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


Posted: 11/329/2023
Comments: 0
TV Duplexer

Some things are interesting, even if totally useless nowadays.   Such is the case with the Philco 426-3034 Crossover Kit for UHF TV.   What the heck is that? Well, back in the late 50s,  UHF television stations operating on channels 14-83 started to appear in many areas of the US where viewers had a VHF-only TV antenna, and in many cases an externa UHF converter was...  READ MORE

Crystal Replacement
Posted: 11/327/2023
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Replacing failed crystals

For decades, quartz crystals were used everywhere a stable frequency source was needed, even in some applications that depended on overtone (harmonic) behavior into the VHF range.   These crystals were less stable and more dependent on circuit parameters that fundamental types and thus more problematic.    Such was the case with the 94 MHz crystal in the 2 meter converter ...  READ MORE

Posted: 11/315/2023
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My Own Ham Radio Story by W9RAN

Everyone has a story of how they got involved in ham radio - this is mine.   It started much earlier, including receiving a Knight Kit Span Master shortwave radio for Christmas in about 1963, at age 12.   I'll never forget the night my dad and I finished building it and I wanted to try it out.   It came with a 50 ft. antenna which was still coiled up - but ...  READ MORE

Posted: 09/267/2023
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Hot to simulate vacuum tubes in LTSpice

LTSice is a powerful simulation tool that is provided free by Linear Technology Corp.   It comes with a complete library of passive and common analog solid-state components but if you want to use it to simulate vacuum tubes, it doesen't work as-is.    Even though triode and pentode symbols can be found in the "Misc" folder, they are just schematic symbols and...  READ MORE

Friends Remembered
Posted: 07/208/2023
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Merv Schweigert, K9FD (SK)

Comments from Robert Nickels W9RAN,  July 27, 2023: There is nothing worse for a ham radio operator than to see a beloved friends callsign with the letters "SK" behind them.   Yet sadly, that's what happened on July 23, 2023, when I learned of the passsing of Merv Schweigert, K9FD.     While many of our ham radio interests were different - Me...  READ MORE

Vintage Ham Radio
Posted: 01/19/2023
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"Winter Projects"

I know many of us who enjoy restoring and repairing vintage gear look forward to winter when there is less competition for time and energy, and a chance to really make a dent in our "to be fixed" piles.    A couple of years ago I set time aside for "Heathkit Singlebander Week" and went through every one of them I had, with the result that they're all working ...  READ MORE

Vintage Ham Radio
Posted: 11/330/2022
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The Galaxy COMM2

Leo Meyerson had been in the ham radio retail and manufacturing business for over 25 years, and by 1970 he was ready to retire.  His son took over the WRL distribution and retail business but the Galaxy Electronics manufacturing operation was sold to his long-time friend Andy Andros WØLTE, founder and president of Hy Gain Electronics in nearby Lincoln NE.   The CB radio eleme...  READ MORE

Posted: 10/304/2022
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Don Taylor of the Yukon, and the Trappers Sched

Most of the articles on this site are about hams, or  ham radio.   This one is not about a ham but about a man who built as much a reputation through HF radio as any ham on top of the BPL ever did.    Don Taylor is one of those rugged independent-minded people who thrive on a lifestyle most of us couldn't even imagine - as a trapper in Canada's Yukon wildernes...  READ MORE

Posted: 09/252/2022
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KYW-KFKX - Linking Broadcasting Stations by Shortwave

  Most radio fans know the history of KDKA  but maybe not "the rest of the story". In November 1920 the Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company began operation of a radio broadcasting station, KDKA, in East Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, often described as the "Pioneer Broadcasting Station of the World."  KDKA is generally considered to be the fi...  READ MORE

Posted: 09/251/2022
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AT&T Scranton LongLines tower

The microwave network constructed by AT&T Long Lines and other telecommunications companies in the past 50 years were engineering masterpieces using state-of-the-art technologies and some were designed to withstand nuclear attack during that Cold War era.     This is a non-hardened site on top of a mountain in upstate New York that existed long enough for graffiti taggers t...  READ MORE