What was your Novice dream rig ?

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

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  1. N2EY

    N2EY XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    What I really dreamed of was that I'd have a proper workbench with a good set of basic tools and test gear, and would build my station from scratch.

    For a Novice station, a band-imaging 80/40 receiver with converter for 15 meters, and a simple 6AG7/807 MOPA for transmitting. Plus a pile of crystals.

    73 de Jim, N2EY
  2. W4NNF

    W4NNF XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Oh, for a pile of crystals! :)
    N3AWS and N2EY like this.
  3. N4FZ

    N4FZ XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    In 1977, Dad bought us a Yaesu FT-101EE and it served us very well!
    WD4ELG and N2EY like this.
  4. KP4SX

    KP4SX Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Was he or you a Novice?
  5. N4FZ

    N4FZ XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Both of us were. We took our Novice tests together. I became WD4PJT and Dad was WD4PJU. Great memories of that day! Dad, Gene Sr. and my bird dog Duke are my Avatar picture.
    W4KYR, N3AWS and WD4ELG like this.
  6. AA5ET

    AA5ET Ham Member QRZ Page

    Collins S-Line. After all those years I recently acquired a KWM-2 and matching 30L-1 amp. Close enough! Now to get it all working properly.
    WD4DXQ likes this.
  7. KB4MNG

    KB4MNG Ham Member QRZ Page

    Sounds like most were novices eons ago. I was a novice in 1984. I really wanted the TS 830, which was on its way out and really wanted a radio in the kenwood 900 line up. That was for millionaires at the time.
    N3AWS likes this.
  8. N3AWS

    N3AWS Ham Member QRZ Page

    My dream rig was a Signal One.

    My rig was a DX40 with three crystals for 80 and three crystals for 15. I later bought one crystal for 40 for a Novice net with the Foothills ARC in Greensburg PA. Receiver was an Allied A2516.
  9. N2EY

    N2EY XML Subscriber QRZ Page


    For many years, s typical FT-243 Novice crystal was $2.95 from the well-known suppliers. Not a lot of money today but when you adjust for inflation it was serious cash. Worse, the old Novice subbands were not harmonically related, so each crystal could only be used on one band.

    My first VFO, a Heathkit VF-1, was $20 - the price of about 7 FT-243s, but much more useful.

    Back then there were discount crystal suppliers that charged less than $2.95, but they didn't advertise much, so many of us newcomers didn't know about them until too late.

    In the 1970s there was a "crystal bank" for the exchange of Novice crystals, but it didn't last because Novices were allowed to use VFO soon after. Imagine if such a "bank" had existed from the start!

    73 de Jim, N2EY
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  10. W4HAY

    W4HAY XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    That would be about $30 today.

    The alternative was to buy out-of-band WW2 surplus crystals for about 50 cents each and re-grind them to the desired frequency. It was time consuming and usually a few crystals were ruined during the learning process.

    Modern ham band crystals can be bought for as little as $2.50, but they're not in FT-243 holders. Unfortunately, some vacuum tube oscillators will destroy them in a matter of seconds.
    N2EY likes this.
  11. KN4XJ

    KN4XJ Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    40 + years later and it's still in the shack (820s) but sadly my daughter has no interest anymore.

    JLH Ham Radio 10mths.jpg
    PU2OZT and WA4BRL like this.
  12. AB7RU

    AB7RU XML Subscriber QRZ Page

  13. WA9SVD

    WA9SVD Ham Member QRZ Page

    I (fell for a scam?) sent my last Novice crystal (unused/unneeded for about 50 years) to a "ham" who @ QRZ said he couldn't afford one for a homebrew radio. I gladly wanted to help out, but that was the last I heard from him; no further posts her @ QRZ; not even a "thank you" via QRZ or e-mail, and obviously no offer to even reimburse for the postage. Not a LOT of money, for the postage, but a "thanks" would have been appreciated.:( (And certainly appropriate; I know if I get something, I want to at least reimburse for postage or what ever is involved.) But of course, when one is "down on their luck" and can't afford a crystal, it's obvious an e-mail thank you or post @ QRZ doing the same is FAR too expensive.:rolleyes:
  14. WA1GXC

    WA1GXC Ham Member QRZ Page

    Amendment with odd history:
    For some reason lost to attorneys, Vibroplex allowed its patents in-force on its Lightning Bug model to lapse by the WW II era. Thus Lionel, Bunnell and other essentially-identical clones as war-production J-36s
    fabricated on this pattern were not licensed and Lionel freely kept all the profits.

    Contrary to fairly common assumption, J-36 was not tag specific to the "Lightning Bug " pattern. All semi-automatic keys ('Bugs') during the War period were inexplicably designated J-36 irrespective of pattern. Many resembled modified Vibroplex "Original" and others were fairly unique. Brooklyn Metal Stamping Products, McElroy Company, Bunnell. Vibroplex did produce a
    bunch of their own J-36 Lightning Bugs, some utilized commercial-off-the shelf with Vibroplex civilian data-plates and others with military "J-36" nomenclature tags. The unique guarantee
    of military utilization is an Army Signal Corps inspector's acceptance stamp in a fairly unique off-orange color with typical form "SCxxxxxx" or a Navy acceptance stamp with light-color square with anchor-device , both usually located on the underside. But lack of the acceptance stamp doen't mean it never saw war service.

    Last edited: Oct 18, 2021
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