Wednesday, November 28, 2012


I have a problem with my HF radio. It's an oldie, a radio of the type that's often referred to as a boat anchor. She's old, she's heavy, she has vacuum tube finals. But that's all OK with me. The thing that I'm not so happy about is she's off frequency.

She needs a good zerobeating to straighten her up.

The thing is, like nearly everything else I've done in ham radio, I don't have any idea what the hell I'm doing. Well, I take that back. I have an idea but that's about all.

I need to get the transmit frequency and the receive frequency synched. I've been doing some reading about this radio and it looks like all I need to do is make a simple adjustment to a small trimmer screw in the radio. It's clearly labeled so even a carpenter can figure it out. So that part's simple.

The hard part is measuring both frequencies. The radio is analog so the dial is, at best, a reasonably accurate reflection of reality. Newer radios have digital readouts that count the frequency out to seven places. I have no way, at least that I know of, to determine the precise receive frequency.

Unless I have a frequency counter.

My radio is a Yaesu FT-101EE. It was built back in the mid-seventies. There was a frequency counter that was made for it. And they can still be found. But they ain't cheap. For the same price I could get a new counter with a bunch more in the way of features. But we're still talking a couple three hundred dollars.

I already own an antenna analyzer, a MFJ-259B. It has a frequency counter built in. But it only measures output frequencies. And I can't seem to get it to read the RF from my HF radio. It picks it up on my 2 meter radio easy as pie. But I'm thinking that all the grounding I did when I installed the HF rig is doing it's job and controlling the stray RF around the rig. Maybe just a little too well for my analyzer to pick it up.

I'm thinking that maybe I'll have to disconnect the grounds and see if it can read the RF then.

The analyzer is also a signal generator. I just don't know how the radio will receive it. If it generates a tone or creates some sort of identifiable noise then I can tune the radio to it. But so far I haven't heard it. If I could tune to a known frequency then I could transmit back to the analyzer in counter mode and tune the radio back to that frequency. At least, that's the theory.

Anyway, that's my newest ham radio challenge. I'll post updates as I figure out more about this little problem.


  1. keep me up to date on what you do to remedy this.

    btw.....I am....



    ain't felt the need to go further yet...and darn sure cannot afford to get a HF rig these days. Not really much time in my life for that either, though I always have a dual band handheld with me all the time, even on my motorcycles,,,and a couple of good mobiles in the vehicles too. No shack at the house.....yet.....maybe when I slow down a bit.

  2. Howdy there KJ4IYU. Yeah, the money thing is the big problem with this hobby. That's why I've got the boat anchor. But what the heck. It works, sort of, and I'm learning a whole bunch about how radios work. You wouldn't believe the difference between the 2 meter world and HF. The sun and all the other QRM and QRN really come into play. It's interesting as hell.

    I think I have a workable plan to cure this problem. I'll put it up as I go along.

    I made a contact on 10 meter tonight with another ham not far away from me. It's the guy I bought the HF rig from. We were working the local repeater at the same time and dialing in the HF rig a bit. Band conditions sucked but we're able to hear each other well enough. It sounds like I'm close.

    I'm going to start studying for my Extra Ticket this month. That ought'a be a challenge.

    I'm using home brewed antennas. That's another cool part of the hobby. And the best part is it saves some money, too.

    If you have any suggestions feel free to share 'em. This has been a learn as I go process all the way along.