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IZ0WIT Italy flag Italy

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QSL: Only direct QSL; no buro, sorry.

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Ham Member Lookups: 4316

 

Ham radio since 1964. SKCC #15808, CCAE #0284.  Active almost solely in 40 (+++), 30, 20(+) and 10(-) m CW.   Geologist. Main station Locator JN61gv.   On the air just for the sheer pleasure of a relaxed chat in CW, preferably using a hand key; not looking for collecting plaques, awards, certificates, etc. 

QSL policy:  Please note that I am NOT interested in collecting cards neither I am on eQSL, LoTW, or any other QSL-distribution system. If you need my paper card for some reason, I will respond to direct QSL, given a SASE and adequate postage -not IRC- is included. Please consider also that my card might be quite late.

 

Below, you can see the N7VE Simple Receiver housed in the mahogany cabinet salvaged from a surplus General Radio instrument (see below). The tuning gear and dial is the National NPW0 which gives an HRO-look. This is my "week-end" station at a sea-site about 50 km North of Rome (Locator JN52wa).

This is the "Amplifier and null indicator" made by General radio that was used as "donor" for The N7VE receiver.
 
The next two pictures show my 6AG7-6L6 MOPA. It is a classic two-tube transmitter working in semi-break-in, made of parts coming from my junk box or salvaged from an Apple computer switching power supply. It has been pure fun to build and tune-up for best performance, and it is a true joy to operate with its "rock-bound" 10W  out, of course using a vintage bug or a straight key.
 
 
Recently (March 2016) I modified this MOPA to add a plug-in tuned-grid circuit and have plenty of G1 current for proper Class-C operation of the PA. The 6L6 was removed and a 2E26 was installed instead, which allowed a easier neutralization. Power output increased from 10W to more than 15W. The PA plate and G1 and plug-in coil allow multi-band operation, i.e. using 2nd armonic 5 MHz xtals for transmitting in 30 metres or 7 MHz xtals for 20 m operation. The following picture was taken on the terrace of my "week-end location" on a sea-site North of Rome, where the MOPA is in operation.
The emotion of using a basic MOPA transmitter and regenerative receiver, both homemade, pays for the time spent building them!  
 
 
Next picture shows my "deluxe" operating position, which features the best radios of the beginning of the sixties, IMHO: From top-feft, Collins 32S3, 75S3, KWM2A, Drake 2B, Collins 75S3B, Eico-720. No solid-state radios are present here. The keyer on top of the Eico-720 is also vintage, i.e. an ACCU-keyer I built in 1974 after the classic article published in the ARRL Handbook.  
 

The following pictures show my beloved "spy corner": Three HRO (1944 HRO-M, 1945 HRO-5 , 1945 HRO-W that I personally restored to original condition), a 1942 "Model 3 Mk-II" (also known as B2, used by British SOE, pictured here out of its cardboard suitcase) and a BP3, 1943 Polish spy-radio (the black box beneath the three brass keys, also pictured below) and a 1945 AR-11 (U.S. spy set used by OSS, see below).  Two of te HROs came from the UK, presumably used at Bletchley Park to listen at agents and enemy traffic.

The full story of these nice spy sets can be found at http://cryptomuseum.com . 
These sets are fully operational and ready to go; if you wish to have a QSO with a real spy-set, just send me an email and we will arrange a sked. 
 
 
This is the AR-11, used by U.S. OSS during WWII, a very compact and nice clandestine radio.
 
During the months of July and August 2015 I was located in Calabria, Southern Italy, near the town of Crotone, so the callsign I used was IZ0WIT/8. The following picture shows the operating position, with the BP3 Polish spy set at center position. Antenna there is a 18 meters Long Wire, fed by an homemade Un-Un 1:9 transformer. No antenna tuner was used.   Key is a surplus WT8-MkII straight key, of British origin, and a Blue Racer bug.

When room temperature was too hot to fire the BP3, I used a more "basic" setup, which IMHO is all you need to enjoy doing ham radio during a vacation, with minimum luggage load and adequate RF power (see picture below). Transmitter is a two-tube 6AG7-6L6 10W MOPA, and receiver is a simple very cheap RTL-SDR dongle, connected to a portable PC (see the small black-box with a green LED).  The software is HDSDR 2.70, originally written by I2PHD as Winrad, and later developed by DG0JBJ. A great modern and vintage combination! (Note the huge DC-11 crystals used also with the BP3, in the foreground, compared to the small FT-243 ones).

 

SOME WORDS ON KEYS

Keys include the following vintage instruments: 1969 "Lightning",  1965 "Original DeLuxe",  1966 "Original Presentation" with La-Hiff adjustable mainspring,  1992 "Brass Racer",  1972 HAL "FYO" (the parent of the Brass Racer),  1962 "VibroKeyer",  1955 "Original Standard" and  1961 "Blue Racer Standard". 

Note: The Vibroplex Original Presentation La-Hiff adjustable mainspring is factory made by a machine cut of the top of the main lever of the bug, and two small screws just on one side to ensure tightening of the mainspring which usually is riveted in the Original Standard and Original DeLuxe  models. By loosening such two small screws, this adjustement makes it possible to pull the lenght  of the mainspring, thus making the oscillation of the pendulum slower, if required so.

The last addition to the bug "Orchestra" is this Lionel J-36,  presumably dated 1944 by its high serial number.  A nickel-plated very nice key that is easy to adjust and operate; really cool.  Of course the celluloid plastic id-plate is classically looking like a potato chip!  On the right my first hand key, used to learn CW back in 1963-1964: A tiny very nice key, still in use.

The following picture shows an Italian Post Office key.  It is amazing the precision of this last key, made the beginning of last century. No question: This key looks much better than the key-board (in the background) people use nowadays for transmitting CW..... 
 
Note: The maker of this Post Office key is unkown; actually there were several Italian manufacturers who used basically the same design to supply Post Offices and the Army; such design was almost identical to that of Swiss Army/Post Office keys pictured at right; the Swiss key has a unique "flexible contact" that makes keying softer than older hand keys (a replica of this key is still in production by the Swiss firm Heinz STAMPFL). This classic Italian-Swiss design remained unchanged up to the sixties, with minor updates limited to the spring and contact gap registry.  
 
Here you see a Lennart Petterson "pump" key and a Vibroplex "Brass racer". These are the kind of keys I like most. Real keys "must" be made of brass and mahogany, IMHO.
 
Since I was a boy, I was attracted by quartz crystals and during the years collected this set of more than 250 FT-243 crystals spanning from 2175 to 8650 kHz. I know that nowadays a 6$ DDS would do a better job than these two wood boxes full of quartz laminae but..., it is a matter of feelings.... Good quartz vibrations...
 
 
Antenna is a simple but very effective 21 m Windom on top of a 5 floor 1922 building, in center Roma.

Some more words on the HRO:

 

The absolute king of receivers for CW, in my personal opinion?   No doubt, the magical National HRO and its phasing crystal filter which plays (actually rings) like grand piano strings.  My engagement with the HRO started in the early sixties and never ended: Yes, it is a kind of dependence.  Of course the HRO drifts like a sailer, saturates also with small signals, cross-modulates, intermodulates, has no product detector, no AGC in CW, no accurate frequency reading, no pass-band tuning, no DSP, etc., but....: Who cares? Nowadays if you urge to communicate to whatever location on the planet you could use Skype, Whatsapp or a satellite mobile phone, but if you really like to delight your ears and feel the radio waves bouncing off the ionosphere your only choice is to fire-up a real vintage radio:  A radio that glows in the dark of your ham-shack! You might believe me or not,  but let me say you could not be certain you really felt the full emotion of a CW QSO if you did not try doing it with the HRO. Once you try it, you will become addicted, like myself. To whom it may concern, my HRO receivers serials are: HRO-W serial K;  HRO-5T (British R106 MkII) serial J;  HRO-M  (glass tubes) serial O. 

The following picture was taken during the early seventies, when I ran my first HRO and a TMC transmitter. The iambic paddle in the foregound was homemade using two small surplus spy keys. My Lightning Vibroplex bug is on top of the HRO. The TMC sideband exiter needed an external VFO, that I made using a BC221 variable condenser.

 

Transmitting tubes I like most... ever used them ?  They are so "cool..."

      Please note that I do NOT exchange QSL cards via the Buro: Direct QSLs are welcome.

8284428 Last modified: 2017-08-20 21:00:15, 17803 bytes

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