Monday, July 13, 2009


(Side note: had a QSO using my Begali bug tonight. It's a real gem!)

I bought more than just a paperweightish fan! The first thing that caught my attention was this little gem, late of the U. S. Army if the label on the back is to be trusted:

It's an output meter, a kind of specialized AC voltmeter very handy in receiver alignment. Plus, it looks cool.
...To me, anyway.

Then I found a few tools -- some brace bits in fair shape, including an adjustable one. These can be resharpened, especially if you have the special little file for that purpose. Mine is...right around here somewhere.

Picked up a pair of slip-joint (or "gas") pliers with a 45-degree bend in the jaws. (Photo later). You can find various needle-nose pliers with 45 and 90 degree bent tips but anything more substantial is uncommon. And assorted brushes: 1/2"-wide paint brushes and the handy little "acid brushes" about 3/8" wide. Plus a half-dozen PL-259s, the amateur-standard coax connector for many a decade.

...Oh, one more thing: I came back 'round and it was still there, covered with a tarp against the rain. The price had fallen even more and the seller offered to carry it to my car. Sold! Powered it up Sunday and it works! Nice receiver.

Even with taking the test, I had some time to visit my friend Don and his wife, very fine folks. He's one of the guys who run the hamfest and I owe him some serious relief time at the official hamfest table.

Leaving was an adventure in and of itself. The parking area varies from a little lower to a lot lower than the exits. It's just a grassy field and we'd had a couple of heavy rains plus drizzle. My little car wouldn't make it up one exit and nearly got stuck; made it over to the other side and just barely got on the road. Hey, "just barely" counts!


  1. Congratulations on the Begali QSO.

    About how fast are you sending?

    You've got a Hammarlund?! I used to have dreams about those things back in the 1960's.

    Congratulations again, Your Extrallency!

    Next step: "CQ DX ITALIA CQ DX ITALIA DE W9___"

  2. There is a shortwave on my headboard, and it sings me to sleep many nights when morpheus fails to come. Only a Rat Shack DS model, but in truth made by Grundig.

    Sounds like a fun 'fest. Kewl.

  3. How fast? I don't know! Surely no more than the 10-13 wpm typical of the bands. It's about the lower limit of where that bug will run. I need to take some time with my code practice oscillator and refine the settings; the dit-to-DAH transition timing is not all it could be.

  4. Aaarggghhh nooo! No PL-259s!!! :-)

    Seriously, they're notsogood, OK on HF and that's about it. Lots cheaper than N, therefore popular.

    That is one gorgeous piece of Hammarlund you have there. "Bama", if you don't yet know the magic word.

  5. Actually, properly-made PL-259/SO-239s are okay through at least 300 MHz, the problem being that there are a lot of crummy ones out there.

    However, except for a single beat-up 2m HT, above 30 mc/s,I have only got a National 1-10 and the postwar superhet that used the same coils (HFS?). Above 30 mc/s, it's a different hobby; I don't have to listen to the repeater for very long to learn my sort is not welcome there. (I don't know if they're still doing the long, venomous anti-code rants now that they have won but it wouldn't surprise me. If it was up to me, it'd take 20 wpm to get General-class privileges, including on VHF/UHF).

    At the frequencies where I do radio, binding posts or nuts and bolts are good enough for connecting coax. And since I mostly use balanced line, they are what I do use!

  6. Figured I might be teaching my proverbial grandmother to suck eggs :-)

    I hafta get my arse in gear and get a shack set up again... *sigh*

  7. Wow! I stumbled upon your blog by accident and the old memories are pouring in. Back around 1970 I had a Collins 75A4(traded up from a Hammarlund HQ-180) and a Heathkit HW-100(I think that was the number). I used an "automatic" keyer(I had a hard time with my dashes on a bug) to send and copied with an electric typewriter. At the time, I could copy 40WPM. I liked pre-dawn 40 meters--lot's of JA's. Then I discovered cars, girls, jobs, etc...
    I still think about ham radio from time to time, and if I ever went back to it, I'd stick to tube radios.
    Great blog. I like your Adventures of Roberta X blog too.