Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Club Show-and-Tell

I had a long day at work followed by a really fun night at the local radio club. Tonight was Show-and-Tell night where many brought things that might be of interest. I used the opportunity to show the equipment I had used on Georges Island recently including the Icom 7000, the Force-12 Sigma-5, solar panel, charge controller, etc. Many of the items passed around are things you can't see locally (even at HRO, our local dealer) and most had either never seen them, or had only seen them in magazines.
After I was done, there were several other really interesting pieces shown by club members. Two young men finishing their senior year in high school, Bryce and Brent showed an old Heathkit linear amplifier in the process of being rebuilt. The unit has an interesting history as it was once used at ARRL headquarters for transmitting the code practice sets. They've got the original manual and have been quite methodical about its restoration. First, they disassembled it working through the manual backwards. Then they carefully cleaned all the metal pieces removing all the rust, corrosion, and mildew. Now they are reassembling it, replacing parts as needed. This amplifier is a beast. I bet it blows my 100 pound budget by itself! Finally, the twins (did I mention they are twins?) said they really enjoy working QRP. That statement, made standing next to the colossus, nearly brought the house down.
I'm not sure if I'll ever make amplifiers part of an expedition. If I did, it would need to be lighter than your average amplifier and probably transistorized (not tubes) like the SGC-500 SmartPowerCube. Even with something like this, you still need to feed it 40 amps average for SSB and nearly 90 amps for CW. The power supply would probably kill my weight limit, even if the amplifier didn't!
I'll continue on with my 100 pounds and 100 watts until something better comes along. I've had plenty of good luck and lots of fun with this combination so far. Still, I wouldn't mind playing with that rebuilt Heathkit when those guys have finished with it!


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