My First Receiver

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by KF4SCI, Apr 7, 2017.

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  1. N2EY

    N2EY Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Ah - OK! And I agree 100%!

    That said, a few caveats......

    1) Older equipment may or may not be performing up to snuff. An NC-173 with weak tubes, leaky paper capacitors, dried up electrolytics, drifted carbon comp resistors and in dire need of a complete alignment is a very different beast from an NC-173 that is in good condition.

    2) Older equipment often isn't all that good on the higher frequencies, when it comes to sensitivity and stability.

    3) Older equipment often lacks features that many consider "normal" or even "essential" (AGC and S-meter don't work with the BFO on. ANL is not a noise blanker. Dial readout is....what it is. Drift....)

    4) Older equipment often requires that you Read The Fancy Manual and learn skills from another time. Phasing control? Riding the RF gain? Bandspread and Bandset? Warmup? Build a TR system that requires throwing just one switch?

    They might - but I wouldn't. Particularly not on 15 with good sunspot numbers.

    However I find it curious that you call the Adventurer a "35 watt transmitter". In its time, transmitters were rated by DC input, not RF output, and the Adventurer was a 50 watt (DC input) transmitter. (You'd be lucky to get 35 watts out on 15 meters!).

    I had both an NC-173 and an Adventurer, but at very different times. Would have LOVED to have had that combo as a Novice! But it was beyond my reach then.

    The Adventurer was, IMHO, perhaps the best of the simple-MOPA Novice transmitters. (Eico 723 might be in the same class). Simple but very effective. 6AG7-807 lineup, with 5U4 rectifier. Quality construction throughout, and the final tube was run below ratings (807 will easily take 75 watts input with the proper power supply). In fact the only flaw I see in the Adventurer is the cheap moving-iron meter....but they all had that.

    I traded my DX-20 for an Adventurer back in the day.....I think I got the better end of that deal.


    And then there were.....crystals. Until the 1970s, all Novices had to use crystal control - no VFO. To make it more of a sporting course, the Novice subbands back then weren't harmonically related - each band (80/40/15) required its own crystal(s)!

    One had to be careful - if you left an 80 meter crystal in the rig and switched to 40, most txs would tune up normally - but you'd be transmitting outside the band. Same sort of issue with crystals for 40 and 15.

    In those days a "new" FT-243 crystal cost $2.95. Doesn't sound like much....but.....$2.95 in 1967 is the same as $21.55 today! There were surplus crystals available for less - but many books and articles warned about them, saying they might be chirpy, or not on the marked frequency. Also, the surplus ones tended to be on a few very common frequencies. Finally - they were often in "odd" holders that required adapters to fit most transmitters.

    I had one crystal for 80 and one for 40, both dead center of the band. When I earned the Advanced, less than a year after the Novice arrived, I celebrated by getting a VF-1 VFO - and never looked back.

    If I knew then just some of what I know now (sigh).

    73 de Jim, N2EY
    KU4X and KA4DPO like this.
  2. K4PIH

    K4PIH Ham Member QRZ Page

    First one I remember having as my own was a Hallirafters SX28. Then a Hallicrafters S-40B.
  3. KG4RRH

    KG4RRH Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Hallicrafters SX-24. I got it in the mid 60's from a great uncle and wish I still had it.
    AF7XT likes this.
  4. KA4DPO

    KA4DPO Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Ahhh, agree 100%, that said, all of my gear gets new caps at a minimum, and all out of tolerance resistors and tubes are always replaced, all switched cleaned or replaced as necessary. No stone is left unturned, even faulty ground lugs get repaired. Obviously this one was not yet finished. You aint the only one who knows how to restore a radio buddy.

    173 Rebuild1.jpg

    173 Rebuild1.jpg
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  5. N2EY

    N2EY Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Actually I do a lot more building than restoring.

    It's funny - I've encountered really old parts that check out perfect, and much newer parts that are worthless.

    There was a BC-348R I had many years ago that had TDBPCs (Those Darn Black Plastic Capacitors). Worked great - but every so often a TDBFC would fail, sometimes dramatically. Finally I got fed up and just replaced them all. Worked the same - but no more annoying failures.

    Point is, if a newcomer gets hold of an older piece of gear that hasn't been checked out, they're very likely to get a bad impression of how such gear performs.
  6. KB9BVN

    KB9BVN Ham Member QRZ Page

    When I was a little kid my brother and I used to stay over night with my Aunt Ruth and Uncle Wayman. We'd sometimes sleep on a pallet in the front living room, where they had a huge beautiful Grundig Console. The console had a reel to reel tape on one side and a phonograph on the other side, and in the middle there was a multi band receiver with one of those magic tuning eye tubes glowing a light green. We'd lay there with the lights out while Uncle Wayman would tune it around and we'd hear all kinds of strange and wonderful sounds. We'd hear a language we couldn't identify and we'd take turns guessing where it was from...weird noises that sounded like airplane engines, and different whistle tones....aviation weather, and even ham radio operators talking to the world. I was maybe 9 or 10...and was already familiar with BC band DXing on my AM receiver at home....but this big Grundig was so much more fun to listen to. My Aunt and Uncle are both gone now...but they sure left some wonderful memories.
  7. WN2C

    WN2C Ham Member QRZ Page

  8. KG5UN

    KG5UN Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hallicrafters S-41G
  9. AF7XT

    AF7XT Ham Member QRZ Page

    I still have a SX-24 that awaits the full meal deal . I did the minimum to see what would explode and retreated after two bad caps and a tube replacement. It receives signal and is quite the space heater.
    It deserves better than just a once over. I have a few appearance pieces and a spare tube set but that is as far as it goes for now .
  10. WN1MB

    WN1MB Ham Member QRZ Page

    You, my friend, have defined The Magic. And I thank you for that.

    Jeff WN1MB
    Winsted CT

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