Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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

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

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

(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 🙂


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



Categories: Uncategorized

Antenna Plans @ VK2KMI

October 2, 2016 Leave a comment

Following on from

80m Apartment HF- The Monster in My Bedroom

Taming the Monster

The Monster is Deaf

The Monster will Live Again

The 10kV capacitor arrived a few days ago so soon I will have to begin modifying the 80m and above mag loop. Probably over the next few weeks, as I quite a bit of travel to do. I am still concerned though that I will have to get it away from the building and over the balcony rail for it to work well. This high rise building is so full of steel and the balcony is framed by aluminium windows. The concern is, if I do that I am likely to attract the attention of the building management with such a large copper loop. The capacitor is huge and heavy so mounting it at mid point of the loop will present some issues, not the least of which will be drawing further attention to the thing hanging over my balcony rail.


My intention at this point is to mount the capacitor lower down on the support frame and inside the line of the balcony rail and use RG213 coaxial cable to connect it to the loop. This will add a small amount of capacitance which may affect use on higher bands. I guess I will just have to try it and see what happens.





Categories: Uncategorized

Mac OSX 10.12 Sierra

September 8, 2016 Leave a comment

I am an Apple Developer member and as such have access to beta versions of software including the latest release of OSX 10.12 even though it is not public yet. Unfortunately this version of the OS is incompatible with both of my iMacs. I love my iMacs but until Apple starts paying taxes, I probably won’t buy another.

Categories: Uncategorized

The Monster is Deaf

August 22, 2016 3 comments

80m Apartment HF- The Monster in My Bedroom

Taming the Monster

Screen Shot 2016-08-22 at 18.57.53

One thing that can be said is that ham radio experimentation is never dull, this is doubly true if the experimenter lives in an apartment in a high rise building. After creating the monster mag-loop antenna in my bedroom and tuning it for resonance and best SWR, it turns out that it hears RF (hash) really well but can’t hear a signal that my little mobile whip mounted on the balcony rail can hear well. Seems that my suspicions that the building is a faraday cage may well be true or at least that the antenna capacitively couples to the building making it deaf to external signals. Unfortunately the loop is far too big to put on the balcony rails so time for plan B.