Monday, November 28, 2011

In over my head?

Trying to figure out why the 200-1000Mhz slug for my URM-120 watt meter quit working. So far unsuccessful. Theres the diode in the foreground with the red stripe. Seems like its still alive when I checked it with the diode test function on the DVM, but no dice when its all back together and RF is going through the line section. Will have to wait for another day.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Selling at TRW was a complete bust.

Note to self, for future reference: people have no cash after October! Lots of looky-loos, but only a whopping $25 in sales this time. Not worth the back ache. And I spent $9.50 of that on some RF adapters. Fortunately, I paid for the spaces and the gasoline with revenue from a more successful month. Got rid of a few hundred pounds of junk in the free pile though, so it was a success on that front.

It was HOT today too, it supposedly got up to 78 in Redondo!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Attempted to fire up the Polarad!

Brought it up slowly on the variac. A massive blower spun up, and that great "old electronics smell" permeated the garage. Got an erratic trace, and as I tried to straighten it out the trace went dim and the smell went kinda bad... kinda burny. ;) SHUTDOWN!!!  Oh well, another time.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

MRCG at Ft. MacArthur, 11/5/11

I'm behind on my posting!

A few weekends ago the West Coast Military Radio Collector's Group had their Fall meet at Ft. MacArthur, in San Pedro.  I heard there would be a swap meet, so I loaded up the Exploder with a bunch of the military radio gear that is on the liquidation list. Lots of interesting stuff see and to take pictures of!





And here was the stuff I was selling, the green gear all sold, but no takers on the gray or the black wrinkle.


MANY more of my pictures here.

MRCG web page:

Ft. MacArthur web page:

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope all have a relaxing weekend with family, friends, and delicious food to enjoy! 73.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Car stereo thinks its a Spectra. ;)

photo (1)

What the heck? ;) It started doing this yesterday. It actually works ok still, with an odd buzzing on power-up from driver's side rear speaker, but it goes away after a couple seconds. This is in my 150K mile '93 Exploder, which is the hamfest and errand vehicle. So like a lot of other little problems that don't involve moving, stopping, or other safety issues, it will be ignored! Maybe I should pull the door panel and make sure the speaker leads aren't shorting out, hmm.

BTW, both of my Spectra's are working awesome after re-capping. One seems to have a noticeably hotter receiver, I could almost hear the repeater conversation on the N6EX Pasadena repeater the other evening, through the coax shield as it was on my work bench hooked up to the dummy load!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

GTX 900

Now for an ebay transaction that DID go well.


Just have to take it to my "programmer." ;) Not sure I want that high -UHF RF in my brain, I'm going to look for a speaker mike.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I won't be getting a refund on that old receiver. ;)

I got a pretty nasty response when making a fairly pointed case as to why he should refund my cash!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Grrr, moron ebay sellers!!!


This thing is a presumably 1950's California Highway Patrol single channel FM receiver on somewhere around 42Mhz. Its neat looking, and its hollow state.

I knew from the appearance of the box on the porch  it would rattle like crazy. And it did. Free-roaming 6AQ5, lots of washers, nuts, and bolts.  Speaker was loose and flapping around. Case is a bit bent up.


Thats ALL the bubble wrap there was.


Bent... Whatever fasteners were not on the bottom of the box, are now very loose.


Sigh, now another fixer upper...

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Murphy will get you...

Friday I was at Fry's, and I've been grappling whether or not to shell out $30 for a TV-antenna roof-mount tripod... Because I remember them costing $19 a dozen years ago, and the price disparity bother me. ;)

I figured it was cheap insurance of my vertical antenna (mainly for 10M) blowing down, being as how a storm was rolling in this weekend.  So I bought it. After a day of oil changes, tire rotations, wheel bearing and brake checks on a couple of the vehicles in the fleet, I simply didn't have time for any antenna work.

So, what did I see out the window after waking up on Saturday?


Fortunately, it stayed put and I took it down and set it on the roof. And yes, that is the W6IEE  ham shack. ;) If you are envious of my square-footage, don't be envious of my electrical and phone-line situation!

A new "grossly oversized christmas-tree base" needs to be constructed, then the new tripod can be installed, and the antenna replaced. Maybe it will happen during the week, but its usually pretty much dark when I get home from work.

I'm finally on 902 Mhz!

After 2 DOA ebay Spectras, and a maxtrac with an unhappy VCO, (won't transmit on 902 but receives 927 beautifully)  last night I converted a funky-looking EFJ 8640 to 902/927 with N2CMI's kit, and it works great! I have a 6 element yagi pointed to where I believe the N6EX repeater is at over in Pasadena (I'm in Burbank) which is linked to NC9RS. Chatted briefly with a fellow in ID who was on yet another link.

The hardest part of the mod is the actual removal of the old SMT chip cap on the VCO stripline... it must be glued to the board or something, as even with two soldering irons on it, it wouldn't budge, I had to crunch it with the wire cutters while holding the vacuum cleaner nozzle over it. A lot of times if I'm removing SMT parts, I'll just use my single soldering iron, and the little hot air gun I use for shrink tubing. (craft store "embosser.") Because of the "angle of attack" inside the VCO box within the radio chassis casting, and the proximity of MANY other important-looking parts, I didn't attempt this. Good thing too, as it wouldn't have worked.

Today I'm bribing a "real" radio tech with a bucket of chicken, we're going to use his hot air/tweezer rework station to recap the Spectras, and hopefully we have time to tune up the VCO on the Maxtrac and fully convert it to a conventional rig. I'm also going to bring along the converted EFJ and  hopefully we can put it on the service monitor just so I can gather some data points.

I guess I need to post some pictures. ;) I've got some "retroactive" posts to add here, the free time just hasn't been cooperative.