Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Drake Collective Strikes Again!!!!!

Remember back a couple of posting ago when I was talking about the Drake Collective ("Resistance is Futile"....where the heck do you think the Borg got the idea!???) Well, it has long tentacles! Presently I am attending the Birmingham (AL) hamfest at the Zamora Shrine Temple just outside B'ham. I was a guest speaker (on QRP, of course) so Peppermint Patti (KB3MCT) decided this would be a good venue to off-load some of the junk....(she actually meant priceless radio artifacts!!!) and clear off some shelves (to make room for more priceless radio artifacts!)

We loaded up the Jeep, stopped by Ken Evans', W4DU, place, picked him and the QRP ARCI gear up (he was a vendor at the fest) and headed west on I-20. Great trip....that little old Jeep Hemi got us there in great time!!!

We were invited to attend the DX Dinner Friday evening at a local restaurant...the food was excellent and the company outstanding. Walking into the bar I met Charles Barclay, formerly of the Philadelphia 76s basket ball team! He's a really nice guy!

In addition to Charles, I FINALLY got to meet (in person), Don Keith, N4KC, with whom I had been corresponding for about 2 years via e-mail. Don, in addition to being a world famous award winning author, is also an expert on WWII "fleet boats"....that's diesel-electric submarines, for all you land-lubbers out there!) His recent book "Undersea Warrior" about Dudley "Mush" Morton, famous WWII sub driver (USS Wahoo...Google it for a great story) I found absolutely fascinating. In addition, I had recently met Mush Morton's grandson, Chris Balch, KS2MM, in Atlanta! Life is good!

Don, myself, and Dave Kuechenmister, N4KD, are driving to Dayton in May so I am looking forward to an outstanding weekend on the road with two of my favorite people! Dave, by the way, is a retired Marine aviator: Bomb/Nav on A-6 Intruders (check out the movie "Flight of the Intruder" for some background on the aircraft and what Dave's job entailed). So here we have a "bubble-head", a Gyrine Airedale, me (the USAF Comm-Weinee), and at Dayton, we'll be meeting Dino Papas, KL0S, a retired Army Infantry Colonel.....what could POSSIBLY go wrong? Dino says he'll keep us out of jail....yeah, right!

Back to the Drake Collective: My 2B receiver and my recently acquired TR-4 transceiver had been hard at work contacting the Collective. During the DX Dinner, I was approached by John Outland, K3FP, a member of the local antique radio collector's group in B'ham. He told me that they had recently acquired a complete Drake TR-4 station: TR-4 transceiver, RV-4 remote VFO w/speaker, and AC-4 power supply from an estate sale and would I be interested in purchasing it from their club? I told him "NO", I already had a TR-4, but was looking for an AC-4 PSU. To this he replied "The entire station is being sold for $250.00, still not interested?"

What could I say? Peppermint Patti gave the "nod" and we had a deal. I took possession of a very nice TR-4 and associated accessories at the hamfest on Saturday. In addition, Jeff Drew, N4JDU, had a Rohn 25G house bracket for sale which would secure the bottom 25 feet of my 70 ft tower to the side of our house for $50. Talk about a win-win day! Now the tower project was back on track (at a cost savings of about $125 over the cost of a new house bracket from Rohn Tower company). This was a great weekend for Ham Radio.

The B'ham fest is a great venue. The Shrine Temple is very nice and clean, Loads of space for vendors inside plus a huge parking lot for outside "flea market vendors". What's not to like??

My presentation on Saturday "Doing More With Less" was taped for replay on Sunday and possible sale to interested club members in the B'ham area. This was a warm up for my gig at Dayton. I picked up some great feedback from my audience and plan on tweaking the PowerPoint presentation prior to giving it at the HARA in Dayton. This will be my 4th year presenting a QRP program at the Dayton HamVention.

So that is about all from Birmingham for now. We will be leaving to return to the Bent Dipole Ranch in Dacula (GA) later today. The 2.5-3 hr drive is a relatively short one. By tonight I should have one of my TWO Drake TR-4s up on the air! I an anxious, as these old tube-type radios were "Everyman's" answer to Collins Radio Company and their KWM-2 transceiver, at about $1500 in 1970 money!!

Vy 73

Rich K7SZ

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