Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Monday's 'NRN' CW Fun

My homebrew Ameco AC-1 clone

A weekly CW operating activity that seems to be growing in popularity is the Monday “NRN”.

The NRN get-togethers are an offshoot of the annual “NRR” or Novice Rig Roundup. Monday’s “Novice Rig Night” gradually grew from those that wanted to see the NRR fun continue, in one form or another, without waiting an entire year for the event to roll around again.

Operating times run from sunup on the east coast to midnight on the west coast ... but basically, people just get on the air whenever they can on Monday and call “CQ NRN”. I suspect that most of the activity takes place between late afternoon and bedtime, with 40m probably seeing the most action. As winter arrives, we may see more activity on 80m but these are only my personal observations from the west coast.

Most folks are using typical Novice-era transmitters and / or receivers, with the Drake 2NT, early Heathkits, Eicos, homebrews and Hammarlunds being popular. The previous Monday I was active with my homebrew Ameco AC-1 clone, a 6V6 crystal power oscillator, at about 6 watts out. Good contacts were had with several eastern stations. There are several AC-1s around and there has been at least one suggestion of an 'AC-1 Night' ... what fun that would be as well!

For last night’s NRN, I brought out my homebrew Paraset.

Once again, good contacts were had with the easterners on 40m: W9BRD in NJ, W3NP in WV,  KD2E in NJ and VE3LYX using his No.19 tank radio ... two WWII radios talking to each other in 2018, one real and one a reproduction!

VE3LYX's No.19 set operating position
The Paraset uses a two-tube regenerative receiver and, like the AC-1, a single 6V6 crystal controlled power oscillator. It's always difficult to judge propagation conditions when listening with a regen ... are conditions as bad as they seem or is it just my simple receiver making the band sound poorer than usual? Such was the case for me last night so next week I will spark-up the Paraset once again for another round of NRN fun. As promised on the NRR Facebook page (now at 1600+ members!), all Paraset contacts will be confirmed with my mid-30s styled QSL and these will be going out this week.

Here is the formal announcement for the Monday events, with a few additional details. Hopefully you can join the fun (any rig is fair game!), next week.


Tom K4ZAD said...


Your Paraset is a thing of real beauty - well done.

Don Dulmage said...

TNX for the fun Steve. Never thought I would ever have a Paraset on the other end of the qso.And the AC1 the week before. Tnks fir making Radio fun again!

Steve McDonald said...

Thanks Tom and Don for your comments. Don, it seems to me that radio is always fun for you but working you on the 19 set was a new one for me as well. I've never heard one before. TU !

David Newkirk said...


As if just getting across the continent on 40 to you with low power (17KV6A final at 25 W out) during a rock-bottom sunspot minimum wasn't fun enough, then I learned soon afterward that you were manning your Paraset as you peaked S7 in New Jersey -- wonderful! So here's another cool aspect: Ours was also a regen-to-regen QSO, with your Paraset's 6SK7-6SK7 0-V-1 perking at VE7SL and my BGFT superhet regen, based on a 12A6 Hartley detector at 1750 kHz, doing the receiving honors at W9BRD. I can't wait to see what further station permutations will be in play for our next QSO!

Best regards,


Steve McDonald said...

Thanks Dave! I was so excited to hear you answer that I mistakenly called you Rod...shows you how long I’ve been around !!

I have a special ‘30’s style QSL in the mail heading your way as I promised on the NRR Facebook group that all Paraset QSO’s would be confirmed with something ‘different’. Delighted to learn that you were hearing me on a blooper as well...wow. It just doesn’t get more fun than this. All those appliance ops will never know what they’re missing.

Odd that we should hook-up this week as the previous week I had searched out your tri-tet page again to re-read...thinking about doing something with some very pretty white ceramic based RK39’s.

Steve 73

Jerry Reine W1ZB said...

Hi Steve,
I like your Ameco AC-1 close transmitter. Back in 1964 my first novice station was an Ameco AC-1 transmitter and Knight Ocean Hopper receiver. Talk about working for your contacts in the 40M novice band at nights. Using an original Windom 40M antenna up about 20 ft I managed to work about 25 states, with my farthest contacts being 6-Land and Cuba.
I will try to remember to get on Mondays and look for some NNR fun.
73 Jerry W1ZB