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Author Topic: Western star DX 400  (Read 8162 times)
N4ATS
Member

Posts: 819




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« Reply #15 on: August 09, 2013, 04:57:03 AM »

"made with the cheapest parts available"

This is a very unfair statement , they use the same Toshiba transistors used in almost all HF radios with the EXACT same biasing , the resisters are DALE , not China made like in MFJ and most if not all the toroids are real iron. TO globally state "cheapest parts available" shows the lack of knowledge.

Now on the other hand , they DO splatter, are not filtered and do not meet FCC guidelines for spurious emissions and are not recommended for Amateur Radio Use.

Its actually the other way around , most SS amps sold in the US , meet FCC rules but are built extremely cheap and ARE recommended for Amateur Radio. There are "2" amps built like a tank , the FL-7000 and the Yaesu VL-1000 Quadra. Most others are a total waste of money. I see them come thru my shop all the time.
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K9ZF
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Posts: 76


WWW

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« Reply #16 on: August 09, 2013, 06:56:25 AM »

Hi Chad,

Welcome to ham radio!!   The best hobby, world wide:-)

Don't let it get you down.  You can use your Antron on 10 meters, move the rings to retune it for the ham band and it will work well.  I have used several of them.  After you get your tower up, start looking into building wire dipoles for the other HF bands.   Building the antennas is half the fun Smiley

As the others have said, don't use the amp.

KD8MJR said it very well.   Sell the '2950 and the amp, and pick up a good used ham radio.  In addition to the one's already recommended, I would suggest an Icom IC-718.  The 718 is a nice, basic, radio.  Very easy to learn to use.

If/when the budget allows a little more, try to find a good used Icom 746 or Yaesu FT897D.  Both are  great "do it all" radios.

73 & have fun!!

Dan
--
K9ZF
Amateur Radio Emergency Service, Clark County Indiana. EM78el
former K9ZF /R no budget Rover ***QRP-l #1269
Check out the Rover Resource Page at:
<http://www.qsl.net/n9rla>
List Administrator for: InHam+grid-loc+ham-books
Ask me how to join the Indiana Ham Mailing list!
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--
K9ZF
Amateur Radio Emergency Service, Clark County Indiana. EM78el
The once and future K9ZF /R no budget Rover
 ***QRP-l #1269
Check out the Rover Resource Page at:
<http://www.qsl.net/n9rla>
List Administrator for: InHam+grid-loc+ham-books
Ask me how to join the Indiana Ham Maili
N6AJR
Member

Posts: 9910




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« Reply #17 on: August 09, 2013, 09:48:26 AM »

Welcome to Ham Radio, my friend. A lot of folks have told you about the ranger. western star, and I agree with them on that stuff.  I also think your best bet for starters is to find a local club . go to the ARRL.org site and look up Ham Exams. each of the folks on the list there has a phone number attached . call one or two and see about the local ham or club that sponsors the test session. that should get you started in a club.  don't limit your self to 10 meters when you buy your first ham rig.  look for an old icom 735 or 740 for 2 or 300 bucks, or see if some one in the club has a loaner.  I have given away rigs like that to local hams. it does not hurt to ask.  good luck and have fun.  welcome to the hobby.
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KE3WD
Member

Posts: 5689




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« Reply #18 on: August 09, 2013, 11:02:23 AM »

The mighty ARRL review of the RCI-2950 gave it a clean bill of health for the US Amateur RAdio 10 and 12 meter bands: 

http://www.rangerusa.com/pdf/2970qst2.pdf

http://www.hamuniverse.com/ranger10meterhamradios.html

The only warning the ARRL gave was to not attempt to modify this radio for use on the US Citizens Band. 

On top of that, Gordon West has also reviewed the RCI-2950 as for use on the 10 and 12 meter ham bands, also gave it a clean bill of health. 

Ten meters doesn't really require use of a linear amplifier all that much, when the band is open, good communications can happen with as little as a few watts anyway. 

Use of that RCI-2950, along with the Antron 99 vertical antenna, installed properly, should make a good beginner's Technician License station. 

Upgrades to other gear can happen as you go along and learn, upgrade your license class, etc. 

The only thing out of your equipment that I would not recommend hooking up is that Texas Star amplifier.  It is indeed a notorious splatter machine, the inpout was designed to handle about 4 watts from a CB rig, the 2950 would likely be overdriving it from the start, plus that Texas Star has no biasing nor output filtering to speak of. 

But all the other gear mentioned by the OP is actually good to go on the ham bands, if not the greatest, it certainly won't wreck the bands if in stock condition. 

HAVE FUN, and welcome to the hobby! 

Ignore the critics, I hope that the above links will help to educate them as well.  (probably not, but let us pray...)


73

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WB2WIK
Member

Posts: 20611




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« Reply #19 on: August 09, 2013, 02:02:40 PM »



ok correction to the title and my references of western star, As mentioned by Tim, its a "Texas Star", there's no actual name on it and I think I got it confused with http://www.westernstartrucks.com/.
So I'm coming into this with pretty zero knowledge, If I knew everything I wouldn't be here asking. Smiley Why is the texas star "illegal"? Is its just when its being used as a CB amp? Why the hate for it? Is it just an over all dirty amp? Is there anything I can do to salvage it and make it something that will do a fair job on 10m? I don't know crap about radios but I do know how to solder and read a meter and would be willing to give it a shot if anyone can point me in the right direction. this would be a lot easier of I was actually on the air and find some local elmers to bug LOL.
Is it just the texas star thats junk or is the rc-2950 a wash too?

I think the RCI is "difficult to use" because it tunes in a channelized manner, although you can set the smallest "channel" spacing to 100 Hz, which is perfectly adequate for SSB tuning (a bit "rough" for CW or digital mode tuning).  If you don't mind the way it operates, I see no reason you shouldn't use it on 10m.

The issues with the Texas Star amp are a few.  One, it's illegal to sell in the U.S. via standard commercial channels because it isn't certificated, and can't be because of its frequency coverage, drive requirement, and COR keying.  However, private sales among individuals isn't prohibited, so feel free to sell it if you wish.  Two, it's a very "low drive" amp and unless you're careful to run the output power down very low on the RCI, you can blow up the amp by overdriving it.  Three, it runs more power than you're lawfully allowed to use on 10m as a Tech class licensee; however if you upgrade to General, then you can run as much as 1500W PEP output power -- the Texas Star is rated about 400W PEP, which is twice your current legal limit on 10m as a Tech.

Lastly, it isn't very clean.  I disagree with N4ATS's statement about it being biased exactly the same way as the amateur amplifiers using the same transistors: Unless they made an undocumented design and physical change that is different from the schematic diagrams I have for that amp, it isn't biased for linear operation at all.  Of course, it's very possible that the actual amp is different from the schematic, that's fairly common.  I don't have one to look at, just the schematic.

The place to find the manual/schematics is "CB Tricks," a website devoted to CB enthusiasts. Wink

If you like the rig, keep it and use it!  But I wouldn't use the amp.  It's likely worth more to someone else, and I'd sell it and save up for an all-band HF rig to use with the upgrade.


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KE3WD
Member

Posts: 5689




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« Reply #20 on: August 09, 2013, 02:11:18 PM »

WB2WIK -- I don't know about the 400 and above series of those amps, but I once had one of the DX-350 Texas Star amps come across the test bench at a repair shop I once worked at, a trucker dropped it off with a broken warranty repair audiophile grade dashboard FM/AM CD player and so the boss said, "take a look, he's a good customer."  I knew its use would very likely be on the Criminal Band, but what the hey. 

Inside I found a Bias circuit of sorts, derived by using the voltage drop of a 1N5400 or equivalent thereabouts rectifier, resistors and a little cap.  Exactly like the early bias designs found in the motorola notes (which is where the design of the amp likely came from as well). 

Fortunately for this technician, the only thing wrong with the amp had to do with a leaky keying transistor. 

I had to dig around in the pile of old stuff in that old guy's shop to locate his old Cobra CB testbench transceiver, brought a cantenna from home in order to check the darn thing out. 

Didn't have the time nor inclination to actually check the amp for spurious, wish I would have taken the time now, but the old owner of that shop would have likely had a stroke over such issues.  Matter of fact, he eventually did anyway, but by that time I was long gone, moved on, they can't pin it on me...


73
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SWL2002
Member

Posts: 346




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« Reply #21 on: August 09, 2013, 02:54:47 PM »

The mighty ARRL review of the RCI-2950 gave it a clean bill of health for the US Amateur RAdio 10 and 12 meter bands:  

http://www.rangerusa.com/pdf/2970qst2.pdf

http://www.hamuniverse.com/ranger10meterhamradios.html

The only warning the ARRL gave was to not attempt to modify this radio for use on the US Citizens Band.  

On top of that, Gordon West has also reviewed the RCI-2950 as for use on the 10 and 12 meter ham bands, also gave it a clean bill of health.  

Ten meters doesn't really require use of a linear amplifier all that much, when the band is open, good communications can happen with as little as a few watts anyway.  

Use of that RCI-2950, along with the Antron 99 vertical antenna, installed properly, should make a good beginner's Technician License station.  

Upgrades to other gear can happen as you go along and learn, upgrade your license class, etc.  

The only thing out of your equipment that I would not recommend hooking up is that Texas Star amplifier.  It is indeed a notorious splatter machine, the inpout was designed to handle about 4 watts from a CB rig, the 2950 would likely be overdriving it from the start, plus that Texas Star has no biasing nor output filtering to speak of.  

But all the other gear mentioned by the OP is actually good to go on the ham bands, if not the greatest, it certainly won't wreck the bands if in stock condition.  

HAVE FUN, and welcome to the hobby!  

Ignore the critics, I hope that the above links will help to educate them as well.  (probably not, but let us pray...)


73



This is TOTAL BS.  The first thing a Golden Screwdriver jockey does when converting a radio like the 2950 to CB is to turn all the pots to maximum, making it a spattering beast.  He should not use this on the 10 meter band in that condition.  He is unlikely to know why or how to realign/readjust the radio, so all you are doing is encouraging him to use a crappy splatter-box on the 10 meter Ham band.  

No wonder the Ham bands are in such bad shape with all the glorified CBer types who are already on it splattering and cursing away.  You should be ashamed as a Ham to encourage such things.
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WB2WIK
Member

Posts: 20611




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« Reply #22 on: August 09, 2013, 03:22:59 PM »

WB2WIK -- I don't know about the 400 and above series of those amps, but I once had one of the DX-350 Texas Star amps come across the test bench at a repair shop I once worked at, a trucker dropped it off with a broken warranty repair audiophile grade dashboard FM/AM CD player and so the boss said, "take a look, he's a good customer."  I knew its use would very likely be on the Criminal Band, but what the hey. 

Inside I found a Bias circuit of sorts, derived by using the voltage drop of a 1N5400 or equivalent thereabouts rectifier, resistors and a little cap.  Exactly like the early bias designs found in the motorola notes (which is where the design of the amp likely came from as well). 

The Motorola AN for their 300W HF amp is AN758 and it includes a functional active regulated bias supply.  You can download the app note here: http://www.communication-concepts.com/product-manuals-applications/manuals.html


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