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Showing posts from August, 2010

KH6JRM's Amateur Radio Blog

In between a few projects at the qth, I ran across an inter- esting article by Alan Vega (WA6 MOW) on the eham.net site called "HF on a limited budget", dated 26 August 2010. Much of his article resonated with my approach to Amateur Radio, especially the parts relating to serviceable older rigs and homebrew antennas for your shack.  Alan sets up an arbitrary $300 budget for a basic ham station, and, generally, succeeds in getting a basic station assembled, minus the antenna, ATU, and miscellaneous items.  Alan recommends a few familiar transceivers which have proven reliable, in- cluding teh Yaesu FT-757GX, the ICOM-730, and the Kenwood TS-440s.  All good choices for those oper- ating on a shoestring budget.  I would add a few more, in- cluding the Kenwood 520 series and a few Ten-Tec classics such as the Triton-540, the Argosy II, and even the Scout 555.  I've owned a few of the above and can attest to their reliability.  Of course, the further we go out

KH6JRM's Amateur Radio Blog

The ole Kenwood 520 is just about ready for a full rollout after some minor cleanup procedures.  I was lucky to acquire the rig from a deceased Hilo ham, who kept his equipment clean and maintained.  All I have to do is replace the 2001 finals with some 6146Bs I in the tube drawer.  The original finals are alright for now, but they are a bit soft.  I've run the 520 at low power and it behaved well.  Even my homebrew ac power cord seemed to work.  I was able to get a new replacement from K4EEA just in case my kludge fails along the way.  Presently, I'm re- reading Lew McCoy's "Novice Antenna Book", something I picked up many years ago.  The book is full of simple, work- able antennas that will get you started on your amateur radio adventure.  McCoy, now SK, writes in a friendly, straight- forward way.  I've tried several of his designs and they work well.  Materials for these antennas can be obtained from the nearest hardware store at modest cos

KH6JRM's Amateur Radio Blog

Keeping with my underlying theme of operatng an amateur radio station with a minimum of cost, I'm continuing to bring an old Kenwood 520 back to life.  I'm indebted to Ken, K4EAA, for his informative website. He has given me plenty of helpful hints in restoring this classic hybrid rig.  The new 12BY7 driver is working well and my self-constructed ac power cord seems to be holding its own.  I ordered a PC-2 cord from Ken just in case my stubby fingers ruining the soldering job on the 12-pin con- nector. The rig runs well after blowing out the dust and spraying the switches with de-oxit contact cleaner.  Al- though the 2001 finals are a bit soft, I can get out a more than adequate 60 watts.  Since I tend to run rigs at qrp levels, the slightly lower output doesn't present an immedi- ate problem.  I have a spare set of 6146Bs in the tube cabinet.  While my minor tune-up was thankfully easy, I enjoyed getting inside the rig and doing a few things for myself.  I

KH6JRM's Amateur Radio Blog

Inventory, restocking, and repairs continue at the Laupahoehoe qth.   With the economy being so fragile these days, I'm monitoring the financial "empire" more closely than I once did.  I have a few long term projects on the burner (new rig, for example), but, for now, I'm making due with what I have.  As mentioned earlier, I acquired a well-cared for Kenwood 520 from the family of a recently deceased Hilo amateur.  With the acquisition of a new power cord (thanks to K4EAA) and a new 12BY7A driver tube, the grand ole rig is just about ready to put on the air.  The rig tunes up well into the dummy load, albeit the original 2001 final tubes are a bit "soft".  I ordered the PC-2 power cord before I found a 12-prong plug in the junk box.  At least I have a spare. A trip to the local hardware store will provide whatever wire, nuts, bolts, clamps, and other items the junk box now lacks. I'll wrap up the weekend with a clean-up of the Swan 100-MX a