[AMRadio] Retro 75

LEE BAHR pulsarxp at embarqmail.com
Thu Apr 8 14:56:55 EDT 2010

I have a Retro 75 and it is great.  I also don't represent Dave Benson the 
designer.  That said I think Dave decided to design a simple fun radio to 
build which is very usable at a very attractive price.  As I see it, putting 
a rig like this on 10 meters will require more parts, more stability, and 
much more expensive crystals, plus a more costly output transistor.  The 
aligning would be more involved too.  This design was for a nostalgic return 
to the past with an inexpensive price.  I doubt you will see a ten meter 
version ever produced.  Maybe if the 80 meter kit took off, you might see 
one for 160 meters or even 40 meters but that would be it.  You can't take 
months designing something, kitting it and then only sell 50 kits at $65.00. 
Understand too, there is a great financial stress on anyone coming up with 
the needed operating crystals at an affordable price.  You can't supply a 
$30.00 crystal in a $65.00 kit.  It's got to be in the $3.00 range. How many 
guys want to have 2000 made for $2.00 each and sell them for $3.00?  It 
would take a club with a great designer with everyone doing all the work for 
free and then charging a near cost price for the kit to sell an AM rig for 
10 meters at around $80 with no cabinet included.  (I used a very nice Ten 
Tec cabinet for around $6.00 for this project).

I also, just built, a Ft Tuthill 80 CW transceiver offered by the Scorpians 
QRP group.  They kitted the transceiver for $50.00 and it is VFO controlled 
with around a plus 50 khz tuning range.  This too is a really nice nice kit. 
It works very nicely and is very stable.  (I made a great looking home made 
case for this radio out of PC board material so the radio fits into the box 
like a glove)   I think a VFO approach to 10 meters would be better then 
using a costly crystal on ten meters.  Of course, at this frequency, it 
would take some effort producing a stable oscillator.

"Through hole" parts are also becoming obsolete.  Spending time designing a 
transceiver only to find out parts in your design are now no longer 
available is not too exciting for a designer.  How many guys out there per 
centage wise, want to build something with 150 surface mount parts?  Then 
too, how many designers want to "help" guys who have built this surface 
mount wonder when after it is turned on for the first time and it doesn't 

The other problem I see is as the price increases, the demand falls off.  I 
think many of todays hams would prefer a SSB radio over an AM or FM radio. 
You start getting into $150.00 for radio and cabinet and many are going to 
start questioning, "Do I want to spend $150 for a one band radio?  The more 
you add to the project the more considerations need to be addressed.  The 
considerations are not all electrical but the social ones become more 

I have been licensed since 1953.  I love to build and restore radios.  I 
love boat anchors and also QRP as I can restore stuff and build stuff.  I 
rarely operate because I have very little in common with most hams today and 
don't belong to any "group" operating on one frequency.  When I do operate 
it is usually on CW or talking to a close friend.  I own a KW broadcast 
transmitter, KW-1 all the way down to an Ameco AC-1 clone and many QRP rigs. 
Just my thoughts.

Lee, w0vt

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "CL in NC" <mjcal77 at yahoo.com>
To: <amradio at mailman.qth.net>
Sent: Thursday, April 08, 2010 7:14 AM
Subject: Re: [AMRadio] Retro 75

> This is a neat little rig, but I agree with the fellow who said he thought 
> a 10 meter version would be great.  Before the first iteration of the Ten 
> Ten club, when it seemed like all my DX QSO's on 10 were with the British 
> and Australians and they seemed to always be running a rhombic antenna, I 
> remember a record being set with QRP.  I believe it was 50 milliwatts of 
> AM signal established a contact between New Zealand and the US somewhere. 
> My little DX60 and I also never made a contact above 29mc, since all the 
> box SSB gear only had one crystal for ten, 28.5 - 29, and they never 
> seemed to venture above 28.7 or so at the time.
> Charlie W4MEC

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