Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Dec 27 Hallicrafters Re-Cap Update

Made a trip to Radio Shack yesterday and picked up some more solder wick and a small magnifying glass.  Made some good headway last night on replacing the capacitors in the S-53A.  I replaced the final paper tubular capacitor at about 2:00am.  I was on a roll so didn't want to stop!  The solder wick is really essential in getting the old joints de-soldered.  Eventhough there is alot of open space in the radio some of the connections are really hard to get at with a solder bulb or solder sucker.  The solder wick can get in and around other components very well.  The magnifying glass comes in handy in reading the values on the capacitors as well as getting a better look at the solder joints.  I haven't done this much solder work since my Air Force days in the '80s.  Yes, we still made repairs at the component level and even had some radio gear with glass tubes! 

I still need to replace three electrolytic capacitors that are apparently in a sealed can.  This will be a little more challenging.  I haven't decided if I'm going to try and place the new caps inside the old can or not.  I'll decide after I get the can out and see what I'm dealing with.  Once that is complete then I'll test the power cord and the transformer.  I'll need to borrow a variac from one of my buddies.  I'll probably build one of those "dim bulb testers" as well and use it to test for shorts.  http://antiqueradio.org/dimbulb.htm

View with all the new "orange dot" caps installed

Close up of some of the new caps in place

magnifying glass sure comes in handy

All of the old paper caps

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve Radio Capacitor Update

Well, I got nine capacitors replaced in the S-53A last night and today.  Would keep going but I ran out of solder wick.  Gonna have to wait till I can get some more.  Tomorrow is Christmas so might have to wait until Monday unless Radio Shack is open tomorrow.  Capacitor replacement is going well.  Some of the leads are barely stretching to the connections where the old ones were but so far so good.

Close up of some of the new caps.  The orange ones.

Started up top and working down.  See the new orange ones in the upper left quadrant.

Here are the old paper tubular capacitors

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Capacitors for Hallicrafters S-53A Have Arrived

Replacement capacitors for my 60 year old reciever arrived today. I'll use these to replace the old paper and electrolytic capacitors just to be safe when I finally power it up. Will keep the original ceramic and mica capacitors in place.  Hope to start replacing caps over the holidays.


Order arrived via Post Canada

Seven different valued capacitors to be replaced

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

CARS Amateur of the Year - Mac McCormick-KF4LMT

Congratulations to Mac McCormick-KF4LMT for being voted the 2011 Coastal Amateur Radio Society's "Amateur of the Year". 
 Here are some of the things that Mac's peers recognize as some of his contributions to the art and science of our hobby.
  • Club newsletter, Groundwaves Editor
  • Facebook and Twitter administrator
  • Resident Monitoring Expert
  • B-17 Restoration Team Member
  • ADEC Georgia State Patrol
  • GA Baptist Disaster Relief Comm Team Member
  • Avid mobile DXer
  • Outstanding blogger
  • Overall Ambasador for our hobby

WW2COS Active for Pearl Harbor Day

Mac, KF4LMT at the radio operator table
We had a very successful day operating in the radio compartment of the B-17 "City of Savannah" to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. My good friend Mac, KF4LMT and I got to the museum around 0900 and connected our antennas and got the aircraft power distribution up and running.  We started operating around 1000 and made a total of 89 contacts in 21 states and Canada including seven other museums and a handful of WWII veterans. We set up the video stream once again and folks were able to watch us across the Internet.  Everything worked great today. We did have an issue with the dial lights on our BC-348 reciever. I’ll need to go back out and take it out of the case and see if we have a loose connection, cold solder joint, or bad rheostat.  I also made some headway on writing our radio operator checklist. When we were done we shut down the 12v and 24v circuits, turned off the charger, open the  external switch, disconnected our antennas and stowed our gear.

Here is a nice summary of our activities today on my cohort, Mac McCormick’s blog.

Looking forward into the radio compartment

Yours truly, K4GTM taking my turn at the mic

We got a total of 89 stations in the log today!

Took the glass faceplate off the tuning dial to troubleshoot lamp problem

Greg doing some measurements (don't let his wife see this pic!)

The museum is a popular venue for weddings.  She could be a model for some new nose art!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

Enjoyed the Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day ceremony this afternoon at the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum.  Although there were no Pearl Harbor survivors at this years ceremony, there were about a dozen WWII veterans in attendance.  The guest speaker this year was Capt. Joseph Creed, Commanding Officer of the USS Normandy CG-60, which is currently docked in the Savannah River.  Capt. Creed was accompanied by several of his officers and crew. 

A firing party from the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade did a 21 Gun Salute followed by the playing of Taps by a 3rd Infantry Division bugler.  The local Navy League chapter and Fleet Reserve Association does a great job planning and executing this event each year. 

Enjoyed seeing my good friends and fellow amateur radio operators Mac McCormick Jr, AF4KL, his wife Irene, KF4RFF, and Mac McCormick III, KF4LMT.  Mac Jr. is a retired Navy chief and a member of the Fleet Reserve Association.

Some of the crowd before the ceremony

World War II veterans recognized

Capt. Joseph Creed of the USS Normandy

Soldiers of the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade

USS Normandy CG-60 docked at the Port of Savannah
(photo courtesy of Mac McCormick III)

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Pete-K4JAC Antenna Work

After breakfast this morning, Mark-KA4CID and I went over to Pete's-K4JAC house to give him a hand taking down an antenna that he needs to do some repair work on.  It's a vertical antenna that's mounted on a mast up on the roof.  Pete's wife told him that he was too old now to get up on the roof.  Pete turned 83 today!  So that means that 82 must be the cutoff age to climb up on the roof for the rest of us now! 

Mark and I climbed up and after disconnecting the radials, some guy wires, and cutting the mounting hardware, we were able to lower the antenna down to the ground.  Pete's gotta do some straightening of the tubing that was bent in a wind storm.  Once he's got that done then we'll go back over and help him put it back up.  Sure was good to spend some time with Pete.  He's got a wealth of knowledge about radios. antennas, and electronics in general. 

While we were there Pete showed us an old Heathkit organ that he put together back in the 60's.  I never knew Heathkit did those!  But that thing is packed with electronics.  What an interesting piece.  Pete's wife says it still plays as well as it did when Pete built it.

Pete has a great supply of old parts and test equipment.  He knows that Mark and I are both in the process of restoring vintage radios and he told us not to buy any parts that we might need, to check with him first since he probably has whatever we're looking for.  What a great guy. 

Pete's antenna farm on the rooftop

Mark disconnecting feedline and radials


Mark is not 83 years old yet so he can climb on the roof

Vertical antenna safety on the ground

Pete gave Mark an piece of test equipment that he needs to work on the vintage radio he's restoring

Pete showing us the Heathkit organ that he built back in the 60's

"Under the hood" of the Heathkit organ

"Under the hood" of the Heathkit organ

"Under the hood" of the Heathkit organ

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Formal Message Handling Class

Had a great formal message handling class tonight here in Savannah.  Thanks to our Georgia Section Traffic Manager, Charles-K4GK for making the trip from Sandersville to deliver his informative training session.  If anyone knows how to move a piece of traffic, it's Charles!  Lord knows he's been doing it long enough.  We're fortunate to have operators like Charles in Georgia.  What a great asset he is.

Charles covered the use of the ARRL Radiogram Form as well as the ICS213 Message Form.   Charles also explained the Nation Traffic System and how a message is move thru it.  It was a great interactive session with lots of good questions.

We had about 15 operators in attendance tonight representing Chatham, Effingham, Bulloch, and Liberty Counties.  Kevin-KW4B was able to arrange for us to meet in one of the training rooms at the Candler Hospital IT Building.  Great facility for training.

Now it's up to us to pratice what we've learned so that we'll be ready and able to pass traffic in and out of our neck of the woods.  We plan to continue to incorporate traffic handling during our local drills and exercises and we also plan to have some local practice nets.

Charles, K4GK imparting wisdom

This is what it's all about

Charles, K4GK - Georgia Section Traffic Manager

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Hallicrafters S-53A Update

Got to spend a little time today working on the S-53A.  Still needed a 5Y3GT rectifier tube so I got the suggestion from Ralph-W4REQ to check with Pete-K4JAC.  I emailed Pete and sure enough he had an old 5Y3 in his stash and told me to come on over and pick it up.  So on the way to church tonight I stopped by Petes and got the tube as well as some diodes and a tube base in case I want to build a solid state rectifier instead.  Pete also drew up some nice diagrams for me to follow if I go that route.  What a swell guy.  Pete needs some help lowering one of his vertical antennas so he can do some work on it so I told him I'd come by sometime and give him a hand.  Seems like a fair trade.  That's what I love about ham radio! 

After church I went ahead and took the case off the radio so that I could clean out the glass from the old broken tube.  Also found the washers and nuts that are supposed to hold the transformer to the main assembly.  These nuts had evidently come off at some point and allowed the transformer to come loose and hit up against the rectifier tube thereby shattering it.  Got it secured now.  Gonna do a thorough cleaning on the inside while I have everything apart.  Also need to replace a toggle switch that controls "Standby/Recieve".  I'll start searching for one of those next.  The dial face is also bent inward and is causing the tuning for the Bandspread and Frequency to be obstructed.  Still trying to figure out what I need to do about that. 

That's it for tonight.  I'll work on it some more this week.

View of the back with the case off

Serial Number

Underside Circuitry

Some of the broken tube glass that was floating around inside

Replacement 5Y3 Rectifier Tube that I got from Pete-K4JAC

Replacement 5Y3 Tube that I got from Pete-K4JAC.  Note the diagrams that Pete drew up for me.

Broken glass inside the radio


Closeup of some of the components