Transmitters, Receivers and Transceivers
I Have Owned
I have owned quite a few rigs in my ham radio
life. I don't know why, but here is a listing
of the rigs I have owned and operated throughout the years. The rigs are in a rough chronological
order from 1965 to the present. I do have opinions about some of the rigs which might offend you.
But, I hope that you get a kick out of reading what I wrote.
Knight Kit T-60 - I had begged my Father to buy me one of these to get into ham radio and I did not understand how much it cost in relationship to how much he made. It was a strain on his pocketbook, but he did buy it and we put it together. Tuning was critical because it could put out some pretty good harmonics on 20 meters. :>) Because of the harmonic issue, it was shelved after my second "pink slip" from the FCC. I did not know how to tune the rig so the signal was pretty nasty. The meter was just a general output meter so I knew nothing of "dip and load." One of the hams in town loaned me a amp meter to put in line to the final. I did not trust myself after that and as I said...shelved the rig.
|Knight Ocean Hopper - Dad got this for me for Christmas before I passed the Novice Exam. I could really never get it to tune right, but I did have a good time with it. I wish I still had the darn thing. These things are collector items. There are a lot of them out there on the web and Ebay has them from time to time. I took mine apart and made a 50C5 transmitter out of mine. Then it got lost in all my moves.
|National NC-120 or Navy ROA-2 - I got this from my Elmer, Ray Polly because I was frustrated with the Ocean Hopper. The receiver was about 75 pounds and fairly big. It did receiver from BC Band to Six Meters. The receiver was quite broadband so to speak...an operator had to have good filters in his ears to make a contact. I guess that was the mode of the day back then. If I remember correctly, the T-60 sat on top of the reciever and made a nice looking station. I got this picture of of E-Bay when I saw this receiver for sale. I recognized it as the type I had when I was a Novice.
|E.F. Johnson Ranger - After getting two pink slips from the FCC with the Knight T-60, I borrowed this rig from some local ham. I do not remember who. I had the rig for about 3 or 4 months and it was great. Worked great. I did not use the VFO like other Novices did. I used crystals. Really! Honest! I was too afraid of getting the FCC on my case to do anything wrong after the pink slips. Nice transmitter. Dip and Load. Good output. No chirp. Worked a lot of people. To bad I could not afford to buy it. Also, it had a neat smell to it...like hot bakelite. That is what I remember about the rig.
|Heathkit DX-40 - I had a marvelous time with this rig. I did get a VF-1 also when I got my General. This rig was solid. Tuned well and I pounded a lot of CW out this old beast. I handled a lot of NTS CW traffic was well. I remember that the power transformer fried in it when I went out to A&W with the Folks for supper. There was no fire but the house sure smelled and my Mom was not happy with me. What I didn't like is the fact I was off the air. I had to scrap up $11.00 to buy a replacement transformer, but it was to a DX-60 and I had 90 watts output with the new transformer. I ran a lot of 10 meter AM with this rig and worked over 100 countries but at the time I did not know a darn thing about DXCC. The VF-1 was quite the VFO too. It was rather squirrley and drifted quite a bit. I built a regulated power supply for it and also regulated the screen on the 6CL6. Even the 6CL6 was important. If you had a bad one it would chirp. I ran the VF-1 when I transmitted and did not key it. I also left it on all the time to get it stable. I replaced a lot of resistors and caps in the thing to make it work. Later on I got the HG-10B VFO. It was OK, but I cannot remember much about it. Smokin'
|Heathkit SB-10 - I was so intent on getting on SSB that I picked up an SB-10 to marry to my DX-40. Remember, I am about 18 or 19 years old. I built a power supply for the SB-10 and in the same box I built a bias supply for the DX-40. I modified the DX-40 to run AB1. So, out of the buffer, I ran the input to the SB-10 and ran the output to the final in the DX-40. Hey, it worked. The SB-10 had good audio, but it generated SSB through "phasing." So, there were a lot of buttons and knobs to turn through this whole process. Also, the VFO had to be stable or there was heck to play with the guys on the bands. I had a switch to put everything back when I wanted to go on CW, but I had to make a jumper from the output of the buffer to the 6146 final. To say the least, it was very cumbersom to change bands. What is so funny is that years later I preferred CW than work SSB with just a flick of a swtich.
|National 57 - Just a run-of-the-mill receiver but it was pretty good for me. I got this receiver for $25 dollars from a older gentleman from church. He had been overseas at one time and used it for SWL purposes.. I remember he had a daughter, but at the time I was interested more in the radio than her. That was soon to change :>)
|Heathkit HR-10 - A nice receiver for the ham bands. It replaced the NC57. You can see I was getting some more of my own money now and getting a little better rig. I married this up to the DX-40. The receiver had a wide bandwidth but it worked for me.
|Galaxy-V Mark II - This was a borrowed rig that I beat the heck out of for about 6-months. This was my first SSB rig and I abandon CW for awhile. The rig worked OK and I had a lot of fun on 80, 40 and 20 meters. I fell in love with "transceiving."
|Heathkit HW-100 - I think this rig cost about $300 with the power supply. I borrowed the money from Grandpa, but later on he said "forgetaboutit." I wish I could say some nice things about this rig. OK I will. I used the heck out of it. I used on SSB and CW a lot. I had the 500 Hz filter. The rig was picky. I could not get the main VFO to run, so that was a trip back to Heathkit and they got it to work. The rig was alway fussy and you had the retune the rig every 6 months because of the paper coil forms. The change of seasons would expand or shrink the forms and the receiver would go deaf. I used it mobil too. I remember seeing the movie "Frequency'" where a Heathkit transceiver was used. In the movie, the case was never on the rig. I laughed outloud about that because I never had the case on mine either for very long. You were always fooling and it didn't oay to put the case on. By the way, the tuning knob was "funky" and not very good. They fixed that in the HW-101. I put a Swan knob and reduction unit on mine.
|Hallicrafters FPM-300 - Wow, I thought I was moving up. This was a HW-100 that had been manufactured. The rig had a good receiver although it was set for SSB and not CW. First hybrid rig with a transitor receiver and tubes for the transmitter. If I remember, it had two sweep tubes and a 12BY7. I did have the filter for it. The rig worked OK and I used it quite a bit. Heck it was my main rig. At the time I was living in a basement apartment with my wife. I was using a long wire and a L/C tuner to 70 feet of bell wire. The coldwater copper inlet was right next to the station so the gound was not an issue. I wish I had this rig because it might be valuable.
|Heathkit SB-102 - I got a little frustrated with the Hallicrafters or maybe I got tired of it. I did get a mint SB-102 with the 500 Hz filter. I used it for a couple of years. I also had the speaker and I built a external VFO for it was well using the HW-101 VFO circuit. I actually ordered the parts from the HW-101 VFO minus the metal box from Heathkit. I made a metal box exactly to the specifications in the manual and mounted it into a speaker box. I used two reduction drives and the main knob off of a Swan 500. Worked well and I could go split now.
|Heathking SB-200 - I was working so I got a SB-200 and put it together from a kit. Nice amp. Worked well.
|Kenwood TS-820S - I sold off all of the Heath gear (except the SB200) and got the 820 from HRO. Man, was I excited. I had operated an TS-520S and I was so impressed by that rig. When the 820 came out, I was sold and I saved my dollars and got me one of these puppies. Great rig. I had the CW Filter and got the external VFO too. This was a pretty good rig. Worked a lot of DX and contests with this rig.
|Icom 735 - I used this rig mobile and that was about it. It was OK, but I lost interest in mobile operation. I had a trunk full of Hustler coils and the like. I have never been on for mobile operation. I would rather listen to music or nothing at all. Strange.
|Heathkit SB-220 - Smokin now. This was the amp in those days. Cheap and easy to get. I think I paid $500 for this amp from a retired Collins engineer from Cedar Rapids. Of course, I sold off the SB-200 to finance the deal. I had this amp until 1993. I always felt this amp was somewhat of a TVI generator. I wanted something with 160 meters on it. I found a good deal on a pristine AL-80A. I know, it is Ameritron (MFJ) but it works.
|Kenwood TS-830S - This is the finest hybrid rig ever made. I loved this rig. It was the best transceiver Kenwood put out. The receiver was good, no overload on strong signals, no blow by of any sort.
|Kenwood TS-440SAT - Why I got one of these is beyond me. This is the first time I ventured into solid state finals. If the 830 was one of the best, the 440 was one of the worst. This rig had RF problems. Everything had to be choked going in and out of the rig.
|Kenwood TS-140S - As poor as the 440 was, the 140 held its own. In fact, we ran a FD with the 440 and after awhile it shot craps and we put the 140 in. All the "contest" operators thought the cheaper 140 was better. I have owned two of these rigs and they are very good for what they are. Plain. Simple.
|Kenwood TS-850SAT - Kenwood found their groove again and this is one of the best rigs on the used market today. I knew this rig was going to be good since is was part of the 800 series. I was right. This rig was a great performer in contests and DX.
|Icom 765 - Ok, why get rid of the 850? I was bored with it and it was getting long in the tooth. I had heard that the 765 was a good rig but it was just as long in the tooth as the 850 was and it had the same features. So, I picked one up at Dayton. OK, I was conflicted. The 765 is a fine rig and one of the sweetest sounding rigs I've ever heard. Contesting was pretty good with this rig of course, but it had some flaky operation and I sold it. I had sent it in for repair and when it came back I decided to look elsewhere for a rig.
|Icom 746 - Dayton purchase again. I wanted a "modern" rig and this is what I picked. I like the 6 meters and 2 meter option and for HF it was OK. It did have some blow-by during contesting and I decided that it was a little too light weight. The receiver just did not hold up in a contest.
|Yaesu FT 1000MP - Now, here I was going for a sure bet for a rig. I've heard nothing but good things about the MP. Well, it is true. It is a fine rig. But, the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. You can tell I have some dollars rolling around in my pockets at this time.
|Elecraft K2/100 - I fell in love with this rig the minute I saw it at Dayton. I am not a QRP guy, but I did operate the K2 for quite awhile at 15 watts. That is about all the QRP I do. I did get the 100 watt amp and the 100 watt antenna tuner too. I still own this rig and will for quite some time. The K2 rejuvinated my interest in ham radio and in building again. This was such a blessing to build and to operate. I cannot tell you how good this rig is. It is as sweet sounding as the IC-765 and has programmable filters like most modern day rigs. 2002 to present
|Icom 756 PRO II - What can you say about a rig that is very good. This is a good radio, but it does serve as a backup to the K2! :>) This rig is pretty darn good. I use it quite a bit and it is a good contesting rig. I must say, I like the audio out of the K2 better than the 756 PRO. Hey, at least it's not a T-60. Purchase in 2003 and sold in 2008
|Elecraft K3/100 - This rig has got to be the finest I've owned so far. Yes, I have had a lot of rigs and they were great, but this one has them all beat. As of this writing, the software is still being "honed" and it is far from being sharp, but when it gets there, the radio will be superior. This rig has many faults right now and is not for everyone because it is very new. For the contest operator and DXer, the rig will be the rig to have. I've owned this since March of 2008 after selling the PRO II a week after I built the K3. Check it out.