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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur HF+6M+VHF+UHF models - not QRP <5W | Alda 103 Help

Reviews Summary for Alda 103
Alda 103 Reviews: 14 Average rating: 4.4/5 MSRP: $495.00
Description: Transceiver
Product is not in production.
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WB8LZR Rating: 5/5 Feb 6, 2017 14:41 Send this review to a friend
Simple, compact, powerful  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I'm one of those guys who wants to fix his own stuff. The Alda 103 (and 105) come from an era of simple, discrete electronics, meaning easy to fix. Fortunately, my Alda arrived in great shape from an online seller, so the fixes are in the future. The RF output transistors were good (130 watts into my dummy load with nominal 13.8V PS).

I only had two issues. The microphone input circuit seems to be configured differently than more modern rigs, so the new, standard 600 ohm low output microphones don't work well with it, at least not directly. I ended up using a Triad impedance transformer and the Shure 414A that I normally use with the Ten Tec Omni. With that combination I always get good reports on the Alda. The SSB receive sound seems superior to the sound I get from the Omni.

The other issue was that when I first tested My Alda on CW (into a dummy load) - it had significant chirp. It was an easy fix though. I just pulled one of the edge connected PCBs (the PC201 board), and adjusted the CW Oscillator level control (P202) until a nice (chirpless) CW note resulted. Now it's as clean sounding as the Omni.

I really enjoy using this little radio (about the size of two cigar boxes, laid side-by-side). Once you get used to it, it's very simple to operate.

If you see one of these, pick it up. Can't go wrong.
K7ZOV Rating: 5/5 Aug 16, 2014 11:01 Send this review to a friend
Blast from the past   Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I was given a ALDA 103 from a local ham radio friend. Not sure where he got it, but I do know he did not have it long. The tuning dial is strange. It is two speed. It pushes the dial across the band then it goes to fine tune. The amazing thing is how well it tunes. It is also amazing how good the audio quality is. Mine is very crisp and clear. Even my bad hearing can make out the SSB with no effort. CW is also very good. Nice and sharp and clear. The radio has no processor, no menus, no DSP filters. It does have a 2.5khz filter that does a great job. This is a basic turn it one dial and talk. Power output is from 0-over 150 watts. That depends on the PS and the mic gain. I am peaking at a solid 125 watts and the little radio and it is running cool. I have seen a little drift, but after 30 minutes nothing. I have gotten great audio reports. For a radio that was made in 1977 the looks of this one is 9.5 out of 10 and functions 10 out of 10. It is hooked to a SG-230 with 70 ft of wire and 80, 40 and 20 meter making contacts with no effort. If you find one of these gems grab it. From the history I have been able to find this radio is one of the first solid state radios and predates the Altas and Swan sold state radios. It is a real classic and one that might be in my shack for a long time to come.
KK4TZ Rating: 5/5 Apr 6, 2014 18:23 Send this review to a friend
Neat little vintage radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
I purchased my Alda 103 at a hamfest with the AC power supply. It included the noise blanker which worked great. I had a blast with this little gem of 1970 vintage. It was light weight and it did everything I expected it to. I received very good reports on my audio. I unfortunately sold it at another hamfest. I would buy myself another one in a heartbeat.
G4IPZ Rating: 5/5 Nov 30, 2012 06:16 Send this review to a friend
Bought as a basket case!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought my Alda on Ebay as a basket case. The PA module had been blown up and the cost of replacing the devices was simply a non-starter.
It had several other faults but, as I love tinkering and I'd paid less than 30 for it, I wasn't too bothered.
Luckily all the devices are pretty standard which was helpful as there were a few problems with the 20M/40M carrier crystal oscillators and the BFO carrier generator (CA3086). These were all fairly easily sorted but I did have some recurrent problems with the tinning on the edge connectors of the plug in boards as they had become quite oxidised.
In the end though it worked and, on receive worked really quite well considering it's age and simplicity.
What to do about the PA block though?
In the end I simply rebuilt it around some other devices as a slightly more than QRP transceiver, running about 15W out on all bands.
Not a rock crushing signal but what the heck? It works and I had way more than 30 of fun getting it running again.
I run it into a shortish grass-wire (NVIS antenna) from my workshop and I can cover most of Europe with the thing which keeps me happy enough.
Would I get another one? Well yes I would as I rather fancy turning one into a topband transverter set up.
Thats the things with old rigs - they dont curl up and die when you approach them with a screwdriver and a soldering iron :-)
K4VIZ Rating: 4/5 Mar 5, 2012 07:26 Send this review to a friend
Good basic rig  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had two of these over the years. Pretty good on SSB and fair to middling on CW. The semi break-in not for high speed. Good noise blanker and the RX not too bad. Fairly stable and the calibrator is a plus. The circuit boards are "plug-in" and easy to work on. And it's usually a cheap find.
I have a complete manual with schematics I can e-mail to anyone needing it. tom at k4viz dot com
N9QID Rating: 4/5 Jul 25, 2009 14:01 Send this review to a friend
Enjoyable basic rig.  Time owned: more than 12 months
This is about as basic as it gets for a solid state HF transceiver. The noise blanker actually does work very well for static, and hiss in particular.
I have used the 103 for three Field Days using an external frequency counter, tuner, and long wire with good results. Because it is built for tough use and can handle high SWR, you don't have to worry too much about it.
Back in 1978 I had received one of the AES catalogs that had a full page on the 103 and it had caught my eye then. When many years later one came up for sale I didn't hesitate, and have had no regrets for making that purchase.
If you are looking for a fun to use backup, or casual Field Day rig, and a 103 is available at a good price, buy it.
N7JBH Rating: 5/5 Oct 20, 2008 09:39 Send this review to a friend
Don't make them like they use to.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Picked up a used one for $110.00 on Ebay, what a bargain. No complaints, don't even miss 10 and 15 meters, they're only good for a couple of years during the 11 year sunspot cycle anyway. Have it set up at work, hooked up to a 33' longwire between two HVAC units on the roof, boss is a ham too. Worked all over the US on 20M during the day.. The 103 is about as basic as it gets, who needs all those bells whistles and fluff anyway.
K5MO Rating: 4/5 Sep 2, 2008 18:05 Send this review to a friend
Nice, well made quite serviceable  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've used this rig often on 20m SSB and find it quite usable in stock form. It's quite well made, and works well. There's not a lot of bells and whistles (which don't often get used) but what's there is well implemented. Wish I could find a 105 to round out the stable of Aldas. Wish I knew the history of the company...there seems to be a surprising number of these still around, which speaks well of their longevity.
KM4BA Rating: 4/5 Mar 2, 2007 16:03 Send this review to a friend
Fun rig, great for it's day  Time owned: more than 12 months
This was one of my first HF rigs. I used it base & mobile for many years in the pre-digital VFO days.

Ultimately it was replaced by a TS-430 and retired to useage in a Landcruiser when camping.

Pro's- Great transmit audio, decent receiver. Reasonably selective for it's day. Easy to calibrate, excellent noise blanker. Relatively stable, again for it's size/usage.

Con's- card edge connectors were not plated, and the copper/tin would wear after lot's of mobile usage. tedious, but not impossible to deal with.

I still have mine, and will get it on the air once I replace the dual speed Jackson Bro's ball drive on the VFO.
WD5BCL Rating: 5/5 Feb 21, 2007 16:55 Send this review to a friend
One Solid Old Timer  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owned two of these fine little rigs. I bought my current 103 from the estate of an SK, the original owner, and corrected a carrier balance problem with a small adjustment, making it 100% once again. The finals are absolutely bullet-proof (MRF-454's), the noise blanker is the best I've ever used, the receiver is reasonably sensitive, and the rig is rock-solid in stability and reliability. Both of mine have the crystal calibrator option, a must with an analog dial, though I have not experienced the dial resettability problem noted by others. I rate very few radios as "five," but can't slight this one when compared with others of it's time. It makes a perfect mobile rig, a trusty back-up in the ham shack, or, if you are a casual operator like me, a fine first-string HF rig if you need only the 80-, 40- and 20-meter bands. Unless abused badly, it is a good buy IF you can find one, and with the manual available on the internet, repairs and adjustments are fairly easy to make. Best of all, a manual is not needed to operate this one, and there are no menus to confound you in a rush to change bands or settings.
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