Vintage: Boat anchors

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WB3DYE

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I have an Icom 7600 which every once in awhile I run AM.
Get about 25 watts.
Did anyone ever make an AM transceiver??? If so what make/
model???
I assume it would be a boat anchor. I don't want to smoke
The 7600.
 

Token

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I have an Icom 7600 which every once in awhile I run AM.
Get about 25 watts.
Did anyone ever make an AM transceiver??? If so what make/
model???
I assume it would be a boat anchor. I don't want to smoke
The 7600.
First, why are you worried about smoking the 7600? 25 Watts in AM mode (assuming 100% modulation) is the same load on the final amplifier as 100 Watts in FM, or running a digital mode in SSB and pushing 100 Watts.

Next, yes, there have been AM specific transmitters, however they are boat anchors, and the newest would be 40+ years old. And most of the dedicated AM transmitters were just that, a transmitter with no receiver, you were expected to use a separate receiver with them. Further, many of the old tube based multimode transceivers did a pretty good job on AM, so a dedicated AM rig is not really required for good AM.

Assuming the 7600 does decent AM (I have not messed with that one on AM, and have not heard one that I know of on AM) if you want to do AM get an external amp, crank the 7600 back 20 to 50%, and use the external amp to push the carrier up to 100 to 200 Watts.

T!
 

TheSpaceMann

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I have an Icom 7600 which every once in awhile I run AM.
Get about 25 watts.
Did anyone ever make an AM transceiver??? If so what make/
model???
I assume it would be a boat anchor. I don't want to smoke
The 7600.
Heard a guy on the air with an AM tranceiver that he recently made from a fairly new kit! I believe you can find the kit on the CQDX.ru (Sparky's WEB World) website.
 

SCPD

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AM transceivers!-- a wonderful subject!
.

Yes, indeed there were many such radios in the past... I still have one- a government issued**, modified-for-all frequencies- that I carried all over the Pacific. It is an old- I guess you'd call it a 'Boat Anchor'-- ICOM 720A. Some people might argue that the 720 had cheap sounding audio, but the reports I would get on ham band AM said it sounded beautiful... Not that it was used much on AM; ...

.
Ah!, but there were late nights out on some remote atolls when it would radiated out a singing AM voice (mine.... :) ) - on 160 metre's...... with AM it was the mode far more fun for talking to YB's, VK's and ZL's than anything imaginable on Sideband. 160 seldom reached the W/K's , but you who have 160 mtr. QSL's from KC6, KX6 might well remember me (though on SSB)... smiles.
.
Sorry, my reminiscing may be be beverage-induced as I await a connecting flight .
.
Growing up I remember many ham transceiver kits-- Allied Radio-- later to be known as Radio Shack---they had quite a few kits.... AM 6 meter transceivers, and of course there were the HeathKit 2'ers, 6'er and 10'ers... World Radio Labs had a 6 AM meter transceiver....
.
My father and his friends were always building transmitters and receivers- 6 metre's was a favorite band.... though usually the receivers were simple super-het's, regens on 420; and such-- or they used high end converters into communications receivers like R390's, Super-Pro's, Hallicrafters......
.
But the transmitters, well, they were something else...I still have one of his... a classy open chassis work of art-- tubes mounted on an aluminium chassis....a 6EA8 crystal oscillator/multiplier to a 2E26 PA, a 6CL6 screen modulator, 12AT7 audio preamp--> 15 watts carrier modulated on 50MHz... it sit on a shelf today...I turn it on now and them, like a night light, to just watch the glow of the filaments. Then there were the plate modulated 4-400 blast furnaces...... yes!... the golden days of AM... only in my childhood memories today.....
.
Not long ago someone showed me a Chinese transceiver... made by Anytone (?) - it covered 10 meters-- and had AM........ So AM is still out there-- 29.000 AM, back in the days of sun spots was a lot of fun.... maybe consider it?....Converted old CB radios anyone??!.
.
...............................CF
.
****____________________________________________________________
**My 720 had been issued out over 6,7+ times before it came to me.... a veritable old, well travelled veteran... but still in pristine shape in its indestrustible air-freight case. When I tried to turn it back in, no one could find it on the agency inventory lists...."hold on to it" I was told.... I still am...
 

N8IAA

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AM transceivers!-- a wonderful subject!
.

Yes, indeed there were many such radios in the past... I still have one- a government issued**, modified-for-all frequencies- that I carried all over the Pacific. It is an old- I guess you'd call it a 'Boat Anchor'-- ICOM 720A. Some people might argue that the 720 had cheap sounding audio, but the reports I would get on ham band AM said it sounded beautiful... Not that it was used much on AM; ...

.
Ah!, but there were late nights out on some remote atolls when it would radiated out a singing AM voice (mine.... :) ) - on 160 metre's...... with AM it was the mode far more fun for talking to YB's, VK's and ZL's than anything imaginable on Sideband. 160 seldom reached the W/K's , but you who have 160 mtr. QSL's from KC6, KX6 might well remember me (though on SSB)... smiles.
.
Sorry, my reminiscing may be be beverage-induced as I await a connecting flight .
.
Growing up I remember many ham transceiver kits-- Allied Radio-- later to be known as Radio Shack---they had quite a few kits.... AM 6 meter transceivers, and of course there were the HeathKit 2'ers, 6'er and 10'ers... World Radio Labs had a 6 AM meter transceiver....
.
My father and his friends were always building transmitters and receivers- 6 metre's was a favorite band.... though usually the receivers were simple super-het's, regens on 420; and such-- or they used high end converters into communications receivers like R390's, Super-Pro's, Hallicrafters......
.
But the transmitters, well, they were something else...I still have one of his... a classy open chassis work of art-- tubes mounted on an aluminium chassis....a 6EA8 crystal oscillator/multiplier to a 2E26 PA, a 6CL6 screen modulator, 12AT7 audio preamp--> 15 watts carrier modulated on 50MHz... it sit on a shelf today...I turn it on now and them, like a night light, to just watch the glow of the filaments. Then there were the plate modulated 4-400 blast furnaces...... yes!... the golden days of AM... only in my childhood memories today.....
.
Not long ago someone showed me a Chinese transceiver... made by Anytone (?) - it covered 10 meters-- and had AM........ So AM is still out there-- 29.000 AM, back in the days of sun spots was a lot of fun.... maybe consider it?....Converted old CB radios anyone??!.
.
...............................CF
.
****____________________________________________________________
**My 720 had been issued out over 6,7+ times before it came to me.... a veritable old, well travelled veteran... but still in pristine shape in its indestrustible air-freight case. When I tried to turn it back in, no one could find it on the agency inventory lists...."hold on to it" I was told.... I still am...
CF, you are a breath of fresh air. I wish that more hams had your outlook. It would be a better world. In this day and age of 'preppers', Cheap Chinese radios, and almost instant licensing, it is good to reminisce about when radios were a great way to keep the coffee cup warm on late night QSO's.
Thank You,
Larry
 

Token

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AM transceivers!-- a wonderful subject!

Yes, indeed there were many such radios in the past... I still have one- a government issued**, modified-for-all frequencies- that I carried all over the Pacific. It is an old- I guess you'd call it a 'Boat Anchor'-- ICOM 720A. Some people might argue that the 720 had cheap sounding audio, but the reports I would get on ham band AM said it sounded beautiful... Not that it was used much on AM; ...
Not trying to be argumentative at all, just expressing my opinion on the subject, but to me the Icom IC-720 is not a boat anchor. The IC-720 may now be considered old, but it is solid state, only about the size of several modern rigs, and digital.

To me a boat anchor has to big, and heavy, and old, and, almost universally, hollow state. Johnson Vikings, Hammarlund HQ-180’s or SP-600 and HX-500, Hallicrafter SX-28 and HT-32 or Cyclone or Hurricane, etc. These are boat anchors, and I love them.

Growing up I remember many ham transceiver kits-- Allied Radio-- later to be known as Radio Shack---they had quite a few kits.... AM 6 meter transceivers, and of course there were the HeathKit 2'ers, 6'er and 10'ers... World Radio Labs had a 6 AM meter transceiver....
I still have one each unbuilt Heath 2’er and 6’er, as well as built and working versions of each.

As for 6 meter AM transmitters a few locals here get on 6 meter AM periodically, maybe once a month or so, with vintage gear. I typically fire up my Hallicrafters SR-46A. A little less often we get on 2 meter AM, in which case I normally fire up the Hallicrafters SR-42.

But the transmitters, well, they were something else...I still have one of his... a classy open chassis work of art-- tubes mounted on an aluminium chassis....a 6EA8 crystal oscillator/multiplier to a 2E26 PA, a 6CL6 screen modulator, 12AT7 audio preamp--> 15 watts carrier modulated on 50MHz... it sit on a shelf today...I turn it on now and them, like a night light, to just watch the glow of the filaments. Then there were the plate modulated 4-400 blast furnaces...... yes!... the golden days of AM... only in my childhood memories today.....
Why only in your memories? You still have it, fire it up. If people don’t keep these things alive then they will become just a memory.

Sure, AM is not the most efficient use of bandwidth. And it is not the best for DX. But, that does not mean you can’t use it. It is a legal mode, and it does have some interesting differences form the other modes commonly used. And the nostalgia factor is great also.

Not long ago someone showed me a Chinese transceiver... made by Anytone (?) - it covered 10 meters-- and had AM........ So AM is still out there-- 29.000 AM, back in the days of sun spots was a lot of fun.... maybe consider it?....Converted old CB radios anyone??!.
AM is very active, on several bands.

Every night there are several nets on 160 and 75 meters in AM. Many folks are using boat anchors, some even converted AM radio station broadcast rigs, but a bunch are using modern gear also. Some of the modern gear has fine audio on AM, the Flex series, the Yaesu FT-2000 or FTdx-5000, etc. And you run into AM on 15 meters and 10 meters regularly also, although not as often as on 160 and 75. You even occasionally see AM on the other bands.

So yeah, AM is there. And yeah, many (most?) HF transceivers today support it to some extent. Some sound good doing it, and some are very flat and thin sounding. But if you don’t try you won’t know.

T!
 

N9JCQ

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I agree with Token. an Icom 720 is solid state. Boatanchors are "hollow state" using firebottles that glow in the dark. AM is active on 40 Meters too at 7.290 -7.295. You can her it on 20 meters, 15 meters and 10 meters too depending on conditions.
 

SCPD

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Good morning Guys :)
.
Thank you for the kind comments... this is a nice non controversial topic, No?....nothing like reminiscing about radios.
.
I do agree, that my Icom 720 is not a true Boat Anchor... I sacrificed it as a concession in terms to all the young readers of this Post who really don't know what a true piece of ballast an old radio can be... The 720 is, after all, quite heavy, rather clunky- and it must be around 30 years old.... When seen by my younger associates at work they just smiled and say--
.
'Maybe you should put it in a glass case, Boss' and
.
" A Museum piece, Grandma"------- (Hey, I am hardly that old! ... and just *when* do you come up for a performance review??---JUST KIDDING!!....... ;) )
.
This all brings back memories.
My father likes to talk to me about the radios of our past... and did we have some in our family! As an Air Force officer and a MARS member we had some real doozy's traipse thru our doors. And whenever we were restationed I recall the looks on the moving men's faces as they view'd some of our 6-foot relay rack'd 'treasures.' All those are now just memories, but a few pieces stick in my mind, especially as they involve this topic--
.
Stellar in that memory constellation was our BC-610E. I am sure you older hams remember that transmitter. It weighed a tonne!; it was mounted on wheels and could mash little toes- (mine)- if pushed around carelessly. It had what looked like bright glowing Suns inside- the huge (to a little girl) glowing 250TH final, the pair of 100TH plate modulators.... those blue glowing mercury vapour rectifiers..... all this came with it the very stern admonishments to never even think of playing with it!... the high voltages and filmsy interlocks still give me the creeps (remember where the VFO's were?.. and how close your hand could come to the caps of those 807 drivers?!... ;) )
We had that 610 like-forever, and I eventually grew into getting to operate it. In time it was converted to to a linear amp for sideband.... for years though, before that, I fondly recall sitting beside my dad with that glowing 610 and the static crackling R390 receiver, as he talked to his buddies on 75 metre AM 'phone (I also learned how much AM stations could hetrodyne each other, and what a blessing SSB was to end those days.) AM, though, had (has) such a sweet sound.
.
(Laughing... :) .....Boat Anchors, and AM-- oh yes, and what I could tell you....!
.
.................................CF
 

902

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Back in the day, I had a full Gonset station for 2 meter AM, 220 AM (in a yellow Civil Defense box), and 6 meter AM. I made a number of contacts on 2 and 6 meters, all with a box of crystals. You had to actually tune around. You would usually find someone replying to you on another frequency while tuning, because his box of crystals weren't on the same frequency as yours. "... calling CQ and tuning."

My first HF rig, a Heathkit DX-60B, HR-10 receiver, and HG-10 VFO worked wonderfully in AM. I made a number of contacts with people on 10 meters using converted CB radios (this was during the big "CB-to-10" craze of the late 70s. You can find the conversion articles in digitally archived 73 magazines.

Of course, I could take that DX-60B on to 75 meters, but that wasn't my crowd down there. There was also considerable 20 meter AM activity, which is mostly gone now.

What else had AM? Had an HT-32B transmitter that did AM. I used to tune it into a lightbulb.

More recently, my IC-751A and M710 also do AM. I haven't really used them that way, though.

Are you finding a lot of AM activity?
 

SCPD

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I had a Heathkit AT-1 which I built a modulator for, and a DX-40. I had a friend that had a BC-610 in his living room! I operated/serviced BC610's part of AN/GRC-26's in the ANG back in the day. Dual diversity R-388's for RTTY.
 

TheSpaceMann

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Just out of curiosity, on what frequencies and in what areas of the country is AM use most prevalent?
 

cmdrwill

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Brings memories of San Fernando Al's Johnson Viking 500 watt AM transmitter. It had such a really good signal one distant station asked why such a good signal, I replied back " because we are running a manila rope for an antenna".
 

N8IAA

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Did forget to post my anchor, Swan 350C. My first HF rig in 1985, and it was older when I bought it. No AM, but lots of CW on 80, and 40 meters. 10m when they gave voice to Tech/Generals. Furthest I ever talked was from Cleveland, OH to the southern tip of Chile.
Larry
 
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SCPD

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In a old, olive drab military foot locker I have kept a collection of family radio "Treasures." Years ago I limited their number to what I could fit into that box, largely based on uniqueness- and weight/size..... I was aware of the "boat anchor syndrome" long long ago, and I did not want to be one of those collectors - (I prefer polychrome Pueblo ceramic pottery myself) .... :)
.
Reading this Post again, now with an awaken'd sense of nostalgia, I pulled out that little footlocker. Last night I took a stroll thru memories. Right, now, one of those 'treasures' sits on my desk at work, surrounded by flashing, sophisticated lab equipment... I am sure it must be feeling like a very strange little being in a very strange land!
.
WB3DYE asked earlier if anyone built transceivers. Well, in my collection was that little treasure, a little mini box- 3 tube project my father, and his father, built together- considerably before my time. Orginally there were two of them, but this is the one that survived.
.
It has a small speaker louvered grill, a pilot light, a crystal microphone plugged into the front- next to a toggle switch marked "T/R," a SO-235 antenna connector- and most notably, a Bakelite dial dialing out "420-430-440-450-" ----- A UHF Transceiver--- Opening it up (it hasn't been opened since the '60's) there is a 6AF4 oscillator/regen detector, a 12AZ7 audio preamp and 6AQ5 audio amplifier-- a small hi-voltage transformer, diodes... the tuned circuits are silvered copper wire tank circuits... all carefully mounted on ceramic stand-offs... I jokingly showed to our chief engineer who earlier walked by, and asked her: "why can't you guys make something pretty like this??" :)
.
We plugged it in and, oh, Wow!... that regen receiver put out quite a broad spectrum of RFI hash (as seen on a HP spectrum analyz'r). I plugged a #47 pilot bulb in as a dummy load (not that I was worried it need one, but I wanted to see if it put out a measurable signal)- and was rewarded with a faint glow... The signal bandwidth was practically unmeasurable, but in frequency it was remarkably close to centering on the dial marks. How my father calibrated that is anyone's guess-
I wasn't sure what sort of signal would come out of it... a hodge-podge mixture of AM/FM to be sure- but over a Harris lab receiver it sounded absolutely sweet!..(though the band width was set to 'the outer-limits!").... and so much for the spectral purity standards of the "Good-old-bye-gone days"... (laughing)... as if I am sure these hams then cared.
.
My father and grandfather used these radios for Field Day contests... I was told some the FD rules have changed over the years- that it used to be that all the members of their radio club would line up and using these two radios; they'd making a contact to the club callsign, across a field- and each club member would score a QSO point and UHF credit for the club-- in those days each operator did not have to have his own radio... or so my father told me.
..........I see there is a grease pencilled note on the back of this transceiver "Best DX 1 mile": and a now- blurred date.
.
Hope you liked my tale- I sort of combined the home- made transceivers with 'boat anchors' subject ... I have another little 'treasure' sitting on my desk... but its getting on towards lunch and I *must* get to a task I have been avoiding .... maybe tomorrow?
.
.........................................CF
 
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bharvey2

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CF - Great story. That reminds me of a few radios my dad had: A Knight SW radio and a Heathkit am transmitter he built presumably while at ET in the US Navy. I remember messing with both as a kid. He never got into the HAM hobby although his older brother did.

On an unrelated note, where were you/did you educated/grow up? I noticed some alternate spelling of a few words in early posts. Or, are you just "fussing" with people on this forum to see who will notice?
 

TheSpaceMann

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In a old, olive drab military foot locker I have kept a collection of family radio "Treasures." Years ago I limited their number to what I could fit into that box, largely based on uniqueness- and weight/size..... I was aware of the "boat anchor syndrome" long long ago, and I did not want to be one of those collectors - (I prefer polychrome Pueblo ceramic pottery myself) .... :)
.
Reading this Post again, now with an awaken'd sense of nostalgia, I pulled out that little footlocker. Last night I took a stroll thru memories. Right, now at work, one of those 'treasures' sits on my desk at work, surrounded by flashing, sophisticated lab equipment... I am sure it must be feeling like a very strange little being in a very strange land!
.
WB3DYE asked earlier if anyone built transceivers. Well, in my collection was that little treasure, a little mini box- 3 tube project my father, and his father, built together- considerably before my time. Orginally there were two of them, but this is the one that survived.
.
It has a small speaker louvered grill, a pilot light, a crystal microphone plugged into the front- next to a toggle switch marked "T/R," a SO-235 antenna connector- and most notably, a Bakelite dial dialing out "420-430-440-450-" ----- A UHF Transceiver--- Opening it up (it hasn't been opened since the '60's) there is a 6AF4 oscillator/regen detector, a 12AZ7 audio preamp and 6AQ5 audio amplifier-- a small hi-voltage transformer, diodes... the tuned circuits are silvered copper wire tank circuits... all carefully mounted on ceramic stand-offs... I jokingly showed to our chief engineer who earlier walked by, and asked her: "why can't you guys make something pretty like this??" :)
.
We plugged it in and, oh, Wow!... that regen receiver put out quite a broad spectrum of RFI hash (as seen on a HP spectrum analyz'r). I plugged a #47 pilot bulb in as a dummy load (not that I was worried it need one, but I wanted to see if it put out a measurable signal)- and was rewarded with a faint glow... The signal bandwidth was practically unmeasurable, but in frequency it was remarkably close to centering on the dial marks. How my father calibrated that is anyone's guess-
I wasn't sure what sort of signal would come out of it... a hodge-podge mixture of AM/FM to be sure- but over a Harris lab receiver it sounded absolutely sweet!..(though the band width was set to 'the outer-limits!").... and so much for the spectral purity standards of the "Good-old-bye-gone days"... (laughing)... as if I am sure these hams then cared.
.
My father and grandfather used these radios for Field Day contests... I was told some the FD rules have changed over the years- that it used to be that all the members of their radio club would line up and using these two radios; they'd making a contact to the club callsign, across a field- and each club member would score a QSO point and UHF credit for the club-- in those days each operator did not have to have his own radio... or so my father told me.
..........I see there is a grease pencilled note on the back of this transceiver "Best DX 1 mile": and a now- blurred date.
.
Hope you liked my tale- I sort of combined the home- made transceivers with 'boat anchors' subject ... I have another little 'treasure' sitting on my desk... but its getting on towards lunch and I *must* get to a task I have been avoiding .... maybe tomorrow?
.
.........................................CF
Nice! That brought back a lot of memories too. I remember back in the late '60s and '70s, a bunch of hams were converting those old tube type CB radios to work on 10 meters AM! Some of those rigs actually sounded pretty darn good!! :)
 

jwt873

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At one time the three popular modes on the ham bands were AM, CW and RTTY. As mentioned, around 40-50 years ago SSB caught on and left AM in the dust.

I recall back in the 80's checking in to an open AM chat net on 10M using an IC-751 set to AM mode. The guys were polite, but let me know that REAL AM radios had modulation transformers and tubes :)

A friend of mine has an old 1000 Watt AM broadcast band transmitter that he plans to modify to work on 160 meters.

And.. I also have an IC-7600.. I sometimes use it on AM with my Ameritron ALS-600 amp. 20 Watts out gives me a 200 Watt AM signal. (I can get 300 Watts with the full 25 Watt IC-7600 output, but I prefer to run my equipment a little under full power).
 

SCPD

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Hi bharvey!
.
An interesting observation.... as a military kid I lived all over-- you pick the places the Air Force had bases - I was probably there...:)
More to your question; my formative years, the language skills, especially my spellings- came about from my family's long tour in the UK... for me, high school.. and I stay'd on after they return to the states for my undergrad. By the time I return'd to the US I had the writing skills of a Brit, and the polyglot speech of the Seven Dials.....
.
............................"Lor, luv a duck! I can speak dis way still. Know what I mean, innit?"
.
Sorry......... :)
.
I did my MS at Caltech, and my doctorate at Berkeley.
.
But I still can't spell worth a "bloody Farthing"
.

(When next I post it will be about radios...... smiles :)
.
..........................................................CF
 
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