SOAPBOX for NOVICE RIG ROUNDUP 2021

Bry Carling AF4K

Friends and Participants in the 2021 Novice Rig Roundup –

This year we dedicated the Novice Rig Roundup to the memory of an original founder of the event – Bry Carling, AF4K. Bry, along with Gary Johanson, WD4NKA, were the original founders of the event in 2015. The original ARRL Novice Roundup (1952 – 1995) was designed to help Novice licensees with operating skills and code speed necessary to advance to General Class. Bry and Gary’s idea was to have a similar annual event that would bring together Amateurs who held an appreciation for maintaining and operating the Novice radios of those days as well as promoting the continued use of the International Morse Code. In the words of the introduction to the Novice Rig Roundup’s Facebook page, “The point of this event is simply to enjoy memories, relive the challenges, and possibly explore for the first time the awe and mystery of sending a signal around the world with the very basic equipment most Novices of the 1950s through 1980s used.” Bry was an enthusiastic promoter of the event and it enjoyed instant success. Two years later, in 2018, Bry and Gary passed along the management and operation of the annual event to others, but Bry continued on in an advisory and consulting roll. He was heard operating in every Novice Rig Roundup event up to and including 2020. He was also frequently heard operating on “Novice Rig Night” – informally organized for Mondays. Bry’s profession was in medical electronics, a field in which he worked for over 30 years. Bry was an accomplished musician and guitar player and played in several bands in Orlando, where he made his home. Bry was also the owner of AF4K CRYSTALS, a business that was essential to those of us who need crystals to maintain radios of the period. Originally from the UK where he was licensed as G3XLQ, Bry moved to the United States in 1972

Brian J. “Bry” Carling, AF4K, became a Silent Key in May 2020. Bry was married to Marie Carling, WB4QBL.

While we mourn his passing, we celebrate a life well lived and we will honor his legacy as we continue to gather every year to have fun and celebrate the magic years when we blossomed from Novices into the fascinating avocation of Amateur Radio.

Dan N7SU
NRR Chairman

Enjoyed 2021 nrr very much. Alot of tube radios were in use and sounding great. Thanks for all, very nice qso. Made a very lasting memory for me. Drake 2nt final tube went out during the qso. Drake tr4b finished out the week. Many thanks to kr8p es ns8s for keeping me encouraged. My copy speed is a tad slow but working on it. Hope to meet you cw ops down the log. Hope return next year

73
Wayne
WN8BLX

I really enjoyed the NRR this year. The band was fantastic and my Heathkits DX60B and HR10 did so well on just 3 crystals using my 40 M loop that lies on or just above my roof. Hams were very courteous to bear with my slower code. Thanks for a fun time and great CW practice! 73's

Wayne N9EGT
Clifton, CO

For the first time I used an actual novice era rig and had a blast. I used a Heathkit HW-16/HG-10B (I have no crystals) with an OCF dipole at 30' and a 2 element Quad at 40' for the very few 15 meter QSO's I managed to have. I did "cheat" a bit using a keyer and paddles to spare my ancient arm and a Timewave external DSPto help the HW-16 on receive. It's amazing how well the old novice rig works.

Thanks to all who worked to make this event happen. 73,

Bill NZ0T

Enjoyed my limited time in the NRR this year. Used my Heathkit HW99 xcvr and it worked flawlessly.... Look forward to next year and maybe more time....

Hal/WB4AEG

Enjoyed another Roundup. Didn’t have a lot of time to participate, but enjoyed what time I had. I stayed on 40 meters only. Majority of the time was on my old Drake B-Line with my 1948 Vibroplex bug. Also made a few contacts using my Ten Tec Century 21. The old B-Line held in there and never missed a beat.

Already looking forward to next year. One thing I learned or had to keep remembering was to tune around after a CQ, hard habit to get back into.
73,

Tim NZ8J
NRR 761

The novice rig corner of the W0BW shack. Great participation this year and enjoyed the many fine commercial and home brew TX and fists. Was fortunate to add two 15m QSOs with BC and Nova Scotia! Currently trying to bring a DX-60 to life to help carry the NRR and NRN load. Hats off to the NRR staff for all they do! Be sure to consider donating to the fund. 73 to everyone and thanks for the fun!

Mark W0BW

NRR 2021 is in the books now. I made 30 contacts, all but three with with my HB 807 crystal control rig running 65W in, 40 out. RX duties handled mostly by a Hallicrafters SX-101A. Had to move crystals a few times with magic marker to avoid QRM. Would have been better if 15M had opened up some. Only time the MUF went over 21Mhz was on the last day, and I heard no one there. Called CQ many times too. Band was open because I heard some digi stuff, and W1AW code practice. Kudos to Bob WB4IEA for copying (eventually) info on 80M, I know he struggled to make the contact. Really weak signals from the east this year. Let’s hope for better propagation in 2022!

73,

Howie WB2AWQ, Reno NV
Clifton, CO

Images: Home Brew 807s Crystal Control, and Viking Navigator for 15m

Enjoyed it! My crystals were so chirpy I switched to VFO. So running a HW-16 / HG10B puts me in the same class as a modern transceiver?(Novice2). Maybe need another class for antique gear using VFO? It's all fun though.

73

N5KIG

This was my first NRR that I actually submitted a score. During my first NRR, AF4K told me that my Argonaut 515 qualified as a NRR, and got me to participate some in NRR years ago. Maybe the first one you did not get a number, been too many years ago. Well this one, I got to hear lots of rigs that I have read about, but never heard. This would include Viking Adventurer, Globe Chief, Globe Scout, EICO 720 and Ranger. And many rigs that I have seen Drake 2-NT, HW-16, DX-40 and DX-20.

My novice rig that I used this time was an estate sale jewel from many years ago, that I just recently recapped and got it finally on the air, like my old rig from 1978, a HW-16/HG-10B. Finally figured out how to spot it on frequency, like I did years ago, with my light bulb dummy load. I had several crystals in the 7100 and 3550 khz range, but choose to use the VFO.

During NRR, I also got to contact the WCC Amateur Radio Association, WA1WCC in the 40 meter novice band section on their Drake Twins. This station is now home to the Marconi/RCA Wireless Museum and during its life worked many ships at sea, and was constructed by the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company in 1914.

Hopefully see you next year.

Brian N4API

Another fun Roundup! Didn’t use my HW-16 this year, just the Drake 2C/2NT/2CQ rig with crystals to a G5RV at 35 feet. Lots of fun, made some new Qs with new folks. Looking forward to the next one!

Steve WB4OMM (WN2TAW)

My first Novice Rig Roundup. I used a Heathkit HW-16 I bought for ten dollars at the NearFest flea market two years ago. The receiver PC board was fried and the six tube sockets were cooked off. I replaced sockets and bridged all the missing traces with wire. A few resistors were charred. Lots of wire insulation was melted. I put in Teflon wire and Teflon coax, BNC connectors, an IEC power connector, and a standard computer-type power cord with ground pin. I kind of like the simple crystal filter in it. It is sharp enough and also catches stations a kHz away also. A few years ago I had another HW-16 which worked fine with no work and it had a HG-10 VFO. I did not like the VFO because it was cumbersome to use.

I participated in a few NR Mondays starting in January and enjoyed the group a lot. For the NRR, I decided to limit myself to make it a real novice test like days of old. HW-16 with no audio filtering, NO VFO, only three crystals in the novice band (7110.3, 7114.3, 7122.4 kHz). I also made just a few QSOs on 7041. And 7054. kHz. The key used was a German WW2 ‘Junker’ that reminds me of a Leica 3f camera from the 1940s. very precision finely made instrument. Unfortunately it is very hard on the wrist because of the solid precision and sharp action, so after the second day I switched to another WW2 key: German Military type T-2 which was given to me by Tom Perera, W1TP, the enigma broker. The key is number 9490 in the W1TP Key museum and online listing book. The T-2 has a mushy action because both front and rear points are spring loaded in a way which is not so hard on the wrist. Halfway thru NRR I sewed up a small “sock” filled with padding on which to rest my wrist and small piece of padding on the key knob itself. Another trick I picked up in this torture exercise was to get into a position so my upper arm, elbow, and wrist were completely at ease and no muscles tensed. I had to remember to move around to make this happen . I am right handed and found the best position for the key was close to the near edge of the table on my left side below my left shoulder, and not straight out in front of me. I never sent with a straight key for extended time and found all this was necessary.

The other limit to my operation was: one band only. 40 meters. I have one antenna, a 28 foot aluminum mast in the middle of the roof of my studio/shop/shack. I moved the HW-16 into the house because thermometer read 20 degrees and below for the week of NRR and fed the vertical with 100 feet of RG-8. I tried to use a tuner to get some RF into the ground plane antenna on 80, but could not get it to work right away so I gave up and concentrated on 40. I never tried getting on 15. I figured 15 would be dead 90% of the time and time wasted listening to noise while 40 would be profitable.

I am 74 years old, a retired artist who has worked in radio, television, animation, newspaper editing, photography. I have been undergoing chemo therapy for lung cancer (never smoked) since March 6, 2020. Every three weeks I have an infusion which knocks me out for two weeks. My next infusion is Tuesday 17 March, so I was able to participate in this my first NRR. If the chemo and immunotherapy was a week before or after, I would be dizzy, exhausted and nauseated and unable to operate the morsetasten (code key in German). Thank you for reading my rant.

73

Arnold Olean, K0ZK

Well, it was…..interesting.

A little disappointed in the number of unconfirmed QSO’s, but that did not detract too much from the overall experience. Given the conditions and my modest antenna, it provided some practice completing weak signal contacts. Looking at qrz.com, I found that the majority (74%) of operators I worked had nice write-ups about themselves and their stations; of these, almost half (49%) spoke well of their Novice days and/or early experiences with amateur radio. Which I liked.

I may be back.

W4VN

Had a fantastic time with the 2021 NRR! Was able to make 21 QSO’s with my Heath HW-16/HG-10B VFO (50 Watts). I worked some 5 and 8 watt stations AC-1’s etc. How nostalgic was that? My first time after being away from Ham Radio for 50 years. I will participate every year hence forth and pass the word as to what a great event the NRR is. My thanks to all that put it together!

73

Roy – KN4WOJ

Thanks to Bry, Doug and Dan for another great NRR.

I’ll remember fondly the sounds of an AC-1 clone, and a Millen 90800, and especially a 15 meter QSO with a VE7 and a VF1 that was warming up

Stuck with the homebrew Junior Miser’s Dream and 1625s on 40 most of the time, but ran the posh 2NT and HA-5 on the other bands, and when remembering the good old days with the HB stuff got to be a little too, ah, much fun.

Thanks to everyone that participated.

Scott KA9P

The tools of the trade along with my trusty Western Electric brass Straight Key.

Used 3 XTALs 7110, 7114 & 7118 for NV1 and NV2 with my Kenwood TS-590S.

It was a lot of fun but missed having Ted, K8AQM to work as a team in a Multi endeavor.

Thanks all for hearing my puny, sometimes wavering signal.

Take Care
73

Rick - KN8RHM

Another great time was had with the NRR in the tradition of Straight Key Nights, Classic Exchanges, and AWA events. My thanks to those ops who tuned up and down from their CQing frequencies to find crystal controlled stations not dead center in their passbands. And for the number of guys trying NRR for the first time, welcome. Cheers to all.

Brian K9VKY

Good test of my old novice TX, (vintage 1966) running 25 w output, and hygain 2 band trap dipole. Used my CW xtals 7117 Kc crystal, and home brew “cootie” using microswitches.

Thanks to Dave Newkirk for suggestions to single tube transmitters, my 6146 played very well. Now must get too work on my “chirpy” DX-20, HI!

Brought back “Roundup” memories from long ago, hearing signals close together, with my HR-10. Thanks to all, 73,

Dale, N2DM, “Skinny-Atlas Falls, NY”.

Here's my NRR setup: Foreground L to R - my left-handed bug; raft of 50+ 40M crystals; headphones & notebook. In the center is a TT Omni V which I used as a RX in conjunction with my homebrew 5W W1FB xtal TX built into a CD enclosure ( top right). Beneath it is my trusty HW-8; to its left is a WM-2 wattmeter. On the far right is a homebrew balanced L-network tuner for the doublet antenna.

The NRR is great fun during nasty winter weather. See you all next year.

72,Gene,N5GW

Not many contacts, but still lots of fun. Was able to use my old Novice call.Remote operation with Flex 6400 100w (Novice 2) and OCF dipole up 100'.

73

Carl,-WN7ETQ

I had limited time to operate in NRR this year, but did have 10 contacts with my Homebrew 6AG7 TX and Mosley CM-1. Used my first key I received from my Boy Scout Master 57 years ago, a trusty old J-38.

TNX es 73,

Mike W3TS

I enjoyed the chance to fire up the Homebrew 6AG7/6L6 transmitter and Knight R-100A receiver. The transmitter includes parts from an old stereo, a DX-40, and a S-38 I found by the side of the road.

Thanks to those who dug out my mighty 10 Watts and tuned around to my XTAL at 7.116. I worked only one station with less power than mine.

Good to hear the old classics on the air, whoops, chirps, hoots and all.

Once I get some coax cables to make it easier to switch among radios, I hope to participate more in Novice Rig events.

TNX es 73,

Mike, KE9EX (WN0RBY, 1967)

As always, I had a great time in the 2021 Novice Rig Roundup. This year, I started with the Drake 2-NT and 2-C, but the 2-C went "numb" and is going to need some work so I brought in my Novice dream receiver, the 75A-4. I had my Drake 2-B in reserve but the 75A-4 is new to me this year and I just had to use it. For my Novice-2 rig this year, I used a Drake TR-4Cw transceiver which also worked great. The antenna this year was a doublet. I also had my original Ameco AC-1 at the ready but didn't use it. I will try to use it in some Novice Rig Night work this year. I have an excellent supply of 40m xtals and I'm always looking for new rocks on 80m. It is still as hard today to work the east coast stations as it was back in 1966! Thanks for the NRR contacts!

73,

Dan - N7SU

What a fun week, this year had the Johnson Adventurer paired with Hallicrafters SX-101A
The SX-101A is from my Novice Station in 1975.
The Homebrew 6L6 with Drake SPR-4, the Century-21 and the Hallicrafters SR-160.
Antennas, 80mEFHW for 80/40 at 40' and pair of Phased Verticals for 40m at night.
Was using the Century-21 and SR-160 on 80m, all my 80m XTALS are on the old Novice Band.
During the week I worked 21 different TX and 11 different RX. The Drake 2NT was the most popular
TX I worked, HW-16 was second. Most unusual TX worked was a Harveywells TBS 50D, had to look that
one up to see what it looked like. It was nice to see people tuning off their transmit freq. looking for
Rockbound replies. I have a Drake 2B/2BQ receiver in need of a transmitter. Was hoping to finish
a Homebrew 807 TX before NRR but still missing some parts, maybe next year!
My current project is installing a power supply in the Heath HG-10B VFO and using it
with both grounded Grid and Cathode keying transmitters.

73,

Tim K9SB

This year’s NRR was once again a blast to operate! I didn’t make a lot of contacts, but it was still lots of fun! I was surprised by a call on 40 meters by VE7SL and VA7MM, both in British Columbia. I also heard more HW-16’s this year compared to past years. The DX-20 was used on 80 meters, and the mighty Viking Adventurer on 40. Maybe you remember the ads in QST that touted the Adventurer as the first rig to earn WAC back in the 50’s. Thanks for organizing such a great event!

73

Steve WA3JJT

I really had fun with NRR this year and made 23 contacts (including 3 dupes) over the duration. I used a 33’ long coil-loaded attic dipole up 16 ft, 4 different rigs and just 1 XTAL. All but 2 Q’s were made with a Heathkit DX-40, Viking Challenger, or HW-16 as class NV1. My trusty Kenwood TS-830S did receiver duty when not using the HW-16. The 2 NV2 class Q’s were very far from my XTAL frequency and I heard operators sending CQ NRR repeatedly to no avail. They called long enough unanswered for me to heat up and tune the Kenwood’s 6146 finals and acknowledge their effort. At least I was still transmitting with tubes. A Hallicrafters S-38B and NRI (Conar) 500 also got occasional RX use. Once the Week End Sprint (CQ WES) started, I could really appreciate the challenge of using a wide band RX from “back in the day”.

73

DE N2TMS, Todd NRR 695

This was my first year to try the NRR. Twenty-five of my QSOs were on the Drake 2NT TX and Drake 2C RX. It takes a little extra effort to run your rig on xtal just like the Novice days. But it was definitely fun.

Greg N4KGL

First Novice Rig Roundup. Somehow I don’t remember running 75 watts input and crystal control being as much fun back in the day! Looking forward to the next one.

Jim, WB9LWO, NRR 949

High noise level limited my activity. Next year, though, I’ll be in a quiet rural location on an acre where I can erect proper antennas. Looking forward to it!

De W1FYL

I have to say that the 2021 NRR was just a ton of fun. I look forward to this contest every year. I purchased my Drake 2NT new as a Novice back in 1972, so I just love putting my old friend, on the air for this contest! Working this contest is so much like working the Novice Roundups in the old days! I was feeling like a 16 year old Novice making contacts, this year. The biggest surprise this year working the contest, is when I was able to make 5 D.X. contacts into Europe one night, on 80 meters. Wow running crystal control, and 75 watts, into a Dipole Antenna, and working D.X., on 80 meters! It just can’t get better than that! Can’t wait for next years N.R.R.

73,

Dave KN4LEL

Enjoyed this year’s NRR!! This was my 3rd time participating, but this year was the year I operated the most on the air!! My wife gave me a Globe Scout 680 as a Christmas present this year (don’t mind the cat sweater, HI!) . The transmitter was in good shape, but arrived with one of the MOD chokes wires ripped out, possibly due to rough shipping. I found a replacement choke via Mouser and it arrived on the Friday, the start of NRR! I started out running the Conar twins and the Viking Adventurer, but then after some encouragement from the XYL, I decided to repair the Scout. After an hour of fixing the MOD choke and replacing the fuse holder, it fired right up!! What a thrill!!! The green and red lights glowed and I was hooked! I listened to the “side tone” of the Globe on another receiver and it sounded so sweet!! My receiver was the SX-140 and I used a J-38 Lionel Straight Key. I loved hearing all the whoops, yoops, and sounds of all the Novice era transmitters! Thanks so much for this awesome event, I will be on Monday nights, so listen for me!! Very 73’s, keep those tubes lit!!

Brian Lambe, KE4QZB

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