Nostalgia - Your Favorite Rig of All Time (and Why)

k7ng

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Why did I say "National SP-600"?? It was a Hammarlund. I must have been thinking of something else. At least I hope that's why...
 

kb7gjy

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Well I was lucky as my dad owned the candy store. I have got to use some great gear in my years. On the ham side, the IC-2AT, 02AT, 04AT, 2GAT, 32AT, the Kenwood 220 handheld. I worked on repeaters and climbed towers, the Master II and Master Pro (Keep the watts turned down and they are a tank, I could tell you stories). On HF The IC-751, 735, 761 that was a great radio then he bough a 765. Wow a young kid running a fine rig. He never did get the 781. Recently a fellow ham found, in a storage shed a IC-781 that his children let sit in shed. He fixed alot of things on it (Water damage from a leaking roof). I told him a couple years ago, if you ever want to let the Cadillac go, I call first rights. I ran into him this spring and he asked me if I was still interested in the 781. I stumbled and said Yes, 1000% yes. He said well I want her used and I know you will. Come get her.

Every time I power her up and make a couple contacts, I feel like I am taking a classic for a quick jog around the block.


As for Professional grade radios Icoms, Motorola (Spectras), Kenwoods, etc. I still love the Spectras, minus the caps, they were built like a tank. MT1000 should have been added to the use of force continuum for Law Enforcement. (Presents, Verbal, Hands on, ((possible lethal force)) Throw radio, LOL.


So much history and memories

Thanks for the cruise down memory lane
 

mmckenna

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The big problem in the low band version of the radio if you put both 10 and 6 meters in it is the antenna. There are very few antennas available that will do both ham bands.
I knew a guy that ran tuned lengths of coax and a 1/4 wave 10 meter whip on one side of his SUV and a 1/4 wave 6 meter whip on the other side.

There is a company that has made a plug in board to replace the PROM board to allow computer electronic programming of this model radio.
Piexx, or some similar name. I had one for a few years, fun radio. I used it on the 2 meter band. Scored it out of one of our old fire engines at work. Weighed a ton.


I picked up an HRO-60 out of our e-waste bin at work with all the band modules except one. I had a coworker that had been Jonesing for one of those for a long time and I gave it to him. Sort of wish I'd hung on to it, but to be fair, he gave it a much better home that I would have.
 

jim202

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I knew a guy that ran tuned lengths of coax and a 1/4 wave 10 meter whip on one side of his SUV and a 1/4 wave 6 meter whip on the other side.
I have done that in a few police cars years back when both the police and fire dept. were low band. You calculate out what the coax cable length needs to be for the police freq. and put that on the fire antenna. Then figure out what the coax cable length needs to be for the fire freq. and put that on the police antenna. The last step is to put a T connector at the radio and connect both coax cables to the T.

A word of caution here on making any direct connection to the Syntor model radios. A PL-259 shell will be too long to make a tight connection to these radios. Not sure if a T connector does the same thing. Did that trick way back in the 70's. If you run into this, grind off or file off the lip on the end of the shell used to make the connection. The SO-239 female connector on these radios is too shallow to make a tight connection. The male connector will be able to rock around. In taking off the smooth amount of the shell you screw on, allows you to make a tight connection.
 

W5lz

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My first transmitter was borrowed home-brew. The one I remember, though, was a DX-60! My firse "It's MINE" transmitter! Receiver was a Navy surplus thing, at least 30 tubes, weighed a ton and eventually broke a 'kitchen table' which was my desk. Think I had three usable crystals (tried 'skootching' them a bit by carbon pencil), and called CQ for hours! Later got/built the matching VFO. Antenna was made of TV twin-lead, strung -on- the side of the house (asbestos siding so it was okay. Right?). Remember them fondly -now-, but not so fondly at the time.
 

N8IAA

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Fortunately, GA
I have to say two. Swan 350C and a TenTec Argonaut 509.

The Swan was my first HF radio in the mid 80's. Used it to make a 10 meter contact from Ohio to the southern tip of South America.

But, the 509 QRP rig was my all time favorite! When 10 meters was open in the 80's, I used to have a regular QSO with a fellow ham in England. One Saturday, we had an incredible band opening. By the end of the QSO, I was using 1/2 watt and he was using 3/10's of a watt.

Was a good couple of months. Great memories!
 

mass-man

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Beat me to it...Argonaut 509! Mine traveled the world in a padded case I built for it. No tuner, just a bunch of wires cut for different bands, a center insulator and coax. Often I would sit in a park or parking lot after work, string an antenna up, often 10mtr(it was the 80"s) and talk until the sun went down. Usually powered by the cig lighter or a battery I had for work. What you could do with a few watts was pretty cool.
 

wa8pyr

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Drake T-4X and R-4 twins. I've got the twins, MS-4 speaker and power supply (to which I later added the MN-2000 tuner), given to me by my grandfather (ex-WA8PYR later WD4ANZ, SK) when I first got my ticket in 1980. Still have them although they're wrapped up on the shelf right now account limited space in the shack. Once you learned the tricks (especially the "kinder to finals" tuning process) they're very forgiving, and that cool blue glow from the dials just sends me, man. Used the twins as my primary "rag chew" rig for years.
 

RFI-EMI-GUY

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Maybe I am just an old time die hard that likes radios built like a tank. There are several radios that come to mind. I guess the one I like to wrap my arms around the most is the Motorola Syntor X9000. It came in basically 3 flavors. Low band, VHF and UHF. The UHF versions are a tad few and far between, but the low band is the most common and then the VHF model. I happen to have all 3 versions in my stock and installed.

The low band will actually spread from the 10 meter FM band all the way up into the 6 Meter FM band. The best part is you don't need to tune it at all except the VCO. You can get 100 watts out on both bands. I choose to crank the power down to 85 watts and be able to talk as long as I please. Just have to release the PTT button now and then when the time out timer I set complains and shuts off the transmitter, reminding me I need to un-key and key back up to continue talking.

All 3 models have good receiver sensitivity. There are several control heads you can use and set the programmable buttons to do just about what you want.

You can change out the memory chip and expand the number of channels the radio can have. There is a jumper to tell the radio the size of memory chip you install. Some control heads may have a jumper also for the number of channels. Other heads with the soldered in memory chips are already able to use the max channels (modes). It also lets you be able to program a selection of all 32 transmit PL tones. This way you can make the radio just about a dial a frequency radio. It will also let you have zones. So as you drive around to different areas, you can select the zone of frequencies for that area. This is not model restricted.

The big problem in the low band version of the radio if you put both 10 and 6 meters in it is the antenna. There are very few antennas available that will do both ham bands.

One word of caution here is there is a Motorola Syntor, without the X9000 after the name. This radio has the same construction and same boards in it except the control board. It used a one time PROM that you used to program the radio. There is a company that has made a plug in board to replace the PROM board to allow computer electronic programming of this model radio.

My next selection of radios is the Motorola Spectra. I find for wide band use, these are great for ham use. They are a little lighter and smaller in the 100 watt versions. They came in several power selections. Even had a dash mount version. All the ones I have seen for ham use are the VHF and UHF models.

I do have several of the large Yaesu HF base station use for ham use. They are fine radios.

They last selection of radios I like is the Motorola XTL2500 and XTL5000 mobiles. These can be programmed for the VHF and UHF ham frequencies. If you need wide band operation, you will probably need to get with Motorola and arrange for a wide band file from Motorola to be able to program the radio wide band.
I would love to have a low band SyntorX in my next vehicle. I wonder if a screwdriver antenna with companion auto tuner would tune 10 through 6 meters? I would like the three LB itinerant channels as well.
 

N4DJC

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Even though I had an HF rig, I spent a lot of time on two meters after I got my license in ‘79. I’ve owned a lot of good radios over the years, but nothing beat the simplicity of a 2AT. They were hanging off everyone’s belt in those days. Tough little guys. No repeaters in the area had tones back then.
 

k7ng

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Even though I had an HF rig, I spent a lot of time on two meters after I got my license in ‘79. I’ve owned a lot of good radios over the years, but nothing beat the simplicity of a 2AT. They were hanging off everyone’s belt in those days. Tough little guys. No repeaters in the area had tones back then.
YEAH! The real hotshots had IC-2AT, IC-3AT and IC-4AT radios all on their belts at the same time, with the high-capacity battery packs. Find out how many extra notches you had to pull your belt in to keep your pants from going to about your knees...
 

N4DJC

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YEAH! The real hotshots had IC-2AT, IC-3AT and IC-4AT radios all on their belts at the same time, with the high-capacity battery packs. Find out how many extra notches you had to pull your belt in to keep your pants from going to about your knees...
Last time I was at Dayton (1996) there were still guys with them, those extended batteries making their belts hang low like a gunfighter's rig :cool:
 

N4DJC

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@mass-man

Those 509's were nice rigs, I had one too. Worked a lot of DX in '79 until '81 with it. There's a guy here in town that has several of them, he does a good job repairing them.
 

Token

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It is impossible for me to pick just one. With some radios it is the excellence of function, with others it is the nostalgia of when I owned them and how I used them. And it depends on if you are talking about transmitting ham use or listening use.

My favorite rig of all time would be far from the best I have used or owned. In fact, it was a rather lack-luster performer, but still my favorite. My very first station was a combination of a home brewed three tube CW transmitter and a Hallicrafters SX-99 receiver. The transmitter is long gone, but I still have the receiver today. It still makes me feel warm and fuzy, and a teenager again, when I twist the knobs. Once I combined this receiver with a BC-221 / LM-18 things were awesome.

I have several other radios that I love to use, even if they are not technically the best I own. Any of the gear drive Hammarlunds combined with the HX-50 transmitter, the Collins 75-A4 or 51-J4 receivers and 75S-3 receiver with 32S-3 transmitters, for just pleasant listening the Hallicrafters SX-62A. The Hallicrafters SR-400 was a favorite, and the SR-2000, (I never owned a 2000, but have used them).

Today my "go-to" is my FTdx-5000MP, it is simply fantastic to use.

T!
 

spongella

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Tempo One, very old school, manual tuning, 16 tubes, real "S" meter, glows in the dark, has an old radio smell when it warms up, big size, analog VFO, incandescent bulbs for S meter and VFO, no excess number of controls, excellent manual with alignment instructions, operates excellent on CW and SSB, clear audio. My first radio back in '77.
 

danesgs

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My first HAM rig was a HTX-200 from radio shack clearance.index.jpg a mighty 200 milliwatts!
 

Token

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Tempo One, very old school, manual tuning, 16 tubes, real "S" meter, glows in the dark, has an old radio smell when it warms up, big size, analog VFO, incandescent bulbs for S meter and VFO, no excess number of controls, excellent manual with alignment instructions, operates excellent on CW and SSB, clear audio. My first radio back in '77.
Black face, or white face? That late, in the mid 70's, I am betting black face. I have one of each, although the white face is currently not working.

While this radio was a Yaesu, and sold as the FT-200 under their label, the rebadged Tempo One was sold by Henry Radio, and could be had in either white or black face. The black face is the more common. The radio was also sold as the Sommerkamp FT-250.

T!
 
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