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Vintage Ham Radio Articles

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SBE - Sideband Engineers - and the innovative SB-33 and SB-34

Faust Gonsett started the Sideband Engineers (SBE) company in 1962 and introduced their first product, the SB-33 four-band transceiver with a two-page ad in 73 magazine for February 1963 that featured his mugshot on the left page and the introductory ad for the SB-33 on the right.   He talks about how he came out of retirement to start this new company in response to many requests but do...  READ MORE
ranickels
02/15/2020
Vintage Ham Radio
The W6IQY Homebrew SSB transceiver

Ernie Mason, W6IQY, of San Diego CA was a prolific designer and builder of SSB equipment over many years.    Mostly self-taught in electronics through his ham radio experience,  Ernie began working in IBM's Field Engineering organization where he rose into the management ranks, but defying the odds, was able to stay in at his adopted San Diego home town.    H...  READ MORE
ranickels
02/08/2020
Vintage Ham Radio
Remembering Michael Hopkins, AB5L (SK) - a unique individual

Michael Hopkins AB5L is fondly remembered by early denizens of the internet and specifically the "Boatanchors at the Porch" mail reflector.   A truly unique individual, Michael made the internet a happier place through his eclectic interests (ranging from Tecraft converters to ferrets) and his wonderful imagination and storytelling ability.  Through his writing, we le...  READ MORE
ranickels
12/23/2019
Vintage Ham Radio
Multi Elmac PS-500

Some pieces of vintage ham gear are not really unique, but are so rare as to almost never be seen.   The Multi Elmac PS-500 power supply is an example, it was sold as an AC power supply for the A54 and A54H transmitters in the mid-50s. There's nothing special about it - just a big transformer with 5 volt rectifier, 6.3 volt filament, and 500 volt secondaries.  Two nice chok...  READ MORE
ranickels
11/14/2019
Vintage Ham Radio
International Crystal's KB-1 Citizens Bander for Kit Fans

International Crystal Company of Oklahoma City was certainly best known for its crystals but the company was also a not-insignificant player in the CB radio manufacturing business, and also had a pretty extensive line of experimenter kits.   The kits typically had one to three tubes on a PC board and provided a single function, such as an RF amplifier, or transmitter, although some were ...  READ MORE
ranickels
08/02/2019
Vintage Ham Radio
Godzilla 2019 uses Boatanchor Radios

Watch the video  trailer for the 2019 monster movie that relies on a 1950s vintage Hammarlund SP-600 and Collins 30L-1 amplifier....  READ MORE
ranickels
04/20/2019
Vintage Ham Radio
Whatever happened to Globe Electronics

 In his book "In Touch with Leo", the success and growing backlog of CB-100 orders is what drove Leo to his banker, Lou Ross, who asked him why he didn't anticipate the number of orders and required capital.  Leo responded "Lou, never on God's green earth could I have believed such an influx of orders!".    More funding was needed than the bank ...  READ MORE
ranickels
03/18/2019
Vintage Ham Radio
Heathkit Singlebanders...cheapest SSB radio made? Or just one of the best?

Put yourself in 1963...A stamp was a nickel, bread was 22 cents a loaf, and you could buy 3 gallons of gas for a buck.   The average wage in the US was $84 a week.  If you were a ham, you might have been able to build and trade your way up to a really nice AM/CW station - maybe a Valiant or DX-100 transmitter with an NC-300 or HQ-170 receiver - a huge improvement over the S-38 you s...  READ MORE
ranickels
12/17/2018
Vintage Ham Radio
Astro...Don Stoner's legacy

A recent post on the Cubic-Astro mail reflector noted the similarities between the rare CIR Astro 200 and the much more common Cubic Astro 150 transceivers.   And therein lies an  interesting story...I have done a little research on the CIR Astro 200, and the commenter was right - it is the progenitor of the Astro line we are much more familiar with as a result of Swan (already owne...  READ MORE
ranickels
12/09/2018
Vintage Ham Radio
The DX-60 Family

When an engineer at Heathkit in 1962 turned his attention to designing a replacement for the somewhat flawed DX-40 novice transmitter, little would he have expected the DX-60 to remain in the Heathkit catalog for 14 years.    From the new solid-state power supply to the streamlined apeperance and dependable performace, the new transmitter was instantly popular with novices who had t...  READ MORE
ranickels
12/09/2018
Vintage Ham Radio
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