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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Overheard at Dayton: Drake 2B Market Manipulation! (& Help needed with 455 kc IF can)

I received a very nice message from Preston Douglas.   Conveniently, he is an attorney, and I have asked him to stand ready to defend me in court should I ever be accused of manipulating the markets for Drake 2-Bs (and perhaps the market for SSDRAs). 

Can any out there help Preston with his SX-110 455 kc IF can?
May 20 at 3:38 PM
Hi Bill,
I enjoyed #160, even though I heard those talks, live at FDIM. 
I thought you'd be amused by what I overheard in the flea market on Saturday in Dayton.  I was looking at a Drake 2B and Q multiplier being offered by a lady who said they were her father's.  They looked to be in pretty clean shape, though of course there was no way to know what was going on under the hood.  She was asking $200 for both, and said she was open to reasonable offers.  Now, I already have a 2B and haven't found any need for the Q multiplier.  And I had flown out to Dayton from NY, so would have had to ship the pair of boxes home--probably should have bought them anyway and sent them home by UPS for that kind of money.  
Anyway, there were two other guys looking at the 2B.  One said to the other that these were among the best receivers of the tube era, but that the prices had become inflated by this guy who does the Soldersmoke podcasts talking up the virtues of the 2B.  Couldn't help smiling at that.
As to the Hallicrafters SX-110 on the repair bench.  Well, I worked out a deal with a professional tech guy to trade him my non-working HP 8640b sig gen for some bench time on the 110.  He found that the first IF  transformer that I was having so much trouble aligning was non-working.  He had no replacement, so he bypassed the whole transformer with a cap to get signal to the next stage.  This is, of course, not a satisfactory solution.  And nobody has that IF can to sell.  I did read on another radio repair guy's web site  that he, too, usually stops working on a set with a bad IF can because repair is so labor intensive.  
Frankly, I don't accept that.  I mean what's inside there?  A couple of coils and some open silvered mica leafs. So, I plan to remove the can, open it, and fix it.  According to the Internet, the built-in caps on these cans become defective and need replacement by modern capacitors.  Or, maybe a wire is broken off.  Before I do anything, I am going to see if that transformer is really unable to peak at 455.  Anyway, maybe I'll get some time to mess with this radio over the holiday weekend.  
One of the guys (or was it you?) recently said he builds 'em, makes a few contacts to prove they work, and then puts them on a shelf.  Then he builds another one.  It's like that sometimes.

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  1. If Preston can fix the IF can, so good. If it's beyond repair, get a submini IF transformer like go in transistor radios. They're available with spec sheets from Mouser. Put it on a little piece of perf board with its capacitors. Put the whole deal inside the dead IF can to restore the appearance of the radio.

  2. Mea culpa! I was the one that made the remark about Soldersmoke driving the price of 2B's (especially with Q multipliers) up. I used to see them at local swaps for about $100 for the 2B or $125 for the 2B and Q multiplier, in good condition. Recently, I've not been able to find any in ANY condition for less than $200, and usually for far more.

    Also, I've actually looked high and low (i.e. under the tables) at local and regional (and Dayton) hamfests over the last year or two, trying to find ANY copy of SSDRA (again in ANY condition). They've all simply disappeared, and online sellers are asking upwards of $200 for a copy. I'd really like to add one to my ham radio bookshelf, but I refuse to pay 'collector' prices for one, or get one that's in poor condition (pages marked up, falling out, etc.)

  3. hi bill
    in the pass I have fixed old car radio IF cans that do not peak when tuned. I measure the Inductance of the coil or coils to see if they match which may indicate shorts or opens. a light tap on the case may bring life back to the contacts on the capacitors. if that was the case I remove them and solder on a modern replacement cap.
    the worse thing that can happen to IF cans is a burn'd or opened coil , broken or seized tuning cores or corroded compression capacitors.

    wayne va7at


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