Radio Gear

I seem to gravitate to Yaesu gear.  Brand choice is probably 90% emotional, and 10% rational. I'm ok with that.

I recently picked up an FT-991A which I'm liking a lot.  HF, VHF and UHF coverage all in one box, along with waterfall display and great receiver performance. There's a steep learning curve learning all the settings and functions and menus on this radio, but that learning process is half the fun.

The ATAS-120A HF auto-tuning antenna mounted on my car has really spoiled me. It integrates tightly with the 991A, and greatly facilitates mobile HF operation.


One of my favorite features with the Yaesu hand held radios is that I do not have to remember which menu number to access to program and operate.  This is true of the older FT-411, as well as the newer FT-70D radios.  The front panel labels tell you all you need to know.



Yaesu HT's

This is my first ever VHF Ham Radio, the Yaesu FT-411 2m transceiver, equipped with the "optional" CTCSS encoding module.  It's small and reliable, and easy to program and use.

Home Brew 40 Meter QRP Rig

This is a fun little CW only radio.  It started out as a crystal only rig, but I added an arduino based VFO that makes it much more versatile...

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Collins 75A-4

I inherited this Collins 75A-4 160-10m receiver from my father-in-law, W9RFK (SK).  I finally had it shipped to me, and I have now mostly restored it.   It was in pretty rough shape when I received it, having been home to some rodents who found their way in and nested inside the radio!  But now its working nicely.

Wouxun KG-UV8T

This is a super-inexpensive tri-band radio I recently purchased, in large part to give me 220MHz coverage.  It's got 999 memory locations, and covers 2m, 1.5m (220MHz), and 70cm (450 MHz) amateur bands.

I'm a little disappointed that Chirp software does not fully support this radio.  I understand that some of the nightly builds of Chirp have preliminary support, so I will have to grab one of those builds of Chirp and try it.

I've been very un-impressed with the sound quality of the external microphone, which is evidently a well known issue with this generation of radios.  I made a couple of modifications to the mic that I think helped a lot.  Mainly I drilled a hole directly in front of the electret microphone capsule, and closed off the tiny little channel in the plastic that was previously the only way for sound to reach the microphone.  I packed the inside of the hand-mic body with black wind-screen foam (scavenged from an audio microphone wind screen) to absorb some of the echo bouncing around inside the mic.

SBE SB-33 HF Transceiver

This is an interesting SSB/CW hybrid transistor and vacuum tube radio that I inherited from my father-in-law W9RFK (SK), along with a 75A-4 receiver.  The finals are a pair of PL500 tubes, and the rest of the rig is transistor, mostly germanium.

I say that this is an interesting rig because it's mostly transistorized, but there is not a PC board in sight.  It's all point-to-point wiring, using lots of terminal strips and parts suspended by their leads.  Thankfully the transistors are all mounted in sockets, which makes testing and replacing them much easier.

The rig puts out 135 watts on 80-15m.  I'm troubleshooting the receiver right now, which initially did not work at all. The USB/LSB switch was corroded and after cleaning it the receiver works ok, but only when set to USB mode.

Fortunately all of the germanium transistors check out--these Ge transistors appear to be a rare and collectors item these days.