A quiet weekend ?Jobs in the shack!

January 2017:
A major change in the shack has been a new Realistic DX 160 receiver that I inherited middle of 2016. This was timely as I had just removed the FRG8800 as it had no rx on AM or SSB.
The DX160 is practically mint condition with speaker and am quite pleased with the on air performance. Certainly beats hands down the Realistic DX300!
Well, the FRG8800 was relegated to the work shop. It was not long out from there due to the flashing display / PLL lock repair.
This was August 2016 and, although having looked at it a number of times and working through circuit diagrams, I was yet to determine the fault.
Yesterday I had some luck and it was so simple. I noticed a cable connector to the front control board was unplugged (how had I missed this? I probably caused it in the first place!) and plugging it in got things working. 🙂

Next problem was where to put it as the DX160 was now in the FRG8800 location. Nan did not want a receiver in the family room and for some reason the bedroom was out of the question!20170122_144142

Receivers: Realistic DX 300, Yaesu FRG7, Yaesu FRG8800 with FRT7700 & FRA7700, Realistic DX160, Sony ICF-SW7600GR, Realistic Pro 2006 & Pro 2010. Mostly old but still working. Bought the DX300 as I could not afford a FRG7 at the time.

Recently at home, due to the removal of a neighbour’s tree, I was forced to reinvent the general purpose HF wire antenna.
This antenna started off as an 80 metre dipole and then a doublet, supported by the tree on the nature strip and the tree overhanging our back yard.
Well, after 10 years, the council wanted the wire out of “their” tree due to a complaint – new next door neighbour / builder / developer who also took a dislike to the roof mounted antenna array.
Mk11 version had the same antenna become a loop, sort of a horizontal delta loop that happened to be resonant on 40 metres. It did tune on 80 metres but not as effective as the previous flat top. This was not a major problem as 80 metres was (and still does) suffer from major qrm most of the time so I tended not to use it.
I probably got 10 years out of this configuration.

Mk111, thanks again to new neighbours / builders / developers saw the tree replaced with a very attractive heritage green metal pole 5.5 metres high mounted in the very back corner of the property – a match to the opposite corner. This time, instead of a loop, I have run a stub down from what was once the centre position of the loop and am experimenting on performance on 160m, 80m as well as other bands (have a tri band yagi for 20, 15 & 10m plus 6 elements on 6m). This is a work in progress.

FYI, the open wire feedline is made up of split figure 8 flex and uses sheet flooring joining strips as spreaders. The separation is 100mm and length 27 metres.
Each original 17.5m leg has been extended by 5.5 metres (23m) that runs across the back of the property with the stub hanging down from the middle and horizontally along the fence rail (not easily accessible from either side). The vertical drop is about 4 metres and horizontal about 8 metres.
I will continue to experiment with the length and orientation of the stub.


Next project is to repair the feedline to the 2 metre yagi!
To do this, I will have to lower the mast. Not too bad, just remove the rotator which is mounted inside the roof and then use the brake winch to lower the mast inside an internal wall: thus lowering everything by 2.7 metres. Just have to get motivated and also pick some stable WX. March perhaps?


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2 thoughts on “A quiet weekend ?Jobs in the shack!

  1. Hi Tony, love to read stories of the DX-160. I too have my first communications receiver which I purchased at the age of 16 from a Tandy store in Boronia, yep she’s a DX-160 in full working order. I particularly like the vernier scale. In my youth I spent hundreds of hours listening to radio amateurs, aircraft and ships at sea. I made a small homebrew T match for LF through to 30 MHz, having read this post I am motivated to install a long wire for the DX-160. Will the radio fit on my shack bench? Post and photos to follow. 🙂

    73 Andrew VK1AD

    • Andrew, I always liked the look of the DX 160. Those days the Tandy catalogue was a must read! Good marketing to a receptive mind.
      By the time I could afford to buy my first receiver in 79/80 (Just CB in Mitcham), it had been succeeded by the DX 300. Yaesu FRG 7 was still available but out of my price bracket. I thought I was lucky to pick up a near new DX300.
      Unfortunately it never set the world on fire and went deaf (input FET died).
      Finally picked up a FRG 7 in good condition from the MDRC hamfest and that spurred me on to fix the DX 300.
      Neither of these Wadley Loop designs are great for quick band changing so I picked up the FRG8800 with VHF converter. This had been on my list when new but never eventuated.
      The DX 160 rx is close to that of the FRG 8800
      The FRG 7 lacks a bit in sensitivity, particularly on medium wave.
      Either way, these old receivers certainly have a presence!

      BTW, started off with an old portable short wave receiver plus the MW chassis from an old radiogram. Lots of exposed HV. Dad also brought home from JA toy Hand Helds on 27.240 mHz.
      Instead of studying for my economics exam, I was working out how crystal synthesis worked on a Roberts RCB-55. Dare I say it went places it was not supposed to and was extremely unstable with a home brew TX/RX delta tune.

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