Monday, August 25, 2014

R109 Receiver

The other night I watched a programme on TV about the taking of the Arnhem Bridge during the war. It was interesting to watch and also why the mission became a bridge too far. It seems that one of the problems was the radio equipment which failed to function correctly. That meant that there was a breakdown in communication between the different troops. In the film showed one of the radio operators at Arnhem using an R109 receiver. I took some photos from my screen.

I was amazed to see this because I had one for years when I first got my Radio Amateur licence. It cost me £1.50p from a surplus shop on Folds Road in Bolton. It worked perfectly and ran from two 6 volt motorcycle batteries that I had permanently charging. The R109 had a vibrator pack to increase the voltage and also had a spare set of valves held inside the case of the receiver. The first thing that I did was to the metal guard on the front, it must have been hard for the radio operator to use this receiver with the guard fitted. I also removed some of the other things like the antenna terminals and big knob on the left that didn't seem to do anything. I fitted a coax socket for the antenna. 

Here I am operating the receiver when I was 17 years old, note the two 6v batteries under the bench and old WWII headphones.

As I watched the programme I could remember what all the switches and knobs did on the R109, it was a fine receiver and I modified it inside to make it better. I added a BFO so that I could listen to SSB signals and also an S-Meter connected to the AGC line, it worked well! You can see the BFO adjustment knob just above the microphone.
I would love to play around with some of these old receivers again!

I'm not sure what the transmitter is on the right of the R109, I don't recognise it at all.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Sporadic E on 70Mhz

For the first time ever I managed to work a DX station outside of the UK on 70Mhz!
I have always liked to use 4m, back in the 70's I operated the 70Mhz contest station during VHF NFDs. A great band, but not much activity. On Sunday I listened to 4m out of curiosity because there was a contest sometime during the day. When I switched on my FT101E and home built transverter I heard a couple of local stations calling CQ. Then I tuned down a little and nearly fell off my chair when I heard CT1HZE in Portugal calling CQ!

This was obviously Sporadic E and his signal was fading in and out from S3 up to S7. I gave him several calls, but to no avail. After tuning up and down the band there he was again S9+ this time. I called again and he heard me! Amazing...we exchanged reports he got me at 5-7 and he is located at IM57NH.

My home built transverter from the 1980's still works perfectly...running about 4w into a 70Mhz HB9CV...I was so pleased with the contact!

Shortly after I went onto 50Mhz and worked another station with Sporadic E from Spain EA1AR in IN17PP.

Friday, August 08, 2014

Disco Native

The other night I set up my old disco equipment that I have had now for over 20 years! Until now, the equipment was stored in a cupboard at school gathering dust. It consists of a 100 watt MOSFET Amplifier that I built from a kit supplied my Maplin. It is mounted in the original aluminium case that I built back in 1970 that housed my stereo 'PW Partygram' amplifier.

The speakers also came from Maplin and the boxes I built myself from a design for the speakers that I used. The quality of these speakers are superb, even now after over 20 years of use.
The mixer was again supplied by Maplin and I built it into a case with jack sockets on the back for easy connection.

When my disco was in it's haydays the mixer was housed along with two Gerrard SP25 belt driven decks. Later, when CD's came along I stopped using the decks and just used two CD players. seems so strange after all these years to think that I was once a DJ! I remember doing discos in all kinds of places. It started at school before I became a teacher, but then did discos for all kinds of events. I think the biggest was at the Pack Horse in Bolton with a huge number of people on a charity event. I also used it as a sound system for school plays.
Now I have a JVC LA-100 deck connected so that I can listen to my vinyl LPs and singles! The equipment works perfectly and the quality is that i'm a bit older, I don't whack up the volume like I used to!

Next job is to give the disco another coat of mattblack paint!