Category Archives: Line noise

New old Yaesu FT 101

I added a Yaesu FT 101 this winter as my vintage radio. For the nonhams out there, the Yaesu FT 10 was introduced by Yaesu, a Japanese radio manufacturer in the early 70s. It was one of the first hybrid radios, a mixture of solid state and tube driver and final tubes. Prior to that, most radios were all tube. The Yaesu was incredibly popular, and many, many radios were sold throughout the 70s.

It was a solid radio with good performance, and thousands of them are still on the air today. Unfortunately, they have also become a favorite of the CBers and Freebanders, so many of them have gone over to the dark side.

I use this primarily to participate in two different Midwestern nets on Saturday monrings — the Midwest Classic Radio Net at 7:30 on 3885 is an all AM net, and its followed by the Vintage radio net which starts somewhere around 8:30 somewhere near 3840. It’s a fairly lighthearted net, filled with guys running their old SSB radios from the 60s, and 70s. Anyone who attempts to check in with a new radio is ridiculed — all in good fun.

That’s why you see that strange device in front of the radio — a microphone. That’s the only mic on the desk, and that’s the only time I even listen on the phone bands.

In other news, my line noise from hell has returned, which is severely limiting my enjoyment of the radios. It seems to come with ice and snow — a leaky insulator in the neighborhood. I need to document the problem and start my yearly battle with the power company. About the time I get their attention and they send someone out, the snow melts and the line noise goes away. Then they say it isn’t their problem. That’s life in the city.

Newest addition to the shack -- an 1970s-era Yaesu FT 101E

ARRL DX contest

I had a good time this wekend with the ARRL DX contest. We’ve had sunspots the last month, so it appears propogation is finally improving.
I managed to make contacts on 15, 20, 40, 80 and even three on 160 last night. As a result, I wound up with over 400 contacts in about 10 hours of operating. I had a great time.
With a DX contest such as this, you work different parts of the world on different bands at different times. There is enough activity, that you can really hear the propogation changing and get a better understanding of where in the world a band is open to at a particular time. You use your knowledge of how the bands are, to pick the right bands at the right time. If it all works, it’s great.
The contest also sold me on the K3. It is just the nicest contest and DX radio I’ve ever used. I switched to the Icom 756 Pro III for a short period last night, but soon went back to the K3.
On another note, the line noise that has plauged me most of the winter seems to have subsided. Both the electric and cable company have been working on the lines in this neighborhood, and my hope is somewhere during that process the faulty insulator, or whatever was causing the problem, was replaced.
Now that I’ve said that, the noise will probably return. All I can say is it wouldn’t have been much of a contest this weekend with the noise present.

Fighting line noise

This weekend was the CQ 160 meter cw contest. I ran it a little Saturday night and early Saturday and Sunday mornings, finishing with about 170 contacts. Unfortunately, my S9 line noise has not gone away, and even though both the K3 and Icom 756 ProIII have very good filtering and noise reduction that takes most of it out, it is still just a pain in the ear to work through that type of noise. Yesterday three Commonweath Edison trucks pulled up in front of the house, and the workers made their way through my back yard to the power lines. One told me that a “neighbor was having a problem,” but that’s all I could get out of him. I told him I’d been experiencing very high noise levels the last few weeks, but that didn’t seem to register with him. The four workers spent a couple hours working in the area, and I was hoping my neighbor’s problem would solve mine. From what I could see and overhear, they didnt’ discover or resolve anything, and my line noise is still present. Time to make my own report to Commonwealth Edison.

We got a Corgi puppy about three weeks ago, named Lucy. Here’s a video of her on first day home.

Winter contests, winter noise

Last weekend was the winter North American QSO Party, CW. I usually operate this contest, but came down and discovered S9 (that’s very high for you lay-people out there) line noise on all bands. I’ve had this intermittent noise since I moved to this house, generally when there is snow and ice on the electric lines, like last weekend.

I have good enough radios that I can filter much of it out, but it’s still bothersome and keeps you from really hearing well, which is a real disadvantage in a contest. Despite that, I made 388 contacts on 20, 40, 80, and 160 meters, and had a good time.

The SSB version of the contest was this weekend, but the line noise is still here, despite the weather warming and ice melting off the lines. I didn’t want to battle the noise, so took a pass on the contest.

I hope the noise goes away. Otherwise I have to start fighting with Commonwealth Edison again. I’ve had them even come out here a couple times, but of course, when they come, there is no noise..Oh well, stay tuned.