Terrible radios that you loved

Discussion in 'Discussions, Opinions & Editorials' started by KL7AJ, Oct 22, 2008.

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  1. KL7AJ

    KL7AJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    This is a variation on a theme posted recently. What truly abominable radios did you love anyway....perhaps because they were your first, or just because you worked something special with them?

    For me:

    Swan Cygnet. Pretty lame radio, but I worked it for HOURS as a novice because my elmer had one.

    Hammarlund SP 600J. This is probably the Edsel of radios. Ahead of its time, but behind the times....all at the same time. It SHOULD have worked a lot better than it did. Built like a battleship....seemed like everything was done RIGHT, but still drifted worse than....well, a SWAN!

    Gonset G-76. What can I say?

  2. N2RJ

    N2RJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Icom 751A - fried eggs anyone?
    Kenwood TM-V7A - cool blue display, when it worked right.
  3. WA6MHZ

    WA6MHZ Subscriber QRZ Page

    The radio I love the most is easily one of the worst radios every designed. The Heathkit Twoer! But it got the job done, and got thousands of Hams on the air for an affordable price.
    The main problem with the Twoer was the Receiver. Sensitive enough, it used a Superregen receiver, but tuning on it was dismal. You tuned the WHOLE 4 mhz band of 2M with a HALF turn of the dial!!! But in low activity areas, tuning in AM was not a problem. The transmitter was pretty gutless too. Though it boasted 5W input, it is lucky to put out 1 Watt. But the modulation was pretty good, and with a good antenna, it could be heard well. I love these radios so much I have acquired 25 of them! Maybe 26 I forget! Similar models were made for 6 meters, 10 meters and CB. Must have been just dreadful for CB! Another thing that sucked was you had to take the case off to change crystals! So most Hams drilled the front panel and put in a crystal socket. FOr some reason, Heathkit had this idea that an RCA jack makes a good RF Output connector. Most hams changed them to a SO-239. Finding a completely VIRGIN Twoer is hard, but I have several pairs of them. The mics are even harder to find.
  4. NN3W

    NN3W Ham Member QRZ Page

    Atlas 210x.
  5. K4JC

    K4JC Ham Member QRZ Page

    Lafayette HA-146, mid-70s vintage crystal controlled 2-meter rig. Sensitivity was awful, selectivity just as bad. The squelch had to be just on the threshold, or you wouldn't hear anything. But it was my first ham radio, one that my brother had given me for Christmas in '77 as an incentive to get my ticket.

    Rose colored glasses can be very powerful...
  6. WA4BRL

    WA4BRL Ham Member QRZ Page

    What else but the Eico 753. It was my first transceiver after I upgraded to General fom Novice. I bought it used for $150. Believe it or not, that was a great deal. That particular 753 did not did not drift excessively. Yes, the drift was noticeable, but it was easy to deal with on CW or SSB. A friend took on the challenge to get rid of the drift altogether when I loaned the rig to him for a while. He installed a succession of temperature compensating diodes in the VFO and managed to improve the stability significantly. Some drift is still there, but no one in a QSO would ever guess that they're working one of the notorious 753's.

    Even without the horrible drift, the 753 was a mediocre rig at best. But it hung in there with me. I still have it too! Rig and power supply probably need re-capping as I haven't used them in 25 years. There's still a warm place in my heart for the old beast.
  7. AG3Y

    AG3Y Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hammarlund HQ-110C. The "C" stood for "clock" which you were supposed to set about an hour before you intended to operate the rig so that the drift would be under control. The problem was that it never did settle down ! I always thought that I had a bad sample, but I have heard that they were ALL like that!

    I have a similar problem with a Lafayette general coverage receiver that is a lot newer design, and the designers should have learned how to control things by then. But they didn't ! Both very poor radios. But I still have the Lafayette ! Maybe I will get around to fixing it, some day!

    73, Jim

    p.s. Steve , I know EXACTLY what your avatar is, but I won't tell ! ! !
  8. KL7AJ

    KL7AJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Awww...shucks. EVERY olde pharte knows what that is!
  9. KY5U

    KY5U Subscriber QRZ Page

    Good post.
  10. KL7AJ

    KL7AJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Just for the RECORD, everyone who's more than 45 should know what that is.

  11. KC4YLV

    KC4YLV Ham Member QRZ Page

    Kenwood TR-7800 2m FM rig.

    First radio, bought at a hamfest at age 11.

    WHOOPS, 6-pin mic plug. Rare as hen's teeth. Let's buy the $20 adapter for an 8-pin.

    Okay! Wait, why can I not tune anything in?


    Darn fool PLL would drift if you scanned on the radio, and lock up about 4 KHz high or something like that. Always had to tune it off frequency for about 3 months, then one day it woud pop back into lock. I desoldered the SC button and it was ok.

    But, still, jeez!
  12. WY6K

    WY6K Ham Member QRZ Page

    Ok, I give. What's that avatar? Is it a 45 rpm to 33 rpm record adapter?

    I can't think of a rig that was lousy that I still liked.

    I actually think the HQ110 is a nice (albeit inexpensive) radio.

    I had an SX-23, it sucked, I didn't like it.

    The Allied Radio Scanmaster really sucks, I didn't like it either.

  13. KA4DPO

    KA4DPO Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I have owned a few terrible radios but I didn't love them. I couldn't wait to get rid of them and get something better.
  14. AF6LJ

    AF6LJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I use to have this old boat anchor general coverage receiver (one of 4 in my life) It was made by the Northern Radio Company in 1947. It was an AC/DC radio it used eight tubes instead of five 50L6 audio, 35Z5 rectifier and some 6J5's and 6SN7's. It sort of worked fine, a tune up helped and a few tubes. Someone had repainted the front panel and then replaced all the placards that labeled the controls. I took it apart and sanded down the front panel and covered it in wood grain contact paper. I use to listen to 80 and 40M phone by using a Heathkit signal generator loosely coupled in the IF as a BFO. Pardon me for saying but that really sucked. it was a year or so later i aquired my SB301 I thought I was in heavan.
  15. WA6MHZ

    WA6MHZ Subscriber QRZ Page

    You'd love to see my 3 SB-301s, 2 SB-110s, SB-101, SB-313 and SB-401 I have here at work! Plenty more at home! 2 more SB-301s, 2 SB-300s, SB-400, another SB-401, another SB-110, 2 more SB-101s, a SB-303, SB-500, SB-650 and a SB-102. Think I have enough? Thats just the SB line.
  16. WB6MMJ

    WB6MMJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have owned so many. Lets see........ My first radio when I was a Novice was a Swan 240, I added the CW mod. to it. I got more OO reports on that thing. Key clicks. Oh, and guess what, I now have two of those things.
    Then there is the Eico 753. I also still have one of those. The Swans and the Eico still work fine. Wait, fine? I guess it is much safer to just say that they work like they did when they were new.
    Why do I do this to myself ?
    I have had many receivers that needed a pre-amp for the pre-amp. I can`t remember all of the names of those.
    I did own a HQ 110 for many years way back when. I owned another one not too long ago and got rid of it. I guess I`m learning, slow as I may be.
    I think the rest of that equipment is blocked from memory, you know, like when something bad happens to you, your brain blocks it so as not to damage you for the rest of your life?
    If I remember any more of those rigs I will let you know. Then, please, hit me over the head before I run out and buy some.
  17. K2PJW

    K2PJW Subscriber QRZ Page

    My Ten Tec Jupiter. The receiver was great. The controls were placed right where I wanted them and they were just the right size. Too bad the radio was so erratic. I returned it for another one and had different problems with that one...so I gave up. But I still miss that receiver. :(
  18. WA9CWX

    WA9CWX Ham Member QRZ Page

    Have had MANY lousy radios, but only REALLY LOVED a few.

    Heath 'Twoer' number one !! :D

    Lafayette 'Lincoln' Six meter xcvr a strong #2.

    Hallicrafterrs SR 53A a sad #3.

    Ocean Hopper a treasured #4.

    Globe Hi-Bander #5

    Knight Kit R 100 a dsimal #6

    That pretty much ends the love affair with BAD radios. The other junkers were dismissed rather quickly, but THOSE I had used for a long time, with high, irrational hopes with each new 'power up' every evening.....:D

    BTW, I have had MANY of those radios...I had NINE Lincolns over the years, uncountable Twoers (probably at least 7 or 8), and at least doubles of the others, except the Hi Bander ( ONCE was enough, but it was used for at least five years) !

  19. AG3Y

    AG3Y Ham Member QRZ Page

    I did some snooping around on the internet, and found a picture of the old Lafayette receiver that I still own. It is an HA 600, and as I said before, it drifts like crazy !

    The other day I came across a photo that was taken years ago in our first home, a mobile home that I had parked on the property of the radio station I worked at. In the background of that picture, sits a Lafayetter HA 800 ham band only receiver. The 800 and 600 were pretty much look-alikes, but the 600 was general coverage, and the 800 only covered the pre-WARC ham bands.

    I honestly cannot remember ever having that receiver, but there it is in the photograph. It must have REALLY impressed me ! So much for lasting memories of early ham stations, huh ? ? ?
  20. N4CD

    N4CD Ham Member QRZ Page

    Old rigs

    Have had a bunch of rigs, and not too many turkeys

    Knight T-60, T-150A transmitter, Lafayette HE-80B receiver (made by Kenwood), Hallicrafters S-107

    HW-12, SB-100, SB101, SB110, SB500, TS-600-TS-700, SB200, SB220

    TS-50 transceiver, IC-7006, FT-1000, IC756 Pro II

    All were good.

    Had a bunch of 2M FM stuff...IC2s, some 220 Handhelds, and a few Kenwood handhelds that didn't hold up. For some reason the Kenwood 2M FM stuff wasn't friendly to me. THeir internal batteries went dead and killed the radios. (memory batteries).

    The worst radio I remember was a SBE 6M VXO type unit..pain in the butt to use. Transceiver.

    I had a Twoer for a while - didn't make too many contacts, but make hundreds with a Lafayette HE45B on 6m. Back when 6M AM was hot. 60s.

    Yes, radios drifted back then. So did transmitters. You couldn't tune fast enough to keep up with a drifting NCX-3 or similar in QSO......

    See boat anchors and old radios I could not afford way back when - and think I really don't need 40 year old technology!
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