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A Tour of the Toys Over Time

Updated 25 July 2004

Most people who get involved in hobbies or other obsessional behavior will tell you that there's a lot of junk involved. A very brilliant professor of chemistry may have an office that looks like an explosion in a paper mill. An engineer with great creative genius may be unable to keep track of her car keys without having three extra sets somewhere, just in case. A person with a radio hobby will accumulate equipment just because it looks nice sitting on a shelf. And some people will fight hard and long to keep whatever space they are allowed for their hobby from falling into looking like a Kansas City outhouse after a tornado blows through.
    I am one of those. So I offer a few pictures here of the various opulent and spacious versions of amateur radio locus as is possible. Some of my earlier days in radio are photos hidden somewhere in my wife's meticulous collection of family snapshots &c. Me? I've got these two or three that I've come across by accident & decided needed aired.

Fresh out of the US Navy & Living in Fairborn, Ohio
circa 1973-1975


The 1973 Station
a Ten Tec Argonaut & 50 W amp, h/b power supply/speaker & a homebrew pi-network antenna tuner. The clock you see in this picture is still around, though not in use.
After I got out of the USN I lived for a while at my parents' house in Kettering, Ohio. About 1973 I moved into an apartment shared with a friend from college. This was my hippie period, as you can guess from the looks of my mug in this picture. The set up wasn't much. I barely had an antenna & made very few contacts. Most of my time was spent working in the composing room of a weekly newspaper & trying to keep track of various friends, girlfriends &c. Around 1974 I met Cindy & we started hanging around together. The second hamvention I ever went to, Cindy went with me. I consider that to have been a good sign. We got married in 1974. We had moved out of this location by then.
The Radio Shack at the New Carlisle Digs
circa 1979-1985

The Greenheart set-up
Note the most purposely outfitted & powerful station I've had. You can see the Drake TR7, a h/b LW tuner, the Heath Warrior amp, nicknamed "Bozo," and other doodads. A 45 ft tower with a home-brew 3-element beam & various dipoles served as antennas. I chased a lot of serious DX & did a few contests with this station.
Cindy & I got married in 1974. Like two characters in a Jackson Brown song, we had an apartment near a highway overpass for about a year. We moved to a rental house outside New Carlisle then so we could raise our first child away from the city lights. Somewhere I've got a picture of that particular station (at the apartment & at the house).
    This is the shack at the next place we lived, on the northwest end of New Carlisle, Ohio. By the time this shack was put together, Cindy & I had been married six years. After my father died in 1982, the wall between the garage . & the radio shack was moved to allow me to put a cast iron printing press in the space. The picture above is from just before that time, around 1981 or so.  Kinda wish I still had that station up.
The Radio Shack Outside in the Medway Outhouse
inside the outhouse shed
circa 1987-1999

This is a shot of the organized end of the outhouse shed set up. It's pretty much the same station as at the former digs (above) but laid out in a different way. There's room for a work area where I could attempt to control the universe. Note the .36 cal. cap & ball pistol for getting rid of stuff that don't work any more.
Cindy & Ian & I moved to Medway in 1985. Most of my concern moving in had been to find a good stash for all the printshop stuff. That took care of about 200 ft of floor space. Left for the radio set-up was a card table & some wire tacked into the roof rafters.
   About 1986 I started clearing out a shed on the property that had been an outhouse for another building which had been rented to a biker. In the end I put a reasonable shack & kit/home-brew building area. There is no heat out there and in the summer various insects try to get in the windows. Only in the spring and on cool days was the shed "shack" anywhere near comfortable. Evenso I would spend a lot of time out there, fiddling with stuff and occasionally getting on the air with some of the "old gang" who still know which buttons to push.
   As shacks go, it wasn't a bad set-up. I even had a tower of sorts, but it listeding to the north. A few passes with a hacksaw & a yank on the guy lines & it was history.
The Radio Shack Inside at the Medway Madhouse
Version One
circa 1999-2001

This is one of the corners of the small room that is now the radio shack. I think there are 15 radios in here. There's an R-174 receiver, a Sony ICF7600G, a h/b solid-state amp, the Elecraft K2 transceiver, an SG-2020 and a h/b QRP ATU. The black boxes on the shelves are antenna switching & a remote ATU/ant switch in the outhouse shack. The antenna system is pretty simple.
Around 1990, after Ian left home & was on his own, I moved some stuff into the house. I built shelves for my books and then added shelves underneath and around those shelves for other stuff. Eventually I ended up with a shelf that hangs out over the top of the desk just enough to allow me to put the present station equipment up & out of the way. The biggest part of the arrangement was making room for my collection one of the wall of booksof over 600-plus books on communication, linguistics, cognition & literacy. All that clutter probably explains why I got into QRP again. Small radios leave more room for books! And haven't said anything about the plaques, pictures & other deteriorata that clutter up a space not much bigger than the radio room on a small ship.
The Radio Shack Inside at the Medway Madhouse
Version Two
circa 2002-present

I replaced the K2 & SG2020 an IC-718 (a solid HF transceiver & SWL HF & VLF receiver) and an IC-706Mk2G 6m, 2m and 70cm, all mode rig that runs cross band/cross mode. That made me think -- however briefly -- about amateur satellite work. The '718 is a great all-around rig. The '706 is a perfect beach & vacation HF/VHF/UHF radio.
The homebrew ATU is still there, as is the Sony ICF7600. I rehabilitated the old TR7 power supply to run the '718, since that radio has a very good VLF receiver that is absolutely blocked by the Samlex switching power supply that runs the '706.
   The D104 I picked up at the 2003 Hamvention for a couple bucks, not knowing that the element in it was shot. And yes, the bookshelves are still there, as is the R-174 receiver that's been moved to a bookshelf that holds that radio & its power supply and tech manuals for all the radios. It's a very nice set-up, even with the 6m, 2m and 440 MHz antennas up in the attic pretty much right over my head.
At which point we can move along to the next page.


Copyright 2004 Nils R. Bull Young