Your scariest kluge

Discussion in 'Radio Circuits, Repair & Performance' started by KL7AJ, Jan 5, 2016.

ad: L-HROutlet
ad: l-rl
ad: L-MFJ
ad: Subscribe
ad: Left-2
ad: abrind-2
ad: Left-3
  1. KL7AJ

    KL7AJ XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    What was the most abominable pile of parts you've ever assembled that actually worked on the air?

    Here's a few o' me own:

    1) Using the outer shield of a cable TV system for an 80 meter antenna. (Really needed to work HF while on vacation one year)

    2) Open wire antenna tuners with alligator clip 1KW. Several occasions.

    3) NE555 timer chip with a 5th harmonic tank circuit used as a 160 meter transmitter

    4) Using a grid dip oscillator for a BFO with a radio shack shortwave radio.

    5) Open frame swinging link tank circuit on a 6 meter transmitter that I had to nudge back and forth with a twiddle-stick

    6) Lafayette stereo amplifier (with germanium power transistors) used as a modulator for a Johnson Adventurer.

    7) Using large filament transformers for modulation transformers (numerous occasions)

    8) Using three cascaded filament transformers for a 6146 B+ supply. (Lot of those ancient mil-sped oil filled filament transformers could handle HUGE voltages....up to 100X their rated voltage)

    9) "Full gallon" T/R switching using open frame relays.

    10) Loading up the chassis of my Johnson Adventurer for an antenna on 10 meters.
    2E0TZX likes this.
  2. KL7AJ

    KL7AJ XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I guess I forgot to mention several manifestations of plate lead keying. :)
    2E0TZX likes this.
  3. KK6GMN

    KK6GMN Ham Member QRZ Page

    Used bondo to fix some particle board sub floor that had turned to oatmeal due to a leak.... wait, that did not get me on the air.
  4. KC9UDX

    KC9UDX Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    Original Gonset Communicator (2m) plus Gonset VFO plus audio generator for a QSO on a local repeater just to say I did.
  5. WA4SIX

    WA4SIX Ham Member QRZ Page

    Old pole pig fed in reverse to play with high voltage. Usually drunk & on the CB at the time. Does that count?

  6. WC5P

    WC5P Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Kluged together an electronic TR switch from a Handbook article. More or less breadboarded with no shielding. With that thing, I could wipe out the entire TV spectrum with just the VFO running in the spot position. Fortunately, I was wise enough to scrap it and never actually got on the air with it.
  7. K9STH

    K9STH Platinum Subscriber Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    B&W coil stock with a variable capacitor plugged into the crystal socket of a Heath Sixer for a tube-less VFO. Worked fine and several other local amateur radio operators wanted one of the units so that they could have a VFO.

    My 160-meter true Zepp antenna made from wire, unwound from the filament windings of TV power transformers and then soldered together. Best wire antenna that I ever had. Put the antenna up in December 1960, after midnight, in a blizzard, and it was still there when my mother sold the house in the early 1990s.

    Nothing unusual about using power transformers for modulation transformers. But, I used a TV power transformer using the center tapped B+ winding for the push-pull modulator tube plates and the 117-volt primary to modulate the plate, and screen, voltage in the transmitter. The modulator was built on an old TV chassis and used 2-each 807 tubes as the modulators.

    My only receiver was in route as a trade-in on a new receiver. To join the local 40-meter AM group, used a 1933 Philco "round top" receiver. Broke the speaker connection and used a clip lead to mute the receiver when transmitting.

    For Field Day, the first year that extra credit could be had for "natural" power: Used a headlight generator, on a bicycle that had the rear wheel on a stand, with a zener voltage regulator to run a 3-watt output QRP CW transceiver. Had several teenage operators to pedal the bicycle while making the required number of contacts.

    The Richardson Wireless Klub (K5RWK), had a group called the Klub Kluge Korps (KKK) that came up will all sorts of "off the wall" installations including, again for the first year for extra credit for Field Day, a station to work OSCAR VI that used a Heath VHF-1 "Seneca" transmitter, with a variable capacitor across the crystal for a VXO, a 10-meter dipole for receiving, and a 7-element yagi mounted on a camera tripod.

    Not exactly on the air, but a practical application: In Physics class, at my high school, there were 8-work stations with 4-each students sitting around the station. In my class, there were 24-boys and 3-girls. The 3-girls sat at the same work station which was next to my station. One day, an experiment was set up at each work station consisting of an AC operated battery charger and a Ford Model T ignition coil ("spark" coil). The coil was to be used with a number of glass tubes containing various gases and combinations of gases to observe the different colored "glow" that was given off when the voltage, from the "spark" coil was attached to plates at the end of each tube. This actually worked very well.

    The best looking of the 3-girls, with whom I had several classes, often "needed help" with the various experiments conducted in class and, usually asked for my assistance. I cautioned her about the voltage from the "spark" coil and told her that, if anyone came into contact with that voltage, they not only could be shocked but also could get an r.f. burn. Not long after starting the experiment, the girl reached across the "spark" coil. One of the high voltage terminals caught her under her arm and the other terminal came into contact with a very prominent female anatomy feature. She let out a shriek and then wanted to immediately rub her anatomy. However, with 24-boys staring at her, she immediately ran from the room to seek shelter in a girls' bathroom. From that day onward, she was known as "MIss R.F. Burn of 1961"!

    Glen, K9STH
    VP9KS likes this.
  8. KM1H

    KM1H Ham Member QRZ Page

    Here it was a 250# transformer used with a 14KW PD water cooled Amperex industrial ceramic triode. It was marked 7500VDC 2.8A, and was single phase, no center tap , obviously fairly modern low impedance design and had a huge FWB blob of plastic attached to a phenolic board bolted to the xfmr angle iron frame....nothing fancy looking as this TX was used in a shoe factory in Lowell MA until urban renewal took over the old mill complex. The new owners had a 2 day fire sale and I had a 73 GMC Crew Cab with 8' bed and duallies as I hauled a big camper on vacations, hamfests, some hunting, etc; plus worked about a mile away at Wang Labs. I took a bit of comp time along with a long lunch plus I was in R&D management where life was pretty mellow:cool: and filled the truck from 9AM to the end of the sale day with all sorts of highpower goodies, tubes, more iron, vacuum variables, huge roller inductors, etc. An electronics scrapper had been using part of the mill as a storeroom and was given an ultimatum to get the stuff out by a certain date and didnt. It was a free for all getting access to the industrial elevator to the 4th floor and keeping watch on what you snagged.and safely in the truck which did have a cap and lock when not hauling the camper

    So I cobbled up enough 200-250W wirewounds to give about a 500W load, hooked up a 150# 53 uF 10KV Sangamo oil filled cap and a 240V 28A Variac on the 2" raised plywood floor over the basement concrete. Pretty much spread out over available space. Had a 0-10KV meter with a proper HV rated shunt and lots of clip leads and tack soldered resistor jumpers about. A table fan blew on the resistors.

    Myself, and the Variac were about 4' from where the mess was and the meter about half way where I could still read it as it was one of those 4x4" or larger type.

    Brought the Variac up VERY slowly and the meter followed without anything flakey. No funny noises or groans. After about 10 minutes I brought it up to 240V read the meter and shut down as the resistors were smoking! I guess I dropped a decimal in the calculations:rolleyes:

    Stone ass sober and that was before I quit entirely in 2001:eek: I snagged a 6 pack for the ride home;)

    It eventually wound up in a floor rack on heavy casters with all the proper wiring, meters, safety precautions, etc where it got used when I was custom building amps.......

    Last edited: Jan 5, 2016
  9. 2E0TZX

    2E0TZX Ham Member QRZ Page

    Good thread and some great stories already, looking forward to more, thanks.

    There may be a career within the press judging from the thread title, I had to do a double take to check I wasn't reading Reddit! :p
  10. VE3KUT

    VE3KUT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Scariest kludge- Two that I've witnessed personally. You could say they were "On the air"

    First- Switching antenna arrays with 10KW with a hockey stick due to the relay dying.

    Second: Unheated transmitter shack in February- Fire up the standby TX into a 5KW dummy load with 7KW to get the elements glowing cherry red, then using a portable fan to disperse the heat. Ok, maybe this one isn't too bad, but the first one, well, glad I wasn't holding that stick!

    Personal one was just playing with flyback transformers without any real knowledge of HV. The arcs put it on air..<g>

Share This Page