Archive for the ‘HF’ Category

Echophone EC-1

While I still have the restoration of my Hammarlund HQ170 to finish, and a repair of the audio circuit on my Viking Ranger II to complete, as well as a rectifier repair on a Yaesu FT101E, I could not go past this little beauty. While I have older receivers (1935 and 1936), I have been wanting a receiver from the period of WWII now for some time. This little radio was known as the morale radio.

Screen Shot 2017-03-08 at 5.11.55 AM

The original EC-1 was the GI’s radio of World War 2 and it was manufactured by the Hallicrafters company under the brand name “Echophone Commercial.”  It began production toward the end of 1940 and continued in production all through the war.  This model radio was about the only commercial, non military radio that the government allowed to be manufactured during WW 2 and they did it for morale purposes, that is, to provide lonely, homesick and bored servicemen with entertainment.  These rugged little radios have good short wave circuits so the servicemen and women could listen to shows, music and war news no matter where they were in the world.  The EC-1 sold at a  “reasonable” price of about $20 (about a month’s pay).  Actually, for this quality of radio, $20 was a very low price and a lot of GIs got to own them either by buying them outright or receiving them as gifts.

The EC-1 radios were marketed to the GIs directly and through their families to be given as gifts.  Ads for the radios appeared in magazines with a rather over the top campaign featuring a Private (later corporal) Hogarth.  Hogarth was always shown as a hopeless nerd with coke-bottle glasses, but very popular with pretty girls who wanted to listen to his radio. I don’t think this nerdy girl could attract girls with a short wave radio, but those were innocent if heteronormative times.

I may have some modifications to do to the radio when it arrives, most notably for safety, unless the appropriate modifications were done in 1994 when this radio had a major service. Known as an all American 5, the 115V supply is delivered to the 5 valves in series, without a transformer or fuse. One side of the mains chord connects directly to the radio chassis which is isolated from the external box by rubber grommets only. Without a polarised plug to determine which is neutral and which is active, there is a 50% chance of connecting the chassis to the active. Life was cheap in the 1940s :-).

Categories: Daily News, HF, Vintage Radio

Back to the Drawing Board

February 26, 2017 2 comments

Today I finally got myself organised enough to begin work on another mag loop, in the hope that this one will work. I believe the steel framed high-rise building is to blame for my lack of reception but in a last ditch effort, I decided to make a new multi-turn loop out of some heliax that I had brought back from Queensland. Unfortunately the PVC support I made was not robust enough for the heavier than expected heliax- back to the drawing board

Categories: Daily News, HF, 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

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.


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

The Monster will Live Again

September 6, 2016 2 comments

You may recall The Monster is Deaf

But look what I ordered!

KP1-4 10-500pF 10kV Vacuum Variable Capacitor


I have new plans for the monster, to get it away from the building and to better tune it

It may have to wait until I move to a new home, but the plans are underway and this capacitor is an integral part of those plans


Categories: HF, Home Brew Tags: , ,

Of Slinky Springs, Apartment HF and ALARA

August 29, 2016 2 comments

The weekend just gone, I wanted to participate in the ALARA (Australian Ladies Amateur Radio Association) contest. I knew that with my poor antenna I was not going to make many contacts, so I set about building the optimum multi band apartment antenna.


I gathered together slinky toys, some chord and a few bits and pieces. A local ham sold me a short length of 300 ohm ladder line with which to feed the antenna and using a few bits an pieces, I assembled a 1:1 current balun to allow my unbalanced tuner (a Z11 Pro) to connect to the 300 ohm line. with this antenna I intended to overcome all of my antennas woes of the last few weeks.

With the antenna analyser I got the dipole resonant on 80 m and the tuner then allowed me to get a match on all bands including the WARC bands.

Unfortunately  the construction of my balcony with its aluminium framing makes the antenna deaf. A full 4 S points down on the tiny mobile whip. I am confident the antenna will perform well once I get it away from the building structure. I move out of this apartment in November and will be looking for a place more suited to antennas.

I will post more about the construction of the slinky dipole in a later post.

Categories: Daily News, HF, Home Brew Tags: , ,