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Author Topic: The frustration of QSO w/ ham using tube gear  (Read 52177 times)
KE7TMA
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Posts: 537




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« Reply #45 on: November 09, 2013, 01:51:28 AM »

Wow, interesting.  When playing with antennas, etc., I noticed this "phenomena".  Before tuning or loading-up I send a ? and no response.
As I start tuning my antenna or tube rig I start hearing, dit, dit dit.  I send my call sign and hear nothing?
I continue tuning and get more dits with no ID!

Sounds like some ops have way too time on their hands.

Yeah it seems that we have more than one sit guy on our hands here!  Maybe they're in a secret club.  I figure they are probably waiting for a sked.  I don't want to get into any silly feuds but I think that is poor radiomanship.
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WN2C
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Posts: 550




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« Reply #46 on: November 09, 2013, 08:02:30 AM »

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.

I think you are missing some of the joys and the experience of using boat anchor equipment
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W1ACC
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Posts: 6




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« Reply #47 on: November 30, 2013, 07:49:33 AM »

Welcome to ham radio.no mater what you you say your going to hear some one drifting. Not every one has a new hf rig solid state. My self I will go with the old boat anchor. .the ham opps of old had fun with it ....then so can I.myself I think the new hams dont under stand what our forfathers of ham radio went threw just to get on the air
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G3RZP
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Posts: 1273




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« Reply #48 on: November 30, 2013, 02:08:50 PM »

W1ACC

I am probably going to upset someone - to understand radios as opposed to being an appliance operator, you do need to have built something. Even if it's only a Heathkit: a magazine design is better and if you can learn enough to  build yourself even a one tube xtal controlled 5 or 10 watt CW tx for 80 or 40, you can start to understand RF engineering. Only start, though - I've done it professionally since 1964 and passed the exam in 1961 and there's still an awful lot I don't know.

Of course, if it's so hard, I don't understand how it was that when I was a kid in the early 60s, we had hams in town who built their own transmitters. Their occupations were foreman builder and brick layer, coal mining trade union secretary, butcher, printer, factory labourer, motor mechanic, civil servant. local government officer, school teacher, industrial chemist....and two TV repairmen.

Their rigs probably weren't perfect for drift - but not too bad.

I guess a big part of it was patience - not expecting instant results - and feeling (justifiably) proud of their achievement.
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W8GP
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Posts: 353




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« Reply #49 on: November 30, 2013, 03:31:57 PM »

Ya gotta love these threads, they really make me smile! It should be titled " the JOY of operating tube gear" My Heathkit Marauder/Mohawk station is especially challenging, I usually leave it on for several days to avoid excessive drift. When I call CQ, I often get responses slightly off frequency and when I ask them to tune me in, they ask "what frequency are you on", and I respond "I'm on 40 meters!(or whatever), and then explain about the gear I'm running. But I've had people who just don't understand that I don't know my exact frequency and refuse to tune me in!  Another time I was in QSO for about an hour and the other station had been following my frequency drift and someone broke in to inform us that we weren't on the same frequency. We all got a chuckle out of that!  I really appreciate my modern gear for it's ease of operation, but operating my boatanchors gives me a lot of respect for those who came before me, when a ham radio OPERATOR was just that.
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N8CMQ
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Posts: 723




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« Reply #50 on: December 01, 2013, 07:10:08 PM »

If this was the internet, I might think this is a troll, and everyone knows, never feed a troll...

I still love hearing a VFO that drifts when sending CW!
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N8CMQ   Jeff Retired...
G3RZP
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Posts: 1273




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« Reply #51 on: December 02, 2013, 02:31:07 AM »

Quite a few years ago, I heard a guy on 2m complaining about hearing real DX up at 145.9, but they were using old gear because they kept drifting in frequency.........He didn't understand about Doppler and hadn't realised he was listening to a satellite.
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W1JKA
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Posts: 2099




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« Reply #52 on: December 02, 2013, 06:09:12 AM »

FRUSTRATION?? as related to ham radio, an apparent new word coined by the newer hams who have only operated an off the shelf instant plug and play rig and are at a loss when suddenly making contact/QSO with a tube based station as opposed to hams that were brought up in the hobby with tube rigs and have never heard of the word until now.
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KB1WSY
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Posts: 1309




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« Reply #53 on: December 06, 2013, 05:43:44 AM »

I am probably going to upset someone - to understand radios as opposed to being an appliance operator, you do need to have built something.

Heck, sometimes all I have to do is rap my fingers on the (rather rickety) benchtop and my little homebrew receiver built with discrete transistors drifts ... as for finding out what frequency it's receiving, now that's a challenge! Solved mainly with my ears; sometimes I cheat by switching in a vintage digital frequency counter, but Heisenberg intervenes because merely switching in the counter causes a frequency shift and adds unnecessary noise.

Not to mention the cacophony of barn-door selectivity -- great training for audibly picking out a CW signal and mentally blanking out the others. And, yes, sometimes I come across a "drifty" signal; I can detect those because they are drifting amid the cacophony of non-drifting signals! A bit like watching a planet shift in the night sky against a background of fixed stars!

I'll have to be a bit more "responsible" when I build my 2-tube TX, because that's actually audible by others, but trust that Xtal control will largely take care of that. If there's a bit of drift left over, that comes with the HB territory I expect. Then, I'll build my own tube VFO! I've spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to make it as stable as possible (what kind of enclosure? where to situate the tubes? whether to include temperature-compensation circuitry? free-standing air inductor, or wound on a ceramic form? make sure to use voltage-regulator tubes in the PS....), but there's bound to be at least some drift....
« Last Edit: December 06, 2013, 05:47:41 AM by KB1WSY » Logged
K7MEM
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Posts: 702


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« Reply #54 on: December 06, 2013, 06:12:45 AM »

Quite a few years ago, I heard a guy on 2m complaining about hearing real DX up at 145.9, but they were using old gear because they kept drifting in frequency.........He didn't understand about Doppler and hadn't realised he was listening to a satellite.

That brings back a lot of memories. In the mid 60's, when the Heathkit lunch boxes and Gonset Communicators were king on 2 Meters AM, there was one operator that had a tremendous drift and he knew it. He would start transmitting at the low end of the band and just before he was about to drift out of the band, he would turn it over to someone else. When he came back on, he was back at the low end of the band.

He eventually fixed the problem, but in the mean time no one really cared. We just followed him up the band and knew where to look for him when he returned. Many of the receivers were regenerative, so it didn't take a lot of tuning to keep up with him.

I can still use my Gonset to listen to airplane traffic. While the unit is for 2 meters, the LO/IF combination is such that it will also tune the air craft band as an image. There is a trap on the input, to keep the air craft band out, but it doesn't work very well.
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Martin - K7MEM
http://www.k7mem.com
AA4HA
Member

Posts: 2630




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« Reply #55 on: December 06, 2013, 08:52:02 AM »

It seems that if a radio is jumping in frequency one of the common problems is the grounding strap or button on the rotor of the variable capacitor. It is an often overlooked source of mechanical instability. Usually it just needs to be cleaned off and re-tensioned to make a more solid connection. One of the less wise choices is to not buy DeOxIt and to instead hose everything down with WD-40.

We all know about dirty switches, tube sockets, cold solder joints, etc... but that intermittent connection on the capacitor can be a surprise.

Old, creaky power supply and bypass caps cause their own rash of problems. I have seen B+ voltages that are bouncing around +/- 25 volts due to a lack of capacitance on the supply. Of course caps that short out have a tendency to let the magic smoke out of chokes. Supply problems (and heat) can contribute to drifting problems. I let all of the sand-state (glass) radios heat up for a few hours before trying to put them to use.
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Ms. Tisha Hayes, AA4HA
Lookout Mountain, Alabama
KG8LB
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Posts: 408




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« Reply #56 on: December 17, 2013, 06:59:31 AM »

The shortcomings are the attraction !
 Many vintage gear operators are using the old gear for the joy of the challenge . Seems to help one appreciate the miracle of radio all the more . If we wanted ease of operation and absolute drift free / QRM free operation we could simply pull a cell phone out and get all of that and then some .  There are plenty of operators that use only 50 ++ year old equipment day in / day out with excellent results .

   Stick around , you got your feet wet , now jump in and find out how much fun it really is .
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W7WQ
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Posts: 330




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« Reply #57 on: April 12, 2014, 03:30:14 PM »

There is a thing on your radio for TUNING.  There is likely also something called "rit" Learn how to use them.
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G3RZP
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Posts: 1273




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« Reply #58 on: April 13, 2014, 01:02:52 AM »

One piece of 'vintage' gear is the hybrid FT102. While it has a very good rx and clean tx, it does have other design problem, but the real fun is trying to find what is in there, as there are major variations between the circuits in the manual and the radio, depending on which production run radio you have. Such things as extra relays, capacitors and resistors not connected as per circuit.....

Now that's a real vintage radio challenge!
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G4FUT
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Posts: 89




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« Reply #59 on: April 13, 2014, 08:24:08 AM »

When I first started ham radio (after serving in the military as an operator) we used to  call "CQ40 CQ 40 and tuning...." as our TX was often rock-bound as was the other guy's, often many /kcs away. Even on military nets we had to keep one hand on the VFO. Cheesy.  Whenever I hear a chirpy CW signal I always try to get back to him as I somehow find that signal quite musical. Wink and know it's operator has an interesting TX.
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Even if the voices aren't real, they have some pretty good ideas
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