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What was your Novice dream rig ?

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by W5IEI, Oct 13, 2021.

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  1. AD7SK

    AD7SK Ham Member QRZ Page

    Back when I was young, anything in the Heathkit catalog.

    Now, I just want ideal conditions and a large urn of Navy CPO-strength coffee so I can 'radio' in peace.
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  2. KC1HWT

    KC1HWT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Since I was a teen, the venerable Icom IC-751A… Still in working, mint condition.


    Attached Files:

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  3. KM1H

    KM1H Ham Member QRZ Page

    Dream: A Ranger and NC-300/303.

    Reality after I got the General and wanted ALL the bands was a used Viking I with 122 VFO and HQ-129X. Couldnt kill that TX no matter what impossible antennas I used with just the amazing pi network Johnson used. A RME DB22A and VHF-152A. All used of course.

    I have replicated that station along with the QF-1, BC-453, PM-23 speaker. Dow Key relay replaced with a Johnson "electronic" T/R switch. Some no holes and reversible mods made to improve RX and TX.
    Made DXCC on CW, thanks to Cycle 19, before joining the USN in late 59 .

    I now have a Ranger and NC-300 and some other boatanchors for some AM fun and vintage SSB.

  4. K5ABB

    K5ABB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yeah, I see it, and this thread, as a reflection of a generational shift in ham radio (and all other things as well)... People who had a "Novice dream rig" represent my generation, we learned the ropes on cw, high voltage tube based analog circuits, HF bands, home-brew wire antennas, crystal controlled transmitters, etc.
    I spent many a night tearing down old broken TV chassis I got for free to build a parts inventory, and mowing lawns and shoveling snow for dough as did many others of my ilk. That's the broke teenage novice experience, and it was thrilling. We all learned to work cw because every ham had to learn it, and as novices, it's all we had.

    My "Elmers" (I never heard that term back then) were "old" WWII guys mostly, who taught me things like "keep one hand in your back pocket when you go poking around in there" and taught me how to make a chicken stick to discharge capacitors, and use a VTVM. Working with high voltage circuits was just part of ham radio. We were taught to respect it, but then get on with it.

    Things have changed with the times, and technology. I'm a dinosaur now, even though I don't feel like one... Everything is solid state, and that's fine. I am competent with basic transistor based circuitry... But we've gone way past that point as well. Now a lot of it is digital, and worse, SMD based, and we don't fix our stuff anymore because, well, the vast majority of us (myself included) can't. We can replace a board or a module, or a bad capacitor in a power supply, but that's about it.

    The new hams have a different experience, they are digital birds now. They know about firmware, and code plugs, and digital modes, and reflectors, and hotspots, and a little bit of, oh yeah, RF. They have a new term, "makers" for guys who actually build stuff from scratch like it's something that's old and quaint, and has only been recently "re-discovered" like alchemy.... It's ok, we all learn what we learn as we're coming up because it applies to the world we live in, and the world around us. I get it.

    I do wonder, however what the new "novices" (technicians now, and probably older than we were) picture as their "dream rig" and what they think it would do for them in their version of ham life... because I really don't know.

    W5TTP, WA1GXC and KP4SX like this.
  5. W4HAY

    W4HAY XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I had the Meissener equivalent, the 2-CW
    Amusing story behind it. Earlier, just before I got my Novice, I had built a 6AG7 transmitter on a wooden base made form an old orange crate. It looked pretty crude and would give a nice "tingle" if the wrong parts wre touched, so Dad figured I needed a better transmitter. For Christmas he bought the 2-CW on advice from my uncle, who had been in the Army Signal Corps during WW2 and thus knew everything there was to know about radio. The 2-CW chirped like a cricket on dope, so I rebuilt it using the 6AG7, which solved the chirp problem.

    Before I got my Novice, he had given me an S-38B for Christmas, again on the advice from my uncle. It was a great SWL receiver, but my regen receiver was more sensitive and selective. The 'ginny tended to drift a lot, so I got a BC-455 Command set, which was very stable but had an IF bandpass you could drive a team of Clydesdales through.

    After I passed the General, I bought a used NC-98, a Heathkit VFO, and built a transmitter from the Handbook with a 6146 in the final modulated by a pair of 807s. The power supply was made with salvaged parts and had a pair of 866 Mercury vapor rectifiers. I was in hog heaven.
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2021
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  6. W9JEF

    W9JEF Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Johnson Viking I. W9OMT / W9JO (SK) had one. The first manufactured rig I ever worked on (replaced the 4D32 final screen resistor).

  7. KP4SX

    KP4SX Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I never worked a Novice that had one of those.
  8. KA2BLG

    KA2BLG Ham Member QRZ Page


    I always wanted a Kenwood TS-830S. It came out right around the same time as I was first licensed. As a young teenager there was no way in the world it was going to be something I could afford.

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  9. N5AL

    N5AL Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I was a 14 year-old adolescent as a Novice. When reading through those old ham radio magazines of the day, the antenna ads were much more interesting to me than the radios.
    I dreamed of having a beam antenna. I eventually did get a used Mosley TA-33 Jr., that another ham sold me for $40.

    The Dream:

    The Reality:
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  10. W9JEF

    W9JEF Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    The Johnson Viking I was introduced in 1949. As I recall, Joe bought it used.


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