on the Prototype
CE 100V receiver
W9DYV Boat Anchor Field Day is in the Books
for photos ...)
to Ham Nation!
weather was excellent and the company absolutely superb at
this first annual W9DYV Boat Anchor Field Day. Many attendees
were a virtual Who’s Who of vintage radio enthusiasts including
Bob Heil K9EID; Brian Thompson NI6Q; Mark Mumaw NU6X; Bob
Sullivan WØYVA; George Maier W1LSB; Joel Thurtell K8PSV
In typical field day fashion, as it was in the 1950s-60s,
the equipment gave us a few initial trials of patience: The
generator failed to started, of course. Larry Labry, KC5DYL,
did an on-the-spot carburetor rebuild and then we had juice….and
soon after - smoke. The line voltage was an elevated 135 volts
and the two HV caps in the Central Electronics 200V soon gave
us a snappy and quite colorful 73. Fortunately, we were amply
prepared. In due course and under the watchful eyes of WØYVA,
W1LSB, NU6X and NI6Q we were soon operational with a variac-adjusted
115vac power feed and a much happier CE 200V.
But, not so fast folks!
An intermittent antenna relay within the Johnson Matchbox
once again had us sidelined and head-scratching…. In all fairness,
a Johnson Matchbox has four principal parts so how difficult
can this be - right?? All we are willing to admit is it can
and it was! In the end, a fine fashion of ham ingenuity of
the First Order saved the day and soon the W9DYV rig - CE
200V exciter, 600L amplifier, Johnson 275 watt Matchbox and
Drake 2A receiver - was on the air with a 130-foot dipole
fed with 130-feet of 450-ohm line in the vintage way.
Yes, this type of antenna works on all bands. No, it isn’t
a contester’s delight when the order of the day is band surfing
at hyper-speed. A key observation found operating a vintage
station that does not transceiver seems to be this: pick a
frequency and don’t move frequently, so to speak! The popular
Search-and-Pounce technique doesn’t do well in the vintage
rig environment as this equates to a lot of wasted time zero-beating
the transmitter which translates into a lot of added work
for marginal benefit. By the time you get everything ready
to make a contact, the guy you wanted may be long gone.
The most fun had was when we would camp out on one spot and
make enough noise and gain enough attention to generate a
mini-pileup. Now, that’s when the fun started! By the way,
our Field Day rig did a fine job into Europe as we had S-9+
reports from station in Spain and Germany. Yet, one of the
real reasons for this event station was not Field Day, per-se,
but to share thoughts, ideas and experiences in rebuilding
vintage radio gear – not just CE gear, but all others. Even
the most experienced guys learned a few new tricks and you
could see light bulbs lighting up in people’s eyes as a newly
found hint or kink hit resonance.
Of course, the biggest reason of all for attending this year’s
Boat Anchor Field Day was to meet Wes Schum and see him reunited
with the legendary and sole-surviving Central Electronics
100R Receiver Prototype. Not wishing to steal any of Bob Heil’s
thunder, please make it a point to tune into HamNation on
Wednesday nights for the next several weeks as Bob dials up
behind-the-scene glimpses and surprises yielded from the event
and the man, himself, Wes W9DYV.
We wish to thank all who participated, both on-site and the
many stations who wished us well on the air. Operating a vintage
SSB station in any contest gives you an awareness of why contest
scores were so generally low in the 1950s as compared to today.
Operating those rigs was and is WORK. That said, having to
adapt on-the-fly is what Field Day is all about - working
through adversity and making whatever rig you have operational
through raw ingenuity by applying theory to practice and stretching
the limits of the parts you have on-hand. No matter how many
spares you have, it is certain that the one part you really
need is at home, whistling in the wind. That’s when
the real fun begins!
On behalf of our team, we would like to thank the ARRL, HamNation
and Electric Radio for helping get the word out about the
first annual W9DYV Boat Anchor Field Day. Please make it a
point to be at W9DYV next year…the food was great, the bands
were open and the tall tales simply outstanding!
73, Nick K5EF
June 24th, 2013
photos of last year's meet here!