AM Newbie. Questions Inside.

Discussion in 'Amplitude Modulation' started by N4AXE, Sep 13, 2016.

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  1. N2DTS

    N2DTS Ham Member QRZ Page

    The K7dyy rigs really do not look bad for the money.
    A 2 rack unit that runs off 120vac, does hifi, has a built in vfo and does 300 watts carrier is not bad.
    At 300 watts, I think you need to spend more then $1500.00 (new) to get a hifi rig.
    And it will not run off 120 volts and be 2 rack units high...

    Might not be much fun to operate though.

    When I first got into AM it was fun and educational to get a Johnson or Heathkit and fix/improve/experiment with it.
    Solid state the power supply (more voltage, less heat, better regulation, use the tube sockets for VR tubes to regulate the screen voltage of the modulator tubes, etc.

    There was an AF67 on ebay for a $60.00 buy it now price, put it into an amplifier or run it barefoot on 40 meters.
    Don't pass up a Gonset G76, 70 watt transmitter and a receiver in a shoebox size cabinet.
    N4AXE likes this.
  2. WA3VJB

    WA3VJB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Ben, seeing that you're in Alabama, I call your attention to SAMRC.

    Andy Howard WA4KCY, is an old radio friend of mine, and I'd be delighted if you'd mention me to him with my best regards.

    AM gear usually has a good grip on gravity. So picking up a piece in person is a better idea than shipping.

    This is from their website. I hope you'll consider joining.


    The Southeastern AM Radio Club is an organization of amateur radio operators who seek to restore and
    operate vintage equipment using the AM mode. AM operation can be found in many areas of the
    amateur bands. One of the most frequented places is 3885 kilocycles in the 75 meter band. It is on
    this frequency that the SAMRC operates a trade and fellowship net each Tuesday evening. Everyone
    who operates AM is encouraged to check in beginning at 7:00 PM EDT. The net begins promptly
    at 7:00 PM and continues until all check-ins have been heard. A ragchew follows the net. The
    SAMRC is affiliated with the Concord Amateur Radio Society and also uses the W4AMI callsign.

    Net Control Operators are Andy, WA4KCY and Sam, KF4TXQ
    N4AXE likes this.
  3. K5UJ

    K5UJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    The path to AM is many and varied. That's part of the fun and keeps it

    General options:
    1. Plastic radio, either software or front panel rig driving modified amplifier -- I run a setup like this on
    160 meters. It works but is rather mundane and not much fun after a while.
    2. Converted broadcast rig.
    3. Solid state rig, class D or E.
    4. Homebrew.
    5. Military surplus.
    6. Vintage ham gear.

    AM presents challenges both transmitting and receiving. When these are met,
    it's really really good.

    For some of us, there are aspects of phone operating that bring back our salad
    days in ham radio: the camaraderie, fraternity and charity, civil operating behavior, operating
    separates, and a slower pace.

    The challenges will at times make you want to haul everything to the curb, but
    they'll also make you a better ham. At least that's my experience--I'd say I
    am AM challenged.

    But to me, on-air operating is around 40% of the fun. AM and vintage gear has
    opened up a lot of otherwise unrelated areas of interest: audio, antennas,
    bench work and test equipment, metal work, circuit theory. That last one is a tough
    one for me. I don't pick this stuff up easily.

    You might wonder why "antennas" is in the list above. Satisfying AM operating
    usually puts some emphasis on having atleast a half-way decent antenna.

    No rush but hamfests are often your best bet for finding bargains in parts,
    supplies, tools, test gear and books. The more you can get to, the better.
    Check back here for advice on all this.

    No introduction is complete without a thanks to hams like Don K4KYV plus a few others who kept AM alive during the 1960s and 1970s when it was under continuous attack from the ARRL and FCC, and desertion by most hams. If these few AM operators had not been there to fight for AM, it would probably have been banned in the U.S. by now.

    KA0HCP and N4AXE like this.
  4. KA4KOE

    KA4KOE Ham Member QRZ Page

    The 7300 is hardware limited to 2.9 KC audio, for each sideband. That is somewhat restricted. My Valiant will do around 4.5 KC (Tron mods).
    N4AXE likes this.
  5. N2DTS

    N2DTS Ham Member QRZ Page

    6 kc works ok on 40, where stations may be every 5 kc apart.
    You do not always have to sound like a broadcast station.
    Good EQ can make even a limited bandwidth sound good as long as its clean.
    N4AXE likes this.
  6. N6YW

    N6YW Ham Member Volunteer Moderator QRZ Page

    I would like to mention the use of Software Defined Radio as an alternative and here's why:
    As an example, the Flex 1500 (5 watts) and 3000 (100 watts) are excellent performers.
    The receiver platform has selectivity that most modern radios can only dream of and you
    get the added benefit of a being able to view the spectrum in a variety of ways, not to mention
    the graphic representation of how your pass band adjustments looks with regards to adjacent
    signals, particularly on AM. I find it quite wonderful to razor edit the SSB LIDS out of my
    receiver during the 3870 nets. A blessing!
    The transmit audio will also be very rewarding, when set up properly can rival broadcast quality.
    I use the Flex 5000A with the 2nd receiver and ATU option, and I love it. When you listen in
    Binaural mode it will leave you speechless! Anyway, the obvious power of the tools included
    in this platform can't be overstated, but it requires the use of a computer which can be a deal
    breaker for many. It does not have any of the vintage vibe we all love, including the weight!
    The biggest problem with the SDR format that I have encountered, and resolved, is the
    tendency to be sensitive to ground loops causing echoing on the transmitting signal. The use
    of ground lift adapters usually solves this. I also choke all of the interconnect cabling, and of course
    a primo station ground is a must. I also decided that the computer is to always be dedicated
    for using the radio only, and in my case, serves as the communications only computer in my
    shack. This allows me to connect other SDR receivers, and programming of HT's and
    Motorola & Kenwood two way radios, etc, but never for daily internet use. The exception being
    for software updates, driver downloads, stuff like that.
    Servicing of these radios can be a concern and I hope Flex can stay in business, a great company.
    One final comment, is that the SDR is a very powerful tool as a test instrument for analyzing other equipment in the shack. Mine has been used with great success and with that, prevented me from having to spend more money on other test equipment. My 5K can accept external clocking which can be of added benefit.
    73 de Billy N6YW
    N4AXE and WA3VJB like this.
  7. N2DTS

    N2DTS Ham Member QRZ Page

    I loved my Flex 5000's, very fun if only 20 or 25 watts.
    The record and playback of people on the air with one click is fun.
    Keeping the computer just for radio use makes things 100% stable, and you can turn off/delete a lot of bloatware in services.
    Its a lot of fun just looking at signals and listening, even if you do not get on.

    A lot of fun, and most guys sound great on them.
    N4AXE and WA3VJB like this.
  8. AC0OB

    AC0OB Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Hi Ben,

    If you don't mind making some minor upgrades I would first purchase something like this:

    It's a simple rig and upgrading it will help you with the concepts of AM and communications electronics.

    AC0OB - A Place where Thermionic Emitters Rule!
    Besides, when you're a Ham, you experiment with and improve boat anchors - that's what you do!. [​IMG]
    N4AXE likes this.
  9. N4AXE

    N4AXE Ham Member QRZ Page

    Looks like I'm going to pick this one up. :) Thanks for the heads up.

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