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Author Topic: The frustration of QSO w/ ham using tube gear  (Read 52205 times)
KJ6ZOL
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« on: October 20, 2013, 01:40:06 PM »

I was hearing some guy calling CQ around 14.337 about 10 minutes ago. When I noticed he had abruptly drifted up a khz, I looked him up on Eham. Turns out he uses classic tube gear. I tried to reply, and got "6 station, try again, you're off frequency".  Huh Shocked Then I was wiped out by another ham responding. I didn't just fall off a turnip truck, I know the classic tube gear drifts, but maybe an add on digital freq counter might be a good addition to your shack if you're running antique gear. Just a thought.
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G3RZP
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« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2013, 01:44:33 PM »

Of course, NOBODY ever inadvertently hits the tuning knob on a modern synthesised phase noisy rig...
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KJ6ZOL
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« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2013, 01:46:45 PM »

Of course, NOBODY ever inadvertently hits the tuning knob on a modern synthesised phase noisy rig...

I'm quite sure I didn't.
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G3RZP
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« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2013, 02:42:55 PM »

Figure you are unique....
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W1JKA
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« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2013, 03:32:30 PM »

  Guess I'm too old, always thought fine tuning and following the slight drift of the receiving signal was kind of fun and gave you something to do when you weren't transmitting. At least if this guy was using tube gear it has already out lasted by a factor of two or three times any rig you buy today will.
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AA4PB
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« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2013, 03:36:11 PM »

Hams used tube gear for many years before there was any solid state and they didn't normally have issues with the frequency jumping by a KHz. Even those radios that had drift normally drifted slowly over time with temperature changes. Many of the early solid state transceivers also used free-running VFOs that could drift so it isn't a "tube" issue. In either case it is possible that a defective component could cause the frequency to jump on that particular transceiver.
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Bob  AA4PB
Garrisonville, VA
K2OWK
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Posts: 1279




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« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2013, 03:39:55 PM »

KJ6ZOL, Just for information. some old tube equipment does drift a bit, but most are very stable, if allowed to warm up for about an hour or so. I know because I have been a ham for 50+ years and have had some tube equipment. The worst I had was a Heathkit DX-35 with the VF-1 VFO. It was a real drifter even after warm up. My Heathkit SB-401-1 was rock stable after warm up with no noticeable drift. I just restored a Collens WW2 marine transmitter and receiver built in 1942, for a Veterans museum. It is operated on occasion on 40 meters with no drift after warm up. The fellow you heard either did not allow his equipment to warm up properly before transmitting, or the VFO has a problem with it.

73s

K2OWK 
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AC5UP
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« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2013, 05:13:27 PM »

A few years ago I had a solid state mid 70's AM / FM stereo receiver that tended to jump out of tune on the FM side from time to time. AM side held solid, but on FM it wasn't unusual to do a periodic "sudden onset" re-tune. Tracked the problem down to the trimmer condenser on the local oscillator. It was a plastic version of the ceramic jobbies that turn 360 degrees and all it needed was a squirt of cleaner followed by a few dozen rotations. Best guess is the center wiper contact(s) needed to be exercised.

I believe there's an older KenYaeCom HF transceiver with the same issue. No tubes involved, just the time needed to develop a touch of oxidation in the wrong place.
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KJ6ZOL
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« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2013, 05:41:54 PM »

Yes, his signal abruptly jumped a khz. He was at one place just fine, then all of a sudden he was out of tune. Maybe he hit the knob accidentally. Antique gear tended to have the rx and tx separate, so it's possible his tx jumped around when his rx didn't, and that's why he told me I was off freq.
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G3RZP
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« Reply #9 on: October 21, 2013, 02:23:42 AM »

K2OWK,

Interesting comment about the Heath VF1. Mine was surprisingly stable.....But there could be variations in component performance from batch to batch.
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AD4U
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« Reply #10 on: October 21, 2013, 05:38:06 AM »

I am a boat anchor guy.  Many of the tube rigs drifted until they warmed up, and some drifted after they warmed up.  Generally Collins, Drake, and Heath SB gear (if built properly) are very stable especially when you consider they were designed some 40+ years ago.

Dick  AD4U
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W1VT
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« Reply #11 on: October 21, 2013, 08:45:28 AM »

I've gotten comments about using a Heathkit HW-9 QRP rig that didn't drift!

I'm one of the few hams who temperature compensated the VFO so stayed on frequency.

Zack W1VT
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WB8VLC
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Posts: 641




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« Reply #12 on: October 21, 2013, 10:20:19 PM »

Sounds like the Henry Radio Tempo One VFO regulator problem, same branded radio as the 1970s yaesu FT200, this was a common complaint with that wonderful piece of junk radio.
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GW3OQK
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Posts: 446




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« Reply #13 on: October 22, 2013, 06:10:11 AM »

Someone reported "you are drifting" and I replied "TX is 1944 T1154" and he said "I hope you can cure it." Of course I can clearly hear my own TX drift or jump in the separate receiver and know what I am transmitting. My 1950s ex navy rig tends to jump a 100 hz or so occasionally which could be more annoying.  I like to hear and work old valve gear and never feel frustrated. Looking forward to the HOT Party http://www.qrpcc.de/contestrules/hotr.html
73 Andrew
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NY7Q
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Posts: 69




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« Reply #14 on: October 23, 2013, 02:20:48 PM »

ALL I CAN SAY IS "WOW"
AND, YOU NEED MORE TIME AS A AMATEUR OPERATOR.
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