Have you ever asked yourself what's the minimum set of components to put together to exchange information on long distances with radio waves? I do. I keep asking myself when, during a QSO, I tell what's my setup. I guess ... 95% of the times the correspondent replies he's using something commercial. Then I look for those uncertain, chirpy, signals that might originate from some homebrew stuff. Those are the QSOs I'm looking for. Those brings a teaching, a lesson. A real experience over the Shortwaves.
The picture represents one of my rusty irons, put together one winter afternoon in the late 90's. After less than 3 hours from the first hole on the chassis, I was on the air with 2W approximately, close to 14.060 kc/s. After the second 'CQ', I got a reply from a Japanese fellow OM. I had a simple dipole, that time.
One day and a half later, around lunch time, the postman rang at my door, bringing his QSL: with one BRAND NEW US DOLLAR, for the reply.
I am afraid to tell that I would never, never, make the mistake of being attracted by some 'commercial' radios, alongwith unaccessible and unrepairable components. A commercial radio does not bring any sense or teaching to me. So, not any real Experience on the Shortwaves. I used to have a couple of relatively modern radios, but I sold them very quickly: no fun. With my junks (beloved, by the way ...) I suffer from many limitations, but I've learned how to improve and to overcome them. Now my MOPAs transmitters compete very well with the modern transmitters, in stability, tone cleanliness and frequency agility/coverage.
I'm sorry to say that I don't like compromises.
Commercial radios are enemy to real Radio-activity. They make you lazy. They bring unnecessary stuff between the Operator and the Ionosphere. They hide, most of the times, the absence of curiosity by the Operator. Absence of curiosity for knowledge and of eagerness of real, deep, Radio-experiences.
Homemade radios are the final expression of someone that wants to be a protagonist. Whatever their technology and their limitations, they put the owner/builder into another dimension.
And they bring a satisfaction that cannot be reached otherwise.
Certain things to me are not negotiable. One of those for sure is the meaning of 'Radio Amateur'. Those that build their own radios, or that are able to repair them, are the only ones having the right of being entitled Radio Amateurs. No others . Holding a licence for transmitting does not mean anything to me if the Essence lacks, and for it I mean all what I say above. Full stop.
Radioman, April 2015
Posted by Radioman | Permanent Link