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The Echophone EC-1 Unboxing

March 21, 2017 Leave a comment

The Echophone Ec-1 has arrived. I had to carry it in it’s box from my work to home, on the train, no mean feat when also carrying a handbag, but I did get it home in one piece. I should say that it was not as well packed as I would have liked but it seemed to have survived the journey from the US nonetheless.

This radio known as the morale radio was commonly used by GIs to stay in contact with news of home. Like all radios of this era, I bought this one, fulling expecting that it would need extensive work, despite it possessing a sticker stating major modifications (1994). I am not sure what the modifier considered major modifications, I imagined a recap, I hoped not a major departure from manufacturers specifications.

At the point of unboxing, it is unclear what those “major” modifications may have been. Looking at the wiring, there is little evidence of significant change other than attempt to fit a polarised mains plug. The fitting of this seems to be non-standard. Typically when modifying an “all American 5” one would fit a fuse and ensure that the polarised mains chord had the neutral wire connected to the chassis and one would fit safety capacitors where necessary. One would also remove all wax paper capacitors and replace with modern poly units.

Whoever modified this radio, has connected the mains chord in a non standard way, with both wires going to the first valve in the series of five. No fuse is fitted. The mains chord is retained in the case by a knot which has resulted in the insulation being cut by the case- a common if deadly error. Not a single wax paper capacitor has been replaced and a large electrolytic is clearly leaking.

Another project for a cold, rainy day or two.

Categories: Uncategorized

The Saga of the FT101E Rectifier Board

February 10, 2017 Leave a comment

Recently I brought all of my vintage radios out of storage including an FT101E. Anyone who owns one will tell you, that they don’t like to be stored, they need to be used or they stop working. This one had done just that on most bands, so I set to, going through the alignment procedure. Rather than try to remove the mains chord from behind the radio bench, I hose to use a spare on I had. Unfortunately it was, I suspect, incorrectly wired for the FT101E. When connected and turned on, R1 on the rectifier board promptly went “bang.”

I purchased the appropriate 5.6K 2W resistor some weeks ago and today got around to installing it. All went well except that now I have a solid hum from the speaker even with the AF gain at zero. gah!

Categories: HF

Antennas, Apartments and AM Reception

February 5, 2017 1 comment

For some time now I have struggled with the fact that no matter what antenna I use, they couple to the high rise building in which I live and are quite deaf. Today I draped the Lake Eyre special antenna off my balcony as far as I was game. The building management would come down on me if they saw it. It’s better but still quite deaf. This is my Hammarlund HQ170 listening to the ARNSW broadcast on 40 meters AM. Screen Shot 2017-02-05 at 11.09.54 AM.png

Categories: HF

Of Injury, Depression and Productivity

January 28, 2017 1 comment

I had planned for some time to attend Symphony in the Park at Parramatta with my lovely friend, but due to my leg injury from falling down the stairs, I could not attend. This put me in bad mood yesterday. I don’t suffer depression as much as I used to do, in fact I rarely have any symptoms at all nowadays, but occasional mild situational depression still arises. I notice it most not by how I feel, but by the state of my apartment which yesterday got quite messy. My productivity suffers badly at such times. Being one who is always doing something, depression for me is most noticeable by my complete lack of interest in anything, and lack of desire to do anything.

I attempted to turn things around yesterday by going over to the community garden and picking a big bunch of various basil. I also contemplated going to the local ham radio trash and treasure but feel my leg would rather I stayed home. Instead I will come up with some recipes today for the basil. I will clean up my apartment and, of interest to all of the readers of this blog, will begin an antenna project. More about that later

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Categories: Daily News

Rebuilding a Life, Rebuilding a Shack- it is all Drama

January 26, 2017 1 comment

Well I got all of my vintage radios out of storage where they have been for about 2 years and have now got them all set up in my tiny apartment, though no suitable antenna yet.  I also managed to bring along all of my test equipment and various cables and audio mixer etc etc.

The problem is of course, when you leave stuff for so long, especially stuff that was the subject of restoration and many little and large projects, you kind of forget where you left off. I recalled as I began to test equipment with my meagre antenna and dummy load, that not all was 100% when I left it. The Yaesu FT101E was, but now isn’t- that is pretty normal for an FT101 left in storage, so no surprise there. I was disappointing when I connected the mains chord to it and blew resistor 1 on the rectifier board, because that was not my chord but one I had purchased and it was probably wired incorrectly – ouch!

More interesting when I remember that the plan of using the Johnson Viking Ranger II and the Hammarlund HQ170 as a transmit/receive pair had fallen on issues as well- issues I had forgotten. See the HQ170 receiver pulls wildly off frequency when I transmit on the Viking II and sounds very chirpy. I am convinced it is the way this radio uses AVC(automated volume control not AGC) – although switching off the AVC makes no difference. So now I recall that I had a huge project to do with the Hammarlund and had kind of decided to ditch it and get something vintage but more stable. That is out of the question now because I am nowhere near as financial as I was when I had my own business. Wonder what I can do to stabilise it? My fist attempt will be to replace the OB2 valve (tube in the US) with a solid state version.

The Viking Ranger II I was sure had no issues. I remember using it on CW and AM and it sounded great on AM, but then did I not change the value of a capacitor in the audio circuit in order to improve performance and some how stuffed that up? Or was it that an audio amplifier tube was to blame? Either way there is nasty hum and no audio from the microphone on AM today when I went to use it on AM. Since I can’t remember what I did two or more years ago, I will have to go through the service and construction manual and backtrack.

Maybe these radios will be working properly two years from now. You can follow the saga here http://antiqueradios.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=314753

(Shack is a term used to describe the location from which amateur radio operators operate)

Categories: Uncategorized

I Love my Vintage Radios

January 21, 2017 Leave a comment

Just a quick post to say I got all my old radios moved to my new home Sydney. They are in my bedroom so now to dress it up so it doesn’t look like a teenage boy’s bedroom 🙂

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I still have to solve the issue of my Hammarlund HQ170 moving off frequency when receiving strong signals.

 

 

Categories: Uncategorized

Holiday Operations- I Get to Work HF Again

December 22, 2016 2 comments

The problem with living in Sydney is not just the issue of trying to build or purchase a HF antenna that can be fitted onto the balcony of a one bedroom apartment, but also the problem of an S9 noise floor. So it was that when I was asked to do some dog sitting at my RF quiet North Queensland residence, I packed a HF radio.

radiosloper

Of course, a radio is not much good without an antenna, but in my usual style I decided the best approach was to build one from scratch. I wanted to work only 80m CW and 40m phone and I could have chosen a dipole but the yard is a bit small. I had in the past constructed a 40m/80m trapped sloper referred to as a Lake Eyre Special and I figured this would be the ideal antenna. There are several tall Royal palm trees that would provide the necessary elevation.

I started by purchasing some speaker wire and splitting it into single wires then would 120 turns on to a 40mm pvc form. 10.04 m of wire formed the 40m section which I then tuned using my antenna tuner which I always pack in my holiday baggage :-). I then fitted the coil and double checked the tuning. A slight change to the coil of a few more turns had me back in tune. I then added the top section 1.6m and checked the tuning on 80m. Despite my error of tuning to 3.1MHz instead of 3.6MHz, I finally got things correct. The antenna was hoisted into the tree via the usual sling shot and fishing line method. I always carry my slingshot on holiday for this very purpose.

Now to work some 80m CW in the mornings

73 de VK2KMI es VK4KIM

Categories: HF, Holiday, Home Brew