Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Year's End Synopsis.....And other "Stuff"!

I wanted to get this up on the blog prior to the start of the New Year. 2013 has had some ups and downs for all of us here at the Bent Dipole Ranch. Among them the loss of our little Bunny Dog.....our little female mini dachshund died this fall leaving a BIG hole in our hearts. She was 15 and had given us two great litters of puppies with her mate, Buddy, whom we lost two years earlier, also at the age of 15.

I had steeled myself as I figured Bunny had cancer. She had some very large growths on her belly that the vet said were cancer and would eventually spread to her bones, amounting to a very painful last couple of months. Pat and I decided to have the vet put her down on a trip to the UGA veterinarian school in Athens.

On the way home we both agreed that we didn't need to find another dog since we had Oki Kuma, our 150 pound Alaskan Malamute and our two cats, Cocoa & Carab. So, two days later found us at the animal shelter picking up our new 4 month old "mutt"! Lucy, a Lab mix, is giving Oki a real run for the money, getting him some much needed exercise.

On the radio front:

The antenna project is still on hold, awaiting some help from the Barrow County ARC gang to complete the tower installation and mounting the antennas. The Drake 2B needs some work in the audio section. The K2 is getting farmed out to a local ham who will complete soldering the high density PCBs, which I can no longer do. I have some restoral to do on the Drake TR4 station but that is nothing that directly affects the operation of the rig. The K3 continues to putt-putt along constantly spoiling me. I just don't deserve that great of a rig!

I am Elmering a couple of guys that I shoot with. One of them just got his license a couple of days ago and is happy as a clam getting on the air on 2M FM. Unfortunately there is a growing trend (or possibly pressure) among ham clubs to run a "Ham Cram" program on a weekend. This is where one or two members of the local club take an afternoon on a weekend to teach the test, so to speak to anyone wanting/needing a Technician Class ham ticket. It seems that a large number of "preppers" (or survivalists) are getting their ham tickets for the day the SHTF!

I really don't like this type of "instruction". Over the last 20 years between the ARRL and the FCC the license tests have been "dumbed down" to the point that if a person can properly spell his/her name they can get a license! That's not what Ham Radio is all about. At least not in my opinion. Of course the ARRL did this (with the blessing of the FCC) to swell the ranks of amateurs and stimulate the hobby. I can't help but think that there is a connection in there somewhere between the ARRL and the various Evil Offshore Empire equipment manufacturers, too. After all, it takes a LOT of money to buy several full pages of advertising in QST!

In reality what has happened is that there are a lot of new hams who will never go beyond a technician class license and in turn stay on the V/UHF frequencies with their shack-on-the-belt hand-held. Not that this is a bad thing, but there sure as hell is more to ham radio than repeaters and packet radio.

This brings me to another point of irritation: clubs. I belong to three here in the Atlanta area. I rarely go to meetings due to Pat's work schedule and some other family obligations that occur on meeting nights. However, I have noticed that the active clubs, the ones with large memberships, are a diverse bunch. This is great. It's the smaller clubs that lack a large member pool that suffer stagnation while trying to scare up hams to present presentations at meetings. Therefore, my New Years wish for all of you out there in Radio Land: become active with one or two local clubs and stir up some interest in areas of ham radio not directly related to 2M FM operation. In other words, train your replacement in the hobby.   

In other news:

I love guns. I have been a long-time target and pistol competitor. This year I finally conceded that I could no longer shoot accurately with the 1911A1 in .45 ACP. At the urging of several other shooters (Herb, from Alaska, among them) I unloaded the two .45s I had and procured three Glocks in 9mm (G-19, G-26, & G-34). One thing about all Glocks.......the sights suck! Big time! No, really, they SUCK!!! I took some drastic measures and replaced the stock sights on two out of the three Glocks with Trijicon sights (http://www.trijicon.com/na_en/index.php).  MAN! What a difference!!! I can actually pick up the front sight now with almost no effort at all! They are low light/night sights and you can really lock onto the front and rear sights with very little effort. If you have a problem with the sights on your weapon, go to Trijicon. You won't be sorry. They are a little expensive but it is well worth the cost to be able to boost your accuracy. Additionally, if you carry concealed on a regular basis, it goes without saying that you need to insure that you have the proper sights on your weapon.Check out "In the Gravest Extreme" by Mass Ayoob. Amazon.com has them in stock.

Speaking of shooting, and I do a LOT of it now, I am converting over to lead reloads, since I have two reloading presses and a whole bunch of dies and brass in various calibers. Acme Bullet Company ( http://www.acmebullet.com/index.php?route=common/home) offers a great price on their lead alloy bullets for all popular pistol and rifle calibers. They do a land office business with the Cowboy Action Shooting crowd. They offer some really nice prices and they modified their mailing boxes to fit inside Priority Mail boxes, thereby cutting the shipping costs over half! They have a great customer service department, and are just plain good folks to deal with.

The latest trend in concealed holsters are the "plastic" holsters offered by a number of shooting accessory companies. I prefer Fobus holsters as they are inexpensive (around $20-25) and they come in a large variety of models to cover the most popular hand guns currently in use by police, military and civilians. Fobus products are made in Israel (http://www.fobusholster.com/).  The IDF uses them almost exclusively. In reality they are a carbon fiber holster sometimes called by the trade name of "Kydex". I use one on my G-26 and it keeps the pistol in close to the body and can resist attempts by individuals that wish to snatch your firearm out of your holster. Speaking of my Glock 26, it is now my favorite carry piece. It has double the firepower of the Smith model 442 that I use to carry, and with the Fobus holster it stays put and I hardly know its there!

All for now. Have a Happy New Year.

Vy 73

Rich K7SZ

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Antennas, Towers and "Stuff"

Well, here we are four days before Christmas and the weather has been "WONDERFUL"! Today's temperature was in the high 60s with virtually no wind. Ditto for yesterday. Perfect for antenna/tower work. Unfortunately, Bill, KJ4EX, my tower guy, has one of those erratic work schedules and couldn't get time off to come over and finish the tower installation.

HOWEVER, Dave, N4KD, is in the midst of erecting a small tower and beam at his place. Since he has been one of my "go to guys" for my installation, I assured him that if he needed assistance or coolie labor, I was available. He completed his hole earlier last week using a rented auger from one of the big box stores. Bill, KJ4EX, had access to a similar auger which he used to dig my tower hole next to the house earlier in the year.

Using an auger greatly speeds and simplifies the hard work of digging out the hole that holds the concrete and the base of the tower. Once several holes are dug using the auger it is simple work to remove the excess dirt and square up the overall dimensions of the hole to make a square (or rectangle) approximately one cubic yard which will hold about 800 pounds (ten 80 pound bags) of concrete mix and the tower base. This type of installation is good enough to support a tower installation up to 80 or 90 feet, provided guy wires (or Dacron rope) is use to prevent lateral movement of the tower. In my tower installation I will be using one set of three guy ropes set at just under the 60 foot level on the tower. These will be attached to guy anchors (augers, actually) set out into the yard in three locations approximately 120 degrees apart. In addition, I am attaching the tower to the side of my house, just under the roof gable, at the 25 foot level for additional support.

While Dave didn't seem to need me for anything like "work" he did mention that since I had a cement mixer (actually a birthday present to Patricia, KB3MCT, a few years back) he would be tapping me and my mixer when he was ready to plant the base of the tower into the hole and add the concrete. Of course, I said "yes" so right now I am awaiting his phone call.

On to other antenna projects here at the Bent Dipole Ranch.....I procured two Newtronics (Hustler) 4BTV verticals, one just prior to Dayton from a local ham who had it stored in his shop, and the other one I procured new, from DX Engineering, at the Dayton Hamvention. The used antenna was in pretty sad shape, and I will be restoring it over the winter for use as a portable emergency HF vertical to support EmComm. The new one will be affixed to the roof tower that use to hold the Cushcraft A3S HF Yagi and the Skycraft 6 meter beam, which are being moved to the new tower after completion of the tower installation.

The 4BTV is a rather interesting antenna. Originally designed as a quarter wave length trapped vertical to cover 40/20/15/10 meters, this antenna has enjoyed a dedicated following over the years. I used one when I was active in the Azores (CT2BH) in the early 1970s with outstanding results. Over the years the engineers have modified the design to include adding the 80 and 30 meter bands, using additional traps and resonator coils. 80 meter operation is quite restricted due to the limited bandwidth of this vertical's design. Although I have never had one modified for 30 meters; I may add that trap (available from DX Engineering) before erecting it on the roof tower.

One thing to always remember regarding vertical antennas: they need a good radial or counterpoise system to properly radiate an RF signal. Since the vertical antenna element itself is only a quarter wavelength radiator, the radial system provides the other half of the antenna. Since this installation will be above ground on my roof, I will need to provide wire radials cut to approximately a quarter wavelength of the operating frequency on each band. According to the manufacturer I will need at least two, possibly four, of these wire radials per band! This makes for a lot of wire on the roof! In my Azores installation (roof mounted) I used four radials per band and the antenna worked amazingly well. Therefore, I will duplicate that counterpoise system at my current location, in hopes of having an antenna that is a real "DX getter".

The radials don't need to be anything fancy. In the past, on other vertical installations, I have used wire sizes ranging from #26 to #12 with good results. There is also a method of taking five conductor rotator wire and cutting the radials for up to four bands. This greatly simplifies the number of wires you have to deal with and terminate on the roof. I have used this method once before and it worked well. Depending upon my situation here at the Bent Dipole Ranch, I may use that method again just to save space.

One thing about multi-band trapped verticals:  adjustment of the antenna and the traps is paramount to obtaining good results on the air. Using my trusty MFJ Model 269 antenna analyzer and taking my time, I will insure that the element measurements are accurate and the radials are properly cut and configured.

Many hams who erect a quarter wavelength trapped vertical and fail to put the necessary work into the counterpoise system see a very low SWR across the bands. This leads them to the erroneous conclusion  that their antenna is working just fine. On the contrary, this means that the radiation resistance is so low that the antenna won't radiate properly on the air. You actually want to see a pronounced "dip" in the SWR curve on each band. Remember: the higher bands won't exhibit as much of a drastic "dip" as these bands tend to be much wider in working bandwidth than the lower bands. On the 4BTV the 40 meter band should only be about 75 to 100 kHz wide, from the chosen frequency of operation to where the SWR rises to approximately 2:1. On 80 meters (provided you add the capacity hat and 80 meter resonator) your bandwidth will only be about 25-30 kHz! This means that you will have to re-tune your antenna tuner if your operating excursions exceed the chosen frequency of operation.

One of the major features regarding quarter wavelength verticals is that, when properly configured and adjusted, their angle of radiation (the take off angle of the radiated RF wave) is very low, allowing the RF signal to project further out into space before it encounters a reflective layer of the ionosphere, where it will be refracted (bent) back toward the earth. This is refereed to as "skip zone" and the longer that skip zone, the further out you can successfully work other stations. So basically the lower the angle of radiation (take off angle) the further you can reach with your signals. Therefore, the vertical antenna is often refereed to as a good antenna for DXing. Again, this is provided the antenna is carefully installed and a proper RF counterpoise (radial) system is installed and tuned.

OK, enough for now. I need to get into the shack and do some much needed house cleaning and straightening up. Then, if time permits, I may get on the air and see what DX is available.

Until next time, Vy 73 and good DX.

Rich K7SZ

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Merry Christmas!

I must apologize for not being more productive in keeping this blog up to date. There have been lots of developments over the last six months that have kept me preoccupied and not in the blog-publishing mode. I will try to do better in the upcoming year.

To be extremely candid, I have almost completely retired from the Ham Radio hobby....Just no interest. At all. Period. However, things are slowly changing with regard to Ham Radio.

The tower/antenna project at the Bent Dipole Ranch has been slowly progressing over the last 9 months. Since I no longer climb, I must depend upon others to do the climbing and tower work for me. If it had not been for Bill Wilson, KJ4EX, in Winder, GA, I would not have any tower up on the air at all. Bill, along with Dave, N4ND, have done yeoman's work in getting this project as far along as it currently is.

All we have left to do is to put the 9 ft top section of Rohn 25G in place, mount the antennas on a mast, mount the rotator, run the coax and cables and set the permanent guy wires in place. Sounds simple, huh? Well, it ain't! Especially the guy wire (guy rope, actually.....7/16s inch Dacron line) situation. My wife, Patricia, KB3MCT, and I are discussing the placement of two of the in-ground guy anchors, one of which has got to go in the front garden. (I guess a trip to Kay Jewelers might be in order to smooth this over!!!)

On the radio front, I have several major projects: upgrade the Drake AC-4 PSU for the TR-4 station, update the TR-4 transceiver, overhaul and upgrade the Drake 2B receiver (has a bad audio problem), complete the Elecraft K2 kit (this includes upgrading the Rev A board to a Rev B board....lots of stuff to change out on the main PCB), restore KL0SW's National RX he bought at Dayton this year, relocate the 2M FM station to the new shack, upgrade the 2M FM antennas (a Diamond dual bander vertical right at the top of the antenna stack on the new tower!) I am sure I have left one or two things off the list, but that is enough for right now. 

While Ham Radio has taken a back seat since mid-year, it has been replaced by my doing some serious firearms training and competition shooting at the local range. For over 50 years I have had a love affair with the 1911A1 .45 ACP pistol. Mr. Browning's gift to the firearms world has held a fascination for me that is hard to explain. Earlier this year I realized that I was not as competent with that weapon as I had been in the past. After several local competitions I compared notes with the owner of the range, a retired USMC Gunnery Sargent, master marksman/armorer, and all around good guy. He suggested that I try using a 9mm (9 x 19mm or 9mm Luger, for you novice shooters out there) and see if my scores improved. After borrowing a Glock G-19 from a friend at the range, I was amazed at how my marksmanship improved by simply changing calibers! Now I am a dyed-in-the-wool Glock shooter. My concealed carry is a G-26 "Baby Glock", my competition weapon is a Glock G-34, and I am trying to get Patricia to become proficient with the G-19 I picked up earlier this summer. This is a hard sell as Patricia is a long time "wheel gun" (revolver) shooter. In addition to our military combat arms training Pat was an armed security guard for the Social Security Administration Data Center in Plains, PA for several years. They used Smith & Wesson Model 19s, in .357 caliber as their duty weapon. She had to qualify twice a year and always did so with high marks, much to the dismay of some of the local law enforcement officers who had to qualify at the range and didn't do so well score wise. 

Both Pat and I know the value of on-going firearms training. We strongly believe that if you own firearms it behooves you to become proficient in their use. We both enjoy the shooting sports and have passed this along to our kids.

As for me, my grandfather started me shooting at the tender age of 5. Both he and my dad were outstanding trap (shotgun) shooters. Dad was a regular at the yearly Bing Crosby invitational shoot at Hayden Lake, Idaho for a number of years.

I started shooting pistols when I was 15 under the guidance of a couple of WSU policemen who substituted for our city cop (remember my home town only had a population of 1000 people and therefore we had only one policeman!) when he took his yearly vacation. They taught me how to reload ammunition with the proviso that they would instruct me in the use of the pistol but I had to reload all the ammo we would shoot that week! I fell in love with hand gunning and have been an active pistol shooter ever since. During my teaching career at the prison, I was a member of the pistol team and shot PPC competitively for a number of years. 

Well, that is all for now. Here's hoping you have a very Merry Christmas and a Joyful, Happy New Year. See you on the air, AND, as Jim Scoutten, host of Shooting USA says, "Keep 'em in the 10 ring".

VY 73

Rich K7SZ

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Confessions of a BAR (Born Again Rocketter)

OK, it's like this: Model rocketry is NOT Off Topic for this list (as of now!) Don't worry....we will work radio in here somewhere!

Let's climb into the "Way Back Machine". The year: 1967.  Location: Palouse Hills in eastern Washington (state) about 70 miles south of Spokane. Having just graduated from college I was filling in as an on-air personality (and sometimes engineer) at KCLX in Colfax about 15 miles away while waiting for my date to report for USAF basic training.

Since hearing Sputnik on my old S-38 receiver in 1957, I was fascinated by space, space travel, rockets, and the US Space Program. I remember (like it was yesterday) when Al Shepard, aboard Freedom Seven lofted by a Redstone rocket became our first American in Space. Al was later to become the fifth man to ever walk on the moon as the Commander of Apollo 14.

I knew all about the Mercury Seven as well as the Gemini and Apollo astronauts. That fateful day in 1967 when the Apollo One fire claimed the lives of Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee, caused all of us who closely followed America's Space Program to wonder if the sacrifice of these three brave individuals was truly worth the price. Later, in the late 1980s I had the pleasure of knowing several of the NASA scientists/engineers who re-created the Apollo One fire and found the cause. The dedication of these men along with thousands of others involved with the space program brought to fruition, in July of 1969, when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon. I was stationed in Japan at the time and on that day I was taking the train to work at Fuchu Air Station (5th AF HQ) in Fuchu Japan. It was a very good day to be an American as, since I was in uniform, I was literally mobbed by frantic Japanese passengers pounding my back and wanting to shake my hand....oh, and let's not forget the formal bowing. What a thrill. We had done something that no one else in the history of mankind had accomplished: we had visited a world outside our own, set foot upon it, and made history.

Back to the "Way Back Machine" and the Palouse Hills......I had been wanting to build and launch model rockets for several months. There was no organized club in or around Spokane (where I went to college) so I set about finding out as much as possible about building and launching model rockets. Within a couple of weeks I had two rockets built and had a pile of Estes solid fuel motors and support equipment. I pulled my 1956 Ford Crown Vic (complete with four antennas, a VHF police  radio, a CB radio along with a 2M rig (a re-purposed RCA two channel taxi radio) into the old cow pens/stockyard north of Palouse (my home). (See, I promised we'd get radio into the mix!!)

I deployed the launch rig, and inserted the igniter into the solid fuel motor,  placed the rocket on the rail and hooked up the launch controller. 5....4....3....2....1! Whoosh! off it went into the sky. Man, what a thrill! I had built and flown my own rocket! There was something magical about that. I recovered the bird and had 10 successful launches that day with my two rockets! Life was good!!!

Over the intervening years I built and launched a myriad of rockets, at a myriad of locations including Lajes Field, the Azores, and Japan. After 1975 I put my model rocketry hobby aside in favor of my military career and family.

Flash forward to December of 2012. I decided to rekindle my rocketry "jones" and purchase several Estes kits. Actually, my grand daughter, Kielan, had expressed an interest in model rocketry several years prior and I tried my best to interest her in building rockets and flying same, however, boys became her primary interest.

I had completed an Estes Honest John ("A" motor rocket) and an Estes Stryker ("B and C" motor rocket  and was ready to launch. I joined the National Association of Rocketry (NAR) and the local club Southern Amateur Rocketry (SoAR) in preparation for my first launch in about 30+ years! Unfortunately I was unable to make any launch dates until this weekend (July 13th) at a sod farm a few miles north of where I live in Dacula.

A couple of weeks ago my 12 year old grandson, K.C., came to visit the grandparents. On Saturday, 13 of July, I took him to the SoAR launch site to fly his first rocket. We arrived just after 10AM and there was already a crowd of about 200 people at the site. Many of them were Cub and Boy Scouts, along with their den mothers and fathers and parents. It was quite a sight....all those folks getting their "birds" inspected prior to launch, mounting their rockets on the pads and finally "flying" their rockets. It was truly inspiring.

K.C. had a pre-built Estes rocket that he really liked (it was green, his favorite color) so when it flew for the first time he was ecstatic! I got a "high five" from him!!! He was so excited it was almost magical. We quickly swapped to a new engine and igniter and readied for a 2nd flight. All in all he flew his Green Dragon three times that Saturday and had a ball! I, having multiple problems with igniters, only flew my Gronk I twice, losing it into the trees at the edge of the field on the last flight.

So, basically, what does this tell us? Give in to your inner kid. Get your family interested in something besides I-pads, I-phones, smart phones and the Internet. Get them out into the sunlight and ENJOY the day doing something, anything that promotes family fun and togetherness.

Have a Great Day & God Bless.

Vy 73 Rich K7SZ


Monday, June 24, 2013

Field Day 2013

One of the fun things to do on the yearly Ham Radio calendar is to participate in the ARRL's Field Day, held on the fourth full weekend each June. This is a chance to take your gear into the field, set up a station, and make contacts with as many other stations as possible. While disguised as a contest Field Day is actually the an emergency communications exercise developed decades ago by the ARRL to train Ham Radio operators in the art and science of handling emergency communications under primitive conditions. There is a big difference between communicating on the ham bands from your shack and establishing and maintaining communications under adverse (field) conditions. 

My original plans called for David, N4KD, and me to get together and do a 1B Battery entry from the side lot adjacent to our house in Dacula, GA. With plenty of room to erect wire and vertical antennas we had a seemingly ready made FD area. I was getting things ready Friday. Than came the phone call!

Dave, N4KD, called me late Friday afternoon and told me he gotten tapped for a conference on Monday and had to fly out on Sunday, so there went our FD plans. My alternative was to go find the Gwinnett Amateur Radio Society (GARS) and show up at their FD site as one of the "Pros from Dover"! I took my extremely small N3ZN QRP paddles, the Kenwood headset and some Gatorade and (after driving Peppermint Patti to work) set out for the GARS site at Sweetwater Park in Lawrenceville, GA. 

I got there about 2000 EDT, and found Mike
Weathers, ND4V, (AKA: Mikey) and his K3 set up as the 20M CW station (the GARS group ran 8A this year). I made the rounds shaking hands with the old crew and then it was down to work. About 0100 EDT Sunday morning a pipeline in to the SW and So-Cal opened up. I managed to work the Zuni Loop Mountain QRP Expeditionary Force (AKA: "The Zunis") on 20 on the first call. They were using Cam Hartford's call, N6GA. Cam is the QRP column editor for CQ mag and I've known him for well over 30  yrs. In 1996 Patti and I drove across the country to do a Zuni FD with them on Table Mountain outside LA. Talk about fun!!! I even learned how to cook pizza on a B-B-Q grill!  Anyway, N6GA's sigs were steady S-9 on the K3's meter at my location. Great sounding sigs.

By 0500 EDT I had worked the band dry. No new Qs to be had so I got up, shook off all the 3 inch cockroaches and found myself a bottle of water and some stimulating conversation with the guys at the food tables. Went back to work after about an hour. The band was getting "weird", long skip to the west coast was starting to die off as some sigs from the upper NE filtered through. The NE sigs sounded "weak and watery" with a touch of QSB. Thankfully the day shift, with Mikey in tow, arrived about 0630 EDT to take over the station. That gave me a chance to devour one of Uncle Earle's, AF4FG, "Belly Bomber Breakfast Burritos", which are positively guaranteed to open up your intestinal tract and hit the toilet bowl like a flaming meteor! WHEW!!! Remember Thai peppers?? Well, multiply that x 100 and you get the picture!!!! For the last two days I have been taking a Popsicle to the bathroom to use in lieu of toilet paper!!! 

After picking up Patti at work, we got home around 0800 EDT on Sunday. I hit the rack for a few hours. I felt very good about my time running the 20M CW station and bagging some Qs for the GARS effort. One thing for sure, I have a lot of work to do before I am as good a CW op as Mikey. Mike and Dick Bentley, K2UFT, (who was not present at GARS FD this year) are a couple of world class CW ops. These two are my personal inspirations to get my CW skills up to the next level. (Honest, Mikey....I'll quit using the pencil and paper!!!)

Hope everyone had a great FD experience this year. If not, there is always next year! 

C U on the bands

Vy 73 Rich K7SZ
Bent Dipole Ranch
Dacula, GA

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Field Day 2013

Field Day UPDATE:

Dave Keuchenmeister, N4KD, and I (K7SZ) will be doing Field Day from our side lot in Dacula. As it stands now we will have two K3s as primary and backup stations, a PAR (LNR) End Fed Half Wave (EFHW) and a ZS6 multi-band dipole (think a modified G5RV), and possibly a 20M delta loop or bi-square. Power will be provided by a deep cycle marine battery and augmented (if needed) by several 20Ahr gelled electrolyte batteries. 

As far as a call sign: still up in the air but it will either by N4KD or K7SZ. Listen for us on 20M CW/SSB and 40M CW/SSB. Depending upon propagation we can always come up on the 15M band (near the 21.060 QRP calling freq). 80M has never been a big band for us, so we may come up on 80M CW, we'll just have to see how propagation pans out. 

Hope to work many QRP stations this weekend 

VY 73

Rich K7SZ

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Dayton 2013

It's been a while since I posted anything on this blog, so please forgive my inability to stick to a writing schedule!!

The Four Days In May (FDIM) is an annual gathering of QRP operators (those stalwart radio hams that voluntarily use no more than 5 watts of RF power) at the Holiday Inn in Fairburn, OH coinciding with the Dayton HamVention, held in mid-May each year. Don Keith, N4KC and Dave Kuechenmister, N4KD, accompanied me on the drive up to Dayton. We had a great time driving up and back from the ham fest. Don was selling a number of his books (he's a prolific writer, an outstanding conversationalist and just a "fun dude" to be around). Check out his website: www.donkeith.com. Dave is a retired USMC major who flew right seat in the Marine Corps A-6 Intruder aircraft and has a whole bunch of very interesting stories to tell about flying in combat!

This was the 7th time I had attended and my 3rd time being a speaker/presenter at the HARA venue speaking on QRP. This year's turnout was larger than the previous two years, which is always gratifying. This year my topic centered on antennas used for QRP. Primarily concentrating on wire antennas which are inexpensive to build, easy to erect and are extremely effective, even when using power levels 13dB lower than a standard 100W transceiver.

After my 45 minutes of fame on the podium, I started out trying to cover as much of the flea market as possible. Along with me was Frank, KL0SW, who had flown in from Big Bear, CA. Having never actually toured the huge flea market at the HARA venue I was totally amazed at the shear amount of tail-gaters. While not looking for anything in particular for my station (except an Astatic D-104 microphone), we were on the look out for a Drake MN-4 antenna tuning unit (ATU) for Frank's "new" Drake TR-4 station. We found one and managed to get the seller down to $30! What a great find. 

Thursday evening was vender's night at the FDIM venue and was very well attended. I managed to procure a few of my QRP books from the ARRL booth earlier in the day and set up shop next to Don's table. I should mention at this point that Don has a number of books in print about submarines. It just so happened Colin Turner, G3VTT, an old friend from the UK had arrived at the FDIM with George Dobbs, G3RJV, the head honcho of the G-QRP-Club. Colin and I have been friends for over 30 years and he was the man who rekindled my interests in WWII US Navy "fleet boats", more commonly called diesel-electric submarines.

As a "Welcome to America" present for Colin, I had obtained a copy of Don's book, "Undersea Warrior", the story of Dudly "Mush" Morton the unparalleled sub commander of the Wahoo. Colin and I had discussed Mush Morton quite a bit while I was in the UK and I knew that anything to do with Mush or the Wahoo would definitely grab his attention. Boy! Was that an understatement. I had Don personally autograph my copy of the book and I presented it to Colin. He was genuinely impressed. About 30 seconds later I introduced him to the author (Don) who had been sitting about 5 feet away from Colin all evening long! That pretty much tied up the evening for those two!

It was great seeing George, G3RJV, and Colin. George, his wife Jo, and my wife, Patricia, had conspired to throw me a surprise birthday party at the RJV QTH, on March 6th, 1983. About 25 G-QRP member were in attendance and, after copious amounts of single malt had been ingested, I was presented with not one,  not two, but THREE Haggis....courtesy of George Burt, GM3OXX, and Ronny Marshall, GM4JJG, who braved the trip down from Scotland, Haggis in hand.

To make a long story short, I survived the Haggis, the party, and had a great time, thanks to the blokes from the G-QRP Club.

Friday was another day cruising the flea market and the HARA venue looking at all the neat toys us ham radio operators just have to have. Friday evening at the FDIM venue was a "show and tell" featuring many homebrew rigs and accessories. Many of these home made pieces of gear were entered in the building competition. The innovation that is shown on some of these radios and accessories is truly amazing.

Saturday was more of the same: running around HARA watching all the demos and looking things over. I ran into Bob Lusby, K9FOH, one of the guys I use to work with at RAF Mildenhall back in the early 80s. Once Bob and I sit down and start talking about the "good old days" when were were both in the USAF, it always brings up some very strong and wonderful memories of that time of my life. I can truthfully say that my 5+ years in the UK with the USAF were the most productive years of my USAF career.

Saturday evening was the QRP Banquet. Awards for the homebrew contest were presented and, of course, the prize drawings. The FLying Pigs were in attendance, led by one of the nicest guys I know, Ed Hare, W1RFI, who just happens to be the ARRL HQ Lab supervisor. What are the "Flying Pigs"? To define it in one word: "Entertainment!"

Dino Papas, KL0S, was at our banquet table, along with Bob, K8FOH, Dave, K4KD, Don, N4KC, just to name a few. Dino, an avid homebewer, is always a pleasure to talk with. He's had articles published i Popular Communications, and is a real go-getter when it comes to building gear.

The banquet wrapped up about 2300 and a bunch of us continued our discussions in the bar of the hotel. Finally,  I needed to get some sleep as Don, Dave and I were leaving about 0900 in the morning to return to Atlanta and Birmingham.

All in all it was a great four days. I always complain about how I really don't like crowds....and REALLY I don't, but when you combine the FDIM and the Dayton HamVention you have enough things to keep a person busy without worrying about crowded conditions. Plenty to do and see, that is for sure. I hope to be going again next year, if the Good Lord willin' and the creek don't rise!

The next big venue is the Huntsville (AL) hamfest August 17-18, 2013 (http://www.hamfest.org/). Don, N4KC, has already indicated he would be going, ditto for David, N4KD. It looks like I will be presenting at this gathering, also. It promises to be a fun time. Not only that....there is the NASA museum close by, so I know where I am going to be hanging out!!

Look for me running K7SZ/QRP on mainly 40 meters (CW) and possibly 20 meters (CW & Phone) this upcoming weekend. I'll be running a K3 with some hastily erected wire antennas in my back yard.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Up the Tower

I seriously doubt that there is a Ham Radio operator alive that doesn't, at some time, want to put up a tower and directional antenna for HF operations. Having had several tower/beam installations over the years let me just say, erecting a tower and plopping a directional HF antenna on top is not a easy undertaking.

My first tower/beam installation was at our on-base house in Langley AFB, VA in 1984. It was a small installation as installations go: a 30 ft Rohn 25G tower and a TA-33jr HF tri-band Yagi. The tower was anchored to the porch roof of our quarters at the 15 ft level and the rest of the tower was un-guyed. It worked OK for a short tower and I learned quite a bit about tower and beam installations in the process.

My second attempt was a much bigger effort. I managed to procure 60 ft of steel tower (not Rohn), a Ham-IV rotator and a used HyGain TH7DX Yagi. I sanded, primed and repainted the tower, section by section. The rotator was sent off to Norm's Rotor Service for rebuild/upgrade. The TH-7 came from a ham in Hew Hampshire who had bought it off of a HyGain engineer. This tri-bander was originally a TH-6DXX that had been modified as a proof-or-concept design for their new TH-7. I quickly found that the current TH-7 manual was NOT even close to what I had! Eventually I found a manual on upgrading the TH-6 to the TH-7 and that cleared up a lot of problems I was encountering.

On a nice warm November day in 1995 we (six local hams and myself) put up the tower (now down to 50 ft in length) in one piece! It was bolted to the kitchen roof at the 22 ft level and the top section was guyed off three ways using steel guy wire, heavy duty turn buckles and Rohn 3 ft screw anchors. The TH-7 was assembled in the side yard and placed on the tower at the 55 ft level (there was a 12 ft steel pipe used as a mast). My son, Jamie, did the tower work for me. Mom refused to watch!

This tower/antenna installation lasted until it was taken down in 2011. It took a lot of physical effort for the seven of us to man-handle that tower into place and mount the beam. Bill, KA3QPQ, was the lucky recipient of the tower/beam. He had "friends" that worked on the overhead signs on PA interstates. So they arrived with a 65 foot boom truck and disassembled the beam and tower. It took a total of 2 hours for them to completely remove the installation! It took a LOT longer to initially put it up!! It always helps to have the proper tools to do the job!

My current tower/antenna project has been on-going for 4 years! When we first moved from Pennsylvania to Georgia in late 2008, I was able to procure eight sections of Rohn 25G for $150 (a great price, by the way). The local ham club had a Mossley Classic 33 HF tri-band Yagi for sale for $150 (another great price!) The only "long pole in the tent" was the lack of a suitable rotator. In mid-late 2009, I had promised Patricia, my wife (KB3MCT), that if I hadn't gotten the antenna project completed within 12 months, I'd sell the stuff and use the money for something we needed at the time. True to my word the antenna and tower sections were sold and the money put to a better use. Back to square one.

For the next two years I got by with a wire antenna. I did erect a loop but it only lasted for a few months before the gigantic trees in my back yard managed to bring it down during high winds. While these wires were adequate performers I was still lusting for a rotatable HF antenna that would permit me to work some serious DX.

In 2012 I was able to procure a Cushcraft A3S three element HF tri-band Yagi and a Glen Martin 5 ft roof tower. Thanks to the generosity of Bill Wilson, KJ4EX, and several of the Barrow ARC, I was able to mount the roof tower on  the main house roof and put the A3S on it along with a 6 meter Yagi. This was a mistake, plain and simple. The A3S being so close to the roof did not perform well on 20 and 15 meters. Additionally, with the antenna being so close to the it was picking up a lot of RF hash generated from inside my house from the various computers, routers, and other electronics.

Toward the end of 2012 I became the grateful recipient of four sections of Rohn 25G from Bill, KJ4EX, along with two more sections and a guy ring from Dave, N4KD, and a 25G top section, rotator plate, HyGain T2X rotator, and mast from another local ham. At the Birmingham hamfest I found a 36 inch Rohn house bracket for $50.  I now had the basics for a complete 70+ ft tower/HF beam installation at ZERO cost to me (house bracket not withstanding). Well, that's not quite true.....I had to send the T2X rotator off to a repair service in Alabama (cost: $200), 500 ft of Dacron guy rope (cost: $140), two screw ground anchors (cost: $55), plus an assortment of stainless steel (SS) bolts, nuts and lock washers for the tower and other things.

We (that would be Bill, KJ4EX, and the Boys from Barrow (B-f-B), and me dug the initial hole and put the first 15 ft of 25G in the ground and filled it with 800 pounds of concrete. After it cured, it was up with the next 2 tower sections. Elapsed time: 2 months. Finally, today (May 2nd, 3 months later), Bill and Bill Allen (another B-f-B) came over and put the final two ten foot sections of 25G up along with temporary guys.

Presently we have a total of 52 ft of tower in the air (that would be measured from the dirt to the top of the tower) and are now waiting until I prepare the 9 ft top section. Once that goes up, we will re-position the guy ropes, install the antenna mast (a 10 footer) and the antennas. The last thing to go up will be the rotator.

I still have one 10 ft section of 25G that I could put up, but that would make the overall tower height 72 ft which is two feet over the limit that Gwinnett County allows without a whole bunch of paperwork and bureaucratic hassle. I'll forgo the additional 10 ft since I hate paperwork!

Sometime within the next couple of weeks I will install the house bracket as close to the apex of the roof as possible. This bracket will strengthen the overall tower installation allowing us to reposition the guy wires from the 30 ft level to the 55 ft level. Since the overall wind load of the HF Yagi and the 2M/70cms vertical and a long-boom 2M yagi will be well under 10 square feet, additional guys won't be required.

Stay tuned for updates on the Bent Dipole Ranch's tower installation. In the mean time I have to get a remote antenna switch reconditioned and mounted, procure some lightening protection modules, get some ground rods driven in and connected to the tower and station ground. Whew!!! I get tired just thinking about that! Time for a nap.....just following my cat's sage advice....when in doubt, take a nap!

Vy 73
Rich K7SZ

Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Boston Bombings and Personal Security

Political discussions and cometary have no place in this blog, so please don't get all wrapped around the axle by the title of this posting. 

I have a long time friend, Jim Fitton, W1FMR, who recently sent me an e-mail with an attachment that really got me thinking about my personal security in general and our radio hobby in particular. I've known Jimmy for over 40 years. We are both QRPers (low power under 5W) radio amateurs, experienced homebrewers, and members of the QRP Amateur Radio Club International. Since I am an only child I don't have a brother. If I could place an order for a brother I'd want Jimmy to apply for the job! 

Initially I started this blog in the belief that the information contained in the e-mail Jim sent me was valid. However, shortly after posting this blog I had second thoughts and pulled it from the site. These feelings prompted me to Google on Juval Aviv and I found a number of incongruities that impacted his credentials. 

Having pulled the original text I will go ahead and quote one portion of the e-mail allegedly credited to Aviv regarding our inadequacy as American citizens in the war on terror and what could possibly happen during the next major terror event. Even if the quote is bogus, it points out a few things that need to be addressed regarding our personal security and the security of our loved ones. 

Allegedly Aviv was the Israeli Mossad Agent upon whom the movie "Munich" was based. This docu-drama outlined the hunt for the Palestinian terrorists that killed the Israeli athletes in the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, W. Germany. Although it is questionalble that Aviv was ever a Mossad agent  he boasts credentials that are impressive. Allegedly he is a security and counter-terrorism consultant for Congress. 

Personal Note: Those of us who have served overseas whether it be in the U.S. military, Foreign Service or as commercial contractors, have had a bit of psychological conditioning that the normal American citizen hasn't. Namely we have been cautioned to be alert and aware of your current situation and surroundings. To be vigilant especially for bags, brief cases, suit cases,  and backpacks left unattended in populated areas. These are one of the most common methods used by terrorists to deliver bombs. An unattended bag is suspect and should be reported immediately to police, security personnel or EMS personnel.  Do not hesitate: DO IT, NOW!!!

The one thing that really caught my attention in this e-mail was  the following quote allegedly attributed to Aviv:

"Does your family know what to do if you can't contact one another by phone? Where would you gather in an emergency? Aviv says that the U.S. Government has in force a plan that, in the event of another terrorist attack, will immediately cut-off EVERYONE's ability to use cell phones, as this is the preferred communication source used by terrorists and is often the way that their bombs are detonated. How will you communicate with your loved ones in the event you cannot use phones, internet? Bottom line, you need to have a plan!"

That is a chilling thought if, in fact, it is true. If the U.S. Government restricts cell phone access to the general public, there would be no way to contact loved ones, family members, etc. One of the first things I would want to do is contact my wife, Pat, KB3MCT, and our kids to let them know I was OK. Since cell phones are the prefered means of communications for everyone, being denied this communications medium would definitely pose a problem. 

Personel Note: Several years ago, at a New Year's Eve party, Pat and I tried to contact our kids to wish them a Happy New Year via our cellphones. The local sites were inundated with such a high volume of calls that we could not get hold of any of our kids for several hours! This quickly brought us to the realization that cellphones have a definite weakness: in times of high volume use, the sites overload and calls are not put through or are dropped altogether. Similar things occured during the terrorist attacks of 9-11. Cellular phones were  totally unusable in the New York City area during and immediately after the attack. 

Enter Ham Radio! That's right....good old Ham Radio...."When all else fails......." and all that. There is a wide selection of small handheld transceivers (HTs) on the market today that offer dual band (VHF & UHF) ham band coverage in addition to FM commercial outlets, EMS and FIRE frequencies (for those places that are not on a digital trunked system) along with FRS/GMRS channels, and VHF air-band. The cost: $40 and up! That's right....thanks to our Chinese friends you can pick up an FCC type approved dual band HT for around $40 or so. These marvels of miniaturized communications offer several hundred memory channels and can be programmed with all sorts of frequencies in addition to the local repeater splits in your area. They are smaller than a pack of cigarettes and have a good battery life. Slip one of these little babies in your pocket and you will have instant back up comm in the event you are caught without cellphone coverage.

This is one more reason to become "radio active" and get that Technician class Ham Radio license. For all you Ham Radio old timers (OTs), pick up a small HT and keep it on your person. Let the government shut down cell phone sites, we have V/UHF FM along with very robust local repeater systems through out the US! 

That's all for now. I have got to go recharge my Bao Feng HTs! 
Vy 73
Rich K7SZ        

Have you ever actually heard this son-of-a-bitch?

My love affair with shortwave listening goes back to the tender age of about 10. Not coincidentally this was the same age I received a really nasty shock from my Dad's Arvin console AM/SW radio receiver. I guess you could connect the dots and say that my involvement with shortwave and radios was "shocking"!

I started listening to SW with my Mom and Dad. Several nights each week we would spin the dial on that old Arvin (which I still have, by the way, although the cabinet is no longer functional) and explore the world via the various SW broadcasters. This was in the mid to late 1950s when television broadcasting was just starting to catch on in the Inland Empire. We had spotty TV coverage from Spokane, and no one liked staring at a snowy  TV screen. These evenings in front of the old Arvin with my parents provided me with a great learning experience via the SW bands. 

That old Arvin got a real workout. Not only did I DX (look for distant stations) on the SW bands, I also prowled the AM broadcast band (commercial FM stations just didn't exist at that time), especially after local sunset, DXing the various AM stations I could hear on a simple antenna. The really neat thing about DXing AM broadcast outlets after local sunset was the Midwest AM stations and, at times, stations east of the Mississippi River that would come booming in. I never tired of listening to the variety of programming available at a twist of the radio dial.

In 1962 I was in high school, John F. Kennedy was in the White House, and Hallicrafters radio company fielded their new S-120 AM/SW receiver. Mom and Dad were sympathetic to my "need" for a smaller SW receiver I could use in my bedroom (freeing up the TV set for their use), so a deal was struck. Dad picked up the tab for the new S-120 (about $70 at the time) and I signed my life into servitude in the form of doing non-stop lawn care work for my family as well as several other families in the immediate neighborhood.

The S-120 was my dream machine, offering a compact world-band  receiver in a handsome metal enclosure. To my "experienced" eye, it was magnificent! Now the world was truly at my fingertips. Over the next several years I spent a lot of time in front of that radio set DXing the shortwaves as well as the AM broadcast band. I collected numerous confirmation cards (quaintly called QSL cards) from some of the SW outlets that I wrote to listing the dates and times and detailing  what I had heard during their broadcasts. It was the experience of a lifetime!

It wasn't until 1965, while in college, that I was exposed to the Hallicrafters SX-117 and SX-122  receivers, Then I realized exactly how limited that old S-120 really was. Somewhere along the line the S-120 was traded off in favor of a better receiver, and, of course, there was this side hobby of Ham Radio that seemingly ate into my SW DXing time. 

Over the years I procured several S-120s which I restored (mainly replacing the aging electrolytic  caps in the power supply section and aligning the receiver) only to give them to friends who had become interested in listening to the shortwave bands. 

Finally, I found a working S-120 on e-bay and won that particular auction. Cost of the receiver: $30 plus shipping. It arrived and as I unpacked it I felt the rush of my teenage years and how much I loved to scan the airwaves looking for SW DX.  The receiver was dingy and needed a cabinet repainting, along with the obligatory replacement of the PSU filter caps and the selenium rectifier. I vowed to keep this old SW warrior and lovingly set about restoring the set to its original glory days. 

The cosmetic cleanup was pretty straight forward. The case required repainting so that was accomplished with a can of Krylon spray paint after a light sanding of the cabinet with 220 and 400 grit sand paper. The color was close but not a perfect match, which was OK since Hallicrafters had many shades of gray that they used over the years. 

The old four-section paper electrolytic cap that was mounted above the chassis was replaced with individual new modern electrolytics. The selenium rectifier was also replaced with a 1N4007 silicon diode. This resulted in a slight increase in B+ voltage but nothing really critical. 
Interestingly enough, my first DX with the "new" receiver was Radio Havana Cuba somewhere on 6 MHz (the dial is not terribly accurate and I haven't gotten around to aligning the receiver yet)! That took me back to the early 1960s and the on-air rants of Uncle Fidel Castro! Ahhhh, the Good "Ole Days"! (The Cuban missile crisis comes immediately to mind!!)

While the S-120 is a horrible receiver by today's standards it is still my link to my early days of radio. What's yours?

Vy 73

Rich K7SZ


Monday, March 25, 2013

Old Iron

AM Forever!

Lately I am convinced I am trying to re-live my yoot! This immersion in vacuum tube "boatanchor" gear speaks to a deep seated desire to step back in time and recapture some of the "glory days" of amateur radio. 

I entered the hobby at the end of the AM era when single sideband (SSB) was replacing AM as the mode on the HF bands. AM was still alive on V/UHF but, much like CW overtaking spark in the the 1920s, SSB was fast approaching as the mode for long-haul HF comms. As I remember there were some viscous on-air verbal exchanges regarding this change over.

SSB gear was expensive. Well beyond the funds available to a struggling high school student who mowed yards to fund his radio hobby. Therefore, it was used CW and AM gear for me until well into my USAF career. Never, in all that time, did I ever have a really nice AM station. As an Air Force member, my family and I traveled the world, moving every 3-4 years, so owning a lot of ham gear was never an option. 

Now that I am retired, I am planning (in great detail) my "new" AM station. Thankfully, I have a couple of really good friends to lend me a helping hand and provide in depth assistance in putting this AM dream station together.

Andrew Howard, WA4KCY ( is a "Ham's Ham". I first met Andy at the Atlanta Hilton near Hartsfield Airport, in the mid-1990s. I was a guest speaker at a radio convention and Andy looked me up to talk radios and guns! He produced a folder of pictures of his restored radio gear and I was totally amazed at the variety and the unbelievable workmanship Andy puts into his restorations. About 3/4 of the way through the stack of photos was a picture of Andy sitting behind the spade grips of a Maxim 08 German 8mm watercooled machine gun! Yes, folks, Andrew has a really cool WWI machine gun. You gotta love a guy like that.

Andy and I hit it off immediately and over the intervening years I visited his QTH on several occasions, always leaving with a feeling of total inadequacy when it came to ham radio gear! Seriously, if anything Andy's radio shack always filled me with wonder and awe and the feeling that IF I applied myself, I could approach Andy's level of workmanship. In other words each visit to Andy's place recharged my ham radio batteries and gave me ideas on how to best approach the hobby

Andy even sat me down at his Hallicrafters operating position and took a picture of me at the controls! This picture made the rear cover of the 2nd and 3rd editions of my QRP book for the ARRL. (Thankfully I've lost 130 pounds since that picture was taken!!!) "Yes" that is a Hallicrafters SX-88 to the left of my right hand. There are only about 80+ of these receivers known to exist. To say that the SX-88 is a "rare bird" is an understatement!


 Recently I e-mailed Andy explaining my desire to have an AM ham station based around a set of Heathkit Twins (MT-1 transmitter & MR-1 receiver) and possibly adding an additional boatanchor receiver like a National NC-300 or 303, or a Hammarlund HQ-series. While I Iike (and have restored) a number of Hallicrafters receivers, I wanted something a bit different. The NC-3XX series looked promising (I've never owned one) except for the huge amount of bench space needed to house one of these classic boatanchors. 

Andy also indicated that he was on board with my quest to assemble a quality AM phone station and was standing by with information, parts, and one-on-one help for this project. It's nice to have friends like Andrew!

A quick e-mail exchange to Jay Greenberg, N3WWL, in Pennsylvania, a long time friend and avid AMer, and I was on the look out for a Hammarlund HQ-110 receiver for my new AM shack. While Jay had used a NC-300 for quite a while, he told me that, in his opinion, the HQ-110 (like he was currently using for his main AM receiver) would fulfill my requirements quite well AND, being a smaller physical footprint, take up much less room on the ops bench. 

The hunt was on!

 While I like to utilize e-bay to sell radio gear, I don't really like using e-bay to buy radio gear. Don't ask, its a long story. However, after several days prowling the site I had found a couple of Hammarlunds on the block. One stood out among the rest of the pack....a really nice 110 that was worth the time (and money) to go after. I placed my bid, was promptly out bid, so I waited until the last 20 seconds of the auction, dropped in a ridiculously high bid, and waited! I won! Not only that, I won by only a couple of dollars over the current bid, so I didn't have to shell out extra money for nothing. That is a tactic I have used repeatedly on e-bay and it works great. I have had folks tell me about using sniper programs, but my system seems to work quite well so why change horses in the middle of a stream?

The HQ-110 arrived the following Monday, well packed and looking great! I immediately unpacked it, looked it over physically (it was near-mint), and promptly fired it up in the shack (I know, I know....I'm supposed to use a Variac on the 120V AC input and bring the receiver up slowly, but I was in a HURRY!!!)

Initially I was rewarded with NOTHING: NADA, ZIP, ZERO, ZILCH!!! I accidentally bumped the clock set button and the receiver came to life! I had forgotten that one unique feature of the Hammarlund receivers and that was the ability to pre-set the clock to turn the receiver on (and off) at predetermined times. OBTW: The clock works! Miracle of miracles.....a working clock on a 50  year old boatanchor receiver! Life is good!

The overall cosmetics of this receiver are outstanding for it's age. This receiver is well over 50 years old and is in pristine condition. Case paint is very nice with no chips or cracks. The front panel is really nice, needing only a cleaning and some wax. Ditto with the knobs...all original, nice white lines, just needing some wax to make them shine! I haven't pulled the case yet, but aside from removing some dust from the chassis top, I don't forsee any problems with this radio.

Initial tests on 40 and 80 meters have reveiled a need for an alignment. Audio is a bit gravelly, but with some DeOxit and patience, it will be as good as new shortly. All the controls will get the DeOxit treatment, in addition the bandswitch will also get some DeOxit; not a lot, just a bit to clean up the crud that has accumulated on the bandswitch contacts. One thing for sure, that bandswitch controls high voltage to various stages of the receiver, so getting through the years worth of accumulated muck will restore the proper voltages to these sages and cause the receiver to work a whole lot better!

I'm not sure of the number of "black-beauty" and paper capacitors that need to be replaced under the chassis. Also under scrutiny will be all of the carbon composition (carbon-comp) resistors that can change up to 300% in value over time. Believe me when I say, that I have seen these carbon-comp resistors with some huge ohmic variations from their initial values. Since these control voltages to the various stages of the receiver, having some of them out of tolerance is not conducive to outstanding receiver performance.

As for the overall cosmetic condition and possible improvement/restoration, I don't feel, at this time, it will be warranted. The receiver is in that good of shape. This was one of the major factors in my bidding and winning this particular receiver. Since I am virtually no good a repainting or touching up radio cabinets/front panels, any time I can get a piece of gear in cherry cosmetic shape, I am well ahead of the game. 

We will revisit the K7SZ AM station project in the future. For now I am going to bed with the prospect of getting some more sleep! 

Vy 73 es hope to work you on the bands.

Rich Arland, K7SZ