Boat anchor comprehension check

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Boat anchor comprehension check

Post  KB3LAZ on Mon Oct 28, 2013 6:26 pm

So, lets start off with antenna switching and muting. I think I have the correct understanding but someone please correct me if I am wrong. The antenna switching seems to be a no brainer. Antenna into the dow-key and splits off to the RX and TX. Also, 120v (ish) is supplied to the dow-key from the TX and you then wire that to the RX muting terminal. So, when you key the TX the voltage is supplied from the TX to the dow-key and finally to the RX via the mute terminal. Yes?

Now is where things get a little fuzzy. At this point I have to keep the RX in standby at all times and by keying the TX the RX is muted. Or so I am to understand. But, how does the RX know not to be in standby while not keyed? Is this due to the connection to the muting or am I missing a connection?

That being said; all is fine and dandy for AM use but CW is another story. For one, many of the rigs that I have been looking at do not have side tone. This being the case, can I just plug in some phones, throw the RX into operate, and monitor my sent CW?

Next, though not really in the boat anchor category I do have an interest in rigs like the Collins S Line and Heathkit SB line for SSB use. Something I don't understand is TRX mode. I realize that they are interconnected and from what I have read the RX controls the TX frequency. This is odd to me as I thought it would be the other way around but that is not where I am lost. I know it is said that the two units are being controlled as one but it would only make sense to me that you still have to tune and load the TX. Am I wrong?

If anyone can help me sort this out I'd appreciate it. I have done a lot of reading but I just can't seem to find what I am looking for. I don't know if I am searching with the wrong phrases or this is simply something that has to be found from either a book or the brain of an OT rather than on the net.

Again, thanks in advance for anything you can bring to the plate.

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Re: Boat anchor comprehension check

Post  N2IZE on Tue Oct 29, 2013 11:07 am

Okay, sounds like you've got most of it right.  The dow key setup is simple. One end goes to your swr/wattmeter bridge, antenna tuner and to your antenna. One side goes to the transmit side of the dow -key and the other side to the receiver side. The wire plugs into your transmitter to supply the dow key relay coil with power when the plates on the transmitter are turned on so that you can mute your receive and so that your xmtr is in line with the antenna. When you unkey (turn off the plates) the dow key throws the receiver inline , takes the transmitter out of line and mutes it at the same time. Pretty simple and sounds like you've got that down fine.

CW operation ?The way I always did it was to flip the plates on the transmitter thus putting the xmtr in line with the ant and muting the receiver. At this point I am still not transmitting a signal until I depress the morse code key and start sending my dits-and dahs. Depending on how the particular keying system is set up (via grid block keying, etc.) the plates are on but you are only transmitting a carrier for those intervals the key is depressed.  When I operate CW on the boat anchors I generally didn't monitor my own CW, except occaisionally to make sure I wasn;t sending out chirps or other anomalies.. When I did want to hear my own CW I usually just had another small receiver nearby not connected to any antenna acting independently as a separate monitor receiver. When I was done I'd switch off the plates and the main receiver is back in line ready to hear whoever might be answering my CW.

As far as the TRX modes go, those were used mainly on radios that came as separate but matching transmit/receiver pairs, such as the twin Drakes and some of the Collins gear.  An interconnecting cable was usually supplied which runs between the transmitter and receiver so you can select to tune both the transmitter and receiver simultaneously, using either the revceiver or transmitters vfo. In this fashion the two are working together as a transceiver. Of course you could always switch them so they tune separately in the event you want to operate a split, etc.

None of my old transmitters have matching receivers so I always tuned each separately. What I would always do is first tune the receiver to the frequency I plan to use and then zero beat the transmitter to that frequency. For me operating split simply meant tuning the receiver to whatever frequency I intended to receive on and then tuning the transmitter to wherever I plannned to transmit.

Most of my boat anchors are really old plate modulated AM/CW rigs and that is where I used them. Occasionally I would use the Hallicrafters HT-44 on SSB.  The dow-key was the key piece of apparatus for making life easier. Otherwise I had to use a separate transmit and receive antenna or manually switch over.

Sounds like you have the general theory of operation of an antique station down pretty solid. Now it's just a matter of simply getting used to operating it. You'll pick up little tricks of your own over time to make life easier. I love operating the old equipment. It's fun. Most modern day hams who have seen my old station have told me they wouldn't begin to know how to get it all up and running... Smile

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Re: Boat anchor comprehension check

Post  KB3LAZ on Tue Oct 29, 2013 6:37 pm

Thanks, John. However, I'm still not 100% clear on the TRX mode of rigs like the S Line. I believe the RX controls the TX in that setup, or rather that is how I am reading into it. I understand that you use the VFO of one or the other rather than both but are you saying that you don't have to adjust the loading or the band switch on the TX? IE is it only the VFO that is shared or is it all of the controls?

As for monitoring CW on a second RX that might not be possible at first and the reason I would want to monitor what I would be sending is because I would be sending CW as a beginner. Need to get the hang of it. I have been listening online but have not yet had a chance to send. That will change when I get back stateside. (Depending on the news in a few days that may be rather soon!)

Again, thanks!

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Re: Boat anchor comprehension check

Post  N8YX on Sat Nov 02, 2013 8:58 am

Do yourself and your fellow amateurs a favor, Travis - DON'T run an S-Line on CW, and absolutely DON'T run a KWM2(A) on CW without modifying its CW generation scheme first.

People tout later Collins equipment - especially, the KWM2 series - as the ne plus ultra of amateur gear, but keep in mind they're primarily SSB sets with CW added as an afterthought. Rather than unbalancing the balanced modulator (as is done in the majority of multimode transmitter/transceiver designs) or injecting an independently derived CW RF signal into the IF/RF amplifier chain, Collins implemented CW in this setup by injecting a sidetone into the mic amp circuit.

(I would have to study the 32Sx transmitter circuitry for parallels, but I suspect the same engineering principles were used throughout similar product lines.)

It's left to the reader to rationalize why this is a bad approach to generating CW...

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Re: Boat anchor comprehension check

Post  KB3LAZ on Sat Nov 02, 2013 9:19 am

N8YX wrote:Do yourself and your fellow amateurs a favor, Travis - DON'T run an S-Line on CW, and absolutely DON'T run a KWM2(A) on CW without modifying its CW generation scheme first.

People tout later Collins equipment - especially, the KWM2 series - as the ne plus ultra of amateur gear, but keep in mind they're primarily SSB sets with CW added as an afterthought. Rather than unbalancing the balanced modulator (as is done in the majority of multimode transmitter/transceiver designs) or injecting an independently derived CW RF signal into the IF/RF amplifier chain, Collins implemented CW in this setup by injecting a sidetone into the mic amp circuit.

(I would have to study the 32Sx transmitter circuitry for parallels, but I suspect the same engineering principles were used throughout similar product lines.)

It's left to the reader to rationalize why this is a bad approach to generating CW...
I found my answer to the other question, and I should have realized it beforehand.

As for CW, from what I understand the problem was corrected with the 32S3. From the specs I have seen it says that the 32S1/2 use side tone generated CW and the S3 uses true CW.

I had already been talking to a few people in PM, such as K9STH and he pretty much told me the same thing. If I want to work CW to go with a 32S3 incarnation or nothing, as far as the S Line is concerned.

In general it was a subject of interest because I don't want to be putting out signals in multiple locations on the band.

However, if I am misinterpreting and the problem still existed in the 32S3, I'll rethink my options. I still want to go with collins. In this case I wanted to use a later S-Line as they reportedly don't have the issue of the earlier ones, for SSB/CW. And a 32V3/75A1 setup for AM. However I do have a backup plan for mid power SSB/CW/AM all in one station, still collins but a wee bit of a compromise, expensive too.

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Re: Boat anchor comprehension check

Post  N8YX on Sat Nov 02, 2013 9:55 am

An -S3A is the way to go -IF- you can find one priced less than stratospherically. The inclusion of that "Aux" crystal bank somehow drives the price of the "A" variants to stupid levels.

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Re: Boat anchor comprehension check

Post  KB3LAZ on Sat Nov 02, 2013 11:45 am

N8YX wrote:An -S3A is the way to go -IF- you can find one priced less than stratospherically. The inclusion of that "Aux" crystal bank somehow drives the price of the "A" variants to stupid levels.
I'm not worried about that part. If you control the TX with the RX then an normal 75S3 will suffice, again from my understanding. Glen, K9STH makes a no modification crystal board plugin. However, even that is something I won't worry about. What I would use the setup for would be fine as from factory with exception to 10m and populating 2E and 3C will take care of that.

I'm not looking for the one rig to rule them all. Simply one setup for CW/SSB ragchew and another for AM. I will have modern gear in the shack to pick up the slack. Smile Such as 160 and the WARC bands. I know the WARC bands can be taken care of in the S Line but it won't be needed. Also, for 6m I have been thinking about picking up an SB-110.

We shall see when the time comes.

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Re: Boat anchor comprehension check

Post  N2IZE on Mon Nov 04, 2013 1:00 am

KB3LAZ wrote:Thanks, John. However, I'm still not 100% clear on the TRX mode of rigs like the S Line. I believe the RX controls the TX in that setup, or rather that is how I am reading into it. I understand that you use the VFO of one or the other rather than both but are you saying that you don't have to adjust the loading or the band switch on the TX? IE is it only the VFO that is shared or is it all of the controls?

As for monitoring CW on a second RX that might not be possible at first and the reason I would want to monitor what I would be sending is because I would be sending CW as a beginner. Need to get the hang of it. I have been listening online but have not yet had a chance to send. That will change when I get back stateside. (Depending on the news in a few days that may be rather soon!)

Again, thanks!
On any old tube transmitter you are going to have to use the band switch on the transmitter when you change bands and retune the finals. Even if you are on the same band but move far enough off the frequency you originally tuned up on you are going to have to retweak the load and plate tuning. That is the nature of the beast.

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Re: Boat anchor comprehension check

Post  KB3LAZ on Mon Nov 04, 2013 7:39 am

N2IZE wrote:
KB3LAZ wrote:Thanks, John. However, I'm still not 100% clear on the TRX mode of rigs like the S Line. I believe the RX controls the TX in that setup, or rather that is how I am reading into it. I understand that you use the VFO of one or the other rather than both but are you saying that you don't have to adjust the loading or the band switch on the TX? IE is it only the VFO that is shared or is it all of the controls?

As for monitoring CW on a second RX that might not be possible at first and the reason I would want to monitor what I would be sending is because I would be sending CW as a beginner. Need to get the hang of it. I have been listening online but have not yet had a chance to send. That will change when I get back stateside. (Depending on the news in a few days that may be rather soon!)

Again, thanks!
On any old tube transmitter you are going to have to use the band switch on the transmitter when you change bands and retune the finals. Even if you are on the same band but move far enough off the frequency you originally tuned up on you are going to have to retweak the load and plate tuning. That is the nature of the beast.
Yeah, I figured. I should have used common sense. Being called TRX mode threw me off for a minute, lol.

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Re: Boat anchor comprehension check

Post  N2IZE on Tue Nov 05, 2013 2:12 pm

KB3LAZ wrote:
N2IZE wrote:
KB3LAZ wrote:Thanks, John. However, I'm still not 100% clear on the TRX mode of rigs like the S Line. I believe the RX controls the TX in that setup, or rather that is how I am reading into it. I understand that you use the VFO of one or the other rather than both but are you saying that you don't have to adjust the loading or the band switch on the TX? IE is it only the VFO that is shared or is it all of the controls?

As for monitoring CW on a second RX that might not be possible at first and the reason I would want to monitor what I would be sending is because I would be sending CW as a beginner. Need to get the hang of it. I have been listening online but have not yet had a chance to send. That will change when I get back stateside. (Depending on the news in a few days that may be rather soon!)

Again, thanks!
On any old tube transmitter you are going to have to use the band switch on the transmitter when you change bands and retune the finals. Even if you are on the same band but move far enough off the frequency you originally tuned up on you are going to have to retweak the load and plate tuning. That is the nature of the beast.
Yeah, I figured. I should have used common sense. Being called TRX mode threw me off for a minute, lol.
Actually you seem to have it all down pretty well. Some thing on older radios used to confuse me as well, for example "what does a Q-multiplier do ?". For a long time I didn't get it until I eventually got an old receiver with a Q Multiplier and figured out exactly what it does. was sort of thrown when you mentioned TRX mode until you gave a rundown of what it does. I remember the famous twin Drakes had a TRX mode where you could tune via the receive or transmit VFO but you still had to load the transmitter to the antenna. I find most of the time if I move up or down 5 or 10 kc's I usually don't have to re-adjust the transmitter tuning. But if I move further than that, say to kc or from the phone down to the CW end of 80 meters I most definitely have to re-adjust the load and plates. Most of my old boatanchors are quite old (early 50's - early 60's) and don't even have "modern" features like TRX mode. Very Happy 

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Re: Boat anchor comprehension check

Post  KB3LAZ on Tue Nov 05, 2013 11:31 pm

N2IZE wrote:
Actually you seem to have it all down pretty well.  Some thing on older radios used to confuse me as well, for example "what does a Q-multiplier do ?".  For a long time I didn't get it until I eventually got an old receiver with a Q Multiplier and figured out exactly what it does.   was sort of thrown when you mentioned TRX mode until you gave a rundown of what it does. I remember the famous twin Drakes had a TRX mode where you could tune via the receive or transmit VFO but you still had to load the transmitter to the antenna. I find most of the time if I move up or down 5 or 10 kc's I usually don't have to re-adjust the transmitter tuning. But if I move further than that, say to kc or from the phone down to the CW end of 80 meters I most definitely have to re-adjust the load and plates. Most of my old boatanchors are  quite old (early 50's - early 60's) and don't even have "modern" features like TRX mode.  Very Happy 
Well, I am interested in that era as well, for AM use. However, I do enjoy a bit of SSB ragchew. In fact, when it comes to radio, it was "my first love" which is why I am interested in the 60's-70's era gear. However, I have been looking at the heath line as well as the collins. Similar look and feel but a whole lot cheaper, though that is not the motivation. The tuning rate is, as well as the fact that unless cannibalized, I don't have to go hunting down crystals to get the coverage that I want. Of course they too have their downside. Such as being a kit, god knows what many of them must look like inside. If I go that route, an inspection will be in order before taking the plunge.

I like the collins gear, a lot. However, I figure being a simple ragchewer, the heath line might be a better fit and save me some cash to pick up the AM line that I desire. In that respect, I am still looking at getting something that is collins made. I have had my eye on a 75A1/32V(whichever I can find) combo for quite some time.

Recapped but unrestored in good condition I have seen the pair sell for 800-1500$. Restored is another ball game. We shall see what the future has in store when I return stateside.

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