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Palomar Skipper 300 - worth the effort?

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio Amplifiers' started by KF7VZZ, Apr 11, 2011.

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  1. KF7VZZ

    KF7VZZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I was gifted a Palomar Skipper 300 that had been sitting in a neighbor's garage for nearly ten years. Dust and Rust inside, but everything appears to be in place although it's missing knobs. With the description below, do you think it would be worth the "making it work" restoration? I'm not interested in CB, but an extra kick on 6m or 10m would be nice occasionally. There's a matching (in age) CB to go with it, but it doesn't power up due to a bad transformer.

    I powered the Skipper up and saw two of the 6lf6's glow (driver and one final), but the fan didn't spin so I powered down. The fan is rusted in place! I swapped tube positions and all four glowed. It's been powered off since then. Yes, I unplugged it and kept the left hand in pocket while inside. Other than that everything is just dirty and Not Very Good Looking. (bakelite tie strips, not PCB)

    I'm leery of just hooking it to the radio and doing the tune-up without first doing more, but where do I start? Or should I just bite the bullet and fire it up? If it works I'll probably try to find a 120VAC fan or see if a newer 12VDC will work in its place. I'm not capable of spending much, but I keep a fairly stocked junk^H^H^H^H parts-bin where the XYL doesn't mind too much. :rolleyes: No one around here has a tube tester, either.

    Thanks for any comments! (good or bad)

  2. W4AFB

    W4AFB Guest

    Id trash that turd. Not worth investing money into. IMO
  3. KB4QAA

    KB4QAA XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I can't see putting money into a rusted old CB amp...
  4. WG7X

    WG7X Ham Member QRZ Page


    It's nothing but a low priced piece of CB crap. The best thing to do with it involves a drop from a rooftop followed by application of a small sledge hammer and finishing up with a broom and dustpan.

    73 Gary
  5. KE3WD

    KE3WD Ham Member QRZ Page

    These hams are giving you the straight dope, the four-one-one.


    At least you didn't pay money for it.

    Just please, don't put it on the ham bands. It likely makes all kinds of junk happen on 6 when you are on 10 (or 11).

    Also, it was made to work with about 4 to 10 watts drive. Hit it with any more than that, like the standard ham 100 and if it doesn't make smoke city, it will REALLY throw some spurs before it croaks.

    Put it on the shelf as a conversation piece or exhibit.

    BTW, the Sweep Tubes in that thing now cost way too much money, IF you can find 'em.

  6. KF7VZZ

    KF7VZZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I think the consensus is... pretend I'm 5 again and taking apart dad's alarm clock so he can't get up in the morning.

    Thank you gentlemen, this forum yielded far more value than the amp is apparently worth!

  7. KD8NPB

    KD8NPB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Loot the transformer, HV caps, and variable caps.

    Sell the tubes.

    Make a new, better amp.
  8. WB0LSR

    WB0LSR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Predictably there is always responses that trash CB gear without a second thought, and truthfully most of it is a bit lousy in terms of quality, but there isn't a single piece of RF gear I've found (regardless of it's intended use) that isn't potentially a source of parts for my own projects. It seems that as the years pass, certain "boat anchor" era parts are becoming harder and harder to find.. I agree with the statements so far that suggest parting it out and keeping what you can for possible future building.
  9. KA5LQJ

    KA5LQJ Ham Member QRZ Page


    It would make a good "boat anchor" while drift fishing, LOL! All of those early
    model CB amps were "Class C" modulation. In other words, they throw spikes
    and distortion from HELL. You don't want a citation from the F.C.C.

    If you want a "clean" amp, build it yourself and in a Class AB1 configuration,
    You can expect no more than 40% efficiency, but you will have great audio.
    I'd use the amp on 10 FM as AM and SSB do well with low power on 10.

    Personally, the ONLY thing I'd keep would be the transformer. When 10 is
    'open' you can work the world with .5 watts, CW. I know because last cycle,
    I worked the World, 'mobile' with an HR-2510 (17 watts out) and a 3' center-load, "Trucker's Special", LOL! I'm looking =forward to Cycle 24. ;-)

    Respectfully submitted,

    Don S./KA5LQJ
    8Q3224 <==CB, 1961
    KKR2747 <== CB 1965
    KOR0528 <== CB 1972
    KAMF7712 <== CB 1980
    N.B.S.R.C. - Chapter 2
  10. WA7KKP

    WA7KKP Ham Member QRZ Page

  11. W8ZNX

    W8ZNX Subscriber QRZ Page

    as it sits
    it is junk

    but as parts
    it's a good find

    you could make
    FB little glow bug cw transmitter
    out of the parts

    yours truly
  12. KC7QNM

    KC7QNM Guest

    Give the amplifer a workout. Hook it up to a load and tune it up,use no more than ten watts to excite the amp...Palomar amps work pretty well when a tuner is in line as it reduces the possibilty of undesired signal..and a low pass filter also can help in keeping a clean signal if sympton's are present in output. Polomar amps like the one you have were often designed with sweep tube's and many operators built thier own amps...or purchased a sweep tube transciver...example's are SWAN gear,Heath gear, and every ARRL Handbook for 40years included sweep tube amplifer's up to 500 watts or the 200 watt level, some very the tubes used even more common older yeasu gear used sweep tubes in the finals. It requires a respect for sweep tubes has added to the ham radio art's, that sweep tubes provided a once popular place in an operators shack.
  13. KF7VZZ

    KF7VZZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Since my last post, I did try just that. Turns out more than dust got into it over its time in storage, and I got a jolt as I powered it up. It's all parts now, the fuse block and other plastics disintegrated by time and weather.

    So, I'm closing this thread as far as attempting to resurrect the Skipper. But now there's parts to be had, you might see a few on the sale thread later. I'm testing parts before I actually try to use them, still looking for a local tube tester...!

    Thanks for all the varying advice! You never know what you're gonna get.

  14. W8JI

    W8JI Ham Member QRZ Page

    There are a lot of misconceptions in the post above.

    First, a low pass does not clean up distortion or splatter problems. A low pass only cleans up harmonics that are far above the operating band.

    Second, it is not safe to just plug in old unsafely built CB gear and see if it runs. The stuff often wasn't even close to safe when new, so be careful.

    Third, most CB amps are built to intentionally distort the signal through self-biasing. This is to make meters swing and audio sound processed. None of this type of stuff really belongs on Ham bands, unless it has been verified to not have splatter and trash. Again external filters will NOT clean up or affect splatter or trash.

    Ten meters is going to become a real mess from all the CB junk that is floating around. It isn't the fact it is a sweep tube that matters. It is the fact CB amps traditionally used self-bias to allow a variety of drive powers to be used, and to give the amps "audio" and "swing". They fit better on the CB band, not on ham bands.

    73 Tom
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