New Directions Radio: Buy a Low Cost, Code-Only Receiver for Ham Radios

New Directions Radio shares news about getting on the air cheaply with ham radios by buying a low cost, code-only receiver.

| September/October 1977

Getting on the air is easy when you buy a low cost, code-only receiver for your ham radio.

Copthorne Macdonald is an amateur radio enthusiast, inventor of slow scan television, and founder of New Directions Radio. New Directions Radio article MOTHER EARTH NEWS MOTHER N0. 47, September/October 1977.

Low Cost, Code-Only Receiver for Ham Radios

Many of us none-too-flush MOTHER readers have asked, "How can I put a ham radio station on the air at the lowest possible cost?" The answer is simple: Buy a low-cost, code-only transceiver.

As you'll recall from our last column ("Getting a Ham License", page 44 of MOTHER N0. 46), beginning hams-that is, amateur radio operators who hold Novice or Technician Class licenses must use Morse code when they communicate in the "long distance" HF (high frequency) bands . . . they cannot transmit voice. This limitation is actually a blessing, since code is less subject to interference from other stations, covers more miles per watt of transmitter power, and requires simpler, less expensive equipment than voice. (Many experienced hams, of course, prefer code to voice for these reasons.)

Just how expensive is "less expensive"? In the case of the Heathkit HW-8 low-power, code-only transceiver kit, it's about $130. While you can listen to some voice stations with the HW-8, the set was basically designed for good CW (code) performance only . . . and that's why its price is so low. (The Ten-Tec Argonaut — another excellent lowpower transceiver — has full voice capability in addition to code . . . but its price is 2-112 times as great as the HW-8's: $329!)

With the HW-8, you get continuous tuning of the lowest 250 kHz of the 3.5-, 7-, 14, and 21-MHz amateur bands . . . a transmitter that runs approximately 3.0 watts input and that produces an RF (radio frequency) output of 1.2 to 2.0 watts . . . and a very sensitive receiver with a built-in narrow bandwidth filter (which is a big help in separating the particular incoming signal you want from the others on the band).

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