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Author Topic: Fond memories of your old Novice station?  (Read 17360 times)

Posts: 2527

« Reply #15 on: February 04, 2010, 11:16:55 PM »

My last CB rig was my first ham rig, a Tempo One.

My latest ham rig is a 6L6 driving a 6L6GC.

Next one will be 6AG7 driving two KT88--QRO!

Posts: 112

« Reply #16 on: February 05, 2010, 07:08:18 PM »

An Ameco AC-1T kit purchased for twenty five bucks from the local Lafayette store, and a Hallicrafters S-85 that a local had for $35. This was in 1971.  

Dang if I don't think I had more fun with that simple setup than I do now with all of the modern garbage.

Posts: 3002


« Reply #17 on: February 05, 2010, 08:58:35 PM »

Oh how I love the 'constellations' projected onto the walls and ceiling by the dial lamp shining through the perforated cabinet. It's truly great. New radios don't do that.

Posts: 2

« Reply #18 on: February 06, 2010, 06:24:07 AM »

In the mid-50s, I saved enough money from my paper route to buy a Heathkit AT-1 and used my dad's Hallicrafters' S-38A.  Spent many enjoyable hours with that rig.  Got my General a year later and upgraded to a DX-35 with a Heathkit VFO and an old S-20R.

Posts: 15050

« Reply #19 on: February 06, 2010, 07:02:03 AM »

My first license was a Tech, shortly after the FCC created that class in the late 1950's. My first rig was 6M AM. A converted 6V car radio, a converted 10M Gonset mobile converter, and a borrowed Latine transmitter. The antenna was a Halo up on the garage roof (I wasn't permitted on the house roof).

Bob  AA4PB
Garrisonville, VA

Posts: 4

« Reply #20 on: July 16, 2010, 09:30:41 AM »

My 1st station was the Heath Kit AT 1 and a Hallicrafters S 85. I’m amazed that the AT 1, when you see them on e bay, are going for the same as Collins 32S 1, $300 to $400. Guess I should have kept the AT 1.

Graduated to the, xmtrs DX 40, DX 60, DX 100 and the Apache/SB 10. Rcvrs BC 312, SX 100, HRO 50, NC 300 and a Drake 2a.

73s and Have a GREAT DAY

Posts: 15050

« Reply #21 on: July 16, 2010, 10:03:20 AM »

I wish I still had my home brew 100W 6M AM transmitter built into a surplus Motorola rack. Had an 829B modulated by a pair of 6L6s running class A. Built it when I was 16.

Bob  AA4PB
Garrisonville, VA

Posts: 9

« Reply #22 on: July 16, 2010, 01:24:17 PM »

Benefiting from a combo of prodding/support from my Dad, and the largesse of his pre-Silicon Valley days Telephony/Microwave (Joe Reisert, now W1JR, gave me my Novice test…) company co-workers started SWLing with an RBM, thru the Loran, did hear some local AMers on 160, then a 80 meter ARC-5 conversion for a while for W1AW code practice, before a (beastly, even at the time!) Knight-Kit Star Roamer as my summer of ’71 B-day present ostensibly gave me RX access to the 3 Novice HF bands (2 meters had be “taken away” while I was a Novice, IIRC).

While waiting for my ticket (which arrived on my second day, as a new freshman in High School), I built the 10 watt 6GW8 80 & 40 meter rig using a coil wound around a plastic pill bottle from my Mom’s prescriptions, from the Feb. ’66 QST (my love of boatanchors nutured by a combo of starting out as a pre-job teenager with next to no funds, and a growing collection of ‘50s-‘60s CQs, QSTs, & 73 magazines, from a variety of garages, the XYLs likely real happy to see gone) and was on the air with a ~115’ 80/40/15 trap dipole (about the longest length that fit into our backyard), fed with RG-59 from ARRL handbooks of that era.

A loaner homebrew 6L6 felt like QRO: close to a Novice gallon, and allowed some 15 meter DXing, ‘til I was gob-smackingly happy/surprised with a DX-60B kit under the Christmas Tree that December.

Once the DX-60B was built & running, started using the RBM as a Q-5er with the Star Roamer, which really helped a lot.

The following Summer of ’72, I spent 100s of hours unsoldering parts off of old phenolic IBM mainframe PCBs for my Dad (he was into building electronic organs at the time, converting a pipe organ into an electronic one! Separate oscillators for each key/note!), and at the end of that period, my payment/reward was a trip to HRO (in the Burlingame location, at the old SP freight station) and his purchasing a decent used RX for my summer wages: choice came down to a HQ-110 for ~$115, or a Heath RX-1 Mohawk at ~$135, IIRC. We went back home to Santa Clara, for my Dad to get the $ out of his safe, and to pore over the two choices in the “Ham Radio Circuits & Schematics” Sams book with a ca. 1963 publication date, and the Mohawk was decided upon.

Back to Burlingame, and had a decent Heath station the rest of my Novice days…

Added a used HG-10 (much cheaper than the “matching” ‘B ;-) upon getting my General in early ’73, and even used that combo, zero-beating on AM, the 40 meter West Coast swap net to get the info on the cheapest way to scratch my sideband itch (was also having fun on 10 meter AM, good sunspots and lots of AM, high in the band, using a 14AVS, roof-mounted with a decent radial set), unfortunately the $60 spent on an Eico 7-Drifty-3 was only enough to whet my sideband appetite, about the worst rig (alongside a Heath HW-7, used in the High Sierras, while backpacking, that soured me on Direct Conversion RX forever ;-) I’ve owned, but soon after, had a job at a pizza joint, and picked up a Heath HR/HX-20 pair (~$100, IIRC, shoulda held onto them!), which aside from no transceive, served me well before cars, girls, and joining the Marine Corps (to become an A-4/A-6/C-130 avionics tech), while a Senior in High School, put my own station off the air for almost a decade…

Club station at NAS Memphis; KWM-2, SB-200 and reasonably high beam; and then fun with SSB modified ARC-38s and long-wires on C-130s while part of a C-130 squadron based at NAS Glenview, opened my eyes to what a “real station” was!

Posts: 2541

« Reply #23 on: July 20, 2010, 05:57:17 AM »

My novice station in the 1960's consisted of a borrowed Drake 2A receiver and a borrowed Drake 2NT transmitter.

Around 2005 I decided to duplicate that station.  I found a very nice 2NT and I bought a 2B instead of a 2A. 

In five years of casual CW operating on 7.022 (the only crystal I have) I have worked 287 countries with this set up.  The antenna is a coax fed half wave dipole.

Who says you need a $10,000 transceiver to be a HAM.

Dick  AD4U

Posts: 1010

« Reply #24 on: July 20, 2010, 09:57:10 AM »

 As WN1RNE in 1973, I was very fortunate to have generous and understanding parents, as well as an uncle on the west coast with an engineering background to lend support. My first station was a Drake R-4A receiver, Heathkit DX-60B - rock-bound of course. I also had an experienced ham next door W1KNX (SK) who had loads of spare gear and parts. When I passed the General exam in late '74, W1KNX gave me a Heath VF-1 to go with the DX-60B, which was a real bear to use above 40 meters because of instability and chirping. Later I built a Heath HG-10B which took care of that issue. From there came a DX-100B, and a Viking II w/ matching 122 VFO for AM. The highlight came in the summer of '74 when I somehow convinced my parents to loan me $668 for a new Yaesu FT-101B from Harrison Radio - and install a used tower and tribander. I must have waited outside for that UPS delivery every day for a week. Thirty six years later, I still have the -101B, in storage.

Posts: 45

« Reply #25 on: July 20, 2010, 01:04:39 PM »

Knight-Kit T60 transmitter/R100A receiver.  I thought it was normal to hear both sides of zero-beat and to keep one hand on the dial as the receiver drifted.  ....
Phil - AD5X

I had the same Novice station.  The R-100A was an amazing receiver could here the entire novice band without moving the dial!  Life was never the same after I upgraded to a Drake 2C. 

I have been a ham for over 40 years, but like many others, I had a long gap in my activity.  Now that I am retired I am re-experiencing the magic of ham radio.

Fred - KC9QQ

Posts: 625

« Reply #26 on: July 26, 2010, 08:14:57 PM » novice station. Senior year in high school. Fond memories of the good old days that were neither.

Well, in an old book I read at the public library, it said you should build your first transmitter, but buy your first receiver. Because as a beginner you had a better chance of getting a home built transmitter to work right, than to get a home built receiver to work right. So I took that advice. Besides, I didn't have a lot of money to spend on radio stuff either.

In another old book from the public library, I found plans for a 2 tube, 3 band CW transmitter. Used a 5763 as a crystal oscillator (fundamental on 40 and 80, tripled to get to 15m), and a 6L6 as the class C final amp. Oscillator coils were bandswitched, but the tank circuit used B&W Plug in coils. I bought, traded for, and scrounged FT-243 type crystals for 80 and 40 meters. And I had 1 crystal that would triple to get me into the novice band on 15 meters. I tended to avoid 15 meters, because any output on the 3rd harmonic would wipe out our local TV station on channel 3. (No cable TV back in those days.)

The power supply used a 5U4 rectifier to make 350V DC for the plate voltage, and a direct tap off the transformer to give the 6.3VAC needed for the tube filaments.

For the components, I scrounged what I could, and bought what I had to. Along the way, I gutted a few old TV chassis for parts. Some parts were usable, and some were a waste of time to acquire.

It took me most of the winter to 1) acquire and bend the aluminum sheet (using hand tools) to make the 2 chassis, and 2) assemble all the components. The plans called for the power supply to be built on a separate chassis from the transmitter itself. And I didn't know enough to feel comfortable deviating from the plans in that book, even a little bit.

In the spring, I asked my elmer come over and test it for me, because I hadn't received my license yet. Back then you waited 13 weeks for your first ticket to come in the mail, not knowing whether you passed or not. If you passed you got your license. If you didn't, you got a form letter from the FCC, and you had to wait 30 days before you could try again. Well, to my amazement, the transmitter worked. The antenna wasn't tuned right, and I didn't yet know what a transmatch was, but he still managed to nudge 15 watts out of that transmitter. Tuning the antenna so that it presented a real 50 ohm load, and you could get about 20 watts, max.

About 3 weeks later, school was out for the summer. And one fateful Saturday afternoon in June an envelope arrived in the mail from the FCC in Gettysburg, PA. It contained my license!

My receiver was an old Hallicrafters SX-111 that I bought for $75 at a hamfest. T/R switching was done manually. Throw the receiver to standby, flip the coax switch from the receiver to the transmitter and start sending. When you were done, flip the coax switch back to the receiver and take the receiver out of standby to hear your reply. It was cumbersome at first, but you got used to it. And even in standby, (with the antenna input grounded) you could pick up enough stray RF to produce a sidetone of sorts. It all worked though, and I managed to work 37 states and Northern Ireland (one day when no one else was home watching TV to complain about channel 3) before I could afford to upgrade my rig.

The only thing surviving from that original station is the brass straight key I bought at Radio Shack for $7.95. It was the same one Ameco sold (and still does). But I could ride my bike to Radio Shack. To get the Ameco one, you had to drive 45 miles to AES in Wickliffe, OH. Mom and Dad were not terribly supportive, so you did what you had to do. 32 years later, Mom has passed on, and Dad still doesn't understand, but I'm still hamming.

73 de N8AUC


Posts: 1418

« Reply #27 on: July 26, 2010, 08:27:34 PM »

My novice rig... a Heathkit DX60B crystal controlled. Had to use a seperate reciever.

I had  thought about saving up for one of those newfangled VFO's at the time but just about then SSB rigs came out.

I still run a HW101.

Posts: 5639

« Reply #28 on: July 27, 2010, 07:39:52 AM »

My first novice rig (1960) was a DX-20 and a S-38C. My parents took pity on me and bought me a Mohawk kit for Christmas. Talk about a disparate pair - DX20/Mohawk combo.

I dropped out after the Novice license expired but kept the rigs for several years. I finally sold the Mohawk in the early 70s and wish I hadn't. When I got back on the air in the mid 90's but never have picked up another one. I'd love to make an AM station with a Mohawk and Apache.

A smoking section in a restaurant makes as much sense as a peeing section in a swimming pool.

Posts: 13

« Reply #29 on: July 29, 2010, 09:31:42 AM »

Received my Novice license on St. Patty's Day, 1977 (WB3GOK).  First station setup consisted of an EICO 723 transmitter with Lafayette HA-700 Communications(?) Receiver.  The HA-700 was somewhat drifty; the '723 rock-bound on 7114 & 7137 kHz.  Oh..and did I mention the antenna was a DX Dream Stick (Gotham vertical) that a friend graciously "gave" me (as he learned the ancient Chinese secret of the Gotham antenna but was not sharing!).  Made a few contacts with that setup, then upgraded the receiver to a Realistic DX-160. 

Several months later I scraped up enough want, desire, and money for the following:

1)  Used the Gotham vertical as a center pole for a 40m inverted-vee.
2)  Put up a 15m rotatable dipole
3)  Purchased 2 additional crystals to allow operation on 15m @ 21117 & 21147 kHz

After upgrading to General in 1978 I purchased a Swan 260 Cygnet.
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