank up the Kenwood TS-480SAT on 10 tomorrow and see what I can hear. I recently picked up my dream rig (KWM2-A) but, as I recall it has no AM capability. Bummer!

I look forward to hearing you guys in 10 and hopefully run across some of the old gang from way back when on 10.

73,
Jack
WA2OLZ
 
10 Meter AM -- A Blast From The Past  
by W0PV on December 21, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
As a Novice I built a Knight T-60, then used it also on 10m AM FONE as a General, using an Eico 720 VFO.

AM FONE is a great mode, more full fidelity then most SSB, as long as the QRM and QRN isn't too bad. But it can be tough to find a "clear channel" on the lower bands.

Last winter, when 10 meters was popping open pretty well, I spun my Icom IC-735 up to 29 mhz, where there is plenty of bandwidth to spread out and no other modes competing for it, and was pleasantly surprised by the AM FONE activity I found.

ESPECIALLY FUN was working the Italian DX station callsign I5KAP. Take a look at Franco's page on the Zed and you will understand why:

http://www.qrz.com/db/I5KAP

Look for his QRP signal calling and calling CQ most any time the band is open.
 
RE: 10 Meter AM -- A Blast From The Past  
by K2WH on December 28, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Using a Lafayette HA-460, 8 watts AM or the ICOM 756pro, 50 watts on AM. Usual activity is around 29.020mhz. Recently had a QSO with TI2OY. Last cycle, had a very long QSO with W6OTO. All these events are recorded directly to the computer. Oh and the antenna? An 80 meter dipole!

K2WH
 
RE: 10 Meter AM -- A Blast From The Past  
by WA2OLZ on January 2, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
1. I frequently listen for 10M activity. Either my rig is deaf or ???? (I can hear activity on the CB frequencies so I assume my receiver is good on 10). I tried a CQ several times but no joy.

2. Side benefit of this topic: I received an email from a ham who has in his possession my original transmitter from my novice days in 1960. I'd love to get it back be he is as committed as I would be to hang onto it as it was his first xmtr also!
 
RE: 10 Meter AM -- A Blast From The Past  
by KB6QXM on January 3, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
What is more enjoyable is not 10 meter AM, which is an extension of 11 meter AM next door in my opinion, is 160 meters AM. It seperates the men from the boys.

Anyone can do 10 meters AM, but how many can put out a reasonable signal on 160 meters AM?

It takes a technically saavy ham to put together an antenna that will put a reasonable signal on 160 meters and in addition to that the same technically saavy ham will have to know how to deal with the noise that plagues 160 meters.

I used to be involved in 160 meter AM nets about 25 years ago. I seldom find anyone doing 160 meter AM anymore. Some on 75 meters. Come on, time to step up to the plate and renew the 160 meter AM activity, especially on the west coast.
 
10 Meter AM -- A Blast From The Past  
by W2RS on January 5, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Dear KB6QXM,

Yes, 160 is a great band too. I'm on it myself, mostly on CW, where I'm closing in on 150 countries worked from AZ with my 500 watts and 130-foot inverted-L. I'm on AM too, from time to time.

Don't sell 10 meters short, though. When the band is open, it's a lot of fun, even without power and big antennas.
 
10 Meter AM -- A Blast From The Past  
by W2RS on January 5, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Dear KB6QXM,

Yes, 160 is a great band too. I'm on it myself, mostly on CW, where I'm closing in on 150 countries worked from AZ with my 500 watts and 130-foot inverted-L. I'm on AM too, from time to time.

Don't sell 10 meters short, though. When the band is open, it's a lot of fun, even without power and big antennas.
 
10 Meter AM -- A Blast From The Past  
by W2RS on January 5, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Dear KB6QXM,

Yes, 160 is a great band too. I'm on it myself, mostly on CW, where I'm closing in on 150 countries worked from AZ with my 500 watts and 130-foot inverted-L. I'm on AM too, from time to time.

Don't sell 10 meters short, though. When the band is open, it's a lot of fun, even without power and big antennas.
 
10 Meter AM -- A Blast From The Past  
by N5LXI on January 14, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
10 Meters FM can be fun too when the band is up. Great fidelity on DX! Here's the frequencies:

http://www.n5lxi.com/ham/10meter.html

I always program them in my radios. I also program in the "starting" frequency for 10 meter AM and tune up listening for stations.

joel / N5LXI
 
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