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Rusty Sidebander, Part II

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Rusty Sidebander, Part II

Post by Bolster » Tuesday, 10 May 2011, 13:43 PM

Starting a new thread, as the previous thread (viewtopic.php?f=67&t=38972" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;) has a lot of photos in it and takes a while to load. Quick review: A Uniden Grant XL (Philippine model) and a Messenger 175 lin amp, mag mount with a 3ft Firestik II antenna...all 1995 vintage.

I finally received an Astatic PDC1 meter in the mail and just finished testing the setup (amp offline...just the radio and the antenna for this test). I thoroughly cleaned the antenna and all connections, thoroughly dried everything. Hooked the PDC1 meter inline, & calibrated it. Then adjusted the antenna's little brass screw at the top, and got myself <1.1:1 from channels 30-40...hardly any needle movement at all. Up to 1.9:1 on channel 1. Not bad, pleased in fact. The old rig is looking good by the SWR meter. Thought I was done, so put the little red vinyl protective cap back on top. Tested SWR one more time at ch 35 and the meter jumped to 2:1! Wow, that little red cap will do that?!? Guess I'll be leaving the cap off!

But the PDC1 meter also measures wattage, which I'd never done before. So I moved the switches from SWR check position (down, and down) to the position for checking a stock radio (up, and up). Was puzzled to find that the PDC1 meter says I'm putting out 1.5 watts!?! Rechecked everything, tried again, 1.5 watts! Now I know something's wrong here. I'm supposed to be outputting 4 watts, stock.

Ideas? Anybody know of a good repair station in Los Angeles?
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Re: Rusty Sidebander, Part II

Post by 231 » Tuesday, 10 May 2011, 15:35 PM

It's not uncommon for radios to put out allot less...especially with a less than optimal standing wave. You have some adjusting to do to the tip. But even then if it's bone stock and nobody has ever been into it, again it's not uncommon to see them do 3w or so. Most manufacturers made sure they had a little 'fudge room' for the feds. They can't complain if they are doing less than 4w. LOL

Just a couple of thoughts. Best of luck.

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Re: Rusty Sidebander, Part II

Post by likes2grill » Tuesday, 10 May 2011, 15:44 PM

"But the PDC1 meter also measures wattage, which I'd never done before. So I moved the switches from SWR check position (down, and down) to the position for checking a stock radio (up, and up). Was puzzled to find that the PDC1 meter says I'm putting out 1.5 watts!?! Rechecked everything, tried again, 1.5 watts! Now I know something's wrong here. I'm supposed to be outputting 4 watts, stock. "

Is that 1.5watts the DK or is that with audio swing also?
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Re: Rusty Sidebander, Part II

Post by Night Crawler » Tuesday, 10 May 2011, 16:55 PM

Before you take the radio somewhere to get repaired check the wattage using a dummyload there are a lot of variables when using an antenna the swr being one of them which will give you an inaccurate reading.

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Re: Rusty Sidebander, Part II

Post by Bolster » Tuesday, 10 May 2011, 17:51 PM

Hi--thanks for the help guys--answering a few questions here.

When I tested standing wave (SWR), my ratio was at less than 1.1:1. That's pretty darned low in my book. That was when I tested the wattage, also. So I don't understand what’s meant by “it’s not uncommon for a radio to put out less, especially with a suboptimal standing wave.” I think the SWR was about as good as I’ll likely see.

I found out subsequently that you have to "tune with the red vinyl tip on the antenna." Ie, take it off, twist the screw, put it on, test, repeat. (Pain, as the tip is hard to remove. I should put a little talc on it.)

1.5 watts either Dead Key or with audio, same difference. (It was set to AM for tuning, not SSB.)

The radio has already been tested with a 50 ohm dummy load at my Ham friend’s shop, two weeks ago. He said the radio looked great under dummy load.

So...I have read that CB/SSB radios just need to be tuned every once in awhile. Given that this radio has been inactive since 1995...do you think it’s time?
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Re: Rusty Sidebander, Part II

Post by Bolster » Thursday, 12 May 2011, 17:27 PM

Interesting.

Took my Uniden to a local CB repairman who was recommended to me, a very pleasant Italian man who has been fixing and tuning CBs since the 1970s. When I picked up the radio today he said, "I took some liberties with your radio...." and explained to me a number of things that I only partly understand.

Apparently, when testing my rig, nobody could receive him well on SSB...he got persistent reports he was off frequency. So the "liberty" he took was converting my clarifier to a slider. I understand this means I'll be able to slightly shift frequency now, but could someone give me a little more detail about what this means?

He also said there were a number of other exacting adjustments that needed to be made, within close tolerances. The radio is now outputting 3 watts on AM. To get it to 4, he said he'd have to replace a lot of components and it wasn't worth it. He also pointed out that the radio peaks at 15 watts on AM and 17-18 on SSB.

What does this report tell you? I'm too stoopid & inexperienced to understand exactly what it means. Thanks.
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Rusty Sidebander, Part II

Post by paBullwinkle » Friday, 13 May 2011, 3:52 AM

Bolster wrote:Interesting.

Took my Uniden to a local CB repairman who was recommended to me, a very pleasant Italian man who has been fixing and tuning CBs since the 1970s. When I picked up the radio today he said, "I took some liberties with your radio...." and explained to me a number of things that I only partly understand.

Apparently, when testing my rig, nobody could receive him well on SSB...he got persistent reports he was off frequency. So the "liberty" he took was converting my clarifier to a slider. I understand this means I'll be able to slightly shift frequency now, but could someone give me a little more detail about what this means?

He also said there were a number of other exacting adjustments that needed to be made, within close tolerances. The radio is now outputting 3 watts on AM. To get it to 4, he said he'd have to replace a lot of components and it wasn't worth it. He also pointed out that the radio peaks at 15 watts on AM and 17-18 on SSB.

What does this report tell you? I'm too stoopid & inexperienced to understand exactly what it means. Thanks.

Your not stupid. If I am understanding right, the tech unlocked and aligned the clarifier. Unlocking makes the transmit and receive track together. I personally would not like an unlocked clarifier because your transmit and receive are tracking together meaning that if you try tuning in another station it could mean a endless cycle of tuning in each other.

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Re: Rusty Sidebander, Part II

Post by 420Snowman » Friday, 13 May 2011, 4:22 AM

I agree with bullwinkle, it would have been nice of him to call and ask you first and then you could have done some research on un locked clarifiers before making that decision. I myself also don't like the clarifiers unlocked, I have not had good luck with that, I spent a LOT of time trying to tune in buddies and they could never get tuned well. They could all hear themselves but couldn't get me tuned in correctly. I am sure you're going to get both sides of the coin with this post and you can make your own decision on whether or not to leave it that way, the mod can be reversed.



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Re: Rusty Sidebander, Part II

Post by Bolster » Friday, 13 May 2011, 9:02 AM

Let me see if I understand. An unlocked clarifier = a "slider." An unmodified (locked) clarifier just tunes (changes frequency of) receive, but an unlocked clarifier (aka a "slider") changes frequency of both transmit and receive together. Do I have that right?

As far as I could understand what the tech was telling me: my radio was transmitting on a frequency significantly different than it was receiving. So with my radio as it was, the tech could receive OK, but anybody listening to the tech on my radio was complaining it was off frequency. I think that's what caused him to make the clarifier modification, to get the transmit and the receive frequency on the same page. But it sounds like what you're saying, is that he should have just moved the transmit frequency where it needed to be, and left the clarifier alone.

He also mentioned something about the mod allowing "between frequency" communications. So an unlocked clarifier is a net disadvantage, then? You're constantly chasing the correct frequency? An unlocked clarifier just causes troubles, no advantages to it? You think I should take it back and ask that the clarifier be "locked" as it was before? The tech was friendly and told me to try the radio, and if anything wasn't to my liking, to bring it back.

I am curious as to whether there are any advantages to an unlocked clarifier "slider." I don't know enough to make the call at this point. Sounds like the two who responded think unlocked is a disadvantage.
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Re: Rusty Sidebander, Part II

Post by 420Snowman » Friday, 13 May 2011, 9:48 AM

I will let someone with a little more tech knowledge dig into that, but from what I understand that's what an unlocked clarifier does, adjusts both I believe

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Re: Rusty Sidebander, Part II

Post by Bolster » Friday, 13 May 2011, 10:10 AM

Wow, I see what you mean, it's controversial, isn't it? I found these discussions on unlocking the clarifier for SSB:

viewtopic.php?f=67&t=38579&p=313721" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
viewtopic.php?f=67&t=33849&p=277584" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
viewtopic.php?f=67&t=26174&p=243218" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Sounds like unlocking's a DISadvantage for SSB if/when:

- two sidebanders are both unlocked, especially when one (or both) have a radio where the Tx and the Rx are slightly misaligned, and/or they don't find each other exactly on the first contact. Then they hunt each other.
- Makes fine adjust more difficult (?)
- bad for multiple radios on a single conversation; you want everyone on the same exact freq.
- apparently illegal.

On the pro side, sounds like unlocking's advantage for SSB if/when:

- can fix a problem of off-frequency transmission, & "some radios need it." (Which was apparently my problem.)
- Allows you to tune in and talk to someone who is off-frequency.
- fine if only one of two radios in a QSO is unlocked, allows the unlocked to transmit on the locked's frequency more exactly.
- "allows you to get away from the AMers," ie, allows more frequencies to be used.
- an advantage for DX (?), and an unlocked clarifier is standard in the Ham world (?).

Does that more or less summarize the argument?
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Re: Rusty Sidebander, Part II

Post by 420Snowman » Friday, 13 May 2011, 10:11 AM

Yea, its just like other topics, everyone has a different experience. Try it for a while and see what you think, maybe you'll like it.



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Re: Rusty Sidebander, Part II

Post by Bolster » Friday, 13 May 2011, 17:44 PM

A quick test this afternoon netted me several QSO's 50 miles the other side of Los Angeles with ease on 38LSB. Looks like my creaky old rig is getting back into shape. Thanks for the help, guys. Much appreciated.

I started another thread asking questions about the use of SSB and AM in emergencies, but that thread got zapped within minutes. Must have been off topic for this forum. Seems to me that our 27mHz frequencies would be ideal as an alternate, emergency comm option, if only it were monitored by first responders. But I'm told that our frequencies aren't monitored for emergencies anymore.
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Re: Rusty Sidebander, Part II

Post by Bolster » Friday, 13 May 2011, 17:46 PM

I forgot to ask:

(1) About this number that sidebanders use to self-identify...where does that come from? You just dream up a number and use it? Are letters allowed?

(2) Does this forum allow you to edit a post, if you make a mistake? I can't find how.
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Re: Rusty Sidebander, Part II

Post by 420Snowman » Saturday, 14 May 2011, 2:38 AM

Yes you can edit your posts, I will pm you how. As far as your " call sign" goes, you can pretty much use whatever you can dream up, letters included. Have fun picking one! OU812 maybe? Wkrp?



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Re: Rusty Sidebander, Part II

Post by 420Snowman » Saturday, 14 May 2011, 3:28 AM

Pm sent sir.

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Re: Re: Rusty Sidebander, Part II

Post by 420Snowman » Saturday, 14 May 2011, 3:30 AM

420Snowman wrote:Yes you can edit your posts, I will pm you how. As far as your " call sign" goes, you can pretty much use whatever you can dream up, letters included. Have fun picking one! OU812 maybe? Wkrp?



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Forgot to say, anything as long as its not the same as a ham operator. You can search the ham call signs to make sure you have a unique sign if you like, just being over cautious.


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Re: Rusty Sidebander, Part II

Post by Bolster » Friday, 20 May 2011, 19:55 PM

Thanks Snowman. Looks like I don't have enough posts to edit my posts yet. I'll try to keep my foot out of my mouth till then.

Well it so happens I do have a HAM license, so could I use half of it? Could I be, for example, "KJ6"? If so, then that's who I am.

I just got a HAM license and so far I must say that 11m SSB is more fun than the line of sight frequencies we get as new Tech's. So far the HAM world (for lowly techs like myself) is all about repeaters. So it's like operating a cell phone with no ability to determine who you talk to.
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Re: Rusty Sidebander, Part II

Post by 420Snowman » Friday, 20 May 2011, 20:18 PM

You have to use all of your assigned call, I don't think you can just use half. Thats the advantage to 11 meter and ssb, you can be whomever you want! Have fun, I also really enjoy ssb and have really good reports from my current base setup and am having the mobile amp rebuilt to include a ssb delay. Can't wait!



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Re: Rusty Sidebander, Part II

Post by paBullwinkle » Saturday, 21 May 2011, 5:22 AM

on 11 meter most people tend to stick to either numbers(ex. 639) or a handle(ex. bullwinkle). What you choose is up to you.

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Re: Rusty Sidebander, Part II

Post by MDYoungblood » Saturday, 21 May 2011, 6:19 AM

Hi Bolster,
Since your radio tech unlocked the clarifier for you he probably also centered the frequencies which is a good thing. It is a matter of opinion about unlocking the clarifier, I personally do it to my ssb radios. Everyone says it is a problem because you continually have to clarify each other but only if the other ssb radio is way off frequency in which I suggest to them to get their radio aligned. You are a amateur radio operator, most of their equipment is not locked frequency or channel like cb and can shift, rit, split, etc. The only thing you have to remember with the clarifier unlocked is put it back to center when you switch the radio to AM. There is going to be a lot of back and forth about this subject like Snowman said.
Now back in the 70's when I started with sideband we had a couple of groups in the MD area, one was the Northeast SSB Club and Chesapeake SSB'ers and that is how I got my calls. 7W21B & 321

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