HF Tube Transceivers

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riverrat373

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I am studying to get my ham license (going to take the tech and general at the same session). As I like to be prepared for any emergency (solar flares, EMP etc.) I would like to purchase a used tube transceiver that would likely survive one of these disasters. I have been looking at both the Yaesu and Kenwood brands since they are well known and I have had both brands in general coverage receivers. I'm having a hard time finding info on which models are tube only and not hybrids. Can anyone offers some guidance to help me make the right choice?
 

wyShack

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I cannot remember how far 'back' for all tube radios. I would guess the early seventies. If it has a digital display or PLL tuning it is mostly solid state. I think you may want to look at units like the Heathkit HW-101 or similar. If you are putting one of those on the air tuning the transmitter and receiver is something you will need to do. Also those unit have to be checked for stability and frequency accuracy. I have used the HW-101 quite a bit and it is a fun rig to use but it does take some adjustments each time you change frequencies-even 50 kHz on the same band. Also make sure the output is 'clean' and have spare tubes handy- tubes actually have a operating lifetime that is short my todays standards.

Have fun and 73
 

K7MEM

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I am studying to get my ham license (going to take the tech and general at the same session). As I like to be prepared for any emergency (solar flares, EMP etc.) I would like to purchase a used tube transceiver that would likely survive one of these disasters. I have been looking at both the Yaesu and Kenwood brands since they are well known and I have had both brands in general coverage receivers. I'm having a hard time finding info on which models are tube only and not hybrids. Can anyone offers some guidance to help me make the right choice?
Well, good luck on your ham tests. I took the Tech and General at the same time too, but that was back before they removed the code requirements. I also took the Advanced and Extra in a single session. If you have any kind of engineering background, there shouldn't be a problem with any of the tests. If you get past the Tech and General, take a shot at the Extra.

It's nice to be prepared, but you may be taking on more than you know. If your talking about a simple 10-25 Watt CW transmitter, well they can be pretty easy to keep going. However, when you get into units that handle USB, LSB, CW and cover all of the bands, it gets a little more difficult to keep it running.

wyShack mentioned the HW-101 by Heathkit. It is still a very popular transceiver. In the same era there is the Heathkit SB series. I have a SB-101, but I haven't had it fired up in a while. When I do get around to firing it up, I will need to go thorough it pretty thoroughly to make sure it's not doing anything bad.

But don't just look at Heathkit. There are lots of other manufacturers that made all tube transceivers that are SSB capable. There is Hallicrafters, Collins, Johnson, Hammerlund, etc.. I'm sure others will suggest other manufacturers.

What kind of background do you have?
What kind of test equipment do you have available?
Does the test equipment also have to be all tubes?
When you are troubleshooting a tube transceiver, are you comfortable sticking your hand in a unit with hot tubes and high voltages?

When I first received my license, my 2 Meter station was all tubes. I had a Heath Twoer, Nuvistor (also a tube) converter, and a HE-30 general coverage receiver. It all worked great and kept the basement at my mom's house nice and warm, but that was almost 50 years ago.
 

N0IU

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As I like to be prepared for any emergency (solar flares, EMP etc.) I would like to purchase a used tube transceiver that would likely survive one of these disasters.
First of all, good luck on your tests!

As far as your question, it is your money and ultimately your decision, but...

With all due respect, if there is an EMP event that would wipe out a solid state radio, I think that you will probably have much more serious things to worry about. An event of that magnitude would most likely be caused by a nuclear explosion from a foreign enemy and if that were the case, while your radio may survive, you probably won't!

As far as solar flares are concerned, they happen with some regularity and can certainly cause interruptions in wireless communications, but having a completely "hollow state" radio won't give you any advantage over the rest of us who rely on solid state gear. Propagation is propagation and it matters not what type of circuitry generates those radio waves.

If you want to be "prepped" to that degree, you might want to consider a "modern" rig and keep it in some sort of Faraday cage (like a microwave oven). Another advantage of a "modern" radio is that it will run off of 12 VDC while tube-based radios require considerably more power. Even if you find one that will run off of 110 VAC, you are making the assumption that the commercial mains will be up and running while a "modern" rig can be easily wired to your car battery.

Of course you can always use a deep cycle marine battery and keep it charged with solar panels, but an EMP event of the magnitude that could wipe out your radio would probably also wipe out the charging circuitry,

So my suggestion (which is worth exactly what it cost you - $0.00) is to get into amateur radio for fun and enjoyment, not to be your savior in the event of a catastrophic "TEOTWAWKI" event.
 

prcguy

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I'm not sure if there was ever a Yaesu or Kenwood that did not contain some solid state diodes or transistors somewhere. There is also no guarantee that a completely tube type radio will survive EMP without being shielded.

During the first Iraq Desert Storm war the blowing sand created lots of static electricity buildup on HF antennas and the Army resurrected some tube type Collins KWM-2As to temporarily get around the problem. Harris HF radios radios and some antennas have since been modified to bleed off static electricity.
prcguy
 
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