[Boatanchors] Introducing a friend to Ham Radio

Kevin McDonald ktmaustin at sbcglobal.net
Sun Mar 2 20:40:12 EST 2014

A friend of mine is a really good auto mechanic and has a community collage 
degree in electronics and is pretty good at linking up and programming the 
Parallax electronic kit components. He expressed some interest in ham radio 
so I thought it about for a while. I ended up giving/lending him a 
Hallicrafters S-76 receiver with a S-46 speaker. It is a primitive setup but 
with dual conversion it can perform. The lack of a crystal calibrator and 
funky band spread makes it somewhat of a challenge. We connected the speaker 
and some wire in his garage heated by a propane heater during a Texas 
Norther that dropped temps from 68 this morning to 27 tonight. We picked up 
some shortwave stations - it turns out that he knows nothing about RF, MC, 
KC, AM , FM, CW, SSB, nothing...
He had searched the Internet and printed out the manual for the S-76. He 
showed me the schematic and I explained about about old electrolytics etc. 
The purple glow from the voltage regulator seemed to entranced him.  I gave 
him a bunch of buzz words words to learn about RF, SWL, HAM, etc in general 
on the Wiki or whatever. I showed him my radios a couple years ago and he 
seemed to glaze over but next time I think he will look at the HQ-180, 
BC348, HRO, SW3, SP600, R390A, Nationals, Heathkits... with renewed 
Screw transistors – bring on the boat anchors with a warm glow on a cold 

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