Field Day – ’29 Style!

courtesy: WA3TTS & NO3M
Although the first ARRL Field Day was in the summer of '33, Eric (NO3M) and some of his friends decided to set up and run a '29-style operation during last weekend's annual event. Thanks to Mike, WA3TTS for the camera work.

In Eric's own words:

I had a 1920/1930s style Field Day setup this weekend and a bunch of guys over.  80M doublet with homebrew open wire line (approx 550 ohm), the transmitter was a 27-24-24-865 job more or less straight out of July 1931 QST, but with a Hartley instead of crystal oscillator.  27 tuned to 80M, first 24 to 40M, second 24 also 40M, and the 865 on 40M.  About 10W.  Never did get a chance to try her out on 20M by using the second 24 as a doubler.

I also built the complementary amplifier using a 203A from the August 1931 QST article.  I had not even tested the amplifier, only having been finished at 1AM Saturday morning!!  It is somewhat different in that the grid circuit is composed of the driving rig's antenna coupling coil/cap, re-wired to be in parallel, not series, of course.  It was coined as being a good amp for any existing power oscillator or MOPA,  We did a quick job of neutralizing while the gang was here and fired it up..... no modern measurement devices in sight, so we were only going on RF current.   0.9 amps into 50 ohm (pre-tuned the homebrew link coupled, balanced tuner with an analyzer beforehand)... so about 40 watts.  I was hoping for 100W.... anyways, after most guys left, a couple of us starting messing around with it more, mainly tightening the output coupling of the MOPA and amp tanks.  NICE!  1.45 amps, ie. 105W on 40M.

Anyways, I'll have a full writeup and photos on my website in a few days.  We used an HRO5 for a receiver; everyone commented on how good it sounded and well it handled.  Of course, this is from a bunch of guys that grew up with this stuff and/or has owned one at one time or another.  Everyone had a great time and lots of good discussion and visiting, including 153 QSOs with that pile of junk!

73 Eric NO3M

Most will agree that Eric's station is far from a "pile of junk" as his superb homebrewing skills are clearly evident! Setting up this old style gear can be challenging at any time, but doing it for an outside weekend operation must have been a ton of work. Well done Eric!

For more information about building and operating '29-style transmitters, see the links on my blog sidebar.
Steve McDonald, VE7SL, is a regular contributor to and writes from British Columbia, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].

3 Responses to “Field Day – ’29 Style!”

  • Joe Cro N3IBX:

    Hello Eric, many thanks for posting this to the Amateur Newsletter and mentioning it on the Maple Syrup Net a few weeks ago. I particularly am very interested in this type of operation with the equipment you are using. I think it is a lot of fun! I even have a bit of this type of equipment myself that I occasionally get on the air with. I’m mainly interested in AM work but can be convinced to do other modes as well.

    I wish you the best of luck and hope to be able to talk to you on the “MSN” again that is on every Wednesday at 8PM on 3.843 KC LSB +.-.

    Very best regards,
    Joe Cro N3IBX

  • Neil, w0yse:

    That was fun to read and view. Thanks to Eric, Mike, and Steve for sharing it. Nice construction work by Eric !! Very cool !!!

  • Randy Prewitt, K4LJA:

    A big pat on the back to Mike, Eric and Steve. Really enjoyed the videos and greatly envied the construction work. Wonderful job … and many more contacts than I got as I piddled around during Field Day. Thanks for sharing with us. 73… Randy – K4LJA

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