[AMRadio] AWA Conference (long) & somewhat OT

Larry Szendrei ne1s at neandertech.com
Sat Aug 27 08:58:40 EDT 2005

I just returned home from the AWA Annual Conference in Rochester, NY,
last nite at about 8:00PM. I made the trip with Bruce, W1UJR. We arrived
Tuesday nite and left around noon yesterday. I realize the conference is
not over until tonight, but time and $ limitations prevented me from
staying until the end.

My primary interests were the flea market, the AWA Museum and Annex,
seeing and meeting new friends, and the old equipment contest. On the
last item, Sam Beverage, W1MGP, had given us an old Western Electric 25B
amplifier to enter in the contest, as the theme this year was "Western
Electric," and then donate to the AWA museum. This amplifier is a
compact by heavy floor-standing unit in an octagonal shape - it looks
like it could be an electric space heater. There is no internal speaker,
and it uses two type 205A "tennis ball" triodes. It's vintage is
mid-20's or so. There were many extremely interesting items in the
contest, for example: 1) the original breadboard superhet on which AVC
was developed and first implemented - It used battery triodes (01's or
01A's, I think) throughout, 2) a homebrew rotating spiral-mirror
mechanical television display, 3) Eddy Swyner's (VE3CUI) 1929 MOPA using
a 27 driving a pair of 27's. (I looked for Eddy, as I would have loved
to meet him in person after all these years, but our paths didn't cross.
Eddy - were you there, or did you have someone else bring your rig to
the conference?)
We did not stay long enough to see the results of the contest.

The flea market didn't have a great deal in the way of amateur gear -
most of the stuff is related to collectable entertainment electronics.
But there were a lot of vintage parts, tubes, sockets, ceramic
insulators, stand-offs, etc., which are my main interest. I saw a Heath
DX-60, a Hallacrafters S-38D, an HRO-50 or 60 (didn't look closely; too
many other distractions), a couple of older HROs, a couple of National
SW-3's. Stu, W2AO, was selling really cute homebrew transmitter with a
single 807 in a wooden mini-rack, very nicely constructed. This is not a
complete list, I'm sure there was other stuff I didn't pay much
attention to and am not remembering now. As usual, there were plenty of
wooden console radios, 20's battery sets, (very expen$ive) catalin
radios, old transistor portables, tube-type high-fidelity gear, horn and
cone speakers, and phonographs (some old mechanical ones).

I came home with:

1) lots of breadboard-mount 4-pin tube sockets
2) some NOS adjustable grid-leaks (parallel cap integral with the
adjustable resistor)
3) the Alice Schumacher (sp?) Hiram Percy Maxim biography
4) CQ Sideband Handbook by Don Stoner
5) a very interesting and somewhat ratty, but quite restorable, 1920's
broadcast battery set ("Buckingham," never heard of it), for $5. No
tubes in it (probably uses 01's throughout), interesting ganged tuning
arrangement, and an (intact!) moving-film dial arrangement. The panel is
a unique, attractive simulated wood grain on metal with two strips of a
machined "swirl" pattern on the metal - difficult to describe. There was
no cabinet.
6) and yes, I bought one of the SW-3's - I've wanted one for a long
time, but couldn't justify the typical asking price. This one is
complete, and very restorable, and has one coil set ("61," 12-23 MHz).
Bottom plate is quite rusty, but otherwise the cabinet has a few places
with minor surface rust and missing paint. It is the model using
2.5VAC tubes. The audio coupling unit looks good to my ohmmeter, but the
voltage divider resistor has two open sections (no big deal). I'll be
anxious to fire up this one! I was fortunate to have gotten this for $45.

The AWA Museum and Annex visit on Wednesday night was as impressive and
mind-blowing as my 1st visit 3 years ago. Just imagine OD'ing on old
radio gear, and multiply the result by 100! There's no way I can
describe it and come close to doing it justice, just make it a point to
go there sometime. The James Millen (W1HRX) station in the Annex was up
and running. This is James Millen's own homebrew AM transitter in 3
(yes, three) six-foot racks, and his own HRO receiver. I called several
CQ's on 3837 KHz, then 3885 KHz, on Wednesday night, but could not get
anyone to answer. We were putting out 250W of carrier, and were heard
over at the museum a mile away, at least (!). Just no one listening at
the time who wanted to talk to us, I guess. I must have called CQ on and
off for at least 20 minutes; very unusual not to get a response that
time of day in this part of the country.

Finally, and the best part, we had a great time hanging out with and
talking radio with the following folks:

Bob Raide, W2ZM
Ed Gable, W2MP
Bill Fizette, W2DGB
Dave, KA2J, who gave us a tour or his beautiful shack (~4 miles or so
from the Conference)
Bob Mcteague
Marty Reynolds, AA4RM
Geoff Bourns
Stu, W2AO
Gary, WA4IAM
Don, N9OO
George Rancourt (can't remember George's callsign at the moment)
Ken Owens

This was the first time I had met Marty, Geoff, Don, Ken, and Stu, in
person. I've worked Marty and Stu several times over the years, though,
mostly in AWA events. I'm sure I'm leaving some folks out of the above
list; I'm just having trouble remembering ALL the great conversations
I've had with people over the past few days.

What a vacation!


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