Friday, 19 December, 2003
The other major piece of amateur radio gear that my grandfather left is a Hallicrafters HT-37 transmitter. Unlike the Collins receiver, this radio hasn't been powered since at least 1989. I suspect it's been longer than that: probably 30 years or more since anybody plugged this thing in. As far as I know, the radio sat in my grandfather's house until 1989 when my sister packed it in her car and delivered it to me in Colorado. Jeff Duntemann took it with the Collins in 1990 and then returned it to me in 1995 when Debra and I moved here. It's been packed in a box in the corner of the garage for the past 8 years.
I dug it out of the box last week and scraped off the bigger pieces of deteriorated packing material. Last night I took a bunch of "before" pictures and started cleaning it up. A little Orange TKO (wonderful stuff, by the way) and some light elbow grease removed the worst of the stuck-on packing material and some other stains from the case.
Inside, the radio looks like it was well treated, although I admit I haven't yet opened up the bottom where most of the wires are. I pulled the tubes and tested them, and will be placing an order for replacements at Antique Electronic Supply. While I'm waiting for the tubes to arrive, I'll be cleaning the accumulated cat hair, dust, and other junk, and examining the rig to see if there are any obvious signs of breakage: loose or chewed wires, messy modifications, or exploded parts. I'll need some help from somebody more experienced than I am when it comes time to add power. I lack the knowledge and the test equipment required to make sure the thing is working well. I don't expect any problems, as this radio was stored with the other one, and Jeff tells me that the Collins came up with no trouble. "I plugged it in and it worked."
The final step, of course, is to put the rig back on the air. To that end, I'm studying Morse Code and the material required to obtain my General class amateur radio license. Eventually I'll put together a ham radio page featuring the Collins and the Hallicrafters, with pictures and descriptions of the steps I took to get it back into operating condition.