RAN Technology

More hamfests return to WI-IL-IA in 2021

General Information 0 Comments 03/25/2021 

it's about time!

Hamfests return in 2021 to Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin!


The 2021 DeKalb (Sandwich) and Starved Rock hamfests were great successes!   This was the first time for Starved Rock Radio Club to hold the hamfest in Mendota IL which worked out great -  hope it helps the club rebuild what was once one of the best hamfests in the area..

The South Milwaukee 'fest is special because it's what a hamfest should be, to my way of thinking at least - a big tailgate swap area and nothing else.  No "indoor sellers" (at least not many), no new equipment dealers, and no seminars or other distractions from the business at hand - buying and selling old radio junk.  It's always been the kind of 'fest where a load of "barn fresh" gear is likely to show up for picking, and where friends from half a state or more away will make the journey.    Really glad to see it's back!  (even without the free beer)

Photo above is from Peoria 2007, in front of the "Taj", with the famous WA9VRH rib smoker visible in the foreground.

As the hamfest season for 2021 draws to a close it's now possible to say that the two I first wrote about were the best.   The Peoria Superfest did take place, which is a bit surprising since the club was forced to relocate TWICE.   This is probably the new permanent location as the city of East Peoria which owns the event center added crushed blacktop to the dirt field, making it at least as good as the worn-out parking area at Expo Gardens.  The indoor space seemed adequate and hopefully if the outdoor flea market expands to fill the available space the club and city will find a way to add more spaces.   The biggest shortcoming was the lack of any kind of food service at the hamfest.   Why the club didn't at least notify a food truck vendor or two is a mystery to all.    On the plus side, the outdoor spaces were generous in size and marked (although not clearly) and there are some good local restaurants within walking distance.

The CFMC has held it's RadioFest at the Boone County Fairgrounds at Belvidere IL since the closing of "Grayslake" and it's a nearly ideal venue with long paved "streets" between the vendor spaces and plenty of indoor space, bathrooms, food, etc.    The problem was attendance - based on the number of sellers in previous years the fleamarket area had to be at least 20% smaller, and the overall quality of "shtuff" included more non-ham offerings than usual.  But it was a beautiful day and hopefully attendance will bounce back at both 'fests next year.

The annual BBQ-AM Get-together at the beautiful home of KI8BQ was again, as WA6GYC puts it, "the high point of the summer".   This will be the last year that Gary is able to host the event, but stay tuned, as plans are being made for it to continue under the auspices of Terry N6TLU at Battle Creek MI in 2022.

     Among it's early products, the Multi Elmac Company of Oak Park MI made marine band radios and other products for boats, including the Sea-Deep DM-1 depth indicator, the Sea-Fume SF-1 vapor detector, and the BC-1 Duo-Charger for 6 and 12 volt batteries.   Thus it's not surprising that the marine radio-telephone would be given a "sea" name:   the Sea...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  11/05/2021 
   The Sonar Radio Corp.  of Brooklyn NY is a well-known manufacturer of Ham, CB, and Marine Band radios over a period of several decades, and it's products were always well engineered and of good quality.    But despite several attempts, it's ham radio products never really managed to excite hams enough to plunk down their hard-earned cash.   The SRT series of t...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  11/01/2021 
    In 1958, the Multi Elmac Company was riding high on the ham radio waves.   The company had seen an opportunity to provide feature rich but affordable transmitters and receivers to hams itching to "go mobile", which was all the craze.   Instead of sticking a converter in front of the car radio like many competitors did, Elmac produced full-blown receivers that tu...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  09/28/2021 

Mystery Transmitter

where's the copper subchassis from?
Category: Vintage Ham Radio
 I didn't set out to buy this homebrew CW transmitter, it was included in an auction lot that I wanted so I had to take it to get the desired item.   But even though I always like to see good quality homebrew gear, this one is just a mystery.Most of the transmitter, including 6CL6 oscillator and buffer stages and a 6146 PA are built on a sub-chassis that is clearly part of a com...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  07/15/2021 

The Vector VR-50

last gasp from Swan/Atlas founder Herb Johnson
Category: Vintage Ham Radio
 Most hams are aware that Herb Johnson W6QKI founded Swan in Benson Arizona to make single-band SSB transceivers and then moved his operation to Oceanside CA where Swan thrived throughout the 1960s.   Swan merged with Cubic Corporation in 1967, and Johnson managed Swan as its subsidiary until 1973. Johnson founded Atlas Radio in 1974, with the assistance of Southcom International fo...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  07/12/2021 
   The Harvey-Wells Company was formed through a partnership between Clifford Harvey W1RF, and John Wells W1ZD in 1939.   Cliff Harvey had earlier founded Harvey Radio Labs in 1933, and prior to that, he was associated with the Hendricks and Harvey Company, another partnership. Producing police radios, transceivers, transmitters, and crystals. Their most popular product was the TBS-50 trans...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  06/18/2021 
    I became aware of a few hams playing with a thing designed to receive digital TV in Europe on your laptop - a little plug-in dongle that used an RTL-2832 IC and sold for $20 or so.    Some clever fellows had determined that it could be put into "radio mode" in which it would generate an IQ stream over USB, and by writing to control registers in the tuner IC, it could...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  06/13/2021 
    A while back I acquired a six channel HF transceiver made by the Radio Industries division of Hallicrafters, probably in the 1960s, called an SBT-20.    It is capable of 20 watts SSB or 5 watts AM (or CW with an optional board) in the range of 2-12 MHz and thus was probably aimed at commercial and light-duty military applications.   The radio could by ordered with fu...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  06/07/2021 
    I'm always thinking about interesting combinations of equipment to try out on the air.   One day while rearranging the shack I was getting ready to connect my Globe Scout Deluxe back up with a Collins 51S-1 receiver when the LED (the energy-efficient version of the old light bulb) came on.When I first started playing with DVB-T dongles back in 2012 I wanted an upconverter so I ...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  05/29/2021 

6AG7-6LG Novice Transmitter

Classic circuit with some modern twists
Category: Vintage Ham Radio
 There's a good chance that more homebrew ham transmitters have been built using a 6L6 than any other tube, and when combined with the superior performance of the 6AG7 oscillator, it's a hard combination to beat (click here for an explanation of the 6AG7's benefits)I'll be adding more info about this project soon, but one of my goals was to reproduce what was a budget-friendly...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  05/21/2021 

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