My Rigs Through the Years

45 Years of Change

Most of the pictures shown are catalog renderings and not the actual radios I have owned and used.

WNØPXT / WAØPXT

My novice (WNØPXT) setup was all borrowed from my Elmer, WØFIT, Don Franz (sk).

Ameco AC-1
The transmitter was a crystal controlled (of course) homebrew transmitter similar to this Ameco AC-1.

BC-454-B Receiver
The receiver was an Army BC-454-B "Command Set", A.K.A: "ARC-5".
I own one just like it (shown) that includes the hard-to-find original tuning knob!.

The next step up was the first transmitter I ever owned...

Knight-Kit T50
...a Knight-Kit T50 CW transmitter that was a gift from my Grandfather.

Knight-Kit T150A/R100A
WAØPXT entered the world of VFOs & AM Phone with a Knight-Kit T150A and the matching R100A receiver.

Globe King 500C & RME6900
My first adventure with single sideband actually began when I aquired one of the Kings of AM Phone: A Globe King 500C.

One of the lesser known features of a 500C was a toggle switch on the back of the RF deck.
It changed the operating constants of the 4-400A from Class C to Class AB2 (linear) operation.
This made the big rig a perfect amplifier for a small home brew phasing-type single sideband exciter.

I chose a phasing-type design since the "golden component" of that design (a B&W audio phase shift network)
was MUCH less expensive than the Collins filter required for a filter-type exciter.
The RF phase shifting was acomplished by slug-tuned coils from an old TV set. The final in the exciter was a 2E26.

The receiver was an RME 6900 which still ranks as the receiver with the most buttery-smooth tuning knob I've ever layed hands on.

Transitioning to WB8RGZ.

Henry Tempo One
Electronic Center in Minneapolis was the source of my 1st brand new rig, also my 1st transceiver, a Henry Tempo One.

The Tempo One is an Americanized version of the the Yaesu FT-200 and was a great little rig.
When the time came to move back to Cincinnati, I bought the DC power supply and went mobile.
My brand-new 1972 Chevy Vega with a Hustler coil-change antenna for the low bands was my only HF rig as I became WB8RGZ.

Heavy Metal in an Apartment.

I have been on RTTY almost from the begining, thanks to a borrowed Teletype Model 19 provided by Minnesota Army MARS.
Having left all the heavy metal behind in Minnesota, I aquired a new beast that came to live in my apartment.

Teletype Model 28ASR
The Teletype® Model 28ASR was mated to a ST-5 demod and various 2 meter radios in my apartment years.

Heathkit H8 Computer
The Model 28 also served as my printer when I built my first computer, a Heathkit H8, in 1977.

I wrote the code myself to convert the 8-bit characters of the computer to the 5-bit Baudot code used by the TTY machine.
It was upper-case only printing but it sure beat the 4-figure prices of the least-expensive ASCII printers.

Ironically, it was the experience of writing this "device driver"
that gave me an idea that led to the demise of the mechanical teleprinter in my shack.

I wrote a "reversed" driver that took the 5-level Baudot code coming from the demod
HAL ST-6 Demod
(by now a HAL ST-6) and converted it to ASCII characters for display on the computer terminal.

A slight flirtation with OSCAR.

I thought it would be cool to try my hand at a little satellite work.
OSCAR 6 used a 2 meter uplink paired with a 10 meter downlink.
The world was not yet flooded with inexpensive 2 meter all-mode rigs yet.

EF Johnson 6N2
The solution was to be found in a highly modified E.F. Johnson 6N2.
I gutted the low level stages, keeping the final intact.
Then, in the unused space on the chassis, I build a heterodyne driver that
took in 14 mHz and mixed it with a local oscillator to come out on 144 mHz.
Output was 20-30 watts on 2 meters.

As it turned out, that was MORE than enough to do the job.
Cushcraft Stacked 11s
My uplink antenna was a set of Cushcraft Stacked 11s, which,
when combined with the power output of the 6N2, made the other signals on the satellite disappear when I said,

Hello, Test!
(oops. Sorry.)

Turns out, a Ringo vertical was enough antenna and didn't have to track the satellite.

K8RC Returns to HF

Owning a home of your own gives you much more flexibility in antenna arrangements.
I returned to HF at my newly-built QTH on the east side of Cincinnati in 1978.
The antenna was my original HF doublet that I had used since my novice days,
fed with twin-lead and an antenna tuner.

The
The rig was the venerable "Drake Twins",
the T4XC transmitter and R4C receiver, stacked vertically, as shown.

The Big Rig

The DX bug bit me, big time. So in 1984 I started working on my dream station.
When the dust settled, a decent HF station emerged.

Kenwood TS-940S/AT
A Kenwood TS-940S/AT transceiver was a state-of-the-art HF rig in 1984. I still own it.

Ameritron AL-1200
The Ameritron AL-1200 linear amplifier gave me the 100% duty cycle necessary for FSK RTTY.


Antennas were a HyGain TH7DXX tribander with Tailtwister rotator and a W9INN Sloper for 80 & 40 meters perched on a Rohn HDBX48 tower.

I had spent several thousand dollars, making Larry, N8CHL,
of R&L Electronics in Hamilton,Ohio, a happy camper.

The DXing was good.
Four DXCC certificates, including RTTY DXCC #317, hang on the wall.

From High atop Mt. Airy.

A new life with my new wife, brings me to where I am today.

The tower and tribander are gone.
The big linear now excites the ionosphere in someone elses shack.

But my new QTH returns me to my roots on the high ground of Mt. Airy on Cincinnati's west side.

A serious shift in the technological paradigm came to my shack in December 2014 with the installation of a FlexRadio 6300.

If you haven't taken a look at one of these marvelous machines you are missing out on the greatest advance since transistors started replacing firebottles.

The very least you can do is read about it.

An Ameritron ALS-600 amplifier gives me a nice 600 watts without any hollow-state devices.

Mature maples provide an ideal support for the wires of an Alpha-Delta DX-LB Plus fan dipole for 160-10 meters.
The Flex 6300 and ALS-600 do surprisingly well with such a humble antenna.

Restoring the Past

My current project is the restoration of a vintage "winged-emblem" Collins station.

Collins KWM-2A with 312B-5 External VFO and 516F-2 Power Supply
The KWM-2A is equipped with Waters rejection tuning.
The station also includes a 312B5 external VFO and a 516F-2 power supply.
All are being re-capped and restored to good operating condition.

Special Rig

I just had to mention one more rig.

Back in 1970-71, one of the many things I did to earn money for college was
building Heathkits for others, usually for 10% of the cost of the kit.

I was contacted by Ralph, WØFCO(sk), of the Handiham System who wondered if I would be
interested in volunteering my services to build a new rig for Jerry, the newly-minted WNØDFG.
Jerry had been struck down in his prime by multiple sclerosis.

A Heathkit HW-16 was purchased and assembled, antennas were strung and Jerry could, once again, "leave the house" via ham radio.
CW was a struggle but he persevered as his speed and accuracy steadily increased.

When Jerry "graduated" to a Conditional General class license, WBØDFG, I built a Heathkit HW-101 for much-easier SSB operation.
When the sideband rig was delivered, Jerry told me to take the HW-16 and use it as long as I wanted to with one condition:

I could never sell it, only give it away.

For the many years that I have had that HW-16, I would fire it up occasionally to re-form the electrolytics and it always operated just fine.

Heathkit HW-16 W Transceiver

True to his wishes, I gave away Jerry's rig a couple of years ago to an organization that mentors young people into amateur radio.

See you on the air...