Saturday, February 9, 2013

It's just one Boatanchor !!

It's insidious. It starts small and grows exponentially and quite rapidly. Of course, I am talking about the "Boatanchor Phenomenon": that dark elusive subculture within the Ham Radio hobby that intertwines itself in the deep, dark recesses of an unsuspecting Ham Radio Operator's gray matter, only to quickly overwhelm his mind. There is no cure for the "Boatanchor Phenomenon". Once "bitten" you're jones-ing for life! There is no 12 step program. You're done! Period.

OK, the Drake 2B came my direction about 4-5 years or so ago. At that time I had a bunch of Boatanchors in the old place in PA. With the upcoming move to Georgia, I sold off almost all the stuff I had including several really cherry military rigs, one of which was specifically made up for me by Mark Francis, KI0PF. The things we do to keep the peace! Yes, it was depressing. No, I didn't need or use all those radios enough to warrant keeping them all. Yes, I was sad to see them go. No, I won't do it again.....yeah, right!

The 2B and a Heathkit Novice station (HR-10B, DX-60 & HG-10) were all that were left! The Heathkits went to N2APB last summer. The 2B was so very, VERY lonely! It was only a matter of time before the 2B started "communicating" via the Drake Collective (visualize the Borg, here). Seriously, these old radios can communicate with each other! Yes, I's crazy! BUT IT'S TRUE!!!

Shortly after I decided to restore the 2B I received a call from Dave Kuechenmeister, N4KD, who just happened to have a lonely, oh so VERY lonely Drake TR-4 transceiver. Arland got sucked in.....again! Of course, it doesn't have a AC-4 power supply (PSU) or MS-4 speaker cabinet. Why in God's name would I need a PSU? Oh, power the radio! Whew! Almost forgot that these older rigs required an outboard PSU. However, Dayton is on the horizon so I should be able to find one of each there....especially if both the 2B and TR-4 both start "communicating" on the Drake Collective. Funny thing about that is extremely effective in finding gear for Boatanchor Dudes needing to feed their addiction. Yeah, funny...very funny. Peppermint Patti (KB3MCT) ain't laughin'!

Flash forward to the North Georgia QRP Group (NoGA) meeting on January 8, 2013: there is David, N4KD, with his hands full of Drake TR-4, staring at me with an evil gleam in his eye. I took the rig and started looking it over. Cosmetics were very, VERY good: at least an 8.5-9 on a 10 point scale. All the knobs, pots and switches were functional, no rub marks on the front panel, good cabinet paint, just a few small nicks, and the copper circuit board looked very good for a 40+ year old radio. All the tubes were in their respective sockets and it even came with an original manual. S/N: 29510 (for whatever that means).

David assured me that he borrowed a Drake AC-3 PSU and had the rig powered up. It received well, with the receiver being nice and sensitive (this is subjective as David didn't have access to a calibrated RF signal generator to actually check for minimal discernible signal or MDS). Lacking a proper microphone, Dave managed to fire the transmitter up in the CW mode and got approximately 120 Watts OUTPUT power from the rig. As I seem to recall these Drake TR-4s used three TV sweep tubes in the final power amplifier (called the final or PA) and they were good for about 300 Watts INPUT power, which, given approximately 50% efficiency of the PA put us in the ball park for RF output power.

So, here is the current situation: I have a Drake 2B receiver that needs some work and I now have a Drake TR-4 AM/SSB/CW transceiver (circa early 1970s) in working condition needing an AC power supply (AC-3 or AC-4). Of course, this now means that I have to find (and most likely re-cap) a PSU for the rig along with finding a matching speaker cabinet (MS-4), not to mention a RV-4 remote VFO to complete the set. OH! How could I forget: I need the W-4 watt meter that matches the radio/VFO/Speaker/PSU.....then there is the MN-4 antenna tuner....Oh, GOD!!! When will it stop?!

Monday, February 4, 2013

K7SZ's Essential Book Shelf_01

Buy this book: SolderSmoke--Global Adventures in Wireless Electronics by Bill Meara, N2CQR. Seriously, every Ham Radio operator needs this book. It a great read. Bill's unique writing style takes us on a very personal trip recounting his time in the radio hobby. Bill's narrative (which is hardly dry), is totally captivating, The real gem here is that he offers terrific insight into the "why things work the way they do in radio". His explanations are well grounded in electronic theory but without a lot of the intensive math that is required for an engineering student. In short, SolderSmoke--Global Adventures in Wireless Electronics is a must read, not only for the fascinating look at Bill's history in Ham Radio, but to get a grasp on the various phenomena that masquerades as "electronic theory". This is a self-published book via LuLu but it is available as a Kindle edition via (check out: While I read it on Kindle, I am procuring a hard copy for Patricia, KB3MCT, my wife, to help her with the Extra class theory. Yes, it's that good. Just get the'll be very glad you did.

While you are at it, drop by the SolderSmoke blog ( and check out this world class radio blog. Oh, don't forget Bill's SolderSmoke podcasts ( which contain a tremendous source of interesting information direct from Bill in audio format.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Disaster/Emergency/Survival Communications

I have received several e-mails outside the blog (off-blog?), all dealing with disaster/emergency communications. Ever since the terrorist attacks of 9-11, emergency communications (EmComm) has become extremely important, sometimes taking on a life of it's own on various blogs and websites. EmComm has spawned a subculture within the Ham Radio hobby that focuses on "radio readiness". Our national organization, the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) offers several courses in communications readiness with the emphasis on EmComm. Countless websites and blogs are on-line offering their particular spin on this facet of Ham Radio. Each month the ARRL publishes an "E-Letter", a combination web-based e-zine/blog, hosted by Rick Palm, K1CE, that deals with EmComm and what is hot (and what is not) on the ARRL horizon. If you get the idea that EmComm is really important you are on the right track.

In addition to EmComm, the topic of "prepping" has also exploded upon the information super highway, with blogs/websites popping up like weeds! Prepping is the 21st Century version of Survivalism, a popular if not divisive topic of the 1980s and 90s. New name, same old game. Stir up the uninformed, easily duped, socially inept, conspiracy theory susceptible folks out there in middle-America and you have a ready made audience of people who could be easily led to spend tons of hard earned money laying in a years supply of food, horde military grade weaponry, take courses in armed and unarmed combat all because they don't trust their government. Hey, there's one born every minute, right?

PLEASE don't misunderstand me. I truly believe in being prepared. After all that was the primary message drilled into me during my time in the Boy Scouts when I was younger. A Boy Scout is Always Prepared (also "Thrifty, brave, clean and reverent!!") NO, I am NOT making fun of the Boy Scouts. Quite the contrary, their mantra of always "being prepared" has special meaning and merit in today's convoluted world. Natural and man-made disasters abound. Look no further than Hurricane's Katrina, Isaac and Winter Storm Sandy. Tens of thousands of ordinary citizens were adversely impacted, many of whom had to quickly evacuate their homes/sanctuaries and become refugees overnight. How many of these people were really "prepared"? A little pre-planning coupled with an evacuation/relocation plan would have made a tremendous difference in their overall well being as well as not becoming part of a larger problem.

Those of us who are Ham Radio operators have an additional requirement and that is to offer our selves, our gear and our unique communications capabilities in an effort to help mitigate these emergencies. If we are to fulfill our role in the Grand Scheme of Things, we need to become proficient in traffic handling, deploying our comm gear (including antennas and power equipment) in support of our served agencies (Red Cross, Salvation Army, local/county/state Emergency Management Agencies, DHS, and FEMA). To top all this off we need to be completely self contained; ie. autonomous, otherwise we become a burden on the very mechanism designed to mitigate the actual disaster. Bottom line: This EmComm stuff ain't no light weight deal! It is serious, deathly serious.     

OK, now that I have that off my chest, let's take a critical in depth look at disaster/emergency/survival communications from a Ham Radio perspective. I have long been an advocate of offering my services as an emergency radio communicator to my local community. Over the years I have been a member of Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES), Radio Amateur Communications Emergency Service (RACES), Military Affiliate Radio Service (MARS), and REACT International, to name a few. This is, what I personally consider, a mandate from the FCC in exchange for allowing us to utilize the radio spectrum in pursuit of our hobby. My wife of 32 years, Patricia, KB3MCT, got her ham license specifically to participate in disaster/emergency communications. That is how serious the two of us take our involvement with Ham Radio hobby! There is virtually no hobby in the world that offers the participant the chance to give back to his/her community the way Ham Radio does.

So what makes an emergency or EmComm communicator? 20-30 years ago all you had to do is show up with a 2 meter HT and a spare battery and you were "in". Things are quite a bit different in today's post 9-11 world of emergency communications. Today you have to have training. Lots and lots of training. Almost all ARES/RACES organizations require a new EmComm candidate to participate in some kind of pre-deployment training program. Normally this involves taking a couple of FEMA on-line courses and passing a local test structured around their particular served agency. After you successfully complete this training you get some form of ID card and/or car placard that identifies you as a deployable emergency communications asset. Unfortunately, this trend has taken on gigantic proportions and the direction I am seeing things heading is NOT a good thing. More on this later. For now, let's concentrate on gathering the necessary training and gear to allow you to perform in an EmComm or disaster/emergency situation. We'll leave the "survival" aspect for later.


The one aspect of the military that I have carried over into civilian life is the idea that the more you train the better at your job you will become. My long time friend and former U.S. Army Special Forces (Green Beret), Jon Nelson, told me a couple of things over the years: First, "The more you bleed in training the less you bleed in combat". Interesting analogy. Second, "All training is good. Their is no such thing as "bad" training". Jon should know, as his life depended upon those two philosophies during his three tours in Vietnam with 5th Group.

One thing for sure, if you dedicate yourself to your craft, you will eventually become an expert, capable of doing things that others just stand back and marvel at. This can be directly applied to EmComm. Take, for instance, the task of message handling. The ARRL has the National Traffic System or NTS, a group of hams who regularly handle message traffic providing a free message service to anyone wanting/needing to send a message to friends/family, using Ham Radio. Local V/UHF networks (nets) handle locally generated traffic. Transcontinental (TRANS-CON) nets take locally generated messages and transmit them across the US and Canada via HF and digital links when needed. In essence we have our own message trafficking system that is independent from the Internet, cell phone, POTS (plain old telephone system) and other conventional transmission media.

Why would one want or need to utilize the NTS? I pose a counter question: "What is the first convenient communications system to disappear during a catastrophic emergency?" Answer: the cellular telephone system, followed closely by the internet. Neither of these communications mediums was, is now or ever will be as robust as amateur radio. Period. That is why we, as Ham Radio operators need to be on top of our game when it comes to EmComm, especially the fine art of message handling and handling net operations as a net control stations (NCS).

While, in all my years in EmComm I have yet to actually pass emergency traffic using the standard ARRL NTS message format, knowing how to do it puts in place a structure that I can rely upon when called on to generate or pass disaster mitigation messages. The actual NTS message format is not the point. The point is that you, by participating in formal traffic nets, learn proper net procedures and know how to check into and out of a structured/formal net, and, if necessary, assume NCS duties.

In addition to all the previously explained reasons for getting involved with ARES/RACES/NTS nets, there is a major push on to "go digital". While packet radio has been around for 30 years, it never found a real home until it was employed by EmComm nets to support message traffic during crisis. In addition to packet, there are other digital modes like WinLink 2000, NBEAMS, echolink, and others. All require specialized equipment and training to use them effectively. With the almost universal acceptance of internet e-mail, the idea that disaster mitigation professionals can utilize something very similar to e-mail (packet or WinLink), makes these modes an easy sell. However, you need training. You need specialized accessory equipment (terminal node controllers or TNCs). AND you need to know HOW to interface and use all this new-fangled digital stuff!! 

FEMA offers the EmComm operator a whole listing of on-line computer courses designed for disaster mitigation professionals. Most ARES/RACES organizations require at least IS-100 and IS-700 as prerequisites to becoming a deployable EmComm asset. These courses are easily taken on-line and offer a wealth of information to the new EmComm operator. Additionally, your local ARES unit will most likely require you to take and pass a local test regarding their particular served agencies, to become deployable. Again, good training. I know that many people think that they don't need this training and possibly perceive it as total "BS". However, let me assure you that the more training you have the better you will be prepared to fulfill your commitment as an EmComm operator.

It wouldn't hurt to look over the list of FEMA courses and take a few on you own initiative to round out your overall view of how emergencies are handled. Personally  I have taken courses on HAZMAT, shelter management, nuclear emergencies, etc. I also provide my local ARES training person with copies of these graduation certificates so my records are current in the event that I am needed to perform EmComm duties in a specific tasking as opposed to a general deployment in support of emergency shelters, etc.

At one time the ARRL offered various courses including antenna modeling, digital modes, etc. Currently the ARRL offers courses in emergency communications with links to other related FEMA courses. Check out: for the latest course summaries.

In addition, you would be well advised to check out courses offered by your local community college(s), county fire departments, etc. Citizens Emergency Response Teams (CERT) are becoming popular training grounds for concerned citizens that want to be involved with disaster/emergency mitigation. While not directly associated with ARES/RACES or the ARRL, these CERT units are a great way to expand your training and help your community. Your EmComm capabilities are a definite plus!  

Comm Gear

About 99% of your disaster/emergency communications will involve 2 meters and possibly 70 centimeters (cms) FM communications. Therefore, spend the money, procure a quality dual band (V/UHF) mobile transceiver (in the 35-60 watt range) and be done with it. Augment this with one or two dual band (V/UHF) 5 watt hand-held transceivers (HTs) and spare batteries, since you will need these for liaison communications. Most dual band mobile radios can be configured as remote-base radios, which basically means they can be used as a portable or mobile repeater system, right from your vehicle!! Cool, huh?? With a set of dual band HTs and a dual band mobile rig, you are set to do some real disaster/emergency communications. Whether you are deployed to a newly activated evacuee shelter or are "shadowing" an EMA/FEMA official, these radios will serve you well. You don't have to mount your dual band mobile in your vehicle (the "normal" configuration). Many ARES/RACES communicators have portable stations incorporating these mobile dual banders. I have a Stanley portable workbench system that contains two deep cycle glass-mat gel-cell batteries and an Icom IC-2720 dual band V/UHF rig that I can wheel into a shelter, EOC, or porta-potty, and be on the air within about 2 minutes! What's not to like!!!

My personal "Go-Kit/Go-Bag" has gone through many transformations. In 2013, after about 20 tries, I have come to the conclusion that there is no such thing as a perfect Go-Bag. I have used everything from a briefcase to a multi-container backpack, and I still haven't settled on a platform that satisfies my requirements. Patricia, KB3MCT, my wife and ARES/RACES partner, fails to fully comprehend my personal quest to get that elusive thing called a Go-Bag.

Go-Bag, "Get out of Dodge" (G-O-O-D) Bag, Bug-Out-Bag (BOB), reaction kit: what ever you want to call it, the idea is the same; something you can grab that holds everything you need for short term survival, that will help you perform as an emergency/disaster communicator. For years, in the USAF, I kept a Go-Bag in the closet in the event that I was tapped for a short-term deployment/TDY, in support of our on going USAF comm mission, both stateside and abroad. Missions change: the idea of a Go-Bag doesn't. As an ARES/RACES comm asset you are required to be deployable for a minimum of 72 hours, and that means you need to get your shit together and assemble a Go-Bag that will allow you to perform your EmComm duties.In short, you need to autonomous; independent of the disaster relief system you are there to support. The old adage, "If you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem" holds true!

There are numerous Internet websites and books that will offer the basics of what you need to include in your Go-Bag. Personally, while their intentions are good, you really need to evaluate your specific EmComm duties and requirements, then plan accordingly. As good place to start is Seriously, Amazon has a bunch of "bug-out-bag" books and the wealth of information contained therein is priceless. My favorite is "Build the Perfect Bug-Out Bag: by Creek Stewart. This one small book is essential to get you conditioned to thinking like a person who needs "just enough stuff" to get them through the first 72 hours in good shape. While this book is geared to bugging out (emergency relocation) in times of a disaster, we hams can utilize it to formulate a template for a great bug-out-bag that we can use in our EmComm deployments.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for emergency/survival communications equipment. There is a definite lack of books on this subject, and I really don't know why. I have carefully considered writing a book for EmComm operators, with the help of two other extremely experienced EmComm communicators. However, the written media is coming to a halt in the not too distant future. In fact, the future is in e-publication. Therefore, I will be using this blog as a bully pulpit to further the knowledge of emergency/survival communications. So, stay tuned! Things are about to get interesting.

Until next time, get busy: find a local ARES/RACES group, sign up, get trained, turn out for training scenarios and offer your community the benefit of your experiences with communications.


Rich K7SZ


Friday, February 1, 2013


Boatanchors....I LOVE Boatanchors. No, I am NOT talking about the big, old, ugly thing that sailors drop over the side of their boat/ship to secure it's position when not in motion. I AM talking about those old pieces of vacuum tube radio gear that are extremely heavy (due to the transformer/inductor "iron" included on their chassis to convert AC into DC and rectify RF into Audio, and convert Audio into RF). One of the most iconic Boatanchors is the Heathkit DX-100 AM/CW transmitter, which weighs in at around 100 pounds! Seriously, I had one in college and it was a MONSTER! Glad I didn't have to lug it up a couple of flights of stairs to my room.

Over the intervening years, I have restored countless Boatanchors and the thrill of seeing an old radio, whether it be a receiver, transmitter or transceiver, come to life after a restoral/rehab is absolutely unbelievable! For you see these old radios have a story...a that cannot be told by sitting on a shelf or floor in an inoperable condition. They have to "sing". They need to be set free and made to work again after years of neglect. Yes, I am an incurable romantic....not only that, I truly believe that these old rigs have a personality and they actually "speak" to me. To fix them up and make them work again is a special gift I have. I am not alone. I know others that share my passion for Boatanchors. All of us Boatanchor Enthusiasts have a special calling. We are "radio whisperers", if you will. We speak for the radios, and when we complete a restoration or rehab, they can then speak for themselves. Like I said, it is a calling.

OK, now that most of you think I am certifiable, let me assure you that I am not. Boatanchor restoration takes an extraordinary skill set; a unique ability to see beyond the rust, corrosion, butchered modifications and look deep into the soul of the radio. It takes a special dedication to take a cast off piece of radio gear and put in countless hours of work and dollars of personal expense to get these old radios back on the air. It is definitely for the love of the hobby.

Oh, did I mention that the voltages inside these old metal monsters can kill you?? YUP, shore can! Took almost 1000V across my left hand one day in the Azores from an old Collins transceiver! Thankfully I was not holding onto the microphone with my right hand, or that 1KV would have gone in my left hand, up my left arm, through my heart, and out my right hand, most likely killing me stone cold dead right there in the shack! One must be careful when working on these old rigs, that is for sure.

My current Boatanchor restoration centers on a R.L. Drake 2B communications receiver, circa 1960. I remember when the 2B was "the receiver" to own. It was state-of-the-art at the time and, for a paltry $279 (in 1960 dollars) it was a great deal! Interestingly enough, you can purchase a 2B on e-bay or at a ham radio website for around $250, which is not too far off the original MSRP. (of course the dollar adjustment between 1960 and now is substantial but it does prove how well this receiver has held its value)

My 2B came to me by way of a ham down in Texas. I have purchased several radios from Gary and know him to be a very honest and upstanding ham radio operator. This 2B came with the optional 2BQ, Q-Multiplier/speaker housing. This accessory increases the selectivity of the receiver tremendously by adding a regenerative stage into the IF strip of the 2B. By setting the 2BQ just before oscillation, the 2B has a razor sharp IF strip that reviles today's high end solid-state receivers/transceivers!

Initially, the only thing wrong with this receiver/Q-Multiplier combo was some rubbed front panel markings on the BFO and Product Detector switches. Since this was only a cosmetic blemish I was not overly concerned. I used the 2B/2BQ for about 4 years and had a ball, pairing it with my Heathkit DX-60B transmitter along with a clone of the iconic AMECO AC-1 crystal controlled tube-type transmitter of the late 1950s. It performed flawlessly and I had a lot of fun with this radio.


However, shortly after Straight Key Night (SKN) in January 2013, the 2B started exhibiting an inordinate amount of audio (AF) distortion. The distortion was present without regard to the settings of the AF or RF gain control or the settings of the BFO/Product Detector switches. This indication has led me to the conclusion that the distortion could be traced to the cathode bypass capacitor on the AF amplifier tube (a 6AQ5) or possibly the biasing resistor or coupling capacitor on the same stage.

I have joined the Drake group on Yahoo ( What a bunch of GREAT hams. Seriously, these guys have provided me with a ton of information on where to go from here on the 2B. Garey Barrell, K4OAH, is the group moderator and he offers a service for fellow Drake owners/restorers: a series of DVD/CDs that are rig specific, showing detailed color high quality digital pictures, labeled with each and every component. In addition he includes the operations/service manual(s), modifications, schematics, etc. The CD for my 2B cost only $20 which included first class USPS shipping! I had it 3 days after I ordered it and what a great source of 2B info! If you have a Drake radio you are in need of upgrading, restoring, or troubleshooting, I strongly urge you to contact Garey at and pick up a CD for your particular Drake rig. You'll be glad you did.

Tom Farland, N0JMY, at Hayseed Hamfest Co., ( offers several unique services for the Boatanchor restorer. Tom's primary line of parts centers on multi-section electrolytic capacitors to replace the leaky power supply caps in an old radio. Over the years these electrolytic power supply caps become "leaky", which means they no longer function as intended and allow 120 cycle hum to become prevalent in the radio. Nothing is quite as irritating as that constant 120 cycle hum on the receive audio in a receiver. Replacing the main power supply electrolytic caps can be problematic, since replacement caps are not exactly a stock item at Radio Shack! Tom manufactures extremely high quality multi-section caps that are exact physical replacements for the original PSU parts. Tom's prices are very reasonable, the replacement for my 2B PSU electrolytic (a 4 section device: 100 microfarads @ 200VDC X 2 and 10 microfarads @ 200VDC X 2) cost about $30.00 plus a couple of bucks for USPS shipping. This is an exact replacement for the stock Drake cap and is made with modern techniques, so it's just not a NOS (new, old stock) part that is 40-50 years old! Tom offers replacement caps for Heathkit, Drake, Collins and other Ham Radio gear, so if you are in need of a power supply rebuild, I highly recommend you drop by Heyseed Hamfest and check out what Tom and his wife Julie have to offer.

Right now I am in a holding pattern awaiting the arrival of these and other parts before beginning the electrical rebuild of my Drake 2B. Aside from replacing the main PSU electrolytic (Heyseed Hamfest) and several other capacitors in key places) and doing some routine voltage checks to isolate the stage(s) that are inducing the AF distortion, it should only take about 4-5 hours to complete this electrical restoration.

Of course, just replacing some caps and possibly some out of tolerance resistors would be meaningless without doing a complete re-alighment of the receiver RF and IF stages. this will take another 3 or so hours, to do it correctly.

As long as I have the radio out of its case, I will be re-painting the case and will attempt to get a vinyl overlay for the front panel to spruce it up a bit and be rid of the rubbed lettering on the original painted panel. This is another service Tom, N0JMY, offers. He started doing vinyl overlays for Heathkit HW-16 transceivers a few years ago and has branched out into other radio gear. According to Tom, a new vinyl overlay for my Drake 2B will cost about $35 and he and Julie will apply it to the panel if I will send the panel to them. Can't beat that price! I received a quote from another source who offered to re-silk scrreen my 2B front panel for $110...on top of an additional $150 to cover costs of making the silkscreen mask, mount it and get it ready to use. No thanks....for that kind of money I can obtain another 2B!!!

More on this restoration as time allows.

Vy 73

Rich K7SZ

Hello and welcome the inaugural posting on The Commo Bunker, a blog devoted to Ham Radio and the radio hobby. If you love radio and want to participate in the blog you are hereby invited to post. Just keep it civil, no flame wars, and, above all, be courteous, it's a family show!

My name is Rich Arland, Ham Radio call sign K7SZ, and I have been an active ham off and on for 50 years. I was first licensed in 1963 as KN7YHA, a Novice class license holder. After about a year I upgraded my Novice ticket and my enjoyment of the radio hobby took off like a rocket.

I have had the pleasure of operating from various areas around the world thanks to a 20 year career in the U.S. Air Force. Over the years I have had the following calls: CT2BH (Azores 1970-73), KA2AA (Japan 1974-79), G5CSU (England 1979-84), DA2NE (W. Germany, 1982-84), K7YHA (USA 1964-1996), K7SZ (USA 1996-present).

Since I became an Amateur Radio Operator in the heyday of vacuum tube equipment, I cut my electronic teeth on Hallicrafters, Heathkits, Hammarlunds, Drakes, and Collins gear. To this day I love to procure an older piece of tube gear (lovingly called "Boatanchors") and restore it to it's previous glory. Nothing beats the feeling of bringing an old Boatanchor rig back to life. The smell of warm electronics, the soft sensual glow of the vacuum tube filaments; you just can't beat it!!

I intend to use this blog to promote the radio hobby and introduce you, the participant, to other blogs and websites that will expand and increase your knowledge and enjoyment of the hobby.

To that end, I will also occasionally include a mini product review of a piece of gear, accessory, antenna, and test equipment, that I have personally used and feel worth sharing. I am not on anyone's payroll nor do I have a vested interest in any Ham Radio equipment/accessory/antenna manufacturer. My opinions regarding a review will include an honest report of my findings sans any marketing hype. I will make every effort to insure that the review includes an up-to-date website URL and pricing information (when available).

Also, upon occasion, I will shamelessly promote my latest book: "The ARRL's Low Power Communications, the Art and Science of QRP (4th edition)". After all, it is the BEST book on the market regarding under 5 watt Ham Radio!! As soon as I lay in a stock of books, I will be offering signed copies for sale. However, that will come a bit later, after I get comfortable with this blog. (Small steps, Arland, small steps!)

So, there you have it! The gist of what The Commo Bunker is all about. I appreciate all feedback and will attempt to shape and improve this blog accordingly.

Vy 73

Rich K7SZ