Rebel DXer’s Will Activate Bouvet

Rebel DXers – Like Cast Out’s and Cutaways by The Decemberists – this DX Scrappy Team will bring home the bacon!

Many in the DX Community are waking up to the fact that Bouvet just might be activated by this scrappy DXpedition Team. And why not – its being led by the 18th Most Traveled Man in the World.

Sure – there are never any guarantees, but I’m betting that this team will make it and activate it.

I’m all ready to go – and like 3Y0Z, I put my money and faith in the team in days within their initial announcement. Why not – these are really, really incredibly difficult places to activate. Truth be told – Heard Island, VK0EK hit 3 different times the project almost died on the vine. Why wouldn’t you throw all caution to the wind and support these guys?

I’m betting on a win here . . . and the biggest news of 2018 DXpedition wise . . .

Pilot Wasp and My 1930’s “Bohemian Love Jones”

The Pilot Wasp – perhaps the coolest radio advertisement and name for a radio ever . . .

I just figured out why I have lately had the “Bohemian Love Jones” for the 1930’s. Radio and Photography was extra-ordinary. Avant garde and part of several movements that I have loved – but never made all of these connections before:

Man Ray – “Glass Tears” . . . (L’armes) – 1932

Ilse Bing – Self Portrait with Leica – 1931

Fantastic Monster Movies! Lon Cheney – Phantom of the Opera (not to be confused with Dick Cheney and Waterboarding – cymbal crash!)

Brave New World – 1931 – One of my all time favorites – and prescient for today’s times . . .

I was soooooo lucky to see Stephane Grapelli and Bucky Pizarelli back in the late 80’s / early 90’s . . . Blew me away.

Howlin Wolf, Leadbelly and Robert Johnson were in fine form in the 30’s.

Begali Intrepid Bug

The Begali Intrepid Bug – its pivot and weights are “backwards” as compared to the Vibroplex

This is a novelty key – and a fun one at that. I am playing with it and the Begali CW Machine – another strange but interesting CW toy. More on the CW Machine in a future blog.

Its really funny – while I am excited to work Bouvet – 3Y0I, I have really moved on past DXCC. I am having so much fun not chasing DXCC and having that “OCD” any more. In fact, its almost a PITA that I still have to chase these last two – but I am so close I guess I better do it – hi hi

I am actually looking forward to not having to have an amplifier in line – but I know for a fact I ill need it to work 3Y0I. My nightly checks of ZS6CCY show that what used to be an easy path is no longer that easy.

SW-3 Wired Up and Ready to Roll

The amazing National SW-3 – selective, sensitive and with a great signal to noise ratio for a “three tube job” . . .

The first “mystery” was which power supply to use – there are three versions of this receiver and each has a different voltage configuration. I purchased what was supposed to work (the “Doghouse”) – and while I got the tubes and dial light to light up – I couldn’t hear a thing.

The National 5886 “Doghouse” power supply . . .

Turns out – the Doghouse supply was the right supply. It was operator error.

Radio Shack “Minimus” Bookshelf Speaker . . . its black “wrinkle” finish looks quite good with the SW-3

“Field Coil” so I could use the Minimus speaker with the SW-3 . . .

The biggest mystery was the audio circuit in the SW-3. Besides getting a shock (there’s pretty high voltage on the audio output terminals!), you cannot just plug a pair of high impedance headphones in the output terminals. You MUST use a “field coil” – or you will hear nothing and – like me – assume there is something wrong with the power supply. I added a field coil to the Minimus speaker – and the receiver came to life!

The other thing about this receiver – its dead quiet until you get it to oscillate. Then you back off on the oscillation – and the signals come in so loud and clear. The most bizarre thing about this receiver is how you hear nothing or a signal. Its not like modern receivers – you have noise and tune for a signal. I almost gave up on the receiver – but stuck it out and solved the mysteries. And I am sure glad I did:

That swoopy shrieky regenerative receiver sound is hard to beat, and is classic.

3Y0I – Bouvet: My Plan A, B and C

Ameritron AL-80B – my Plan A

I read a little ditty on Bernie’s Daily DX today about how Tack, JE1CKA is getting ready for 3Y0I.

So am I – my Plan A is 1000 watts and my IC-7300. Thanks so much Elliot, N6PF for the loan of the amplifier. I will use my DXE 40P 40M phased array for my first ATNO QSO. My SteppIR UrbanBeam should be good on 30 – 10M. Then, I can only hope for QSO’s on 30 and 20M – if the UrbanBeam and conditions allow.

VOACAP Online shows surprisingly good results . . . one can only hope!

I have a Plan B and C – but you will have to keep reading this blog to find out what they are!




National SW-3 Lives!

The wonderful 1930’s era National SW-3 was one of the first commercial receivers marketed to the Radio Amateurs. There were three main models – an all DC, all AC and a hybrid of the two.

The National SW-3 started advertising in 1931 – and was NEW! in the November QST

What is interesting is that up until the late 20’s, hams built their own gear – there were basically no commercial manufacturers at the beginning. Another interesting thing was that not everyone had AC – some rural areas did not. The third main fact that is interesting is that the SW-3 might have been one of the the last regenerative receivers available – the 1931 QST issues show how the world was moving to superhet designs.

Man from W.A.S.P

My Heritage according to Ancestry – you can’t get more “waspy” than this . . . 

I have been using Ancestry to track my family heritage – and go way back to the 1500’s with my family Genealogy. I had been concentrating more on my Holoch family – which is solidly from Stuttgart – but probably started out in Reutlingen way back in time.

The British Industrial Revolution

I was very, very lucky to live in London – on Hollywood Road in SW10 – at the border of Fullingham and Chelsea in the late 1980’s. I worked at 77 Oxford Road and traveled all over Europe. I visited Stuttgart, Pfullingen and Zurich – all places where I have relatives. I have to admit – Zurich really felt like home while I was there – probably because my Grandmother’s family was from Langenargen – and because Stuttgart and Zurich are not all that far away from each other. I also did feel very comfortable in the Black Forest area.

But there was no greater feeling of being home than when I was in London – and then in Devon. My British family have the surnames of East and Linnington, and Ancestry says I am 68% British. My East family are from Hammersmith and Bow – just south of the Thames and in central London. They moved to Torquay during the war, but I sure loved London – it had a special “feel” to it – one that did feel very familiar.

New England Style Church in Sussex County, NJ

When I first received my analysis, it was closer to 50 / 50 – as Anglo Saxon as you can get. But there are parts of my personality that are far more British than German – my sense of humor and my love of the arts is very Anglo – more than Saxon. But the language is very much a driver of this – I am sure. Also – I grew up in Newton, Sussex County, which was as New England as New Jersey gets.

Doing family research takes many years. You start it for a while and then stop. I did it in the 1990’s but had to stop because the records I had access to were the State Archives that only went back to the 1700’s. Ancestry now has all of the old church records – so using a web browser – I can cruise back in time to the 1500’s. Its quite fascinating, and does give me a lot of perspective on my personality and what my drives and likes are all about.