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 Post subject: Re: Ham AM transmitter recommendations.
PostPosted: Nov Wed 30, 2016 3:47 am 
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Joined: Jul Tue 21, 2009 1:38 pm
Posts: 603
Location: SW WA state
John,

Understand about shipping transmitters. I'm aghast at some of the prices that shipping companies extort from us.
I like the Valiants: I have three: One as a standby rig, another that i believe works, and a third waiting for restoration or parting out.
I normally use the Johnson Viking 500. When it's out of service, the Valiant does well.
I also have a 32V3 Collins, but haven't used it in years.
Both rigs are gawdawful heavy...
Another possibility is to restore an old Pearce Simpson or similar HF marine radio (real radios have binding posts!): I have reworked them to give me anywhere from 15-50 watts output, depending on model.
I usually stuff them with 3885 xtals. They are LIGHT: Then all you need is a good, stiff power supply.
Depending on how much activity and QRM there are in your area, some rigs may work better.
Back when I lived in New England, a 100 watt transmitter was considered QRP and a bare minimum.
Here in the PNW, 5 watt AM rigs are usually easily copiable.
100 watt rigs suffice, and legal max transmitters are band kings...
Best of Luck!
AM is very hard to get out of the blood: Plate modulation is very, very addictive... Pardon me, I have to get back to my BC-610 and T-368....

-Tom

-Tom


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 Post subject: Re: Ham AM transmitter recommendations.
PostPosted: Nov Wed 30, 2016 3:58 am 
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Joined: Mar Mon 31, 2014 3:09 pm
Posts: 106
A Heathkit DX-60 is a good choice for a beginner's AM rig. They can sound very good on the air, and as mentioned previously, when teamed up with a linear amplifier can produce a potent signal.

The good news: It's a Heathkit! Manuals are available online that show you where every part and every wire goes with big, beautiful drawings. The manuals have useful trouble shooting information. A typical first step in getting your transmitter on the air is to replace the power supply caps, and Hayseed Hamfest sells capacitor kits with everything you need. As a bonus, Heathkits were meant to be put together by actual people, and the parts are attached with screws, lockwashers and nuts, so no rivets to drill out if you need to replace a component.

The bad news: It's a Heathkit! So the build quality might be questionable. But I believe, with a complete manual, common sense, and patience, you should be able to get it going without too much trouble. Try to find a rig that doesn't look abused, and is complete (no obvious parts missing). Clean all switch contacts and re-flow all solder joints just as a precaution.

I have both a DX-60 and a DX-100, and like them both, but think the '60 is a better bet for your first rig. I'd be wary of a Johnson Valiant, with three 6146's in the final it's not a beginner's project. There's a wealth of information on the internet, and also as noted before, Electric Radio magazine has published several articles on the DX-60 and some back issues are available.

Good luck,
Jim, K9DXL


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 Post subject: Re: Ham AM transmitter recommendations.
PostPosted: Nov Wed 30, 2016 6:31 am 
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Joined: Mar Mon 17, 2008 3:51 am
Posts: 4176
Location: Conway, Arkansas
K9DXL wrote:
A Heathkit DX-60 is a good choice for a beginner's AM rig. They can sound very good on the air, and as mentioned previously, when teamed up with a linear amplifier can produce a potent signal.

I have both a DX-60 and a DX-100, and like them both, but think the '60 is a better bet for your first rig.

Good luck,
Jim, K9DXL


Jim,
I tend to agree and fixing up a DX-60 won't be much of a problem, no matter the condition. Over the years I've repaired some very badly rusted and abused radios.
My first and only transceiver has been an HW-101 that needed a fair bit of TLC and now functions well. The rig's cosmetics were near pristine, though nearly all of the components proved to be far out of tolerance. But I've come to dislike the constant SSB Donald Duck jazz and am ready for something a bit more pleasant to the ear. And I don't consider making overseas contacts to be a big lure. I prefer to just stay in my own neighborhood, so-to-speak, thus I've decided to shelve the HW-101 and go with an AM rig...at least temporarily, as I've been known to sometimes change my mind about things. 8)
Anyway, it appears that a DX-60, a VFO and maybe a linear amp will be on next years' agenda...unless something else pops up on the horizon.
Thanks for the comment, my friend, it was much appreciated.

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John


Last edited by badrestorer on Nov Wed 30, 2016 4:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Ham AM transmitter recommendations.
PostPosted: Nov Wed 30, 2016 8:43 am 
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Joined: Dec Sun 14, 2008 3:33 pm
Posts: 567
Location: Tokyo
Another basic option is the Hallicrafters HT40.

Some eHam reviews:

http://www.eham.net/reviews/detail/4452

And some modern upgrades and modifications from AMfone:

http://amfone.net/Amforum/index.php?topic=34555.0

Of course, you'd need an external VFO.


I mention the HT40 because I used one, 1963 to about 1973. I remember it was fast and easy to tune up, never finicky, 80 to 10 meters (never used it on 6). The AM is carrier controlled screen modulation. I used a very cheap Argonne brand mic (from Japan) and often got very nice comments on the AM quality. (I also got some 'you sound like a broadcast station' comments, not meant as a compliment). I did work quite a lot of AM DX on 20 meters with that tx and a HyGain vertical.

I have no idea whether it's better than a DX60, or an Eico 720 (which was actually the tx I wanted to buy back then). But the reviews and reports are generally positive and if you see one at a reasonable price, it might be worth your consideration.

Rob


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 Post subject: Re: Ham AM transmitter recommendations.
PostPosted: Nov Wed 30, 2016 2:05 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 2184
Location: Potomac, Md.
John, no idea if they're still available, but a DX-60B and HG-10 VFO were posted in mid-October on qth.com at https://swap.qth.com/search-results.php?keywords=DX-60&fieldtosearch=titleordesc.

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Avery W3AVE


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 Post subject: Re: Ham AM transmitter recommendations.
PostPosted: Nov Wed 30, 2016 3:55 pm 
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Joined: Mar Mon 17, 2008 3:51 am
Posts: 4176
Location: Conway, Arkansas
Avery wrote:
John, no idea if they're still available, but a DX-60B and HG-10 VFO were posted in mid-October on qth.com at https://swap.qth.com/search-results.php?keywords=DX-60&fieldtosearch=titleordesc.


Thank you. Excellent site recommendation. The posting you mentioned is still there, but the seller only provides pics upon request and does not accept PayPal, both major negatives in my book. But there was a second listing that I liked, so I sent an email to the seller. We'll see how that goes.
I'lllllllll be back!

The seller informed me that the items have been sold. So much for that idea. Oh well, the day is still young. :lol:

_________________
John


Last edited by badrestorer on Nov Wed 30, 2016 6:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Ham AM transmitter recommendations.
PostPosted: Nov Wed 30, 2016 4:12 pm 
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Joined: May Sun 08, 2016 3:16 am
Posts: 118
Location: Lakefield, Ontario
Do you have any local AM operators/friends in your area?

Lots of good transmitter suggestions here. If you can find a transmitter from a local AMer, they may have something for sale and you"d be able to test the transmitter, see if it fits your needs, and operate it prior to any purchase.

Even a tx such as a DX-60 and Viking Ranger can have issues with their function switch contacts. Adding PTT is vital with those txs.

Al


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 Post subject: Re: Ham AM transmitter recommendations.
PostPosted: Nov Wed 30, 2016 4:35 pm 
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Joined: Nov Tue 18, 2008 8:34 am
Posts: 1117
Location: Hutchinson,Kansas
AM is cool but you better have some power or you wont get out or the big dog am guys wont even talk to you. I learned very fast my Yeasu FT-101E wasn't good enough to play ball 99% of the time on 80 meters.


Todd


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 Post subject: Re: Ham AM transmitter recommendations.
PostPosted: Nov Wed 30, 2016 5:14 pm 
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Joined: Mar Mon 17, 2008 3:51 am
Posts: 4176
Location: Conway, Arkansas
Thewasp wrote:
AM is cool but you better have some power or you wont get out or the big dog am guys wont even talk to you. I learned very fast my Yeasu FT-101E wasn't good enough to play ball 99% of the time on 80 meters.


Todd


Thanks, my friend. I agree 100% and have already talked to an AM-experienced ARF member about this very subject. He filled me in on several of the pros and cons. But right now it's no big deal. Challenges are good for a body, thus I'm confident something will eventually pop in the power-out department.

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John


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 Post subject: Re: Ham AM transmitter recommendations.
PostPosted: Dec Sat 03, 2016 12:43 am 
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Joined: Nov Fri 11, 2016 9:28 am
Posts: 18
I was going to do the Johnson Valiant dude to a fondness for AM (probably because I could relate to originally having a cheap, little shortwave receiver without BFO/SSB and enjoyed being able to hear some people who didn't sound like Charlie Brown cartoon adults, and thought maybe someone like me would be out there like that, listening with their BFO-less receiver, excited to copy me)... but instead I lucked up locally finding a deal on a working, maintained Hallicrafters HT-32A along with a spare HT-32B that some mice peed in for a while and left some hair, but many components including tubes and much more are fine to keep the good one going. Key word locally since they weigh like 80 pounds. But this gives me CW and moreover SSB as well, albeit all adding complexity to the transmitter (and I'm the last person who needs extra complexity until he gets better at repair). The remote-monitored audio just sounds splendid to me and after messing with some modern electronics it's like a '57 Chevy physically with the room inside. In any case, I'm growing into this radio and esp. the matching amp that I think doesn't have issues so much as the final tube is ridiculously rare. I may need to convert to a different tube as I grow & learn. Boy I love Orr's "Radio Handbook" (specifically William Orr vs. other texts I have)


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 Post subject: Re: Ham AM transmitter recommendations.
PostPosted: Dec Sun 11, 2016 2:00 am 
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Joined: Feb Sun 16, 2014 2:40 pm
Posts: 18
Location: Valatie, NY
John,
Am is something I have not done, but I love to listen to them and if I had the room I would; anyway, you likely already are aware of his YouTube Channel But Pete, K7PP is an "AM'er" with a good YouTube channel (k7PP channel name) that has lots of videos on AM operation and working on AM equipment, also check out his QRZ page he has a huge transmitter, as well as smaller ones. He would probably be glad to give his advice I am sure if you contacted him.

Hope your having a good rest from YouTube, We will be glad when your back.
73,
Tom


Last edited by k2bew on Dec Sun 11, 2016 7:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Ham AM transmitter recommendations.
PostPosted: Dec Sun 11, 2016 4:05 am 
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Joined: Nov Sat 07, 2009 11:37 pm
Posts: 1605
Location: Sayreville, NJ 08872
While high power is great, you can still make lots of AM contacts with 40 or 50 watts on 80 meters if you have a good antenna that's up in the air at least 50 feet. As we roll down the sunspot cycle, the 75/80 meters tends to go long during the hours of darkness. Generally all the local signals disappear unless the station is within a few miles of you. As an example, this evening I heard multiple different AM conversations from across the country on the same frequency making good readability on any one station difficult. Most likely, none of them heard each other but they were all in my skip zone. The best time for contacts on 75/80 meters, if you're running power that's less then a 100 watts and a low height antenna, is late afternoon to early evening. 40 meters would be a better choice throughout the day, but during the evening hours you have to contend with a number of short wave broadcasters that occupy the frequency area where you find most of the AM activity.

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Pete, WA2CWA - "A cluttered desk is a sign of genius"
http://www.manualman.com


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 Post subject: Re: Ham AM transmitter recommendations.
PostPosted: Dec Sun 11, 2016 3:47 pm 
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Joined: Jan Mon 28, 2013 9:35 pm
Posts: 663
Location: Santa Rosa, CA
Here's a list of transmitters worth looking at IMO;

Heath DX-100; probably the best bang for your buck in the 100 watt class
very well built with quality iron....weak spot seems to be band switch cracking
the DX-35, 40 and 60 have screen modulation and while cheaper will
not do as well as transmitters with high level modulation

Johnson Valiant; this is my top choice with 200 watts out, top quality parts,
sound great, lots of these around and easy to restore...weak spot, meter shunts

Johnson Ranger; same as above but 50 watts and smaller footprint

Johnson Viking; VERY popular AM/CW transmitter, lots around but require
external VFO or of course you can use xtals, 100 watts, high level mod

Collins 32V2 and V3; The best quality and VFO stability but difficult to
work on, odd PA tube, the 32V1 is not as good due to RFI problems,
weak point is LV transformer shorting

BC-610x; The ultimate WWII AM transmitter, expensive and hard to find BUT
I'd dearly like to have one in my shack!

T-368; Probably the best of the bunch if you have a solid foundation, strong
back and plenty of disposable money

AM Broadcast transmitter; usually only convertable to 160 or 80 meters, hard to
find and space/power can be an issue

No matter what you end up with you'll find plenty of folks on AM.
Steve W6SSP


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 Post subject: Re: Ham AM transmitter recommendations.
PostPosted: Dec Tue 13, 2016 3:50 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 2184
Location: Potomac, Md.
John, the December issue of Electric Radio that arrived yesterday has a classified listing for a DX-100 for $45 (!), condition not described. The seller is Roger Reader KA9BKK in Onalaska, Wisconsin. He included his phone and email but I'm not sure I should make them public. If you might be interested, send me a PM with your email.

There's also a guy in the ER classifieds who sells new DX-100 front panels, described as color matched and silkscreened, for $90. I can also provide his contact info if you want.

Cheers and happy holidays!

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Avery W3AVE


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 Post subject: Re: Ham AM transmitter recommendations.
PostPosted: Dec Tue 13, 2016 4:15 pm 
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Joined: Mar Mon 17, 2008 3:51 am
Posts: 4176
Location: Conway, Arkansas
Avery wrote:
John, the December issue of Electric Radio that arrived yesterday has a classified listing for a DX-100 for $45 (!), condition not described. The seller is Roger Reader KA9BKK in Onalaska, Wisconsin. He included his phone and email but I'm not sure I should make them public. If you might be interested, send me a PM with your email.

There's also a guy in the ER classifieds who sells new DX-100 front panels, described as color matched and silkscreened, for $90. I can also provide his contact info if you want.

Cheers and happy holidays!


Thank you, Avery, I much appreciate you keeping a lookout for me. Thankfully, one of our other ARF members offered me a Johnson Viking II at a very reasonable price, so I took him up on it. He'll bring it to Hamvention in May where I'll take it off his hands.

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John


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 Post subject: Re: Ham AM transmitter recommendations.
PostPosted: Dec Tue 13, 2016 4:24 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 2184
Location: Potomac, Md.
badrestorer wrote:
...Thank you, Avery, I much appreciate you keeping a lookout for me. Thankfully, one of our other ARF members offered me a Johnson Viking II at a very reasonable price, so I took him up on it. He'll bring it to Hamvention in May where I'll take it off his hands.


That's great, John. Will you start out with crystals (3885 is a must) or are you going to shop for a VFO? You know the match for the Viking is the 122.

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Avery W3AVE


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 Post subject: Re: Ham AM transmitter recommendations.
PostPosted: Dec Tue 13, 2016 5:02 pm 
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Joined: Mar Mon 17, 2008 3:51 am
Posts: 4176
Location: Conway, Arkansas
Avery wrote:
Quote:
You know the match for the Viking is the 122


One of the reasons I'm heading to Hamvention in May. There's bound to be one there someplace.
Interesting side note concerning Hamvention: Their advertisements claim that if it's not at Hamvention it doesn't exist. I found that to be not true. Last year not one Heathkit hand mic was to be found...and I asked every vendor.

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 Post subject: Re: Ham AM transmitter recommendations.
PostPosted: Dec Tue 13, 2016 5:14 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 2184
Location: Potomac, Md.
While Dayton is the big kahuna, its luster has faded somewhat over the years (as has been true of most big hamfests), with a falloff of attendance and sellers. So it's unsurprising that the offerings would be a bit thinner.

There's a biggish 'fest in Western NC you might think about at some point, the Shelby Hamfest.

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Avery W3AVE


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 Post subject: Re: Ham AM transmitter recommendations.
PostPosted: Dec Thu 22, 2016 12:29 am 
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Joined: Dec Thu 22, 2016 12:15 am
Posts: 7
Rich, W3HWJ wrote:
I've built dozens of Heathkits, but only one transmitter, the DX-40.

Would not get a used Heathkit. These were "economy" designs and also limited by the skill of the original builder.

I would get a Johnson Ranger or Valiant.

Rich


Guess it depends on his budget. You can pick up a decent Heathkit DX-60 for $75-100. That kind of money gets you a barn find when it comes to Johnsons. DX-60 is good for learnin' about AM Transmitters. Cut my teeth on one. And you can use them to excite an amp if you desire higher power.


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 Post subject: Re: Ham AM transmitter recommendations.
PostPosted: Dec Thu 22, 2016 5:23 am 
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Joined: Oct Sun 15, 2006 12:57 pm
Posts: 4985
Someone in an earlier post indicated that lack of space was a deterrent. Even there, there are still more choices for making AM. The Kenwood 599D twins, the Drake R/T3 and R/T4 sets of twins, and the smallest of all, the original Gonset twins of the 50s. All capable of very nice sounding AM with 30 to 40 Watts of output.

Image

Image

Image

There is also the late Hallicrafters Twins, so to speak, in the HT-44 / SX-117 which are a bit larger but still not in the same size category as the Valiants and NC-300s or HRO-50s.

Image

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