RAN Technology

About RAN Technology


    It all began....

       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.
 

Pull up a chair...

73, Bob W9RAN

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Posted: 03/27/2021
Category: Vintage Ham Radio
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The WRL Duo-Bander 84

An "only 50 cents per watt" transceiver   Go Mobile!  That was an attractive marketing message to 1960s era hams who were enjoying the fun of operating SSB mobile, and WRL knew a low-cost rig that didn't have to be hauled back and forth to the car would be a winner.   Heathkit and Swan had already proven that with their single (mono) bander transceivers, but what if you're heading out in the middle of th...  READ MORE
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Posted: 03/24/2021
Category: Vintage Ham Radio
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The Jelectro QRO 60

 After the conclusion of World War II, there were only about 300 radio amateurs in Japan.   In the  year 1952, the JARL reported that only 30 provisional licenses were granted.    Realizing the value of ham radio in developing a technological workforce, Japan introduced its entry level Class 4 licence in 1959 -  it would prove to be the world's most succ...  READ MORE
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Posted: 03/20/2021
Category: Historic
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The NBC Chimes

G-E-C! Every radio aficionado can recognize at least three notes of music:   G-E-C - the famous NBC chimes!In fact there is so much history about the chimes it deserves it's own website, and someone has put a great deal of effort into creating one: The NBC Chimes Museum A Celebration Of Old–Time Radio’s Most Famous SignatureCLICK HERE TO VISIT THE NBC CHIMES MUSEUMIt is wel...  READ MORE
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Posted: 03/20/2021
Category: Vintage Ham Radio
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The Codar AT-5

A long-sought addition, enabling my mid-60s UK ham station   For many years I have wanted to add this cute little AM transmitter to my collection, but since it was never sold in the US,  the number that came up for sale were few and far between.   And there was usually a buddy waiting in line, or a reluctance for UK sellers to bother with the hassle of shipping to their former colony when local buyers were close to hand.However I&...  READ MORE
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Posted: 03/06/2021
Category: Historic
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Christmas Wishbooks

Great fun from https://christmas.musetechnical.com/ How many got their start in radio with a Christmas gift?    And how many times did it come from the Sears or Mongomery Ward "Christmas Wishbook"?Mine did...the little crystal radio in the upper right?   Didn't work very well but was really cool!    The Remco Crystal radio was memorialized in this photo from about 1958 - age 7:  T...  READ MORE
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Posted: 02/28/2021
Category: Technical
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Restoring the B&W 850 Plate Inductor

or similar Airdux-type coils The B&W 850 is a kilowatt-rated tank assembly that was used in the company's linear amplifiers and sold as a component for many years.  Unfortunately most of the plastics available were not capable of surviving for 50-70 years and thus have deteriorated to the point they no longer support the coil turns properly and must be repaired.    Here's a typical example from...  READ MORE
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Posted: 02/26/2021
Category: Vintage Ham Radio
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Lakeshore Industries and the Phasemasters

SSB pioneer company from Manitowoc, WI Lakeshore Industries of Manitowoc WI was an early follower of Wes Schum and Central Electronics to supply single sideband transmitters to early adopters of the new mode in the mid-1950s.   Both companies used the phasing method developed by Don Norgaard at General Electric and made popular through articles in QST, CQ, and GE Ham News.  Like most companies, Lakeshore sought to c...  READ MORE
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Posted: 02/19/2021
Category: Vintage Radio
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International Crystal and the crystal synthesizer

How a crystal company reduced the number of crystals needed I have always been intrigued by the International Crystal CB radios which had a unique appearance with a channel selector that resembled a telephone dial.    The high end "Executive" models were big and expensive and sported an aluminum trim ring that no other radio had.    So I had to buy one to play with.     It was cheap, like $25 and ...  READ MORE
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Posted: 02/11/2021
Category: Historic
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KBCX - US Forest Service Regional Radio

from Missoula Montana to the northwest Hams, especially those who enjoy operating AM and QRP should be aware of the pioneering efforts of the US Forest Service to adopt and advance the radio art in the early decades of the 20th century.The history of radio in the USFS literally takes a book to cover, but an interesting example can be found in station KBCX, the Region 1 Radio Operations Center in Missoula Montana.    It w...  READ MORE
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Posted: 02/09/2021
Category: Vintage Radio
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The R-1451 HF Manual Receiver aka WLR-6 "Water Boy" System

ESM-ELINT receiver from the 1960s Working on various vintages of equipment gives one a better appreciation for what we have today.    Example - this is a frequency counter from the "HF Manual Receiver" which was part of a wideband surveillance receiving system that extended from VLF to microwave frequencies using a bank of front-ends to cover the range.    It was designed as "ESM":...  READ MORE

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Announcing the W9DYV Radio Society

honoring SSB pioneer Wes Schum W9DYV
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Hamfests Return!

A quick look at the Wauseon OH swap on June 6, 2020
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Making A Transistor Radio

in memory of Rev. George Dobbs G3RJV (SK)
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Soviet Spy Radio found in forest

(oh yeah, I put that there...I'll take it now thanks!)
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Take the Boatanchor Survey!

Let authors and organizers know what you're interested in
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W9RAN's "VERSA-TR" (as featured in Dec. 2018 QST)

A Versatile T/R solution for SDRs and vintage radios
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MICROPHONIA! is here

Cool mics from my collection and ones I wish were

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