Getting My Boat Anchors On Frequency

Discussion in '"Boat Anchor" & Classic Equipment' started by N4HZ, Jun 4, 2019.

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  1. N4HZ

    N4HZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    When using my old Heathkit transceivers it's always been difficult for me to get exactly on frequency just by listening to received audio. I became tired of hearing "You're a little off frequency" when using my old Heathkit SB and HW series of transceivers. There are probably much better ways than this but here's what seems to be working well for me.

    I already had a signal sampler in the line going into the dummy load/antenna switch with level low enough to safely use a freq counter or scope and monitor my signal. I packaged a little one Khz oscillator ( ebay ) with speaker and just hold the mike to the oscillator while on dummy load when desiring to be on a particular frequency and look at the freq counter. If I want to be on 3.816 Mhz for example ( lower sideband) I just key the mike while on dummy load and adjust the Heathkit until the freq counter reads 3.815 Mhz. Gets me to within 10 ( or it is 100...I forget as I write) hz with my particular counter resolution.

    Yes it's a little clunky and I don't know the long term stability of the one khz oscillator but it is presently working well for me. Could be improved upon if the oscillator was mounted internally to the radio. I don't want to mar the radio though by adding a switch.

  2. KE4OH

    KE4OH Ham Member QRZ Page

    You don't say which transceivers your using. The SB-101/102 have provisions to easily add an external Heathkit frequency counter (sorry, don't remember the model number.) I'm not sure about the SB-100. The HW-100/101 has no such provisions built in. However, it's a fairly easy modification, since these use the same circuit boards as the SB- series. In fact, the HW-101 shown in my avatar came to me with just such a mod. (I un-modified it, though!)

    If you are using a Heathkit "single-bander", I don't know of an easy way to add a frequency counter directly.

    As one alternative, you can get really cheap self-contained frequency counters on eBay. The only catch is that they only display your frequency when you are transmitting.

    As another alternative, just ignore anyone who tells you you are off frequency. Or tell him you are running a boatanchor and that's as good as it gets. It can't be that bad or the complaining operator wouldn't be able to understand you nor you him. Or tell him that he's the one that is off frequency. These guys who think your transmitted frequency must end in zero are full of it.
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2019
    KA0HCP and WQ4G like this.
  3. WR2E

    WR2E Ham Member QRZ Page

    Tell the other guy that's what RIT is for.
    KE5OFJ, K9ASE, KE4OH and 2 others like this.
  4. KE0ZU

    KE0ZU Ham Member QRZ Page

    What He said!!!

    Several grand for a wonder radio, and no RIT?
    K9ASE likes this.
  5. ND6M

    ND6M Ham Member QRZ Page

    Who said anything about ending in a 0 or 5? Your bias is showing.

    Its obvious that he is joining a QSO already in progress, and,.........................................wait for it,............... some of you seem to think that the station already using the freq is obliged to " tune him in".

    I may use the RIT in a "round table", but not in a 2 person QSO.
  6. KA0HCP

    KA0HCP XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    1. No bias. This is a common mis-perception that has been discussed on the Zed repeatedly.
    2. No, it is not obvious. He made no comment about joining a net or round table.
    3. Yes, the other fellow should make a reasonable attempt to accommodate the other fellow.
    KQ9J likes this.
  7. W8AAZ

    W8AAZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I guess the problem with some of the old radios is making sure your transmit and receive are actually on the same frequency. That should be an issue of careful alignment of your carrier oscillators I suppose. If you have a counter you should be able to do that properly. That is for transceivers. For a set of radios, it may be more complicated. If you have tuned in the other station so he sounds natural and you are maybe several hundred hertz off at their end, your radio needs adjustment.
  8. K6BSU

    K6BSU Ham Member QRZ Page

    Transceivers transmit and receive on different freqs, depending if on USB or LSB. The tx offset is best adjusted with another station; you tweak the tx offset until you sound "normal" to the receiving stn. (You first tune the remote stn so it sounds "normal").
    I do this myself using a second radio, which has known good tx offset, and listening to both at the same time with 'phones. When each radio sounds "normal" on the other one, they both have the same tx offset.
  9. N2EY

    N2EY Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    The Heathkit SB and HW transceivers use the same carrier oscillators for SSB receive and transmit. There is no adjustment in any of them; the crystals supplied were of such accuracy (when new) that none was needed.
  10. W2VW

    W2VW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Not everyone hears the same way. I know a few people who cannot tune in ssb by ear.

    Additionally, an older radio may need alignment and have parts which have changed value enough to skew receiver frequency response and add extra distortion to the audio.

    Carbon composition resistors, tubes and printed circuit boards do not age well.

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