bry at MNSINC.COM
Sun May 10 08:34:36 EDT 1998
On 4 May 98 at 21:16, Jeffrey wrote:
> Who want to take if from here?
> 73 Gang,
> Jeff KH2PZ / KH6
(OK, some of you may have read this stuff before, but here it is
SOME of my valve activities (that's tubes for you colonial types!)
from those old days of my teenage years in England.
I saved a copy because I had promised some of the GLOWBUGS chaps here
that I would eventually let you all read about the history too!
So here it is. Not much detail yet. Maybe I will edit it later and
fill in the blanks as my memory gets jogged and I recall other bits
and pieces, such as the 6J6 5 watt oscillator on 27 MHz RC band that I
built, and the 38 sets that we put on the air on 7 Mhz talking between
"James One" and "James Two" - and the paranoia upon seeing a GPO
"Radio-detector van" prowling the neighbourhood after school one day
(grin!) but that is another episode to come later...
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
My earliest memories include:
Around 1962 (at the age of about 11 or 12) I was living in the suburbs
of Cambridge, and went to a boy scout "jumble sale" - just like a Flea
Market in the USA. There I found for sale on one of the tables, a
curious pair of valves. They were big, brand new RCA tubes in boxes
with the number "805" on them. These things were big "bright emitter"
bottles with huge, thick, carbon plate anodes. Now if I had known just
what I had I would have guarded them with my life and put them to good
use later! I have no idea where those valves wound up in the end. I
probably traded them or sold them, but I DID have great fun lighting
them up at home! I connected an old car battery to the filament
connections and BINGO! Instant lighting for the room! I later found
out that these were transmitting triodes good for about 300 watts
each! I saw one the other day at a hamfest and ALMOST took it home!
In about 1964 we moved to the small, peaceful village of Cottenham,
near Cambridge, and I remember going to visit the station of G3RFP,
Fred who at that time worked in Technical Publications at Marshalls
(where my dad was a draughtsman/design engineer) in Cambridge,
I lived in this small village, population 2400, about 8 miles N.E. of
I spent several Saturday mornings at Fred's house watching him run 10
watts of AM on Top Band with the local roundtable group. His
transmitter had a large coupling coil to the end-fed half-wave
antenna. It was about four inches in diameter with lots of turns. I
became curious about all of the strange ham lingo! "QRM" - "QSB" -
"73" - "5 and 9" etc. Fred's receiver was a Heathkit HR-10. Those old
UK AM operators were very polite. They all acted like nobility on the
air. It was grand. There were no such thing in those days as 2 meter
repeaters, and SSB was just coming into its own on the HF bands.
I got to know the voices and callsigns of a number of local amateurs
that way; the hams in Waterbeach, Cambridge, Newmarket and others in
the villages around Cambridge. G5BQ, G3UUR, G2PU etc. etc.
My friend Allan at school later became G3WUW. He taught me the morse
code with a one transistor phase shift oscillator on the steps of our
school at the "County High School for Boys" as it was then, during
lunch breaks etc.! He lived in OVER, and I lived in Cottenham. I made
trips to his house in OVER on my bike, and also to Willingham to the
SWL shack of my friend David Gyp.
Allan and I also built some equipment for the 5 MHz CCF Net in those
days, (Combined Cadet Force) in conjunction with some pals at the Lys
School in Cambridge, using things like 6AG7s and 807s. Our callsign
was WHISKEY LIMA. Or was that the "CALLUP signal" used like a CQ to
contact other stations? I forget!I can remember hearing him BELLOW
"WHISKEY LIMA, SIGNALS!!" into a carbon microphone on the old 19 set
at the County High School after school one day. With HT+ of about 800
volts on the anode of the poor old ceramic base 807 valve glowing red
hot! Oh and the power was from a dynamotor! The homebrew 807 rig came
later. I did most of the construction on the darn thing, and the best
I remember it DID actually work.
I went numerous times to the Cambridge and District Amateur Radio Club
in those days also, and learned a great deal from the lectures there.
That's where I met G5BQ and many other local hams. It was a LOT of
fun. Also, the club had a nice Eddystone receiver that was ham bands
= = = = = = = = = =
MANY British amateur built their own equipment in those days or used
military surplus. There was a LOT of that around in the 1960s still!
And it was VERY cheap indeed.
A lot of the guys used SCR-522 rigs on 2 meter AM, or if they were
wealthy, had a PYE business band radio converted to 2m AM. There was
no commercial/public service FM on VHF in Britain in the 1960s that I
am aware of - it was all AM, a wonderful mode if you like the sound of
warm, hi-fi, audio!
Later around 1985 or so I got interested in AM again. Thanks to Roger
Frith, N4IBF, who showed me his wonderful station consisting of a
BC-610 / R-390A and 75A-4/ 32V-3 I was shown what AM could do! I soon
acquired a Ranger, a Valiant and a Globe King 400. I never got the
GK400 to settle down and stop self-oscillating in the V-70D triode
finals so I never got it on the air! Wish I still had all three of
those transmitters though! They sound great on the air.
When we moved from Tennessee to Maryland in 1987 I had to let go of a
lot of my ham gear to move into a townhouse as I prepared to go to
Bible College and change to a ministry career - something that never
finally happened, but as they say: "That's a whole NUTHER story!"
(1997) An UPDATE! I have now acquired a LABGEAR 160 TWIN transmitter.
It uses an EL84 (6BQ5) modulated by an EL84 to produce 10 watts of AM
on "Top Band." A great little Gem with built in VFO and it came with a
12V DC power supply for mobile use! This was built by Labgear BEFORE I
even went to work for them (circa 1971)
Thanks to G3UUR who brought it from England and his friend
Peter who sold it to me!
Since this was originally written I have added a DX-60 / HG-10B combo
and a Drake 2C, PLUS a Harvey Wells Bandmaster TBS-50C that is great
See you all on the air and hey, "Keep 'em Glowing!"
*** 73 from Radio AF4K/G3XLQ Gaithersburg, MD USA *
** E-mail to: bry at mnsinc.com *
*** ICQ 6124470 ***
** http://www.mnsinc.com/bry/ *
AM International #1024, TENTEN #13582. GRID FM19. Rigs: Valiant, DX-60/HG-10, FT-840, TM-261A, Harvey Wells Bandmaster, Drake 2
TEN-TEN #13582, DXCC #17763, Bicentennial WAS
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