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Newbie to AM




 
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Author Topic: Newbie to AM  (Read 14496 times)
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W9PSK
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« on: July 08, 2012, 06:21:33 AM »

Hello everyone.  I am a newbie to AM.  I was very pleased to find out that my IC735 is a good "rice box" on AM.  I've only talked on AM a couple of times, but both times I got very good audio reports.  Anyway, among my many questions is what other "rice box" rigs are known for being good on AM?  How about the Yaesu FT950 and the Kenwood TS590?  Are those good ones?  The reason I ask is because they are on my short list of candidates for my next HF rig.  
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WA3VJB
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« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2012, 07:01:57 AM »

Welcome !

I see you've floated in from the Island of Misfit Hams, James.  We've found one too, and find the environment just to our liking. : )

Joining the earlier congratulations I saw regarding your license upgrade.

You've come to one of the right places.

Good transmit audio is 1/2 of the transaction.  I suggest consideration of what your next HF rig sounds like as it receives wholesome AM signals.

If AM is not the only part of the hobby where you are participating, it may also become necessary to decide a tradeoff among those other modes and activities where a given transceiver might perform more to your liking.

Then again, in the grand scheme of things, many of us have more than one "station," tailored to each part where we enjoy getting on the air.

I wish you the best pursuing our part of the hobby. You may already have discovered how satisfying it is to listen to the warm, inviting sound of AM, along with the characters and their storytelling that perpetuate the concept of "radio" as an entertainment venue.


* IMAG0434-1.jpg (361.85 KB, 2324x1644 - viewed 337 times.)
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W9PSK
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« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2012, 07:36:47 AM »

Thank you.  I had to set sail far away from the Island.  I only have so much patience and simply got tired of my internal nonsense meter being pegged all the time.  LOL!

At any rate, I want to make sure that my interest in AM sticks around before seriously looking at AM dedicated equipment.  I have, however, done some research and think a National NC-303 would be good for the receiver side of an AM setup.  I like the Heathkit DX-100, but was told getting one could create parts issues and whatnot.  So, I am still working on something to go along with the 303.  I've been told that $700-$800 would set me up nicely, which doesn't seem too unreasonable. 

The reason I am asking about a modern rig is because the 735 is getting a little long in the tooth.  Even if I don't get the bug bad enough to put together a dedicated AM station, I would still like a new HF rig to have decent performance on AM.
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ve6pg
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« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2012, 07:59:22 AM »

you dont have to lay-out 7-800.00, and parts really are not an issue. these old viking2s i have did not cost me more than 100.00 each. if a guy wants an overhauled repainted museum quality transmitter, ya, that could be big bucks. sitting on the floor here, is a very good looking apache i picked-up at a hamfest. the guy said it was missing the vfo. i opened the lid, and it is there...the band switch was is issue...i paid 25bux for it.
 alot of guys dont want the heavy stuff, or know how to fix it. on this board there are guys who can answer any question, provide needed parts, etc.
 
..and by the way, welcome..

..tim..

..sk..
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Pete, WA2CWA
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« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2012, 03:05:12 PM »

I would suggest reviewing our "Modern Rigs" forum, http://amfone.net/Amforum/index.php?board=49.0
Lots of info on the newer rigs including one on the IC-735. Many of the current rigs on the market sound very good on AM and require very little diddling as was required for some of the solid-state rigs of 10 to 20 years ago. Typically, most of these current rigs only put out about 25 to 50 watts carrier (depending on the rig), so generally a linear would be required to reach out far into the ether. Finding replacement parts are generally not much of a problem with old rigs. Parts suppliers, flea markets, rigs being parted out, begging at your local street corner, etc. generally will turn up what you need.
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« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2012, 04:49:01 PM »

Welcome whatever your name is.

Ive heard that the TS-590 has unpublished menus to open up the audio and sounds excellent. I use a TS-950SD at times into a linear with the audio around 3300Hz. Dont expect 20-30W to be heard well outside of local area or higher bands than 75/160. There is a lot of 10M AM when the band is open and the others have varying activity, it can be real busy on 50.4 when 6M is open

The NC-303 was primarily a SSB/CW radio and AM is pretty restricted. The NC-300 would be a better AM radio and is a lot easier to find. Nice examples show up for $100-150 since so many were sold, there are factory and other mods for it also. The SX-101A is another hamband only candidate as is the HQ-170. Older Collins such as the 75A2 and A3 can often be found very reasonable.

If you are OK with doing some repairs and upgrades any of the 100W or more Johnsons do well while a barefoot Ranger at 35W easily gets lost in the noise. OTOH if you have a SSB linear most will give it a nice boost.

Others to consider are the B&W 5100B, various Globe Champion 300 and 350's, DX-100, Apache, Collins 32V1 and V2 (the V3 is a PITA to work on)

Carl

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W1AEX
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« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2012, 05:08:18 PM »

Hi,

Welcome to the AM mode! I have a TS-590S that is used primarily for the digital modes but I can say that it has a fine receiver for AM that's quite pleasant to listen to with its ability to be adjusted out to a bandwidth of 10kc. Unfortunately, on the transmit side I'm sorry to report it's not all that great for AM. The DSP is bandwidth stopped at 6kc for the AM mode (3+3) which limits your ability to develop much presence rise. It sounds fairly smooth and it does pass the low end quite impressively but it will sound very muffled if you overdo it. When viewed on the scope it appears to fall just short of 100% modulation but no one has indicated any problem hearing me when I've played around with it on AM.

An mp3 recording of the TS-590S transmitting AM is attached along with a look at the signal on a panadapter. That's what it sounds like with a cheap electret microphone plugged right into the front panel. Also attached is a screenshot of the software EQ setting being used in that recording. Note that with most of the profiles I have created for my TS-590S the EQ is pushed to punch up the presence rise area which seems to be sorely lacking in this rig. Just my opinion of course.

For roughly the same amount of money you might consider going with a Flex 3000 if you don't mind coupling it to your computer. They can be set to go out to 9kc (4.5+4.5) on transmit and you'll have the added bonus of synchronous detection on receive.

The link below (although primarily focused on the TS-590S software for creating SSB TX EQ profiles) might give you some insight into the limitations imposed by Kenwood on the TS-590S transmit audio:    

http://www.w1aex.com/ts590s/ts590s.html

73,

Rob W1AEX


* ts-590s am tx.jpg (27.2 KB, 792x292 - viewed 295 times.)
* TS-590S AM 7-9-2012 3 37 04 PM.mp3 (446.12 KB - downloaded 148 times.)

* ts-590s eq.jpg (47.28 KB, 776x351 - viewed 290 times.)
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w3jn
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« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2012, 06:28:22 PM »

It's far easier to find parts for a DX-100 than just about any rig made between 10 and 20 years ago.  Don't be afraid of a DX-100!

A couple of articles that might help you in selecting a receiver:
http://www.amwindow.org/tech/htm/slabrxreview.htm
http://amfone.net/ECSound/JNRECS.html
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Todd, KA1KAQ
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« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2012, 06:33:44 PM »

It's far easier to find parts for a DX-100 than just about any rig made between 10 and 20 years ago.  Don't be afraid of a DX-100!

Absolutely! Cheap to buy, and numerous parts from the Apache will work too, IIRC. As well, it's one of the better sounding (and reliable) transmitters once you get it squared away.  

Ricebox rigs have come a long way in the last decade with respect to AM, but future parts sources have already been a problem for sets like the TS-930/40 and others.

Enjoy.
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« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2012, 07:15:05 PM »

I want to throw out my welcome also .. I'm new into AM myself and just started checking into NETS this past week . I have a Viking II which I just love and a Heathket Apache also but I have a good friend down the road who is just great at working on these old rigs and loves to do. He's got a ton of radios and after you handle a few you will know what I mean by a ton LOL .. an Apache weights about 107  pounds for the transmitter alone LOL .. and about 85 for the Johnson Viking II ... throw in a VFO and speaker and a reciever and your on your own way to a ton ... well again WELCOME ... and hope you enjoy your days on AM .. we meet at 3:30 AM on 3.885 and 4:30 AM on 3.725 the OWL's and your right that's AM as in the morning .. early bird might get worms  but on 80 meters we join NETS ...

73 Don WC4D
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WS4B
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« Reply #10 on: July 08, 2012, 07:58:40 PM »

Anyway, among my many questions is what other "rice box" rigs are known for being good on AM?

If you consider a hybrid a rice box then I'll say an Yaesu FT-102, which is all I use! (Hear soundclip of me on the 102 with RX bandwidth being narrowed toward the end.)

As the others welcome to AM. A sked is always just an e-mail away. I hope to hear ya.

* WS4B 20 Meter AM.mp3 (525.31 KB - downloaded 166 times.)
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W9PSK
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« Reply #11 on: July 08, 2012, 08:44:52 PM »

Wow.  Thanks everyone for all the suggestions.  You guys are great.  BTW, my name is Jim but everyone calls me Rico.  Y'all have given me quite a bit to think about.  I am looking forward to learning more about what works and what doesn't work on AM. 
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KB2WIG
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« Reply #12 on: July 08, 2012, 11:12:25 PM »

J,

Welcome abord. You'l find lots of information here, and the guys/gals are mostley nice.

Do you know this guy?



klc


* Rico Suave.jpg (3.18 KB, 150x113 - viewed 563 times.)
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W9PSK
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« Reply #13 on: July 09, 2012, 05:55:49 AM »

Well, no luck yesterday catching anyone on 75 or 40.  Maybe it was the time of day and evening I tried listening.  No worries though.  I am still going to pursue this and see where it leads.  I've got my 735 tuned to 3885 right now.  Maybe I can catch some early morning activity. 

I've been thinking some more on the DX-100.  I like the fact that it does 100 watts.  I figured out yesterday than many of these older transmitters don't do that much and you have to run them with an amp.  I have an amp, but I'd much rather just have a transmitter that does 100 watts for now. 

I also decided that regardless of what I end up getting, I will have to get it from a hamfest or some other face to face type of transaction.  Shipping costs are just too stinkin high these days on something as heavy as these old rigs.  So, I am now hoping to make the Huntsville hamfest this year.  I attended two years ago and really liked it.  I wasn't able to make it last year though.  I will take a dolly and five of my closest friends with me in case I find some gigantor AM rig I just can't live without.  I am sure that two of them won't mind riding in the back of the truck! Cheesy
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WA3VJB
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« Reply #14 on: July 09, 2012, 08:52:05 AM »


Is that the Huntsville, Alabama fester you would hit?

Yes, it's best to see gear and the seller in person to get the most reliable impression of both.

There's an AM-oriented club in your region whose members would go to Huntsville. My old friend Andy WA4KCY organized the Southeastern AM Radio Club, and they also have a regular on-air gathering.

Getting to know them locally, and expressing your interests, may yield some good friendships, support, and direction toward a rig or two.

http://207.45.187.74/~wa4kcy/Pagesamrc.htm



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W2VW
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« Reply #15 on: July 09, 2012, 09:43:00 AM »


Ricebox rigs have come a long way in the last decade with respect to AM, but future parts sources have already been a problem for sets like the TS-930/40 and others.



What parts can you not find for these rigs? They seem to be very easy to get parts for.

I wouldn't use either on AM though due to power supply duty cycle and age.
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WB2CAU
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« Reply #16 on: July 09, 2012, 11:23:57 AM »


The NC-303 was primarily a SSB/CW radio and AM is pretty restricted. The NC-300 would be a better AM radio and is a lot easier to find. The SX-101A is another hamband only candidate as is the HQ-170.


I've owned an NC-300 and an NC-303.  AM is excellent on both models and my NC-303 was not restricted at all. 

However, while the HQ-170 is acceptable for AM, it is restricted and not an optimum choice.

I've always been partial to the DX-100 for a transmitter.  It covers 160m through 10m, is well designed, easy to modify, and there are plenty still out there, so prices tend to be lower than some other brands in the same power class.

Eric
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ve6pg
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« Reply #17 on: July 09, 2012, 01:33:32 PM »

..dx100, valiant, viking1/2, ranger all have 160...something you want in the winter...the receiver...make sure it receives 160..the sx101a does not, where the sx101 does..

..tim..

..sk..
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« Reply #18 on: July 09, 2012, 07:48:01 PM »

Your correct about the NC-303, I misspoke thinking it was 6kc. At 6kc the HQ-170 is a bit narrower but a good battle conditions receiver with still decent AM.

I often use a NC-300 and after a complete overhaul including matching all filter components to 1% its adequate on 75 at night here in the busy Northeast but not superb, the 3.5kc position gets used at times and the matching really helped CW in the .5kc position. I use it more on 10M and other higher HF bands.

I used a TS-940 on and off for about 20 years on AM and never lost a final, driver, or PS because of it. OTOH it was also used for contesting so the PS fan circuit was modified to come on at a lower temperature and the PA heatsink had a continuous quiet fan on it in addition to the stock one. I still have it over on the 2nd station.  The amp I used with it and now the TS-950SD is a LK-500ZC with about 25W drive and 350-375W out. At least the 950SD has a 12KHz IF LC filter for low stress times.

I just picked up a 12KHz 455KHz Collins mechanical filter from a Golden Eagle CB rig and will try retrofitting into the SP-400 to set the ultimate rejection and use the variable IF as needed. Im still looking for the ideal hollow state AM receiver thats not as much a PITA as the R-390A. I guess I could always use that filter in the 75A3 along with the 6KHz one already there and remove the 500HZ CW filter. But that also means a complete audio section rebuild as well as filter gain equalization. Probably more trouble than its worth.

Carl

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W9PSK
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« Reply #19 on: July 10, 2012, 04:29:02 AM »

Well, I am listening to the 3725 crowd right now, some of whom I am acquainted with from the Good Morning KY Phone Net.  Everyone sounds great this morning!
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ve6pg
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« Reply #20 on: July 10, 2012, 07:01:48 AM »

james, where are you located?..
..tim..
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W9PSK
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« Reply #21 on: July 10, 2012, 01:05:18 PM »

I live in Rockport, Indiana, a small town along the Ohio River across from Owensboro, Kentucky, and about 35 miles east of Evansville, Indiana.  EM67lv
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W9PSK
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« Reply #22 on: July 10, 2012, 01:09:42 PM »

Good news! It turns out I won't have to sneak any 100 lb radios in here afterall.  I talked with the wife about my growing interest in AM, showed her some pics of different receivers and transmitters, and she has given me the official OK on getting some boat anchors.  Of course, I will have to wait until the budget will allow it, but I might be able to pull off purchasing either a receiver or transmitter at Huntsville Hamfest next month, assuming I find anything I like that is.    Cheesy
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ve6pg
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« Reply #23 on: July 10, 2012, 01:25:22 PM »

..ok james..well, aside from the early risers, later in the morning there are guys on 3695, 3705, and our bunch, on 3725...been there for years...long before you fellows got expanded bands...you are in a great local for am guys...summer is tough, but once fall comes, the activity gets greater...good luck....btw, guys on 14286 last evening...
..tim..

..sk..
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W9PSK
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« Reply #24 on: July 12, 2012, 05:40:34 PM »

Well, not a whole that's new to report.  I haven't been able to catch much AM activity the last couple of days.  Part of that is from not being around the radio a whole lot, and also just not finding anything going on when I have had it on.  

I was told something via email that kind of surprised me.  I found a thread on another site that deals with the 735 and a mixer board.  I contacted a very well known supplier of ham radio microphones to get their opinion on how to set the 735 up this way.  Much to my surprise, the owner of said company told me that no matter what I do with it, the 735 has a very narrow transmit filter and adding a mixer board won't make a difference.  With the good reputation the 735 has among AMers, I was a bit surprised to read that.

I also surfed over to Rigpix to take a look at the FT102.  Man, that is a sweet looking radio!  I know asthetics isn't everything, but it's always nice when a radio is pleasing to the eyes.  I am going to have to start asking around to see if any local hams has one of those so I can check it out up close and personal.  

Other than that, not a whole lot has been going on.  I am still not sure about making the Huntsville Hamfest, but i really would like to go.  I will keep y'all posted.

73
Jim, W9PSK
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