Great fun breaking out the old rigs from yesteryear and putting them on the air.
Started out really slowly, firing up my Heathkit DX-35 at 95 volts primary input
power and let her cook a while before running it at 115VAC. Finally got her up to
full power and loaded into a 40-meter SW dipole antenna, not a whole lot different
from back in 1972. All systems seemed a 'go'.
Propagation was good on 40 meters, and with 48 watts on the output, I began to make
some contacts with 'fair to good' signal reports, albeit with some chirp. And then it happened.
Right in the middle of a QSO with Ken, VE3FIT, the monitored signal became erratic, tone began
to shift wildly, and the stripline breaker tripped. While Ken called back a few times
I desperately tried to quickly find the problem with my dead rig. No joy on this end.
Post mortem revealed that the 60-year-old rig's primary power transformer had enough
and 'bit the dust'. Station KE3O was QRT for the remainder of the event.
Even though my activity was short lived this year and having lost my novice rig for
the rest of the roundup, I really enjoyed taking a trip back in time. The NRR conjured
up wonderful memories of my early days as a Novice and the challenges of rockbound hamming.
Looking forward to next year as I regroup my station for the 2019 Novice Rig Roundup.
Thanks to all involved in creating this nostalgic reenactment of our amateur radio heritage.
I really enjoyed NRR 2018. I used my Elmac AF-67 (about 40 watts out) and
Hallicrafters S-40B throughout the event. Last year, I used a Swan 270B (130
watts out) part of the time due to the need to have it in place for traffic net
My antenna is a 43-foot wire in the attic draped over iron water pipes, 60
year old metal air conditioning ducts, etc. It works better than I would
normally expect on 20, 40, and 80, but is not very useful on 15. It would be
difficult to figure out what its pattern might be on any of the bands. The S-40B
is also very marginal on 15, so I avoided that band. I listened a bit using
my R-388, but I didn't make any NRR QSOs with it.
40 watts is only a little over one half a 6 dB S-unit below 100 watts, so I
don't see my power level as much of a distance penalty, but my antenna is a
definite limitation. If I assume that I can normally reach out about 700 miles
on 40 and 80 in the current sunspot climate, and I go through the list of
stations, I estimate (very roughly) that about 76 of 535 listed stations are
within reach and some of those may not be available to me due to
directionality at one or both ends. Several days into the event, I kept
hearing the same stations again and again.
It was a lot of fun, though, and I did work some non-NRR stations and checked
into a CW traffic net a few times, once when the NCS was about 650 miles from
My projects for next time will be to get my Globe Scout 40A working and
acquire some crystals for it and to get my Heath Q-multiplier working and
connected to the S-40B. I may also substitute my Echophone EC-1A for the
S-40B for some QSOs just to remind me how it was in my Novice days.
Here's what my station looks like when set up in the living room in
preparation for moving it to a radio club open house so that it will be both
operational and pretty. When I have to put it to work in my radio room, it
looks like the messier photo. Note that I operate the S-40B with the lid open
for ventilation and so that I can periodically feel the temperature of the
power transformer to make sure that things aren't overheating.
73 and looking forward to NRR 2019,
GREAT NRR, I had thought that I would use my 1977 vintage Ten Tec Century 21 for a few
QSOs but the 30 watts worked so well that I used it through the entire 2018 NRR event.
I will admit that my Elecraft is easier to use but Hey, this is for FUN. I am 85
years old and hope to last for another one!!!
This year I used a Knight T-60, Globe Scout 680, Adventurer, and a 6T9 hombrw....Drake R4B rcvr.
Found the bands to be not so good...Much fun as always...SKN and this event are the only times
I use a straight key. Good exercise.
"What GREAT fun ! My thank's to Bry and Gary for this event and
for carrying through with it. Everyone seemed to enjoy it even with
the poor band's .....!"
Spent the week on 40M using a one tube (6AG7) crystal controlled homebrew transmitter
putting out 4W, listening with an S-40B. Picture of the station on QRZ. Not as
successful as had hoped. Hung around 7.113, 7.116, and 7.121. Next year will hopefully
have an NT-200 replica for more power.
Thanks for the great NRR again this year. I doubled my score from last year
and had double the fun. My Heathkits DX60B and HR10 with my simple dipole did
well for me. Its like I relived my novice days from 1965 when I wish I could
have had CW down as I do now. 73's everyone. Wayne, N9EGT Berne, IN (See me on QRZ.com)
Dan and Doug,
For the 88 QSOs logged I used an HW-16 with 2 XTALs a 3555Kc which doubled to 7111Kc and a 7050Kc. The 7050Kc XTAL was only used for 2 QSO's.
The HW-16 was used 3/3 - 3/7. Then I switched to my Ten Tec OMNI 7 for QSOs on 3/8 - 3/11
Picture attached of lowly HW-16 and Keys. Keys left to right Ham-Key Paddle, Vibroplex 1945 Lightning Bug, Western Electric Brass Straight Key.
73. Rick - N8XI
Dan and Doug,
You guys did a awesome job putting the event on this year. We really had a great turnout this year and we had quite a presence on 80 and 40 meters. I had several operators ask about NRR and I think we will have more members joining.
Thanks to all for the QSOs and I will look forward to working you again throughout the year.
73, Gary KF7WNS NRR #52
During the nine day NRR I used 4 transmitters and 5 receivers to make 23 contacts
in 15 states and British Columbia. While not a huge number of contacts, this was a
great opportunity for me to try out several of my rigs. Which work best in a variety
of situations? Which are easiest to operate? Which are most reliable? Which sound
the best on the air? The list goes on....I'm already starting to make plans for next year.
Many thanks to the NRR team for their work.
73, Niel - W0VLZ
I received my Novice license in 1963 at the age of 18. I was quite nervous as my
Elmer gave me the envelope, proctored the Novice test, and sent me code at 5 WPM.
When all was done, he sealed the envelope, sent it to the FCC, and I waited what
seemed like forever to know if I passed. Some six weeks later came the answer, I
had passed, I was now WN9EQP.
Many years have passed since then and I have never tired of this most wonderful hobby. The last three years I had a lot of fun participating in the Novice Rig Roundup with my Heathkit HW-16, dipole antenna, a fist full of crystals, and my original Novice straight key. During NRR 2016, the first year I participated, I made only three contacts. But in NRR 2017 I made 22 contacts. This year I made 20 contacts. Certainly not a big gun here. Never-the-less I get a lot of pleasure putting my old rigs back on the air remembering my Novice days. Often more so than when I turn on the "big rig" which really isn't all that big.
My first store bought transmitter when I was a Novice was a Knight-Kit T-60. My Elmer and I took a trip, 100 miles away, to Allied Radio, 100 N. Western Ave. in Chicago, to find a transmitter. I saw many nice transmitters on the shelf, all beyond my reach financially. Then I saw it, a Knight-Kit T-60, siting on the used shelf, as is, $15, with manual. It came home with me - as is - it did not work! Going through the manual step by step, and after correcting a number of wiring errors, it came to life and would nicely light up a 60 watt bulb. That became my Novice station for the rest of my 1-year Novice license. I still have that T-60 here in the Shack.
Now, some 50+ years later, especially now being retired, waiting for me to “get around to it” are more Heathkit, Knight-kit, Hallicrafters and Drake rigs waiting their turn at restoration. Perhaps future years will find my many of those rigs, including the Knight-kit T-60, on NRR along with whatever treasures I might come home with from SeaPac. I would also like to home brew a transmitter. One thing is for sure, as long as there is an NRR, I’ll be there. Looking forward to NRR 2019. Thank you all for making this NRR the best one yet, and that logging program is really great.
73, Richard AG5M / WN7NRR
I came across a *mint* 2NT/2C/2CQ set last year and finally got that into
operation for this NRR. Original boxes, been sitting on a shelf for
years--doesn't look like it had been on the air much. New tubes in the
receiver and some deoxit on the T/R switch in the transmitter and it was
working like new! Made several QSOs with it during this NRR. That thing
is a dream to operate. (I remember dreaming about having one back in the
Came across a DX-20 last year. Tubes in it still had "heathkit" stamped on them! New filter caps and it was working like new! However... it melted a crystal during the NRR... There may be a cap or a resistor out of tolerance on the "MO" side (6CL6) of that MOPA. It's now waiting in line on my work bench.
Made several QSOs with my homebrew 6L6. The only difference between the picture on my QRZ page and what I am now using is that I have two separate power supplies for it--one at 300 volts for the 6AG7, and one at 640 volts for the 6L6. The 640 volt power supply drops to 500 volts under load (max for the 6L6), the 6L6 draws 120mA after dipping the plate--60 watts in, about 35 out. I'm pushing that 6L6 almost to its limit--the plate can handle dissipating 30 watts. It puts out a good tone.
Ahead of the line on my workbench is what I'm currently putting together... a tube type CW keyer--a 12AU7 in "astable" flip flop mode (they didn't call it that back then), a 0B2 voltage regulator and 3 relays clickin' and a clackin' for operation! I found that in one the 1950s QSTs. (I love this old tube stuff!) Busy with work these days, so I'll finish that probably this summer and I'll be using it in the next NRR. Novices were allowed to use keyers back then, I figure I can use it now. :)
Didn't have a chance to fire up my DX-40. I was using it so much year before last after building a solid state regulated power supply for the VF1 (and undoing a bunch of stupid mods on it by previous owners...) that the power transformer in the DX-40 let out a bunch of smoke! A custom wound transformer got that back on the air, but I didn't have enough time to use it for this NRR. I'm so glad I was able to save that classic rig from the junk pile! I love that one too.
73, tnks fer the NRR es c u agn not only next year, but also through out the year leading up to next NRR!
P.S. I tried answering several CQs from several Kcs away from my rock... one of these years we'll get people used to searching the band for an answer again like we used to do it.
I believe this gets more fun every year. NRR members really made their presence
known this year! There were many times I'd twist the dial in "our" portion of 40m,
and hear a CQ, or a NRR QSO just about every 500Kc.
Work and admin duties got in the way of play a bit, but still made plenty of contacts. Really enjoyed chatting with folks about their stations. My average QSO length was around 9 minutes - not a rag chew by any means, but certainly more than a sprint-style numbers exchange.
Pictured are the only two stations I used this year. The Heathkit HW-16 is a bone-stock original build. It's picky about crystals, prefers 80m and was a hoot to run. Impressive, simple rig. I can see why they were so popular. I mostly used it with an HG-10B VFO.
I have a pretty good handful of rocks between 7.100 and 7.125, so the DX-40 did strictly rock-bound duties. The Drake 2B/2BQ did what a 2B should do, and was a joy to operate. It's an incredible CW receiver to this day.
Thanks to all, and hope to work you soon!
Doug - N3PDT
Very encouraging to see more participation than last year in NRR 2018.
The New England states were conspicuously absent this year. I heard
that they got pounded by a couple of nor'easters. Probably a lot of
hams were still without power or otherwise busy cleaning up..
I spent several months getting ready for this year's event, and could see the difference in how smoothly the station worked. All my QSO's were on 40 and 80 meters. This year I used my old HB TR switch and didn't have to do mechanical switching. Mine is the 6BK7 design by W8EUJ that was in the 1960's ARRL Handbooks (from QST, September 1958). Most of my 40m contacts were NV1 using my Knight T-60 at about 35W out. I received using my Yaesu FT-101ZD. Most of my 80m contacts were with my Yaesu FT-1000D at 60W output, NV2 class. Antennas were a low sloper dipole on 40 and an Inverted L on 80. Noteworthy is the use of an 80m FCP with the L, rather than radials. Thanks to K2AV for popularizing this FCP design- it is surprisingly effective and uses way less wire or acreage than radials!
I used a new-to-me Vibroplex Original bug in this contest. In the photos you can also see the old HB brass bug I used in NRR 2017. Notice also the tiny Bunell hand key next to the Vibroplex with the "3" in the knob. This year I had a bunch of crystals to choose from. Quite a few of them were useful frequencies on 40 and 80m. I had a lucky find with HC-6/U crystals on Ebay last year. Got a bunch of them very reasonably. I've also learned that HC-49/U crystals are cheap and plentiful these days. You can see the TR switch right behind the T-60 with the black tube shield. The Vibroplex has such a 'live' (fast) dit arm I had to put a lot of weight on it to slow it down enough for NRR/SKCC type contacts. The large weight in the photo is a cutting torch nozzle shortened to fit. Thanks to W8HOG for the suggestion, You can see a photo of his on his QRZ.com page. I still needed more weight even with this, and the wire with alligator clips performs that function- and is quickly adjustable. That will do for now.
Thanks for all the contacts, guys. I'll be back for NRR 2019!
73, David K3KY
I was invited by one of my CW Academy students, Brian kf6c, to participate in Novice Rig Roundup.
So, I pressed into service my oldest receiver, the HRO Senior along with Drake 2nt and
Hallicrafters Ha-5 VFO. I also put up an 80 meter size sloping dipole from 90 feet, fed with
open-wire line and Ten-Tec antenna tuner. My sloping dipole was much better than any antenna
I used as a novice! My first station as a novice paired-up a Mosley CM-1 receiver with an
Eico 720 transmitter, plus I had a hand full of crystals. I used a knife switch for T/R, remember those?
I couldn't find my novice-band crystals but I do still have them, somewhere. The equipment I used
during the Roundup was a step up from what I used as a novice, especially when I switched to a
second setup: Ten-Tec 515 and Ten-Tec 405 power amplifier (made in about 1981). The different setups
can be identified in my logs by the power output noted: 60 watts output from the Drake 2nt and
50 watts output from the Ten-Tec equipment. I made 67 contacts, 29 confirmed, 32 unique qths,
for a total of 3,904 points. I worked a couple of JAs and the Rotuma DXpedition, 3d2eu, on 40m.
I worked Brian, kf6c, and three additional students of mine, ki0kn James, k4ub Pat, and w0ku Scott.
This was indeed a change of pace. I liked the more than week long event because I made a few
contacts each day, due to other obligations, with the goal of searching for confirmed stations.
Unfortunately, I didn't use the live sked page. I think this event will definitely grow over time
because a little nostalgia enhances one's health. I must admit, however, that the shift to the
Ten-Tec transceiver and diode T/R was a welcomed change after having to manually mute the HRO Senior
during TX, and having to spot each station with the VFO! I was tempted to use a bug but that would
have been more than I could handle! I used electronic keyers and Bencher paddles. Many others were
using hand keys and bugs! Thanks for the qsos, and thanks also to the organizers. NRR was a very
pleasurable event. Next time I may try to use an old Hallicrafters sx110; I will probably need a
year to get it working again, hi
73, Will, wj9b, NRR 459
CWops #1085 CWA Advisor levels II and III http://cwops.org/
Could not have had more fun reliving my Novice days.
Though not my original T60 and HR10B, the pair I used had been
sitting around for years and finally got well-sorted for
2018. The NRR also provided incentive to finish up my
version of the classic ARRL Handbook 12BY7/1625 rig and to
restore an old HQ180 that had been languishing in the garage
for 30 years. Though this rig was used only sparsely
because I hadn't had time to work out a convenient
switching and break-in arrangement, it did see first RF on
40 during NRR 2018, and near the end, I started using the
180 with the T60 a bit when the bands were crowded.
Lots of great QSO's, and interesting sounds. Next year I'll
remember to record some of those classic transmitters for posterity.
Kudos to the organizers and participants, and especially to
folks like W0EJ who responded to a Sked Page request so I could get
my number 10 NV1 QSO worked and confirmed within a few minutes of my posting!
See you next year!
73 Scott KA9P
Had a great time working all the old Novice type rigs.
TX... used Hallicrafters HT-40 with HA5 VFO, New just
finished for NRR 6L6 at 3 watts, was hoping for at least 5 watts,
Johnson Adventurer, Johnson Ranger, and T4XB.
RX... Drake 2B with 2BQ , R4B, R-390A, and SPR-4.
Only had one crystal for the old Novice band 7.111, lots of stations found in the old Novice band.
Not many stations calling CQ were tuning off their frequencies looking for answers!
Made all my QSO's on 40, only heard a few Bugs, lots of nice fists.
It was fun hearing a little bit of chirping CW, just like in the old days, how many got OO post cards?
Maybe will built up a 6AG7, 807 TX for next year.
73, K9SB Tim
Another one in the (LOG) Books.
I had great fun with hte NRR2018. As usual I took the whole week off and tried every day for contacts. Some days I made a lot, some days few, and some days none. The QRN was awful this year for some reason. After NRR was over it stopped! Strange. My little Drake 2NT / 2C station enabled lots of contacts. What perseverence it took though. Not many arm chair chats but those WILL come later. I am on the air frequently and I love to rag chew. Please clal me any time (usually on as AF4K.) I will give out the NRR numbers and SKCC numbers for both stations any time - WN4NRR, and AF4K.
Now, some of you are giving me and Gary (WD4NKA) credit for this event, BUT we did not run it! Dan Sands W7PAZ, with the help of Doug Tombaugh N3PDT and several others, put on a wonderful event this year. How about that GREAT art work for the flyers!! I was impressed. The logger worked smoothly for me. I also log all of my QSOs and send them to eQSL and QRZ log. I send the logs to ARRL's LOTW also but have no idea how to use it. Awkward site.
Perhaps next year the DONATIONS will come in sooner and our organizers can place ads in CQ or QST Magazines, at least get a full pag ein ELECTRIC RADIO? I will heolp with the cost of that!! WOuld love to maximize our participation for NRR 2019, and I know that you all agree this is an event that should continue. Will YOU offer to help? If nothing else, EVERYONE can do some publicity and send a donation.
THANK YOU to all stations who participated, threw peanuts or rocks. Thank you to all the Facebook list folks and the e-mail list folks who keep NRR alive and growing.
Warm greetings and 73s
from AF4K / WN4NRR, Bry Carling in Sanford, Florida.
Another one in the (LOG) Books.
It's always good to get the DX40 on the air, get the caps charged and fill the room with the scent of warm tubes. Power output is about 35W to my vertical and inverted-L antennas. I have no collection of crystals, so use the VF-1 VFO. The signal sounds fairly clean on 80m and 40m with occasional frequency jumps. On 15m and 10m there's an FM buzz and chirp as well. Warbling, chirping signals have character and add to the fun of the NRR. I was moving between a 1953 Vibroplex bug and an old Swiss straight key. I'm still learning the bug and this was my first on-air attempt with it. Thanks for 50 QSO's and some good transcontinental contacts on 40m.
I had a great time firing up and working the NRR gang with my old Globe Scout and Chief as well as my newly acquired Adventurer. I set up a separate operating table at the cost of blocking access to most of my storage (including things I later wanted to add the the NRR station).. It was certainly worthwhile. Using the Sked Board was a welcome change from my Novice days and made life easier most of the time. I owe a lot to my Mackay Marine receiver. It really helped to pull in signals that weren't always loud and clear. I have every intention of being back again next year. Thanks to everyone that made or tried to make a QSO with me.
The equipment in the picture from left to right is:
73 de Dan, K2YWE
Thanks to all! I had a wonderful time in the 2018 NRR! After my HW-16 went bad during last year's NRR, I recapped it & replaced some resistors and this year it shined, putting out 50 watts. I used my T-50 with crystals and it did a fine job also. I did a few QSO's with my Century 21 too. My IC-718 was my receiver for my T-50 and has a 250 Hz CW filter which helped with my bad hearing. I do want to get a nice old tube receiver in the near future though. I didn't do as well as last year and got about half as many points, but under the circumstances I think I did pretty well. The main thing is that I had a load of fun! I used my Junker and my Navy Flameproof straight keys and my signals were run through my old Johnson Matchbox and balanced line feeders out to my loaded 100 foot, 160m thru 10m inverted V. The apex being at 35 ft. I look forward to next years NRR and wish maybe we could think about doing it twice a year. Thanks again to all and I'll be seeing you on 40 and 80 meters.
73, John N9RLO
Last year was my first NRR and I fell in love with it. I had been counting the days until the next one and it did not disappoint, being even more fun than I had anticipated. To top it off, the low bands were in great shape and signals from coast-to-coast were just like the old days. This year I used my newly refurbished Drake 2NT and Heathkit VF-1 VFO and next year may try my DX-40 if I get it ready over the summer.
The highlights were numerous and I have put them together in my post NRR blog here:
Lets hope the NRR continues to grow as more folks read about all of the fun to be had. Thanks to the organizers for a super job, especially the logging software and the chat page. I would also put my name forward to help with next year's event in any way that I can. 7Steve 73 VE7SL
Paper Wren Press
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