SOAPBOX for NOVICE RIG ROUNDUP 2019

My name is Jack (KE8AOL - Milford, Michigan) and although I ended up with 5 points, the 2019 NRR was special to me. I managed but one contact (WB4IEA) but it was one that included four 'firsts' for me. I was using an ARRL Novice Special that I got in high school when the electronics teacher (K8NVH -SK) was cleaning out the lab. It was started as a student project in 1970 but never completed. I got my hooks on it in 1974.

A bunch of ham radio-unfriendly stuff happened from 1974 until 2015. Someone told me that Tech tests were now code-free affairs that were written for rhesus monkeys and given by volunteers in places much closer than downtown Detroit. This monkey passed.

I dug out the old Novice Special and got everything in order. I bought some HC49U crystals from some enterprising fellow in Florida. I tacked one onto the Novice Special and got a death-spiral chirp that ended in silence. Another crystal, same result. HC49US crystals didn't even last through a 'dit'. The current off of the 6C4 was too much for the smaller crystals, regardless of the oscillator's trimmer setting. I tried the old 6v 20mA bulb trick and it helped but the chirp was way, way too bad. My signal looked almost horizontal on a waterfall. Back onto the shelf it went and I went back to my other madness, 40 meter QRPp.

Fast-forward to the NRR 2019 event. I figured that it was now or never for this thing that I had been toting around since 1974. Being elmer-less, I did a 'hail-Mary' thing and soldered three colorburst crystals in parallel. Almost no chirp! But I was stuck with 3580 kHz. The Grand Central Station of noise in the 80 meter non-phone allocation.

On the last day of the 2019 NRR, minutes before the event ended, the unthinkable happened on 3580 kHz. RTTY stopped. QRN stopped. W1AW was nowhere to be heard. No nets. In this vacuum, a very clear CQ from WB4IEA appeared. It warranted an accompaniment of angelic harp music. I answered his call. When he answered me, the high school project was completed, 49 years later. Also, when he answered, it was:

...the first QSO ever made with this old transmitter.
...my very first amateur radio contest contact.
...my first contact with a Kentucky operator.
...my first-ever 80 meter QSO.

Thank you, WB4IEA, for answering some of the worst CW ever sent over radio waves. But it really did make my day!

Jack - KE8AOL - NRR #306

My first NRR and I achieved my goal of a handful of QSOs and loads of fun! I operated remotely from Asia using a keyboard as the sending device. My contacts were quite tolerant when I made typos and macro errors, so thanks to everyone for that. I even ended up working my old high school buddy NRR Admin Dan Sands, W7PAZ. The last time was over 50 years ago!

The rig was an Elecraft K3 at 100 watts and the antennas ranged from dipoles to a 2 element Yagi on 40 meters. All my contacts were on 80 and 40.

I was able to make a couple of contacts while attending the 55th anniversary celebration of RAST, the Thailand-equivalent of the ARRL (see pics), though these were remote as well. Band conditions prevented any QSO’s with the US from the special event station, HS55RAST, though I did call CQ a couple of times.

73 and thanks to everyone for making it happen.

Carl Jacobson - K6LN / WN5NRR

Enjoyed the roundup very much. Operated as Novice-1 crystal control using a 6AG7/6L6 Mopa @ 20W output paired with an S-40B (pictured). Also a 6AG7 @ 4W output paired with the same receiver. Finally a DX-60B @ 50W output paired with a Drake 2B receiver.

73,

Curt KB5JO, NRR #343

Hi Dan Many thanks to you and the team for running the NRR 2019. Very much appreciated. I really enjoyed my first NRR. What a blast!

My station consisted of a DX60+HG-10 VFO at 75W input and a Drake 2B receiver (as attached pic). The antenna is a bent inverted Vee up 50ft at the apex. I operated Novice 2 class as NRR#552. I operated 80m only.

Most especially I enjoyed digging the weak signals out of the noise from BC and OR and WA. I like nothing better than trying to QSL a weak QSO. For me a contact with the west coast is a great thrill, especially using classic gear. Many thanks to those very patient Ops.

It was also great fun to chat via the sked page and to read the other stations comments. May I recommend the use of this resource to add to the enjoyment.

Mostly I am a QRP operator so it was fun to be QRO for a bit hi. Next year maybe I will try an Xtal so that I can classify for N1.

I really enjoyed operating my Drake 2B receiver and hunting up and down the band for a response as in the days gone by. I was using a vibroplex bug and so had to find my own signal for the sidetone each over. This is made easier through the use of the vernier ring on the Drake 2B. What a great feature!

Thanks to all stations who copied N4HAY. 73 Dick N4HAY NRR# 552

Dick N4HAY
NRR# 552

This was my first NRR, more fun than I thought it would be. I heard some very musical chirps, for sure. I only had one useful crystal at 7100 kHz, my other ~7050 ish crystals didn't find much for QSOs. I also have no 80 meter crystals and plan on getting some before the next NRR. I used two homebrew transmitters, one a junk box special, 40 meters only that could run a crystal >> 6AN5 >> 1622 (6L6) = 30 Watts out and my VFO only transmitter of DDS VFO >> 5763 >> 807 = 60 Watts out. I need to modify the VFO only rig to use crystals for the next NRR. Receive duties were well handled with the Drake R-4B. All in all, fun and thanks to the organizers for arranging the event. )

Bob KB8TL

Homebrew 6L6/XTAL/5W. The 2NT/2C, DX20 and DX40 stayed on the shelf for this NRR. Also worked the SKCC WES, and am still working the NAQCC monthly challenge this month. Heard lots of 2NTs on the air this year. Also several Johnson Adventurers. It's always great to hear some distinctive sounding tones! 72 and c u agn next year!

Guy, WB5UAA

Thanks and Kudos to all you vintage tube rig operators! It was fun chasing you again this year. Always makes me smile and sometimes giggle when I hear your bird chirps.

Had about 5 times as many qso's this year, double the qth's and 10 times the points! Was almost as obsessed with the chase as I am during the SKCC's K3Y event. It was nice to work 13 of my fellow Senators from that group.

Hope to meet you at XeniaHamvention . . . usually work the SKCC booth from 11 a.m. to noon.

God Bless and "see you down the log"

vy best 73's to all!

Al Van Brocklin, KD8DEU
Columbiaville, MI

Thanks for the QSO's! Great fun to be in the Novice1 category with either the Heathkit DX-60 or EF Johnson Adventurer. I did use the HG-10 vfo (Novice2) to work VA7MM Mark, and VE7SL Steve on 80m. My receiver was the Drake 2B, the receiver I looked longingly at in the Portland Radio store in 1964! On 80m the antenna was an inverted vee which got the RF energy all the way to British Columbia from here in Halifax, NS. On 40m I used either the 40m Inverted vee or SteppIR vertical. 15m was non-existent! at least at the times I had available to check it out.

I started out using the DX-60 and switched to the Adventurer towards the end of the week. I had worked Al KD8DEU on 80m and later Al was the 1st Adventurer NRR QSO on 40m! Thanks Al!

I might add that the Adventurer had been one of those 'unbuilt kits' that I had picked up many years ago. It finally got to do it's designed task! You can see a 'restomod' feature in the photo.

Yes, that is a meter out of a Ranger 1 that has followed me across the continent from 20 years ago. Back in 1965, my Novice Roundup year as WN7BOC,, 15m was hopping, and it was a newly "discovered" band for me after tweaking the front end coil in my HR-10!! I came away from that with a Section Award from ARRL, pretty cool for a 14 year old! The W9RAN T/R switch in the station worked flawlessly. Check it out in the December QST if you are looking for a rig control solution. Looking forward to NRN's throughout the year and making sure the NRR week in 2020 has limited social obligations!! Time to start grinding some quartz. CUL dit dit

73, Roger, VA1RST Halifax, NS

Had a blast. MY Rigs pictured are my novice days equipment.

Had to rebuild the globe chief 90. A solid 50 Watts out.

Looking forward to next year and the mentioned Mondays.

Same straight key from RS and my dad made the base. Still going strong since 1969 as WN1LJD.

This May will be 50 yrs as a ham operator.

Good operating to all,

Augie W1LJD In NH
REAL TUBES GLOW IN THE DARK

It was my first time really participating in the NRR. I mostly used my Heathkit SB-102. After hearing several homebrew and some QRP stations, I decided to give it a try with my Ameco AC-1 replica, and one of my receivers. I made a few contacts with my Hallicrafter SX-43, and HQ-145X. I found that the HQ-145X was worth it weight in this area, once I dragged it out.

I found that I need more practice using a TX and RCVR for next year. I found myself driven to make more contacts by the question, "what was the next guy going to be running for a station?".

Thanks to all I worked, and to those who put the Novice Rig Roundup on!!! See you next year!

Jason N3YUG

This was my first NRR event..2019..I really had only one band to work with 15 meters.. ANTENNA CUSHCRAFT MA5V TRAP VERT. 20M up so 15m and 10m were available.. USING NOVICE RIG circa 1975 KENWOOD TS520 with VFO.. THE 15m GODs smiled on us one day in this week and we managed to be herd on the east coast and midwest area for a HOUR or so.. 15 meters use to be the work horse..but not so these days.. ANYWAY enjoyed trying to wake up the GODs LOGGED 15M WB4OMM FLA. K3AJ MD KD8DEU MI AD0RW IOWA... AA6AC Bob CA NRR 640 SKCC 6276S.

HOPE all did well in NRR,

AA6AC Bob CA NRR 640 SKCC 6276S.

Had so much enjoyment working with my old classic pairs from Kenwood and Heathkit!

David NS8S

Using my 2 watt HW-8 to a pair of hb tuners and doublets, I was able to work 136 contacts in 39 SPC. The performance of the DC receiver is greatly enhanced by an internal RIT together with a hb outboard two-pole audio filter. Most QSO's were made using the hb rake tine straight key. Next year's NRR I may go back to the crystal rig.

72, Gene, N5GW

NRR2019 was my first event. Thank you to everyone who worked me and pulled me out of the ether.

Used 2 setups during the event. The black boxes with orange labels in the background, are my receiver and transmitter I used for the first three contacts, with an output of 7 watts.

I got up my nerve and I started making contacts using the 1watt transmitter in the foreground in the Snowman tin. The center tin is my T/R switch and my receiver is green with red numbers.

All these transmitters and receivers are solid state. Sorry, no tubes.... this time.

John Stooksbury KW4JS

Well 3 Days before the start my 3 YO Great-Granddaughter decided to close the shorting bar on my Bug and turn the Heathkit HW-16 on.

Used my Kenwood TS-590S (NV2) from Mar 2 - Mar 5. After replacing the Driver and Final, I was good to go from Mar 6 - Mar 10 with the HW-16 (NV1). Used my 3555 Kc XTAL for 80M and 40M (7111 Kc). Operated once with my 7050 XTAL.

Not as many QSO's as last year but still a lot of fun. Thanks for the QSO's

73, Rick - KN8RHM

For NRR 2019, I set up my two WW2 surplus Command transmitters BC-458A and CBY52208/ATA in a classic “Converting Surplus” scheme right out of the 1960 ARRL Handbook. A classic 6AG7 oscillator which plugged into the original oscillator tube socket of either transmitter, and simply plugging the oscillator tube back in to go back to VFO. Photo below.

Have to admit, I expected to hear more crystal controlled rigs than I did (just four worked out of 27 QSOs), and it was obvious some of the crystal gang didn’t tune around as back in the day, but it was certainly fun. I had called CQ on 7115 once, and had a return on 7126Khz, so tuning around is a must! Heath seemed to be the star of the show, especially DX40s. Only worked one HB rig.

I tried 15 a few times with a Gonset G76 in the xtal mode, but heard no signals in the “Novice” portion 21.1-21.2 Mhz. Maybe next year when we are on the upswing side of Old Sol.

NRR is a fun event, one of my favorites, and I always look forward to it. See you all next year!

73, Howie WB2AWQ
Reno NV

The photos below are of my 2018 NRR setup. So little has changed in my 2019 setup that these are still pretty current. I spent a lot of time the past year working on a homebrew 3D21 transmitter but alas it isn't far enough along to be reliable for use in a contest. Also it's really haywire and difficult to set up. I hope to have something ready for NRR 2020, however.

I used my Knight T-60 on both 80 and 40 for a lot of QSO's. Also the FT-1000D saw a lot of use on 80 meters where I don't have enough crystals. It also got me my one 15 meter contact (thanks Mark, VA7MM). The bands were not great. The lack of sunspots seems to have especially impacted 40 meters. Still, lots of QSO's across the country were possible on a modest 40m half wave sloper dipole. 80 meters was equally productive here using a modest Inverted L that is more horizontal than vertical. Working against an FCP ground, it got me into the west coast several times. Next year I hope to have better antennas!

This was a lot of fun once again. Looks like participation is way up! I worked a number of New England W1's, who were absent last year because they got clobbered by a couple of 'noreaster' snow storms. Thanks everyone for all the contacts and thanks to those who worked so hard to make this thing happen. The N8FQ chat has been great! Sure helps to get a sense of how things are going for everyone and scare up a few extra contacts.

See you in the 2020 NRR! 73

David K3KY

Great time again this year. Many tnx for the sked page and logger, not to mention the web page and info, the week long event really helps a lot of us.

QSOs included N0AIE in SD on 80 wow, also bunch of HB xmtrs and qrpers. ka8gef's 1 tube 50c5 at 5w was neat, I will build one of them for sure, another long distance one was with WN4NRR Bry in Fl. used my adventurer, eico 723, and 2nt with my 2b rx and xtals.

I did use my new Lafayette Ha-90 VFO for couple q's, just got it, like new out of the box.

73 Jim kw3u

I really had a great time with NRR this year! I tried to get a contact in every day, more if possible. I ended up using just my 40 meter HB10W 6146 xtal transmitter the whole time. I had planned on using the DX-60B with VFO and go to different bands, but operating with the same kind of transmitter I had as a novice in '74, became more and more fun with each contact! There were times when it really brought back memories! The transmitter still has some of the original parts and I do have the original (4) FT-243 xtals as well as others I added in time. 14 crystals altogether for 40 meters, so I can move about pretty well. I've never really strayed far from the old novice bands throughout my time as a ham, so that is why the NRR group appealed to me.

I started NRR with a HR-10B receiver for the first couple days and it works OK, but I wanted something a little easier to copy weak stations with so I switched to my Drake SPR-4. I did scan around looking for other xtal transmitters on other frequencies, so the Drake made it easier to accurately come back to my tx frequency. My original receiver as a novice, was the Hallicrafters SX-100.

Thanks to all for a wonderful novice time! 73's,

Joni - AA4WA

Thanks to the organizers for another great week of old time fun, and to everyone I worked, especially those that had to send fills after the 6 PM neighborhood noise melee began. Surprising number of great 2, 5 and 10 watt signals out there.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of WN9BCR so I set up three rigs. The main station's 2B/2BQ did yeoman's work with the 2NT. And I added one of my two adolescent dream receivers, an SPR-4, to that mix so I could scan the band for NV-1s while monitoring my freq with the 2B. That was well worth the effort.

Studio B, aka the furnace room, got the all homebrew set up - a pair of 1625's, but this year with a heavily modified Johnson 122 vfo powered by an HP-23 (didn't have anything else...). A Progressive Receiver per W7ZOI's 1983 design did the inhaling. Was really excited to have an all homebrew RX/TX QSO with AA8V as an NV1, but found out when I went NV2 that the RX and TX drifted in different directions - something else for next year.

And Wednesday night I put my other childhood "dream" receiver - a beater HRO500 - on with a just restored Ranger 2. The HRO had laid around dead the last 4 years, but after 3 weeks of hair pulling, substituting generic germanium transistors, and cursing discrete component synthesizers, it played for the entire NRR. Whoever decided socketed germanium transistors was a good thing? But this experience was special to me because when we went to Trigger Electronics before Christmas 50 years ago to buy my used HR10B, the owner let me touch the tuning knob on an HRO500. My dad was still in HRO sticker shock many decades later. That 2 speed HRO dial drive still feels magical, but the radio, at least this one, doesn't really hold a candle to the 2B/2BQ on a noisy band.

Can't wait til next year!

Scott McDonald KA9P

I've operated or at least followed this since the first one. 2019 is the first year I was able to spend an appreciable amount of time with it and racked up 1320 points. I don't own enough real estate to get on 80m and 15 was useless and so I found myself digging weak chirpy cw out of the QRN on 40 meters just like when I was an actual novice in 1976. Thankfully Radio Moscow and that incessant middle eastern music is gone. My recapped HW-16 proved to be a sturdy if not luxurious rig. It was great working the Novice 2 stations both confirmed and unconfirmed. I hope a few of them were inspired enough to scrounge up a relic and show up next year as a Novice 1. Thanks to Dan and the rest of the volunteers who made this possible.

Thanks to Dan and the rest of the volunteers who made this possible.

73

Brian Swanick W9KVW

NRR was great fun. Now I remember what I use to do: call CQ and tune the band, if no callers after 3 tries leave the RX on my crystal frequency and study theory or work on something at the work bench and listen for someone to call CQ on or near my frequency. That is still a good approach and I applied it this past week.

Homebrew 6AG7 at 5 watts and a few 80M and 40M crystals with a Drake 2B rx into a 60 foot high 80/40M fan dipole made it as far as VE1 and VE7 a few times.

Mike W3TS

All 39 of my 2019 NRR contacts were novice2 using the Heathkit DX-40, Heathkit VF-1 VFO, homebrew power supply for the vfo, Drake2B with 2-BQ, and OCF dipole using Palstar AT2K tuner. 45-50 watts output. The “Titan” key was made by K7SU. Already looking forward to next year. I also try to get on the air on Monday nights with vintage gear. No complaints- it was all fun!!

73,

WB5EVO Paul in Edmond, OK

I had a great deal of fun despite getting a late start and only having an 80m antenna that last two days. I stayed rock-bound except for two VFO QSOs with my WRL-755. I had essentially one crystal for each band, not nearly enough. My Globe Chief 90 did the lion’s share of the work, followed by the Adventurer and Globe Scout 680. All the rigs were down on power. I’ll get them up to snuff before butting them away. I used a Bird coax switch to select rigs and a SixPac for antenna selection. I started out with an RX position on the Bird, but TR changeover was so clunky (literally) that I rigged up a Dow-Key on a foot switch for the last two days. That was a great move and provided instant hands-off changeover.

Don, VE3LYX, gets my vote for most distinctive signal. I knew it was him at the first character from his 211 Hartley. K3AJ in nearby Baltimore sounded great with his HB 5W 6CL6. We worked easily on 80m, but struggled to complete our contact on 40. I feel a bit sheepish for not firing up my old HB 6146. I promise to do that in the next few months. The Mackay Marine 3010C once again proved it’s worth, helping me to pull in less than loud signals through SSB, CW, and digital QRM. I may go looking for a smaller but still excellent receiver to ease the load on my back. I’m still suffering back pain from set-up, hi.

I think we need to do a more comprehensive job of teaching how to work “novice split.” Perhaps a week where the rule is that you pick one freq and must stay on it for the night would serve as a good training exercise. It’s just a thought. My biggest struggle was with online logging. I have become accustomed to my logger keeping track of date and time for me. I did a poor job left on my own. I also like seeing dupes show up as soon as I enter a call sign. I started with paper notes and transfers to online when I had time to roll over to the computer. I ended up logging with a laptop and my daily logger, and transferring by hand later. Enough soap box. Thanks to everyone that contacted me. It was great fun! When and where is the National NRR Fest going to be?

73 de Dan, K2YWE

Another NRR in the books! While conditions were NOT all that good, I managed to sneak in some 50 plus contacts in 28 states (plus Canada and PR!) using a Heathkit HW-16 (about 35W out), and a Drake 2-C/2-NT/2-CQ station – with a “pile” of crystals – the photo shows most of them (I had more – look at the shelf above the HW-16!). I started with the Drake set – I have hade these pieces/parts for a few years now, meaning to refurb and recap……..instead, I put them on a Varistor overnight separately to “form up” the paper caps. Some quick measurements/checks told me they probably wouldn’t “smoke” (and I hoped they wouldn’t). They worked! (no smoke). But I could tell they needed recapping and an alignment. So after a few quick QSOs, I did the dastardly deeds……cleaned and ”deoxit”ed them, tested the tubes, replaced all of the paper caps (I had the re-cap kits from Hayseeed Hamfest for both sitting on the bench), then aligned them. Also replaced a burned out bulb, wiped out all the cobwebs and dust (really!). Did the 2-NT the first day, then the 2-C and 2-CQ the next day (was pretty easy to re-cap, and the alignments were fast and straight-forward). Wow! They both worked like new! Smooth tuning, quiet, and what a difference the 2-CQ made with the 2-C. While the Drakes were “benched” I used the HW-16 to make QSOs. I built this beast in 1969, getting my Novice license (WN2TAW) in Feb of 1971. It too was recapped and refurbed several years ago and the sensitivity still blows me away (I can’t turn the volume up past half way because it is so loud). I can’t tell you how many FB chats I had with folks during this event. Using a Speed-X straight key and a G5RV wire antenna at night with the tubes glowing…..well, I felt like I was 16 again. It’s a great feeling. Thanks to so many of you that chatted – and chirped, buzzed, and faded in and out. I had many great QSOs during the week. Almost all QSOs were on 40 and 80 – only one on 15M (Good old AA6AC……it was a battle, but we won!). I agree with his statement, I used to make tons of 15M CW contacts back in the day, but Ol’ Sol just wasn’t up to it this year. Congrats to all; no matter how many contacts you made, everyone is a winner in this one as far as I am concerned! Check out my web page www.wb4omm.com and look at the “Old Stuff Like Me” page – there’s a whole story on the HW-16, and the Drake’s story is coming!

72/73

WB4OMM - Steve FL – NRR 19 SKCC 8793T

AD6W here, ex WN6YMO from 1967. Thanks to all who worked me, had very nice conversations with WD4NKA, AE5S, K9SB, K2LMQ, VE7SL, and W0EJ. Lots of fun but only made 6 contacts NV1 straight key and crystal bound 75 watts over 3 days I was home. Really brought back the difficulty of rockbound operation! With rocks on 7107, 7114, and 7122 I answered many CQs but was rarely picked up by the CQing station when my transmit frequency was more than 1 kc away. Please tune at least +/-5kc for us poor rockbound stations when you call CQ. My Drake 2B/2NT combo was a dream to operate. The DX60A and R4B/T4XB combo are still undergoing restoration, but will have them on some Monday night soon.

73 and thanks for a great event

Larry AD6W

Another great NRR! Many thanks to the organizers for such a wonderful event. I ended up with 53 contacts, using my newly-built '36-style Jones Push-Pull Oscillator. There were some great transcon 80m contacts over the 9 day period and I've put up a summary of my own impressions along with numerous station pics of some of those worked.

https://ve7sl.blogspot.com/2019/03/my-2019-novice-rig-roundup-summary.html

I think there were a lot more fellas using xtal-control this year compared with previous years but unfortunately, I was seeing way too many NRR CQers not tuning up and down the watering-hole for those of us that might be calling them on xtal-control. I suspect a ton of contacts were lost because of this by many stations. Next year, lets really drive the importance of this point home!

Looking forward to next NRR.

Steve VE7SL

Conditions were definitely worse than last year. Late evenings on 40 were very fickle. Some stations were surprisingly strong but QSB was deep. 80 meters was good here most evenings but my selection of crystals was not as good as on 40 and there seemed to be no shortage of digital QRM. I did get into BC and WA on 40 and 80. VA7MM had a very good signal on both bands (Steve VE7SL was good copy on 40) and Mark was my only 15 meter contact but I was NV2 for that QSO. My only other NV2 contact was with Steve KE4OH when I came across him in the SKCC WES. With those 2 exceptions, I limited my operating to only using crystal controlled novice vintage gear to work other novice rigs. I think I had 94 NV1 contacts and 2 NV2..

As I have read from other's as well, my biggest issue was the stations that would not tune around after calling CQ. I tried answering one stations CQ 6 times to no avail. I would only get his call out a few times before he was calling CQ again. My other complaint was when one station called CQ, he was immediately called by 4 or 5 other stations in succession that were VFO (perfect zero beat) and not using vintage gear, so he had no chance to tune. That happened when the calling station was close to the SKCC watering holes.

The on-line logger was frustrating when I would forget to refresh it after only a short period of no logging activity, only to find it logging me out when I did try and enter a QSO and then having to re-enter all the info.

I used my 2NT, DX-60, T-50, and T-60 for all of my NV1 contacts. I had the 2B set on 40 and the 2C on 80. Ran out of time before I could fire up the Eico 720, DX-40, Globe Scout 680, and the AT-1.

Keys used were a WW2 German straight key and my US Army J-36 bug. My antenna was the 160 meter horizontal loop at 50' using the Viking KW matchbox.

All in all, I had fun and very much enjoyed having a venue where I could get my old wireless sets out and work others of like mind.

73

73, Dave - W3NP NRR #245

First, I would like to thank all that made the NRR 2019 possible. I'm sure that it has taken a lot of work from everyone that was or is involved in the process of organizing the event.

My station this year consisted of a Heathkit HX-11 transmitter that I picked up at an October 2018 hamfest. The rig was in above average condition, and required very little work to get it air worthy for the NRR event. I did have to construct a T/R switch in order to protect the receiver from overload when transmitting. and to switch the antenna from the transmitter to receiver. My receiver this year was the same Drake SPR-4 that I used for the NRR 2018, and again it performed extremely well for a receiver that is approximately 50 years old. I had intended to switch out the Heathkit HX-11 to a Drake 2NT around mid-week, but I never got around to due to all the fun that I was having with my "new" novice rig. My key throughout all the event was my old J37, mounted on a piece stone that was intended to be a sample of tombstone material given to me by an undertaker friend of mine. He's a ham also!

The most gratifying QSO's that I had during this years event was with a couple of newer hams that were not required to take any cw exam in order to receive their licenses. They had taken it on their own to learn and use the code, even though it was not a requirement to get their tickets. I wonder if I would have the get-up to learn cw if it had not been a requirement some 50 years ago.

Thanks to all the stations that I worked during the 2019 NRR event. I know that some of you had to listen really close to be able to copy me through some conditions that were less than optimal.

Jack, KE8AOL has posted in this years soapbox that I was the only station that he worked in NRR 2019. His rig sounded great, as well as his cw. It was a privilege to work him and his home-brew rig find.

Regards,

Bob WB4IEA

I made a pretty good score in last year's NRR. I set out this year to beat everybody. I did okay, but I already know that I fell short. I was able to make tons of QSOs and I ran exclusively Novice-1. However, I had the same basic problem I as last year - I just didn't contact enough SPCs. Most were within a 500-mile radius of me in East Tennessee. Strangely enough, I had QSOs with British Columbia and France. But nothing in between.

I made about half my QSOs with a Heathkit HR-10B. Yes, the passband is wide as a barn door. But that makes it ideal for snagging xtal-to-xtal QSOs when I call CQ and somebody answers me way up or down the band. I can hear them without touching the tuning knob! On the last weekend, there was a lot of QRM from the SKCC Weekend Sprint, so I needed a better RX. I planned to use my Drake 2-C, but it decided to have an RF gain problem. I had a new, to me, Drake 2-B that I haven't gone over yet. But I hooked it up and it did a great job for me. Nice radio!

In looking at the shack pictures so far in the soapbox, I'd have to say that the most popular receiver in use is the Drake 2-B. I can understand why.

For transmitters, I mostly used a Heathkit HX-11, which is nearly identical to a DX-20. 50w input and maybe 35w out. However, I had one crystal that shifted frequency badly when keyed. Monkeying with the oscillator tuning usually helps with iffy crystals. But not this one. I ended up using it with a Globe Scout 680 (about 30w out). For whatever reason, that crystal was much better behaved in the GS.

I used a fan dipole that had emergency repairs moments before NRR began. It held together for the entire week. For a key, I used a Bendix-made U.S. Navy flameproof. Rounding out the setup was a Gonset Monitone CW monitor and an overly-complex homebrew T/R switch box.

I attached a picture of my shack. If it makes it into the soapbox, what you will see what is in my actual station. It's not a nostalgia corner. I use all this gear in rotation. They all get their turn. There are a few more boatanchors that didn't fit in the photo, but everything I put on the air is old.

I'm tired. But I'll be rested up and ready by next year's NRR.

73 de

Steve KE4OH

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