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Rat Radios

Discussion in 'Discussions, Opinions & Editorials' started by KL7AJ, Jan 7, 2013.

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  1. KL7AJ

    KL7AJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Most gearheads are familiar with "rat rods" ...those rusty buckets of bolts that actually run...sometimes amazingly well.

    Well, how about having a look at your rat radios? What is the ugliest, scariest, cobbled together pile of parts you've ever had that actually transmitted (or received) a radio signal? I think this is important for the newbies who think they need the latest and greatest to get on the air.

    Show us your worst!

  2. K8ERV

    K8ERV Ham Member QRZ Page

    Heck, showing my BEST would get me banned.

    TOM K8ERV Montrose Colo
  3. W7UUU

    W7UUU Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I posted some of these in another thread here... can't recall which. But this is the most "rat radio"
    I've ever encountered. Was at a hamfest with some price - but was free at the end of the day. Took
    it home cuz it was such a train wreck I just had to study it! Never powered it up.... who knows - might
    have worked great - or might have ended up at the hamfest from the widow of the builder.


    Attached Files:

  4. VA6AW

    VA6AW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Remember picking up a HW16 in a pawn shop for $15.00. Looked good on the outside so took a chance and brought it home.

    I put it on the kitchen table and went to get a screwdriver to open it up. My idiot friend happened to drop by at that time and I left him alone with it for several minutes. When I got back he had plugged it in, turned it on and had sat back as putrid smoke came billowing out. What a stink from the melting capacitors and whatever else was on fire.

    Outside to the shed it went forever as I could not get rid of the smell. Somebody later broke in the shed and removed it. Did me a big favor Hi.

  5. WC5P

    WC5P Ham Member QRZ Page

    About 50 years ago, I went with another young novice to visit a local ham. I don't remember the guy's call, but I remember that his name was Joe Smallbone, and that he was known locally as Indian Joe. He had the most ungodly collection of haywired surplus junque that I had ever seen. He wanted to show us the amplifier that he was working on. That thing was totally exposed, no cabinet at all, and it was between me and the door. We made a quick excuse to get the hell out of there before he had a chance to turn it on.
  6. W5BIB

    W5BIB Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    oops... Didn't look close enuf. Thot the OP was "PAT" radios. sri:eek:
  7. KA9VQF

    KA9VQF Ham Member QRZ Page

    Most of the rigs I've ever owned are rat rigs. All of my own have needed something on them fixed or realigned. Many have needed unobtainable parts that I try to manufacture on my own.

    Most do 'work' even if they are not exactly showroom quality.

    When I started out playing this game my neighbor had taken it personally when the FCC took the 11 meter band away. He decided that “I'll be damned if there is a section of the spectrum that is being used that I don't have a rig for!!”

    He had been in a bad car wreck about the time I had been born so he was in a wheel chair. He got his ham ticket because he had always wanted to travel the world and figured the closestt he could come to doing that after becoming a cripple would be to talk to folks in the far away countries.

    So, he enlisted my good eyes and young hands to build a 23 channel CB radio. I learned a lot in the process. I ground crystals to work on each of the channels and helped with all the soldering. It was all laid out on a big hunk of wood. Not an actual bread board but that's what they used to call wooden chassis rigs.

    It had 46 knife switches to make it a 23 channel rig. With the two switches per channel you could actually work split. Listen on on channel and talk on another. It was a pretty useless option since pretty much all the other CB rigs were channelized and just used one frequency at a time. Others would need two rigs to play that game or maybe Browning Golden eagle or other separate transmit receiver rig of the day.

    Anyway I wish I still had a picture of that one. It would fit your category nicely.
  8. KC0W

    KC0W Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    View attachment 116541
    This is the kind of ratty looking can I used before upgrading to my current system.

    View attachment 116552
    My present day really nice looking (not ratty) KCØW HF communications system........Heard world wide.

    Tom KCØW
  9. N4AJZ

    N4AJZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Had to do a double-take on the topic of this thread. When I was in the service, we referred to our signal rigs(signal vans)in the Signal Corp as "Rat Rigs"(Radio And Teletype). With a couple of exceptions, all of my ham rigs have been "Rat" radios, by your definition:D
  10. KL7AJ

    KL7AJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    What's a cabinet? :)
  11. WA6MJE

    WA6MJE Ham Member QRZ Page

    When I was 13, back in the 1950s, and first licensed, I had zero money. If I found an old TV or radio in someone's trash can, I would take it home, unsolder the parts, and use them to build rigs. What I ended up with was rigs built from schematics that looked awful. Sometimes I did not even have a chassis, so the tubes laid on their side, and the "condensers" and resistors strung from one pin to the other out in the open. Later in high school, when I got a bit of money, I would buy military surplus, such as an Arc-5 and those made a decent receiver. Then, with more money, I got some low end used gear from Henry Radio in Los Angeles. By the time I was 18, my garage hamshack looked like a Phyllis Diller fright wig.

    Now the antennas were not much better. I built a Coke can ground plane, and home made quads supported by 2 by 4 masts and fed by military surplus coax. I wish I had pictures of this, but I did not have a camera back then. But it was all FUN. Probably more fun than the new KX3 I just bought last month which looks nice, and neat, and small, and works like a champ.
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