Atlas 210X HF radio

One of the items in the KB4NNM (SK) collection that was donated to the club earlier this year was an Atlas 210X 5-band HF radio mounted in a 220-CS AC console. The console allows the radio to be operated off mains power, provides a speaker and VOX capabilities.

Atlas 210X mounted in a 220-CS AC console
Atlas 210X mounted in a 220-CS AC console

It’s a pretty nice looking setup. Until I did a bit of research on the radio, I didn’t realize that the radio and console were separate items. Turns out, the radio just slides into the console, and connects using some 1/4″ plugs and a banana jack-like connector for the antenna.

Atlas 210X removed from the console
Atlas 210X removed from the console

Sounds like the radio works, although the speaker produces a buzzing noise (60Hz hum I think) even when the radio’s AF gain is turned all the way down. Turning some of the dials and switches produces some static-y noises, so it sounds like those will need some cleaning. Haven’t had a look inside the radio yet. That will be later.

This seems like it might be a nice radio to use in the club room.

Field Day 2020

Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, Field Day was a bit different this year. No big gatherings, and many of the public spaces that normally hosted Field Day this year were closed or only permitted small groups. With some modified rules for Field Day this year, there were a lot of Class D stations (commercial power) on the bands this year.

We got our back yard Field Day set up (1D SC) and invited neighbours over. Set out a few items for people to check out, and got the radio fired up. Had a few of our nearby neighbours over, and another person stopped by with her grandkids later in the afternoon.

We were able to show off radio operating during Field Day, talk about some of the things amateur radio operators do on the radio, shared radio stories, and show off radio related paraphernalia like QSL cards, boat anchors, Morse Code keys and some of the kits I’ve put together.

Plenty of activity on 10m today, which was where I spent most of the afternoon in seek and pounce mode. The pileups were thick and a bit challenging to get through, but I was able to make it through a few of them. 10m started to slow down as the afternoon went on, so I dropped down to 20m where there was even more activity. Worked a few stations there and popped back up to 10m to get one of our newly minted Tech friends her first HF QSO. Then it was back down to 20m for a few more contacts until the mosquitoes got bad enough to make me call it a day. I ended up with 22 QSOs in the log, with the last few getting out to the west coast.

Even though this year wasn’t a typical Field Day, it was still a good radio weekend.

More boat anchors

Every now and then, as president of the local amateur radio club, I’ll get an email from someone looking to donate radio gear to the club so that it can be put to use by someone. I usually arrange for myself or one of the other club members to go pick up the gear, and we’ll check it out. We’re always appreciative of donations like this and usually the equipment ends up with new hams starting out in the hobby.

The most recent email I received a few days ago didn’t say what kind of equipment it was and when I arrived to pick up the gear, I was quite surprised. The equipment donated by the family turned out to be not amateur radio gear, but two sets of old surplus US Navy communications equipment dating back to 1944 and 1945. Pretty cool museum pieces.

There were also a couple of old CB radios and some mag mount antennas but compared to the main haul, they seemed somewhat incidental.

Surplus US Navy communications equipment
Some unexpected equipment

On the outside they’re not in the greatest shape, and appear to have been sitting around in storage for at least a few decades. Most of the pieces had lots of built up dirt and dust, and a lot of flaking paint. And they were heavy.

Each set has a transmitter, receiver, power unit, antenna loading coil, and remote control unit. All of them look like they might have been cannibalized for parts at some point.

An instruction manual even came with the collection, luckily enough. Should be helpful with the restoration.

Model TCS-13 instruction book
Model TCS-13 instruction book

The power rectifier units were the heaviest of all the units, and each of them appeared to have had a few parts repurposed from them.

They’ve definitely seen better days.

I kind of doubt they can be restored to operating condition, but I think at least one set can be cleaned up enough to use as a display piece, maybe for the club room. I’ll have to see if there are any club members interested in restoring boat anchor gear who might want to make a club project out of this. Should be a fun project to work on.

Field Day 2019

Didn’t get to spend as much time doing Field Day this year as I have in the past. Made it out to the Yorktown around 1PM and setup was still going on. Got the generator fueled up, plugged in the extension cord and we were ready to go.

Listening for call signs

It looks like I’m logging a contact here, but I’m just trying to pick out the call sign of a station amid all the noise and other nearby stations.

Spent a few hours operating at the station. Started with phone, but got tired of listening to the noise after a while and switched over to RTTY. A lot less RTTY activity on 20 m and 40 m than I expected (that the radio could hear anyway) but managed a few contacts over an hour or so.

Wasn’t able to make it out on Sunday because of injuring my foot trying to navigate my way around the ship. Missed a step and when I landed on my foot, it bent in a way that it shouldn’t have. Nothing broken, fortunately, but really sore and made walking around difficult.

Turn out for this year’s Field Day was pretty light. Not sure how many people came out for the evening/night shift, but there were only a handful of people during the time I was there.

With club members getting up there in age, maybe it’s time to find an easier to access Field Day location.

Museum Ships Weekend 2019

This year’s Museum Ships Weekend was a lot of fun.

Started with the USS Yorktown (WA4USN) on Saturday. By the time I got to the ship, Tom/AJ4UQ had already racked up about 100 QSOs. Then he had to leave, so I had the radio all to myself for the next few hours. Spent a couple hours hunting ships on 20m and 40m to make sure we’d have enough to earn the certificate from NJ2BB (need 15 ships in the log). Then I found a clear frequency on 20m, parked and started calling. Didn’t take long for the pileup to happen, and added another 60 or so contacts to the log before I had to call it a day. Band conditions were decent with contacts from the northeast and across to Texas and Alabama. Some propagation up to the midwest as well.

Sunday we activated the USS Laffey (NT4HI) and the USS Clamagore (NJ4DU). Tom had the idea to alternate activating the Laffey and Clamagore about every hour or so, with him activating NT4HI while I activated NJ4DU. Seemed to work out pretty well. Working pileups can get tiring so being able to switch up periodically was helpful. We definitely had pileups going for both ships. Lots of fun. Lots of contacts from Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and Texas today. Also had some propagation up to the northeast and midwest again too. Had a few Wisconsin and Michigan stations in the log for both ships.

Ended up with close to 200 contacts for each ship today. Pretty good weekend on the air.