KWS-1 on its Way!

Its going to very exciting to get the KWS-1 on the air within a couple of weeks.

In fact, I have been MUCH more excited about this than any other aspect of Ham Radio in recent months and even years. I’ve restored the Power Supply and will turn it on for a half hour or hour to “burn it in” – but it did pass the “smoke test” a few weekends ago.

Blast from the Past

Rick – my best friend, and another “Old Soul”

Rick sent me this photo today, and its a true inspiration (for me to lose weight . . . ). We used to hang in San Francisco, and then later, when he and Katie moved to a cool “tree house” kind of house in Woodacre – on the way to where I used to kayak all the time in Pt. Reyes – (Hearts Desire Beach to be exact).

Rick and I used to go backpacking yearly – almost always in the Immigrant Wilderness area of the Sierras north of Yosemite. We had an out of body experience at Upper Relief Valley. It was Labor Day weekend – which up at 9000 feet above sea level is pretty much when the season changes from Summer to Fall, Well, we had some Fab Single Malt Scotch Whisky, and we dared each other to run to the top of Granite Dome – which was 1000′ almost straight up. We had to run up and back down before it got dark, or we were screwed.

We almost made it, (or at least we deemed our effort was worth celebrating) and partook in a special Glenlivet cask strength and smooth elixir.

Last summer, Kat and I rode our bikes to SF, then the Ferry to Larkspur, and then took the wonderful SMART train up to Santa Rosa. We met Rick and Katie for dinner:

Katie and Rick

The rainy season is almost over, and now I’m motivated to get on the bike on weekends and travel to cool Northern California places – like Petaluma – home of Lagunitas and Rick and Katie!

Next KY6R Antenna: 40M Bobtail Curtain!

After our rainy season (and we have had a pretty rainy winter due to El Nino), and when things dry out and the tick infestation goes away (they love the green wet grass – especially in April), I will try a full sized Bobtail Curtain. I played with the dimensions for 7.150 mhz, and came up with A being 35′ and B being 34′

Superb 5 dBi gain over a single vertical and more than 3 dBi better than my DX Engineering DV-40P in the broadside direction and 2 dBi better than the end fire – but I do give up 2 directions – NE and SW. I couldn’t think about this antenna before because my 160M lowband antennas used to be where the third element needs to go.

The orientations will end up being just slightly SE and NW, which will cover ZS and 3Y0/B perfectly.

The Collins 180S-1 should be perfect as a voltage feed L network – and it has all of the different combinations to get the input and output tuned just right.

I will move the correct vernier knob and the correct Collins emblem from my spare (modified) 180S-1, and use this original circuit.

This Bobtail will be my daily / go to antenna for the Collins Gold Dust Twins.

Still waiting for my KWS-1 – heh heh





The Waiting . . .

Waiting has been a theme in my life lately – Bouvet has been a 2 year wait – pushed out another 6 months. Then there was waiting at work late last year, and now waiting for my Collins KWS-1 to come back . . .

Waiting . . .

1943 Vibroplex Bug

This Bug has serial number 124407, which dates to 1943 – during a very busy WWII time

I wanted a good representative version of a Vibroplex Bug – just so I could use it with the Collins KWS-1 (if I ever get it back – hi hi). There is a great PDF available on the net that has the dates of all Vibroplex Bugs:

I did get the exact same model as what I had in 1973 – (The “Champion”) which dates from 1960, and with a gray base – but I don’t care for its looks as much as this older model with the black base – which is the “Original”. The Original has a shorting bar, which will be really useful for tuning up the KWS-1 or any other rig that I use it with.

The actual Hallicrafters TA-1 “TO Keyer” that I will pick up this week

It will be fun to play with the keys that I have with various keyers – solid state and tube based. Between this and the microphones I purchased, if I find that there is one “winner” in the mic and key department, I will cull the herd a bit.

Shure Sonodyne (center)

I’m going to bet on this black Vibroplex Bug and the Shure 51B “Sonodyne” microphone as winners – but I need on the air time with the KWS-1, so that won’t happen for a good month.


Hallicrafters 1959 Christmas Advertisement

Hallicrafters seems to be one of the first “mega” advertisers. They had quite a bit of gear – many models – and obviously had a big advertising budget. I had OT Elmers who thought Hammarlund made better gear, and everyone knew that Collins was the best of the best. However, Hallicrafters seemed to have gear at every price point and supported entry level up to full blown serious station builders.

My first transmitter was a Hallicrafters HT-40 and it was a great novice transmitter – I never had any problems with it, and my parents purchased it from an Elmer for $75, which was a pretty good sum back then. I think I got the receiver – the Heathkit SW-717 for Christmas, and the transmitter for my birthday a few months later.

I will have one piece of “Hallicrafters Gray” gear in my shack – the TA-1 “TO Keyer”, so that will be cool. I also have the exact same vintage Vibroplex Bug that I had back then in 1973.


Hallicrafters TA-1 “TO Keyer”

The Hallicrafters TA-1 “TO Keyer”

This tube based keyer was first sold in 1960 – which was about 5 years after the Gold Dust Twins were first released. I’ll have one next weekend – and it will be a lot of fun – especially because it has a monitor, and will be cool to hear a tube sound with CW.

I can use it with the KWS-1, although I expect that I will mostly use a Vibroplex or the Begali Intrepid bug.