Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Near-Fest Fall 2019, Strange electrical problem, more tinkering and the 160 meter antenna is up finally!!

I want to say hi to Judy, KE6MHX and Dave out in CA. I worked with them (remotely) for many years. They read my blog from time to time. I had a chance to have lunch with Judy recently. She still works for Kollmorgen and was out here for work, so we got together for lunch. Really enjoyed visiting with her. Hope to CUAGN Judy 88/73

Near-Fest Fall 2019:
Wasn't going to go to Near-Fest in October because there was a Nor'Easter that weekend and I didn't want to be driving in the pouring rain. But Larry N1FG ask me if I was going and it turned out the storm was further out to sea then expected and the weather was rather nice.

I saw a lot of  70's ham gear for sale this year. Most were in the $200 to $300 range. Most of these radios were pre-WARC.

I was surprises to see several Kenwood MC-50 Mic stands for sale. I was looking for one several years ago but couldn't find one.  I pick one up, with the mic for $50. It works great!

MC-50 with Mic that I bought at Near-Fest
Met up with Larry, N1FG by the Community Church food pavilion (where else? hihi). Larry took a road trip across the country this last summer and made several stops to visit some SKCC members along the the way, Including Bert, F6HKA, who was at Dayton and Tony, K6ELQ out in CA among others Please read about his road trip in the Sept 2019 Rag Chew .

Larry N1FG and me met at my favorite spot at Near-Fest. 

New England Vintage Electronics Club:
Usually I don't get into the antique radio items at Near-Fest, but this radio caught my eye. It is an Apex radio, which I never heard of. Two features of this radio are: Tubes are shock mounted and the user has to supply all the DC voltage to run it. 

From what I understand, early on not a lot of houses were wired with electricity, radio manufacturers would have to provide terminals for the DC voltages and the customer would have to supply these voltages.  Deriving them form what power source they could get there hands on. Visit their web site here

Apex radio

The tubes are shock mounted to reduce micro-phonics. Notice the DC terminals

Met Bill Holly at Near-Fest. Bill has a nice collection of keys, mostly VibroPlex. He has written a book the history of the VibroPlex company, but, unfortunately, I don't think you can get it anymore.

He had some copies of another book he wrote called "Love Letters to Spike". See photo below. I thought I had an email address for Bill, but damned if I can remember it.

Meet Bill Holly, K1BH. He has quite the collection of telegraph keys. Has written a book on VibroPlex keys

I bought this book from Bill K1BH. Interesting read about a telegraph operators love letters to his girl.

No explanation necessary.

Strange Electrically Problem:
I started having some strange electrical problems. When I keyed my radio just once, the floor lamp started to flicker very randomly. Very annoying to say the least. I got the electrician over that did the wiring to look at the problem. What he did to solve the problem was to short the neutral to ground at the box in the garage.  That seems to have solved the problem. He also replaced the arc fault circuit breakers in the box. Everyone knows they suck, right?

DG-5 repair:

My Kenwood DG-5 digital display had some more issues. First off, the display was real dim. This turned out to be a bad feed through on the PCB at the base of 2SD235 transistor.

Second, the upper two digits were acting flaky. And guess what? more bad vias.

Not entirely surprising, it turns out the DG-5 was plagued with bad vias. There are about 82 on the main PCB. I think I fixed about 20.

Some people just heat up and apply a little solder to the via. A much better fix is to pass a 24 or 30 gauge single strand wire through the via and solder on both sides of the PCB. This provides a mechanical as well as an electrical connection.

It still has some flakiness, but better then before. I will probable have to do all the vias, but not today.

My Kenwood TS-520S with the DG-5 digital display.
160 meter Sloper:

Finally was able to put up my 160 meter sloper. I have had this antenna for about three years now. I got it when I was still living in VT. Had a lot of trouble trying to get it up in a pine tree but was never successful.

However, it was not that difficult to put up here at my Georgetown home. I actually got the line over the tree in the front of the house the first try. A first for me hihi. It took me two days to finish only because I am having issues with my knees lately and didn't want to go up and down stairs too many times in one day. Getting old sucks!!

The picture is a little dark, but my 160m sloper is up. You can see my 80-10M OCF Windom dipole just above and to the right.

Ground line to ground rod.

Not the best picture but the view from the back yard.
There has been a couple of interesting discussions on the news/user group about head copying code and also using a computer to decode CW. If you get a chance, or haven't already done so, you might want to read through these treads. Also one on "My winter time QRN is back"started by Russ K1RWT. Russ lives in the next town over from me. I pass by his house when we do our grocery shopping. Nice house, almost downtown Groveland. Quite a few business around him. I suspect a heating system in one of them is what is causing his problem.
Month count overall QRO
Oct        51       63        51
Nov       33      129      90
Month count place
Oct        70      16

As you know we are at the minimum of the Sunspot cycle. But you can still get some DX in. Last month I was able to get Australia, Argentina  and Israel. Not bad for less then 100 Watts and a flat lander to boot!!

Well, I think I should stop this here. It has already taken me almost two months to just write this small bit.

All for now!

-73 Dave KB1WOD

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