RAN Technology

Mix and Match Radios

VERSA-TR Information 0 Comments 03/07/2020 

VERSA-TR makes it easy to play radio

Posted By: Robert Nickels (ranickels)

I like to play radio!   As a SWL and novice, I'd imagine owning different transmitters and receivers and now that I actually DO own many of them, it's fun to "mix and match" to put them on the air.     That's mainly why I developed the VERSA-TR, which is an RF-sensing T/R and muting switch, so I could easily change out transmitters and receivers and have easy one-switch operation without having to mess with wiring up auxiliary plugs or un-stick always sticking Dow Keys!

Pre-Novice ham transmitter fantasies aside, I generally came to the conclusion that I'd end up with a Knight Kit T-60 because it was the most affordable choice in my well worn Allied catalog.   Probably alongside an R-55 for the same reason (my first shortwave receiver was a Span Master and I knew for sure I'd need something better than it).    The receiver issue was resolved when my dad and I found a nice used Hallicrafters SX-110 in a radio-TV parts store in Springfield MO while on vacation at my grandparents not far from there.    The transmitter ended up being a close cousin of the T-60, a Hallicrafters HT-40, from the Reconditioned Equipment Department of WRL in Council Bluffs.    I think it's a better looking rig than the T-60 but they're pretty much the same - a simple transmitter capable of running close to the "Novice gallon" of 75 watts input with a controlled carrier AM modulator thrown in because a) it was cheap and b) gave you something to look forward to as a CW-only Novice ;-)

The audio from these rigs is actually not bad, and can certainly be heard better when they are run through a linear amplifier, which NO ONE DID back in the 1960s.  If you had a linear amplifier, you operated it on SSB, which is what everyone like me who was stuck on PW AM wanted to do!    But in the nostalgia-AM era, why not?     In any case I usually prefer to run these novice rigs "bare metal" just to show that low power AM can be heard over pretty good distances if you have a decent antenna and a clear frequency (which the AM nets provide).

The resting carrier level from the T-60 is about 8 watts, which rises with modulation to make about 40-50 watts PEP.  Not bad for a radio you can hold in one hand.

The Allied A-2516 receiver is much better than anything that bore the Knight Kit brand but it was also more expensive and not avaialble at the time.  Probably the closest simlar receiver would have been a Drake 2B, or a Hallicrafters SX-111 or Hammarlund HQ-110.   All pretty good receivers but I chose the A-2516 because it was at least sold as a private label product by Allied Radio, made in Japan by Trio which would soon become well known to US hams via the Kenwood brand.

An interesting feature of the A-3516 is its VFO output, which I may have more to say later!    Right now it's a compact and usable little AM station, nicely tied together with the VERSA-TR.   And a RAN-Sampler is used to make sure the controlled-carrier modulation sounds Fine Business.



Click on the image title or on the image itself to open the full-sized image in a separate window.

   What can I say, I like oddball radios!    There was already a different version of this CAI CA-125 on my shelf but it had the remote control head, and this one was cheap, well under $100 including shipping, and I'm easily amused.   Communications Associates Inc. was a supplier of commercial, military, and marine radios based in Huntington Station, NY but I haven&#...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  05/14/2020 
   The HW-16 had to be pushed aside while waiting for parts, creating an opening just big enough for the homebrew receiver I got recently via eBay for $18.50 - plus 2X that to ship it here.   I like saving and restoring old homebrew gear just out of respect for the amount of time and effort our forefathers put into making things from scratch, and this receiver intrigued me, as the IF transf...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  04/28/2020 
    The Multi Elmac Company of Hazel Park and later, Oak Park MI is best know amongst hams for it's great mobile transmitters and receivers which were probably the most popular rigs of their type and are still often used on AM today.   The Multi Elmac Net pays tribute to these little rigs by and typically a half-dozen or more are heard on the net weekly.But the company's origin...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  04/22/2020 

Wireless on a Train

a lesser-known radio "first"
Category: Historic
WHEN Frederick Wally stepped out of a little cubby-hole in one corner of the forward day coach on the Lackawanna Limited, west-bound, as it neared North Scranton, Pennsylvania, Tuesday, November 25, 1913, and pinned a sheet of paper on the wall, the passengers in the front seats, who had been casually wondering what caused the strange, crackling sounds that had been coming from the cubby-hole, pri...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  04/14/2020 
    The  Dentron MLX-MINII thought it would be cool to use the Dentron MLX-MINI on the Saturday Vintage Sideband Net but it's a little marginal since the rule is "no tubes, go home!".   However hybrid rigs are allowed, and Special Dispensation is given for rigs with Red LEDs.    So I thought the MLX was double-qualifed - even more so after I realized t...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  04/04/2020 

AMECO - one of the forgotten ham manufacturers?

A company that was part of ham radio for over 50 years
Category: Vintage Ham Radio
The internet knows a lot about ham radio history, but not so much about a company that everyone recognizes:   The American Elecronic Company - AMECO.AMECO - American Electronics Co.; New York 53, N.Y (1950s).Manufacturer of HAM radio equipment.Also: AMECO - Division of Aerotron Inc., Raleigh, North Carolina (1968).Also: AMECO - Ameco Equipment Corp.; 178 Herricks Road Mineola, L.I. New Y...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  03/29/2020 

An Unbreakable Code

Navajo Code Talkers in the battle for Iwo Jima
Category: Historic
The Code Talkers used native languages to send military messages before World War II. Choctaw, for example, was successfully used during World War I. But the Marine Corps needed an “unbreakable” code for its island-hopping campaign in the Pacific. Navajo, which was unwritten and known by few outside the tribe, seemed to fit the Corps’ requirements. Twenty-nine Navajos were recrui...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  03/06/2020 
   Faust Gonsett started the Sideband Engineers (SBE) company in 1962 and introduced their first product, the SB-33 four-band transceiver with a two-page ad in 73 magazine for February 1963 that featured his mugshot on the left page and the introductory ad for the SB-33 on the right.   He talks about how he came out of retirement to start this new company in response to many requests but do...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  02/15/2020 
   Well known radio repair guru and AM fan Jeff Covelli WA8SAJ of Cleveland OH wanted better receiving performance than his stock Nouveau 75 AM transceiver provided - and the VERSA-TR came to the rescue.  Jeff decided he preferred having the board mounted in an enclosure with connectors and the photos show his approach.    The VERSA-TR automatically switches the antenna from his S...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  02/11/2020 

VIEW News Item

Announcing the W9DYV Radio Society

honoring SSB pioneer Wes Schum W9DYV
VIEW News Item

Making A Transistor Radio

in memory of Rev. George Dobbs G3RJV (SK)
VIEW News Item

Soviet Spy Radio found in forest

(oh yeah, I put that there...I'll take it now thanks!)
VIEW News Item

Take the Boatanchor Survey!

Let authors and organizers know what you're interested in
VIEW News Item

W9RAN's "VERSA-TR" (as featured in Dec. 2018 QST)

A Versatile T/R solution for SDRs and vintage radios
VIEW News Item


Cool mics from my collection and ones I wish were
VIEW News Item

WBBM-AM tower moves to Bloomington IL

watch the old tower fall (video link below)

(There are currently no Blogs.)