My novice station pictured below consisted of a Heathkit AT-1 and a Hallicrafters S38.
I used a large DPDT knife switch for antenna change over. My first antenna was a 40-meter dipole. That was the only band I operated for about six months; I then got a multi-band vertical. Both the AT-1 and the S-38 were poor performers, but I was having too much fun to notice. The units in the picture are both in excellent condition. The S-38 has NO scratches anywhere, and paint looks new. Follow the S-38 link for more pictures.
This Globe King 500 is my favorite. The restoration is documented elsewhere, so I will not say too much about it here. This old transmitter was a "bucket 'o rust" when I acquired it. Now I love using it to talk to the Texas 75-meter morning crew.
It uses a 4-250 in class C for a final amp, although I have a 4-400 in it. This is the one really bad design flaw. WRL did not use enough plate potential on the final to realize its efficiency capability. The HV supply provides only 1800 volts with today's higher line voltage (117+ instead of 110). The 4-250 should run at 2500 volts. The tube puts out about 250 - 300 watts with 500 drawn from the supply.
I use this transmitter mostly on 75 and 40 meters. It works OK on 20, but the output really falls off on the higher bands. I think the main problem here is that the minimum capacitance of the tuning capacitor in the pi-network is way too high and the network efficiency falls drastically. This would be a good candidate for modification. I don't have that much incentive, since I hardly operate any other band but 75. :)
I changed the modulator tubes from the original 5514s to 811As, which required changing the filament transformer for them.
This is my primary AM receiver. I swapped with Jerry, K5SOP, for this one. I have replaced all .01 uF, 0.1 uF, and coupling capacitors in this baby. I modified the AVC and audio amplifier with the K7CMS mods. I also added a circuit board (non-intrusive) to allow me to monitor the IF. I have buffed up the knobs and escutcheon. This receiver really plays!
Below is reworked chassis:
Want to go back to the REAL SSB early days? Most hams in the '50s could not afford Collins SSB gear like the Gold Dust Twins and had to find less-expensive means to get on SSB. The Central Electronics 10-B provided the average ham a means to switch to the "new" mode. The 10-B uses the more complex phasing method to generate SSB. Central Electronics provided an instruction booklet on modifying the ubiquitous (at that time) ARC-5 transmitter. The 5 to 5.5 Mc output range was mixed with the 9 Mc oscillator in the 10B to produce single sideband output. The mixing scheme obviously uses multipliers to generate RF on each band. For 80 and 20 meters, no multipliers are used.
I have the 80-meter coils only, but I still have fun with "old-time" SSB. I switch the Globe King to AB2 and use it as a linear amplifier. I can get about 300 watts PEP with the 10B and the Globe King.
This is my next restoration project. I found this at the--where else?--Belton, Texas hamfest and bought it for a good price. Thankfully, it is not in the same shape as the Globe King. It has been modified and worked on as there are several non-original holes in the back of the cabinet and wires taped off with electrical tape. I plan on taking it down to the chassis as on the Globe King and having it replated. As for the front panel, I may give Dee Almquist, W4PNT, a try.
This receiver was produced in the early '50s. Right after the war, RME produced the 45, followed by the 4300, and then the 4350 with the A model later. It is a very good receiver design. Its stability is not even close to the Collins receivers with their permeability tuned oscillators, but it is surprisingly sensitive on the higher bands and doesn't drift to badly.
Back in the very early 70's, my station consisted of an Apache transmitter with an SB-10 single sideband adaptor and an RME 4350 receiver. The receiver really wasn't meant for SSB as it had no product detector, but with careful control of the RF gain, one could receive it with the BFO.
I picked up this RME 4350 off of ebay also (no, I don't think ebay will completely replace the swapfest, at least not right away). It has been repainted, but as you can see, it was done very well. I have just recently picked up a 4301 SSB adaptor for it. It is on the list to be restored.
The transmitter is a coming together of three different Apaches. The receiver I got from my good friend Steve, K5LTK, in Radio Harwood, Texas. It has worked like a champ from day one.
Neither the Apache nor the Mohawk were ever recognized as stellar performers. But as far as Heathkits go, they did an admirable job. The transmitter had the nickname A-scratchy, because the audio section emphasized the high end. It didn't have that deep AM broadcast sound, but it was able to cut through noisy conditions. It can run 100 watts output, and it was fairly stable. The Mohawk is a rare bird, because it cost too much. Top-of-the-line receivers could be had for about the same amount of money, and you didn't have to build them! You might see one Mohawk for every ten Apaches. Nonetheless, the Mohawk was a very good dual-conversion receiver for its day. It has three gain controls: RF, IF, and AF. It has a five-position IF filter switch, and the filters really work! It also has a variable IF notch and noise blanker. These units are in very good condition. The front panels look almost new. Chrome knobs are also rare for these units; most had a satin finish. I got these off other Heathkit parts units I found at hamfests. Aren't they pretty?
E.F. Johnson Adventurer
I picked up this at a local swapfest. The guy I got it from bought it as a kit when he was a novice. I wondered why he would sell his original novice station after all these years! He drilled a hole in the front panel (alas) where he had once mounted a neon bulb of all things.
WRL Galaxy V with homebrew four 811A amplifier
This is Polaroid picture I took of my station in 1973.
Notice the Amateur Extra certificate on the wall. Back when you had to earn the Extra, you could get the certificate in addition to the regular license, but you had to request it.