Developing biog as at March 2016:
Short wave listener (RSGB A5357) from 1967 to 1969; licenced as G3YYH in June 1969, including morse test taken in Cardiff Docks; used an HRO, an R107T, a homebrew valve Top Band transmitter, Pye Base Station on 2m ('Tuning high to low': who remembers that?) and a transistorised Eddystone receiver, the identifier of which I've forgotten, but probably an EC10. I guess Iost interest through pressure of other stuff in the early 70s.
After 40+ years, now semi-retired, I've come back to it, and have started from scratch both with kit and skills - so if I sound inexperienced and niaive despite a 45+ year old call sign, please work with me. I'm learning with the support of others, particularly the VMARS group. I'm still at the stage where everything I want to do involves new learning and new kit. It's never too late to learn!
My interest is definitely in older equipment, because I enjoy fiddling and want to understand what's going on: modern black boxes don't lend themselves to that, of course. If you don't know about VMARS, you can find more information here. I'm chair of VMARS for the 2015/16 year.
I now own an HRO, a DX100U, a KW Vanguard, a Clansman VRC321, an Eddystone S640, a T1154/R1155 combination, an RA17 and a Flex1500 SDR. I'm playing with 2m using a loan rig from my local radio society, the Cheltenham Amateur Radio Association (see http://caranet.org).
Projects currently include a Hallicrafters HT-11 (June 1944) , Collins TCS-12RX and TX (October 1943), a T1154/R1155 combination (wartime) and an Eddystone S640 (maybe 1948) and most recently a Canadian WS19 Mk III. The RA17 needs some fettling of the 37mHz and 40mHz filters, but is an excellent receiver. The WS19 needs me to collect quite a few ancilliary items.
Here's a mood picture from under the chassis of my HRO. This capacitor was reformed as I was being formed. If I was to zoom out a bit, you'd see quite a number of wax paper capacitors which probably ought to go. I'm reluctant to do that, because the HRO is an entirely authentic 1946 original, apart from the very wise inclusion of the audio transformer you see in the corner of this picture.
The KW Vanguard is regularly on the air after a good clean, and resolution of some snags (dirty switches, dirty valve pins, sticky meter needle caused by loose glass etc), and I'm pleased with it. It performs well, and the feedback on-air is good. The rusty case has been sandblasted and re-painted with a darker hammer-finish paint than original. I've much improved the changeover relay configuration, which had been positively dangerous. Here it is now:
The DX100U is also going well, and gives a good strong signal and so makes it my routine transmitter. The panel's had a clean with car polish as it was yellow with nicotine, and the case has been sand-blasted and re-sprayed by a friend. I've replaced all the nasty Hunts Mouldseal capacitors. Here's a picture of a very shiny front panel:
The TCS12 is dated October 1943, is in original condition, but has no power supply, some mechanical issues with the RF tank condensers, and some iffy capacitors. I'm confident that it's not been used for years. I now have most of the bits I need to start the project: the first steps will be a clean and resolution of the mechanical issues, and building a power supply.
The Hallicrafters HT-11 is dated June 1944 (a significant month!) and may well have come from a landing craft working off Orford Ness, and then used by a fishing boat. That means it has and has had rust issues. Another VMARS member had started the restoration. Here it is, as it arrived as several boxes of bits:
The cases had been sandblasted and powder-coated. I've cleaned it, re-assembled it (below), but am currently struggling with the vibrator PSU for the RX, so it's having a rest. For amusement, and to see one in use, have a look at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U95Zk5nBQIM.
It looks like this now:
The Eddystome S640 is also making progress. Many hours of Brasso on the chassis have removed 65 years of grime; the PSU was fine after the capacitors were reformed; after that there's been a number of issues with dirty and loose contacts, but it now 'works'. Next step is to swap about 20 wax-paper capacitors, which I'm sure will improve its performance. Here it is:
And yet another project: I couldn't resist acquiring an iconic R1155/T1154 combination. Here it is, pretty much as received; the R1155 has been cleaned, capacitors re-stuffed, several snags fixed and now works well. There's still an issue with the DF arrangements that's defeating me at present. The T1154 now works after a thorough going-over and the replacement of some components, including three open-circuit large wirewounds. I've built the PSU/ AF amp/ mic pre-amp arrangements, but am still fiddling with the pre-amp arrangements - I'm currently using a Packard Bell K amplifier that does the job well, and have an A1134 amplifier in the queue.
My daughter gave me this tee-shirt for Christmas a while back. I've done some work to recover my morse skills, but have more to do: indeed I need to get to better levels of skill than when I was a teenager. Fortunately, there are some really good online assets to help these days.
My HF aerial is a 100m horizontal loop. It performs well, as it should given the altitude of my QTH. It has four 'corners', three at about 45' and one at about 20'. I've built a balanced matching unit, which makes it easy to 'tune'. I use 2m to join the local net, and am also playing with 4m aerials, although the location is generally poor for VHF signals.
My QTH is 5 miles south east of Cheltenham, in a bowl of the Cotswold hills, at about 600' ASL (but surrounded by hills at 900'+) about 100 miles due west of Central London.
I'm still working part-time as a consultant specialising in business development (ie change and growth) for organisations, particularly involved in the social care and health sector. I'm trustee for a couple of charities, a national one that researches the impact of ageing (The Centre for Policy on Ageing), and one that runs a drop-in advice centre in a town in eastern Serbia. I'm an occasional lay preacher. I also have an interest in old military vehicles, having owned a 1978 Lightweight Land Rover, a 1955 Austin K9, and a 1960 Hotchkiss M201, and I'm a member of the Military Vehicle Trust. Even a DX100 is easier to carry around than a K9 cylinder head!
And finally: here's a picture (courtesy of the Gloucestershire Echo, copyright ignored) of me logging for the RSGB National Field Day in 1968 or 1969. I had a full head of hair then! This was the station for G5BK, the Cheltenham Amateur Radio Society.
7152068 Last modified: 2016-03-09 13:56:41, 10955 bytes
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