In my 2nd grade classroom, where the teacher, Mrs. Jeffers, provided something besides the usual puzzles and games for spare-time play. There were wires, light bulbs in porcelain sockets, knife switches, motors, buzzers, tools...and #6 dry cell batteries. Several of the boys and I couldn't finish our work fast enough and would have gladly skipped recess to be able to wire up new contraptions that often didn't work, but fascinated us nonetheless....
My name is Bob (Robert) Nickels and by the time I'd moved into junior high, I'd graduated to a different kind of bulb - the vacuum tubes that made radio possible. I'll tell more of my story on the blog here, but suffice it to say I'm a lifelong radio and electronics nut and what started in Mrs. Jeffers classroom has provided me with endless challenges, opportunities, and a career in the electronics industry, (I am now retired from Honeywell), and have the time and ability to indulge myself in my hobby full-time. I've been a licensed amateur radio operator since age 15, hold an Amateur Extra class license (W9RAN) and have been active on many bands and modes over the years. But no matter where I've lived or what's been going on in my life, I've never lost the fascination with making things, fixing them when they don't work, and playing radio.
This site reflects my wide-ranging interests and perspectives, from historian to author, experimenter, and developer of my own products under my business and technology consulting umbrella, RAN Technology Inc. It will be an eclectic mix but I'll try to make it worth your time to hang around and see what's new, because I know I will run out of time long before I ever run out of projects and ideas that I want to pursue. And there comes a time when it's time to share the knowledge, experience, and toys that have been acquired with others.
one of ham radio's one hit wonders
If, like me, you enjoy flipping through old issues of 73 magazine from the 60s, you're bound to have at least seen the ads for the Transcom SBT-3 three-band SSB tranceiver. Being made in Escondido CA in the mid-60s, my guess has always been that engineers from other San Diego SSB compnanies such as Don Stoner, Les Earnshaw from Southcom, Herb Johnson, founder of Swan or Faust Gonsett may... READ MORE
The Amalgamated Wireless Ltd. (AustralAsia)
This short article about the AWA Forestphone was the last one put on the Midwest Classic Radio Net website by for former webmaster George K9GDT before he unfortunately became a Silent Key. MCRN articleNow that a longer version has been published in Electric Radio magazine I thought I'd include it here as well.Throughout most of the 20th century AWA was Australia's leading electr... READ MORE
and maker of my AN/GRC-9
Alexander M. Lewyt died in 1988 at the age of 79, a holder of patents on scores of inventions. His penchant for invention, he once said, was so strong that he had chronic insomnia from lying awake at night envisioning new products. When he learned of undertakers’ difficulty in fastening neckties on corpses, the teen-age Lewyt devised a new kind of bow tie that clipped on. He sold 50,000 of t... READ MORE
Cheap and easy fix using coin cells
The Korean-war vintage AN/GRC-9 is one of the most useful and fun military field radios for ham use, as with AM and CW modes and 2-12 MHz coverage and a VFO it's all ready to go on several ham bands. The battery tube superhet receiver is also power-friendly and sensitive and stable enough to copy CW and SSB but has one annoying flaw - the 4 volt bias battery used by the audio... READ MORE
MR-16 lamps have no home in the hamshack!
Halogen type MR-16 lamps are commonly used in track lights and other spot lighting applications so what would be cooler than to drop in LED replacements! A lot, as it turns out. The LED replacements are HORRIBLE RFI emitters that totally trashed several ham bands when I unknowingly installed them.Halogen spot lights are 12 volt devices so it's long been common prac... READ MORE
Hammarlund was an industry leader for generations
Here's a link to a nice story in the Madison NC newspaper about area hams paying tribute to the former Hammarlund company that manufactured radios in Mars Hill NC for decades. There are some neat historiic photos as wellThe paper has a paywall but it looks like you get 5 free articles:HAMMARLUND ARTICLE... READ MORE
Hammarlund was an industry leader for generations
Here's a nice story about how the hams around Mars Hill NC honored the legacy of the Hammarlund company that manufactured radios there for many years. It's behind a paywall but it looks like you get 5 free articles:LINK to Hammarlund story... READ MORE
10 watt portable SSB lunchbox
In the days before sat phones, HF SSB was the only practical means of communication once you went beyond line-of-sight distance from civilization. Forestry crews, scientific exploration teams, mariners, and oil and gas or pipeline workers were among those for home HF SSB was a lifeline. Portable transceivers like the JRC JSB-20 were used when moving from one location to another a... READ MORE
Like most people who received a catalog from International Crystal in the 60s, I was always intrigued by their assortment of PC board kits. There were boards for every stage in a radio transmitter or receiver and they could be combined to make almost anything - from converters to complete radios. But little did I know that International actually did just that when they went... READ MORE
Free for downloading - pdf files
Not much more to be said - if you can't find it here you probably don't need to know!RADIO BOOKSMany are from non-US sources, some are in languages other than English. Included are 23 volumes of Riders manuals, Beitmans most needed diagrams up til 1967, and much more. Incredible resource!... READ MORE