What was your very first "shack" setup?

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by W7UUU, Jun 4, 2020.

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  1. NN4RH

    NN4RH Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    First shack setup, 15 years old, 1971, was in the basement of the parents house.

    Transmitter: Globe Scout 65A (used, cost me $15 of my corn-detassling money) Bought from older ham about 2 miles from home. Managed to get it home balanced on the handlebars of my bicycle (walking the bike, not riding!). Chirped like crazy and eventually earned me an OO warning. I bought a restored old one off eBay about 8 years ago, and it chirps like crazy, too. Apparently a well known "feature" of that model. Have the parts for the W8JI mod to the oscillator to cure that, but haven't gotten around to it.

    Crystals: Two 40 meter and one 80 meter crystal.

    Receiver #1: Radio Shack regnerative shortwave kit (x-mas present) - when I first wired it up I guess i reversed hot/neutral . First time I turned it on and touched it I got "hung up" from the AC-hot chassis. Never mentioned it to the parents ... afraid they'd ban me from radios.

    Receiver #2: Hammarlund HQ110 (used. I don't remember circumstances of how I got it - it may have come from my Grandfather, who at one time owned a radio repair shop and let me have old radios and TVs to tinker). Never worked very well. About 8 years ago I bought a on old one off eBay to tinker with, but haven't been able to get that one working very well, either. Maybe they never worked well?

    Receiver #3: National NC-100 (extremely used, dented, filty, broken knobs, weighed a ton, but free for hauling it out of some old guy's basement. I had to make several repairs, replace tubes and capacitors, dial string, knobs, fix some of the rollers and gears (it had a weird movable RF deck instead of conventional band switching), but eventually got it working. This was my main receiver for most of my novice days and it worked really well. I'd love to find one to tinker with.

    Key: WWII era British Key (free - same source as the NC100).

    Antenna #1: 40m twin-lead folded dipole stapled up under the eaves of the house.

    Antenna #2: Short vertical made of copper pipe, base loading coil from copper tubing (dad was a a plumber).

    Tuner: None. Just the output stage of the Globe Scout

    SWR/Power indicator: 100 watt light bulb.

    No photos. All that lost long time ago.
    WW2PT and WN1MB like this.
  2. WW2PT

    WW2PT Ham Member QRZ Page

    We have a winner! :D Those are some of the most worn out books I've ever owned. They're all still in the garage at my parents' old house (now my brother's house) in NJ. If I ever make it back up there, those books are coming home with me!

    We had the Year Books, too. And the giant two-volume dictionary. I pretty much taught myself how to read thanks to World Book.
    WJ4U and WN1MB like this.
  3. K1KTF

    K1KTF Ham Member QRZ Page

    LOL!! I get that from time to time. What’s even more odd is the Mayor of Austin but he has my full name “Steven Ira Adler”.
    What are the chances of that!? 73 ~ Steve (K1KTF)
    WJ4U and WN1MB like this.
  4. WN1MB

    WN1MB XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thanks for taking my post in the spirit in which it was posted!

    That's a hoot re: the Mayor of Austin. Wonder if Michael Coletti (aka Steven Alder of GnR) knows about him?
    K1KTF likes this.
  5. WA4A

    WA4A Ham Member QRZ Page

    By October 1962, I was on-the-air as a newly licensed Novice, WN4KFH, at age 15 in Raleigh, NC.

    My first ham shack was shared with my bedroom and was a homemade plywood desk which displayed my Hallicrafters S-107 general coverage receiver with a Heathkit HD-11 Q-multiplier for added selectivity, a Hallicrafters S-47 matching speaker and a Hallicrafters HT-40K (kit) transmitter running about 30 Watts out on crystal controlled CW to a 40-meter dipole.
    My keys were a Nye Viking oval straight key and later a 1940s vintage J-37 bug. A surplus HS-model military headset and a big knife switch to switch the antenna along with a big U.S. wall map marked with call zones completed the setup. Operation was primarily on 40 meters, 7150 kc, as I remember, with my one expensive Texas crystal. In those days, the higher bands were closed all day, so the Novice 15 meter band was empty. Later, I extended the dipole and tried 80 meters for some more local QSOs and when I finally got a used Heathkit Twoer, I was in business with 5-Watts of AM voice on 145.2 mc on a 19-inch whip!

    Operating this little station allowed me to learn how to build and repair rigs and make stuff work, hone my operator skills and get my code speed up to 20 WPM! By 1963, I had a Conditional Class (General) license as well as Commercial Radiotelephone and Radiotelegraph Operator Licenses with Radar Endorsements, had a wall full of QSL cards and was pretty sure what I wanted to do in life after high school!

    Fortunately, my high school had a club station and I had several friends who had Novice tickets, so we learned from each other, swapped equipment and talked on-the-air every day.

    Eventually, my radio hobby did turn into a career in radio and electronics and now retired, at age 73, I'm still having fun hamming it up!

    73 DE WA4A Bob Truitt
    KA2CZU, N0VFJ, N8RKD and 1 other person like this.
  6. W1AMA

    W1AMA Ham Member QRZ Page

    The dining room table. 1978.

    Yaesu FT101EE, Heathkit SWR meter, and eventually a homebrew ultimate transmatch. The dining room had a sliding door so I would bring the coax cable in, and seal the rest of the doorframe with the curtains.

    Straight key , YD-844 microphone.
    KA2CZU, WZ7U and WN1MB like this.
  7. W9JEF

    W9JEF Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    This is the earliest picture I have, October, 1954 was when I dropped the N. Left to right, on 80/75/40 meters, a $5 surplus BC-454 Command set using a pair of 1625s (12 volt version of the venerable 807 available for 19 cents a piece, surplus), powered by an 800 volt, 300 mA power supply (a kit purchased from Burstein-Applebee for $29.95). The large knob is a tubeless VFO built into a card-file box, and sitting on top of it, a homebrew cathode modulator. The crystal mic (mounted on a large can) was a gift from an Elmer, Harry, W9FWO(sk), The receiver was a Grunow all wave that covered 150 to about 18,000 kc (they were kilocycles in those days, not Hertz). The chassis was originally a gift from Harry to another y0ung ham, who lost interest, and then sold it to me for $5. I made the aluminum panel, and etched calibration onto the circular coffee can dial (after first painting it flat black). On the far right, a BC-453 tuned to the 455 kc IF, which gave me 2,7 kc wide selectivity. Had an FL-5F 1000 cycle audio filter for CW. That's a J-38 key, and the magnetic phones were mail-ordered from Allied Radio.

    WA4BRL, VK6APZ, WA7RAR and 2 others like this.
  8. W4HM

    W4HM XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I was first licensed in 1989 at age 33 so I'm the youngest ham in Florida. :rolleyes:

    I had two first stations. On AM I had a Heath Kit DX-100B an Hallicrafters HC-180C and used a D-104 microphone. On CW/SSB I had an Icom IC-701 with matching power supply/speaker and SM-2 desk top microphone. I lifted the DX-100B 3 times all by myself like it was nothing. Today I can barely walk.o_O

    My first home built antennas were a 10 meter dipole, 20 meter dipole and 160 meter 126 foot long coaxial inverted L made out of RG-8X, with only a 30 foot high vertical section. I worked allot of CW and SSB DX on it in Europe and North Africa with 100 watts.

    I began as an LW, MW and SW SWL'er only in 1965. Of the many things I listened to included hams on SSB and AM and by the time I got licensed in 1989 I had the experience and knowledge of an advanced class ham.
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2021
  9. W4HM

    W4HM XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    My parents bought me the full set of 1961 World Book Encyclopedias. Boy did I learn about allot of stuff in them.
    WD4ELG likes this.
  10. K5DH

    K5DH Ham Member QRZ Page

    Got my Novice ticket in July, 1977, when I was freshman EE student at Delaware Tech. Since the school was only 15 minutes away from my parents' house, I lived with them. My station was located in their basement and consisted of an Eico 723 CW transmitter (60 Watts input, crystal control) and a Lafayette HA-800A receiver (solid-state but drifted like mad!) with a G5RV antenna hung as an inverted vee from 40 feet of TV antenna mast. I had two crystals on 80m, three on 40m, and one that would triple to 15m. My first key was a WW2-surplus Canadian army field radio leg-strap key made by Westclox. It was a simple station, but I filled page after page in my logbook with contacts all over the place! Fun times.
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