Hammarlund HQ-100

At long last, the Hammarlund HQ-100 I picked up a few years ago is finally getting some time and attention on the workbench.

Hammarlund HQ-100 receiver
Hammarlund HQ-100 receiver

After a bit of cleaning outside, it was time to dig in and see what was going on. Removing the knobs and four slightly rusty screws let me remove the front panel to see if the band spread tuning dial could be fixed.

Exposed tuning frequency indicator dials after removing the Hammarlund HQ-100 face plate
Exposed tuning frequency indicator dials after removing the Hammarlund HQ-100 face plate

Turns out the frequency indicator dials (the large white disks) are connected to the tuning dial knob by friction fit. Turning the dial makes the indicator dials turn, and the shaft those dials are attached to are connected to the variable capacitors that do the tuning. The band spread dial was free-spinning because there wasn’t enough friction between the indicator dial and the tuning knob. While I was trying to figure out how to fix it, I discovered the screw at the back end of the tuning shaft was loose, and tightening that up made the tuning knob work again.

The other big issue I came across while looking around was a burnt capacitor across the AC input.

Not a good thing to see. I clipped the toasted capacitor out as well as the old two-prong non-polarized plug. I’ll see about wiring in a new three-prong plug and maybe a fuse as well.

Haven’t seen any other obvious component issues yet. There’s a multi-section electrolytic can capacitor that probably should be replaced, but there aren’t any signs of leakage.

Field Day 2022

The Half-Wave Society, W4BXC, was on the air once again from our back yard for Field Day this year. We were joined this year by newly inducted members Mark W8ZRB and Scarlett KO4ELA and their respective families.

Three deep-cycle AGM batteries provided an ample amount of power for the HF and 2m radios this year and had no problems keeping the HF radio going at 100 W. I’ve run the HF radio on one of these batteries before, but this is the first time I’ve had all three connected together to provide power.

Three deep cycle AGM batteries connected together in parallel
Battery power for Field Day 2022

An Arrow 2m/70cm J-pole was set up for the 2m radio. Wasn’t hearing much on the repeaters, but we did use the 2m radio to put some of the kids on the air over simplex with a handheld.

Radios and laptop on a table with three batteries supplying power
Radios and laptop on a table with three batteries supplying power

The CW key collection and Heathkit code practice oscillator I set out on the dining room table proved to be popular items with the crowd that wasn’t outside with me playing radio.

Amateur radio items on display for Field Day 2022
Amateur radio items on display for Field Day 2022

We managed a total of 67 QSOs this year on the 10m, 20m, and 40m bands. Propagation on 10m was pretty much non-existent. I wasn’t hearing any stations at all on Saturday, and just a lone station out of Missouri Sunday morning.

This year we’ve decided to make Ham the Terracotta Pig the official mascot for the W4BXC Half Wave Society. I think he makes for a very majestic looking mascot.

W4BXC Mascot Ham the Terracotta Pig
W4BXC Mascot Ham the Terracotta Pig

70cm radio in the shack

Got a 70 cm mobile radio set up in the shack yesterday. It was a radio I picked up at the Charleston Hamfest a few years ago but had been sitting in the closet waiting for me to get to. After getting the 2m radios set up in the car and the shack, I decided it was time to turn my attention to the 70 cm radio.

The radio is a Yaesu FTM-3207D. It’s a nice, compact little radio, in pretty good shape, and works great. Programming the memory slots is pretty simple and pretty much the same procedure across the other Yaesu radios that I have, so getting the local 70 cm repeaters stored went pretty quickly (there aren’t a whole lot of them in the area).

Yaesu FTM-3207D 70cm mobile radio tuned to a repeater at 441.450 MHz
Yaesu FTM-3207D 70cm mobile radio tuned to a repeater at 441.450 MHz

The radio is currently connected to a 2m/70cm dual band mag mount that I used to have on the car. Got the mag mount set up on a shelf sitting on a side panel from an old computer case as a ground plane.

Dual band mag mount antenna perched on a shelf connected to a 70 cm mobile radio
Dual band mag mount antenna perched on a shelf connected to a 70 cm mobile radio

The microphone is still functional, but looks like it’s seen better days. The cable covering has become brittle and broken away. Fortunately, replacement cables are available and it’s easy enough to replace.

Yaesu MH-48 hand microphone for the FTM-3207D
Yaesu MH-48 hand microphone for the FTM-3207D

I managed to check into the local ARES net last night using a repeater about 30 miles away with the radio set to high power (55W). Don’t know how I sounded, but it must have been good enough for the net controller to pick me up.

I’ve got a little handheld Arrow 70 cm Yagi antenna, so maybe I’ll work on getting this radio outside to see if I can eavesdrop on some FM satellites, or see what kind of UHF FM simplex I can do.

New 2m shack radio

With the old 2m radio installed in the car, it was time to install the new 2m radio in the shack to replace the old one. We picked up a Yaesu FT-2980 a couple months ago and this weekend’s project was to get it up and running.

A 2m ground plane antenna was installed in the attic a few weeks ago, but I ended up having to reposition it to make it easier to run the coax into the shack. Once that was done, I was able to feed 50 feet of RG-213 coax through the conduit running into the shack with about 10 feet left over which got coiled up next to the antenna.

After a bit of running up and down between the attic and shack, I got the antenna trimmed enough to get ~1.1 SWR across the band.

The weekly ARES net gave me a chance to test out how everything sounded and see how well I was able to get into the nearest repeater. At first, it didn’t seem like I was being heard on the repeater, although I could hear everything going on. After looking up the repeater details, I discovered that I had the wrong CTCSS tone set. Once that was fixed, I had no problem being heard on the repeater.

On a good note, the radiant barrier on the roof sheathing seems to have absolutely no effect on the radio’s ability to pick up RF (in the 2m band at least). I wasn’t expecting the radiant barrier to have any effect, but I occasionally see people in forums say they’re bad for radio. I suppose that would depend on the type of radiant barrier that’s installed. The barrier on my house is just a thin layer of shiny foil type material glued to the back of the roof sheathing and as far as I can tell, doesn’t have any effect on the radio’s ability to hear the local repeaters.

Mobile radio in the car

I finally have a radio installed in my car!

The radio is a Yaesu FT-1802 2m rig that I picked up at the Charleston Hamfest a few years ago. After using it in the shack for a while, it’s finally going mobile thanks to a lot of help and advice from my father-in-law.

I thought running the wires from the radio to the battery would be the tough part, but the hardest part turned out to be finding a decent place to mount the radio. Using a fuse tap to run power from the in-cabin fuse box to the radio turned out to be pretty easy. No need to fish wire out into the engine compartment and to the battery.

Fuse tap connected to the in-cabin fuse box to run power to the radio
Fuse tap to run power to the radio

The best place we found to mount the radio turned out to be against the side of the center console on the driver’s side. It provides reasonable access to the radio and is pretty out of the way. The side panel popped off pretty easily and the radio’s mounting bracket attached quite nicely.

Mounting bracket attached to the center console panel
Mounting bracket attached to the center console panel

The white thing peeking out from behind the console panel is the power connector from the fuse tap. The ground wire is attached to a metal brace behind the console panel.

Installing the radio was just a matter of attaching the radio to the bracket.

The antenna is a simple mag mount stuck to the trunk of the car. I was able to tweak the antenna so that the SWR was in the 1.3 – 1.8 range across the 2m band.

The audio cable I have plugged into the AUX input of the car (normally used to plug into my phone) just happened to be long enough to reach the external speaker jack on the back of the radio, so the radio’s audio gets piped into the car speakers. Sounds pretty good.

Now I need to figure out where to hang the microphone.

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