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Your First Real AM Station




 
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Author Topic: Your First Real AM Station  (Read 4774 times)
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WU2D
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CW is just a narrower version of AM


« on: February 21, 2021, 08:46:49 AM »

Not counting kids projects and the Heath Twoer, my only experiences with AM were QSOs with IRB, mobile to mobile using my NCX-3 SSB (shown in picture) in the late 1970's. When my wife and I moved to New England; to Wakefield Mass. in late 1983, the first ham I ran into on the air was Steve WA1HUD, who was one town over in Stoneham Mass. I was attempting to screeam Modulate an ARC-5. He said I sounded terrible. "You have no audio. Good thing I can hear you through the window." Ha.

Finally I got hold of a TCS transmitter at Deerfield and this had AM potential. With the help of Timmy HLR and Steve SI, I strapped the TCS finals, pulled the modulator and made and external 1625 modulator with proper iron, and added negative cycle loading. So by 1985, I had an AM station. By the time this picture was taken i 86, we were living in Derry NH.

Later I would sell off the modulator and scrap out the modified TCS (to the horror of KW1I who said "you sold your modulator!"). But by 87 I had found my ART-13, and I have never looked back.   


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These are the good old days of AM
Jim/WA2MER
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« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2021, 12:48:39 PM »

My first AM station was also my first ham station of any kind: a Heathkit HW-17A. That was an awful radio on so many levels. I sold it within a couple of months and bought my first "real" AM station, a TDQ transmitter and a BC-342 with an Ameco nuvistor converter. In the intervening years I've owned a B&W 5100, a couple of ART-13s, a TCS station, a Heathkit Apache, a couple of Collins 32V-2s, an EICO 720 transmitter and 730 modulator, Millen 90800 exciter and 90831 modulator, 75A-3, 75A-4, NC-300, NC-303, HQ-129-X, NC-200, HRO Senior, HRO-5TA1, HRO-60, SX-28, and R-390A receivers, and probably some other AM stuff I forgot about. My AM station is now down to my homebrew 4-250A modulated by a pair of 810s, and my 75A-4. Lots of "Been there, done that." I'm done accumulating big and heavy stuff. I don't miss any of it.
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Anything worth doing is worth doing to excess.
Since you have to die anyway, you might as well die from something you like.
w9jsw
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« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2021, 02:34:03 PM »

This 813x813 rig is my first. Just got it on the air a couple of weeks ago. Still fine tuning it. Have not even buttoned it up.

Better late than never. I am 65.

John


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Jim/WA2MER
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« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2021, 03:16:40 PM »

That's a beautiful rig, John. Very nicely constructed based on what I saw on your QRZ.com page. I wish you many years of enjoyment with that radio.
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Anything worth doing is worth doing to excess.
Since you have to die anyway, you might as well die from something you like.
k5mo
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« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2021, 08:04:13 PM »

Mine was a Viking Mobile + VFO and a HQ150, both of which I still have. This was in the late 80's and with lotsa spots,  this was all the power needed on 29.05 or so when 10 was open .

John K5MO
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kd1nw
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« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2021, 01:48:14 PM »

First AM - B&K Cobra 98  Roll Eyes
First real AM.. Viking II and NC-173

NC-173 is how I became hooked on Nationals. I still have all the radios but I haven't turned on the B&K in a very long time. I used it to talk with my group of friends on ch23 and the other various groups of kids in town on their channels... a friend of mine from high school noticed i was into radio and invited me over to see some real radios. His dad was an engineer at cherry semiconductor and had built a whole bunch of heathkit stuff.. like the SB line and the amplifiers for them.. needless to say i was impressed and ended up getting my license.. eventually I got the classic radio bug learned tue stuff on a S38 then moved on to the Viking... and others

73 - Kevin


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K8DI
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« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2021, 08:55:15 AM »

First AM - B&K Cobra 98  Roll Eyes
First real AM.. Viking II and NC-173
73 - Kevin

And from the looks of it, first real Hi-Fi was that Eico HF-12 amplifier, underneath the Cobra...  I have one of those too, on my workbench, still working, connected, and in regular use.  Has a pair of 6BQ5/EL84 pentodes in PP for outputs, sounds warm and fuzzy like decent old tube gear does!

Ed
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Ed, K8DI, warming the air with RF, and working on lighting the shack with thoriated tungsten and mercury vapor...
kd1nw
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« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2021, 11:22:17 AM »

Yes you're right on the Eico. I was using it with a stand alone FM tuner and Phase Tech PC-60. It does sound great. I need to set it up again, i want to fuse it first though. If I remember right it doesn't have any. The Eico came from a W1DAN field day specials pile. KD1NW studios should really be re-named to W1DAN Rhode Island auxiliary studio at this point  Wink
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Carl WA1KPD
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« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2021, 01:18:35 PM »

First real AM was a TCS-12 in the late 60's early 70s. Remember working W1BB Stu in Winthrop.
I tied the 2 1625's together and built  12AX7 preamp in the crystal section to feed the xfrmr to the modulator.
No idea of the output, or modulation %, but I had fun with it.
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Carl

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nq5t
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« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2021, 11:30:09 AM »

I started out on AM — 1960.  DX-40 and BC-312N.  

Not long after, I plate modulated the DX-40 with an Eico 730 and upgraded the receiver to an SX-100.  Swapped that out (call me crazy) for an RME 4350A with SSB adapter.  Couple of years later, replaced the DX-40 with a Globe Champ 350.  Didn't own an SSB transmitter (SB-102) until 1970, although I had jury-rigged a pair of 6146s as a DSBSC experiment that I drove with the DX-40 driver stage — I think I only made a couple of contacts with that thing, even though it actually worked pretty well, before settling in with the Globe Champ.

It was all fun — certainly more fun than just ordering a foreign-made plastic radio on line  ..
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W2JBL
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« Reply #10 on: February 28, 2021, 10:59:16 AM »

I had (and still have) a Lettine 130 transmitter and BC-348 receiver. The receiver still owrks and is original/unrestored. The transmitter needs a rebuild after i butchered it to run on 200 meters (1610).   
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Pete, WA2CWA
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« Reply #11 on: February 28, 2021, 06:44:10 PM »


First real AM station was when I built my Heathkit Apache. Took me roughly 6 weeks after school and evenings. Worked the first time I flipped the switch. Receiver was a National NC-109. I still have the Apache and it still works fine.
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WU2D
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CW is just a narrower version of AM


« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2021, 10:15:55 PM »

Wow! built an Apache in high school? And it worked first time! That thing could kill you too.

I have one under the bench that needs some muscle and a revisit. Last touched I had the RF and power supply solid stated and happy. But that was 15 years ago...The modulator had been half converted, so I stripped that out for a redo.
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These are the good old days of AM
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« Reply #13 on: March 01, 2021, 11:14:33 PM »

Wow! built an Apache in high school? And it worked first time! That thing could kill you too.
Lots of things can kill you if you're foolish and not careful.
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w1vtp
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« Reply #14 on: March 02, 2021, 09:24:27 PM »

My first AM transmitter was an Eldico TR-1.  Mind you, I was 16 at the time and was messing around with 1500 VDC.  I'm still here with 84 YO staring me in the face

Al

PS: I'd post a pic but couldn't find a good enuf quality one to post and no a TR-1 TV won't do. Entirely different animal.
PPS:  The rx at the time was a Hammarlund SP-100. Loved that receiver.
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k7mdo
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« Reply #15 on: March 03, 2021, 03:13:07 AM »

Well we did some foolish things out west!  I remember my ham friend Tom, K7MTT, and I had both built little 6V6 single tube breadboard transmitters. One winter day we placed war surplus carbon microphones in the cathode leads to ground! That was probably before we were licensed, 1958 or 9.

It was intelligible at about 6 blocks, the distance between our houses, but just barely.

The receiver was my Hallicrafters S-38.  The receiver had been given to me by a neighbor when he moved.  I guess I didn't feel deprived as I have a picture of me at my station bench still using it with a Globe CW transmitter and a J-38 in 1961.

Still use the J-38 in the shack today!

Those were the days!

73, Tom
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W6TOM
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« Reply #16 on: March 04, 2021, 01:24:13 AM »

   I didn't get licensed until my early 30's, 1983, the interest was there but I never came across an Elmer until I met W6THD where I was working. Art was a good guy, he passed away in 2016 at 80, I think of him often, one of the smartest persons I've ever known, had an electrical engineering degree from UC Bezerkeley.

  I was never good at code and got out of the hobby for years but when the code requirement was dropped I got interested again. My father was a B-24 radio operator in WWII, I got to wondering about what equipment he would have used. That brought me in contact with the West Coast Military Radio Collectors Group. One them sold me a Viking II and a coworker who was also a ham helped me get it on the  air. My first AM Transmitter.

  I've had a couple of Rangers, and an Adventurer with the modulator which I sold mainly due to lack of use and to free up space. Currently I have a ATC Set I run off the DY-17 dynamotor, real radios got WHIRRR!!!! LOL!!! I also have a ART-13 too and use a 51J4 for a receiver. I have several GRC-9's and a BC-1306 plus some more modern military packsets, PRC-515 and a PRC-320. On the "project list" is a matching NOS TCS-14 made by Hamilton Radio.

 Lots of fun !!!   W6TOM



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WA2SQQ
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« Reply #17 on: March 04, 2021, 04:58:57 PM »

My 1st AM station goes back to 1971. When I was 1st licensed as WN2SQQ we had 2M AM voice privileges.  My “elmer” was Art Moore, W2MJD.
http://www.k2tqn.net/oldradio/arrl/2007-12/Art%20Moore%20W2MJD.htm

Art designed a 2&10 meter radio that was published in RCA Ham Tips – 2.2W on 2M AM and 5W on 10 AM. It was a 2E26 final and used a Nuvistor converter for 2M.
Here’s the history of the radio:
http://www.k2tqn.net/oldradio/arrl/2007-12/index.htm

Since we only had 2 years to upgrade, Art told me he would give me the radio if I got my general. I did and started using this radio to work 10M AM. I worked about 40 countries and worked all continents thanks to good band conditions. I also worked 19 states on 2M AM. I converted an old ARC5 transmitter to serve as the VFO
I still have the radio!


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Patrick J. / KD5OEI
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« Reply #18 on: March 05, 2021, 01:48:17 AM »

The Viking I, before I had a license. I just experimented.

If that does not count, the 'Tucker' transmitter.
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« Reply #19 on: March 05, 2021, 08:47:53 AM »

I started with a TCS-12 transmitter but low power sucks! Then went to a TBW and with that was able to talk to people. Amongst other things have a ARC-38 transceiver that’s great for 100 watts on AM and also at one time was running a RCA BTA-1 on 160 at 375 watts input but then discovered that its possible to have too much power because would talk to people who can have solid copy on me but I would have to struggle to hear them on their piss week Yaesu/Kenwood 25 watt rigs.

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N3GTE
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« Reply #20 on: March 05, 2021, 09:03:28 PM »

The first one I had was a DX-100 & a 51J4 in the mid '90s. I like some started late although I started back in '68. Didn't get a license until '88. Slow learner well code anyway. Had school friends that got their tickets and so I was fooling around a lot of radio gear. Arc-5 and other WWII pieces from G&G & Fair Radio. Dad worked for Motorola/2way  radio junk all around.
Over the last 20yrs have worked on or accumulated some Harvey-Wells,Johnson VI-II and Valiant, Globe, and Heathkit.  RX's National mostly with a bits of Collins.

Terry N3GTE
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ka1tdq
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I make stuff


« Reply #21 on: March 20, 2021, 02:56:44 PM »

This is the first homebrew station I made. This picture was taken in 2011 in Westfield, MA. The plate modulated transmitter in the rack was a 4-65A by a pair of KT-88’s. The beige transmitter used just a single 7984 tube. I used a ricebox to drive the grid and used a solid state PA amp to Heising modulate it. It sounded very good!

The linear amp cabinet was a pair of 3-500’s. Both Tim and Steve helped me troubleshoot a drifting plate current/power out issue on the air. I had used an old TV plate blocking cap and it was changing value as power ran through it. Tim also convinced me to wind my own plate choke.

Jon


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K6JEK
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RF in the shack


« Reply #22 on: March 27, 2021, 02:19:43 AM »

5th grade pirate radio!

I’d completely forgotten until Tom, k7mdo, described his cathode modulated 6V6 transmitter. Good job.

When I was nine or ten, my buddy Phil and I  got our hands on a record player that broadcast to your AM radio a few feet away. We put an Astatic crystal mic on the input and added a long antenna. It worked for a few hundred feet but could not overwhelm KGO in the cars that drove by. That was our nefarious goal. Alas, their 50,000 watts won.
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