March 21, 2010

Cool stuff from my dad

My father, ex-K8LZO, was the one who got me interested in ham radio and electronics many years ago, in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Although it was many years before I decided to go ahead and get my ticket, I never forgot the pleasure of sitting beside him in his shack, watching him put together Heathkit kits, or tinker with bits and pieces of homebrew gear he was working on. I was fascinated with the sounds of CW that came out of his homemade speaker cabinet, and after he worked a station, he would point out the QTH on a big U.S. map that hung on the wall above his bench.

Sadly, he's inactive now, but the other day he gave me several boxes of stuff he had left over from his radio days, and here are some of the treasures he gave me. The first photo below is a 15-meter mobile rig he built from scratch. It's about 10 inches wide, 7 inches high and 8 inches deep--hard to imagine mounting that under the dash of the family car, but I have dim memories of him using that rig on a family vacation--mostly I remember that the ground-plane antenna he built on top of the car kept blowing off (it was attached with a large white rubber suction cup, as I recall).

Here's a photo of the VFO--he shielded the main tuning capacitor with tin from a Kodak photo chemical can:

Here's a Heathkit SG-8 R.F. Signal Generator that he built--it still works to this day, and it's surprisingly stable, all things considered. Observant Heathkit owners will notice that the output connector (under the green power lamp lens) is not original--a few years ago I replaced the funky old-style mic jack (like the ones on the left side of the front panel) with a BNC jack. I apologize in advance to any purist who considers this an abomination and an affront to all things Heath.

There are many other interesting things that I'll post later on--a whole bunch of old germanium transistors, for example, and an RCA 902A CRT, with a 2-inch screen. There's also an old 813 power tube, given to him by the engineer who worked at the radio station across the street from our house in Cambridge, Ohio--he had hoped to build an amplifier with it some day, but never got around to it.

There were piles of carbon-composition resistors, mica capacitors, even some old paper caps that are probably not any good any more, but I'll probably keep them around for sentimental value.

The last photo for this post is (I think) the beginnings of a keyer that he was in the process of building. I'm not sure it ever worked, but he kept it for years in hopes of reviving the project at some point:

Can I ever relate to that...

More to come later.

73 de aa0ms

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