Here John M5AHI tells of his introduction to amateur radio and the equipment he presently uses. John inhabits a leafy dell near Oxted, which therefore is not ideal for radio communications. So … over to John.

  “My first introduction to radio was making a crystal set and then a one valve set, using reaction, whilst at prep school. In the 1940s I was a regular visitor to Lisle Street where the Government Surplus market was rampant. There I acquired a Collins TCS transmitter but only used it on a dummy load.

   As my brother–in–law had a boat I made up a transmitter based on a commercial design. It had a PA of an 807 and was modulated by a single 807 with a Collins Modulation Transformer. The crystals were ground by myself on tungsten carbide to achieve the close tolerance required by the registration authorities. As I was an unlicensed manufacturer the GPO came round to inspect it. I had used radio stations with a Collins BFO to check the frequencies. The system passed but I had to install a safety switch to turn off the transmitter if the case were opened. The receiver was a Marconi CR300.

  Licensed transmission was only achieved after I passed the morse test when I had retired from my occupation. I acquired a Labgear LG300 and proceeded to restore it as the modulation transformer was blown. It had an 813 PA modulated by two 805s. There was no lack of modulation power!

 I also acquired a Collins KWM2A transceiver and a Yaesu FT101ZD. I had also bought a Racal TR55 which was xtal controlled and converted it to VFO operation. I put in a 7360 frame deflection valve as a balanced mixer and the results were phenomenal.

 Presently my aerial is a long wire attached to a tree with a Kenwood Antenna Tuner plus Power Meter showing SWR. I have a large dummy load and an R382 wavemeter.


John inside with the Yaesu FT101ZD and outside his shack showing the aerial

© 2009 Reigate Amateur Transmitting Society

These two pairs of pictures, the top from 2007 and the lower from 2008 gave me reason to look back at last year’s Feedback - our society newsletter -  to see what’s changed over the year. I concluded that I’m now a bit older and a bit wiser – at least one of those is moving in the right direction!  In 2007 I reported on the aftermath of the January storms and my entry in the 432MHz AFS. The AFS was much the same as last year - rather poor conditions, but this time activity was boosted by a French contest and with portable stations coming on the air at intervals as they reached their hilltop sites to brave the February elements.
I was also rather late on, so only made 25 QSOs, with the best DX being 230km in IO93.”
  The other pair of pictures is somewhat happier. At least this year I was able to take my HF vertical tribander down ahead of the recent storms, thereby avoiding last year’s bent mast, which also stretched my 80m inverted-V.”