WB9CTH - 1970 Station Tour

Greg Ordy (W8WWV)

My first amateur radio station was in DeKalb, Illinois. DeKalb is located about 60 miles west of Chicago, and is the home of Northern Illinois University. I obtained my license during my high school years. My first real radio was a Heathkit HW-100. For many decades, Heathkit sold a wide range of high quality kit products. As electronic components became smaller, more integrated, and more complex, the Heathkit approach became impractical, as did the company. Still, their radio products have a special meaning to those that built and operated them.

HW-100 with matching power supply and microphone Here are the components of the HW-100 package.The transceiver was combined with a speaker/power supply unit and a microphone.
HW-100 front panel The HW-100 front panel was simple, but highly functional. AF and RF gain in the lower right, below the meter switch. In the upper right you might be able to detect a small switch that I added to select two different AGC rates. The VFO tuned 500 KHz, and was labeled 0 - 500. The bandswitch placed the VFO at the start of the 80, 40, 20, 15, and 10 meter bands. This was long before WARC bands.
Inside the HW-100 Here's a look inside the radio. For the very young in the audience, the funny looking tall objects are vacuum tubes. The finals, a pair of 6146's, were located in the shielded box in the rear left corner.

With 20 vacuum tubes glowing away, the radio could become quite warm. If you have visited my pets page, you will have met my cat, Chan, who used to love to sleep on the radio while it was powered up.

During the DeKalb years, we lived in an apartment building. Thankfully, it was on the top floor (the third floor), and on the end. This gave me at least some glimmer of hope for an outside antenna. I experimented with several configurations, and settled on a single end-fed long wire antenna, which ran from my bedroom window, around the corner of the building, across the side of building, around the next corner, and terminated at our balcony. What made this design work was the fact that the building facade was brick, and I could hide the thin wire along the mortar line between the bricks. It provided mechanical support as well as some degree of disguise.

Here's a picture of the building. I have highlighted the location of the wire. With this wire, I worked the world. Being near the top of the sunspot cycle didn't hurt either.

End-def long wire antenna around apartment

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Last update: Sunday, September 29, 2002 11:04 PM
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