the caption for a photograph in a 1931 article refers to an "antiquated"
motor, you can be sure you're looking at a really old motor. Indeed
it does look very old. Whenever I see vintage photos or films of electrical
/ electronic apparati[sic] and operators, I always look for safety issues
like no eye protection while soldering or when using powered tools to
fabricate enclosures, lack of protective shields around electrical connections
and mechanical drive mechanisms, wearing of inappropriate clothing near
rotating machinery, etc. In this case you can see a very long, totally
exposed drive belt running between that aforementioned antiquated motor
and DC generator that it drives (to power the transmitter). The author
mentions how the floor shook while it was running. I wonder if the filaments
were shaken enough to introduce the vibration frequency into the audio
(mircophonics)? Ah, the not quite so good old days.
December 1931 QST
These articles are scanned and OCRed from old editions of the
ARRL's QST magazine. Here is a list of the
QST articles I have already posted. All copyrights (if any) are hereby acknowledged.
See all available
vintage QST articles.
Amateur Radio Stations
VE2CP- The McGill Radio Association, Montreal, P. Q.
By John Stadler, VE2AP
The story of amateur radio at McGill University goes back nearly
to the time when all of us were dressed in shorts and sailor hats. Rather
than disturb the old records let us just mention that once upon a time
the call was 1OAU and then 2BJ. I have never known 10AU and neither
have any of the present gang, but some of us are privileged to have
known 2BJ. Suffice it to say that it was long ago.
has no complicated and extensive apparatus to boast about. A station
description would be amazingly short when sticking to technical details,
but the story of how the present outfit came to be would be very interesting
were it possible to record the heart pangs and anxiety of the originators
of the present station.
The location is in the d.c. lab of the
Engineering Building. The partition separating the radio shack from
the very "terre-a-terre" direct current equipment was donated by the
Electrical Department. As a matter of fact, had no assistance been given
by the Department in furnishing panels, rheostats, etc., possibly VE2CP
could belong to somebody else. However, let us leave the "if" out of
the picture, because "if" we had money, we would all own at least a
pair of 861's.
GENERAL VIEW OF VE2CP AS SEEN BY THE OPERATORS
SHOWING TRANSMITTER AND ANTENNA TUNING PANEL
The transmitter is of the tuned-plate tuned-grid type with a UX-852.
The filament voltage is obtained from the 110 d.c. mains by a potentiometer
arrangement. Although one tube was burnt out the method is the only
one to be used in the present case. The plate voltage is obtained from
a 3-kw. street lighting d.c. generator. The rheostat mounted beside
the switchboard on the operating position serves to control the output
voltage within certain limits. The maximum obtainable is about 1500
volts, and we venture to say that the regulation is good! The driving
motor is somewhat antiquated, we will admit, and also imparts to the
flooring a quite definite frequency (which we notice personally) but
judicious use of rubber pads on the table and transmitter have removed
all traces of oscillating coils in the emitted signal. Furthermore the
use of such apparatus makes the station look the more formidable and
it appears that the powers of amateur radio are thus magnified tremendously.
THE COLOSSAL 3KW PLATE SUPPLY GENERATOR
ANTIQUATED DRIVING MOTOR (RIGHT), AND FORMIDABLE SLATE
The receiver is a three-tube affair using a 224 as space charge
detector and two 227's as amplifier. These are resistance and transformer
coupled. With high voltage on the plate of the 224 a very good signal
level is maintained. One drawback in reception at VE2CP is that the
station is not over a quarter of a mile from a local broadcasting station.
The result is that even with a wave trap some music at times filters
along with the signals and makes operating more enjoyable - we don't
Back to the high voltage we go. The filtering scheme
is very simple. Being strong minded, we immediately fell for the brute
force idea. One-half microfarad each side of a 3-henry choke gives fine
results and when the combination of radio frequency and floor frequency
does not exist, the note even locally is a very fine grade of pure d.c.
The erection of the apparatus in the station was carried out
by VE2BH and VE2CP jointly. Jointly is the word, because wielding a
heavy hammer and making holes in a sound brick wall requires a little
bit of cooperation. By the way, drilling a marble panel even with a
power-driven drill presents its difficulties to the inexperienced. As
engineering students we are taught why the holes in the walls are drilled,
what size they must be and how much permissible load can be carried,
but of the delicate operation of actually drilling the hole we know
little until the fingers are sore and arm well nigh out of joint.
GENERAL VIEW OF VE2CP AS SEEN BY THE ONLOOKERS
The present gang of licensed calls operating at VE2CP areas follows:
VE2CU, VE2CO, VE2BO, W8BOM, W6ARA and a whole lot of licensed operators
whom we shall not mention. The station has been helping in traffic work
by trying to pile up the high score for the VE2 district. They have
done nobly and deserve our thanks.
Before we bring this description
of VE2CP to an end, we want to justify our references to the gigantic
expanse of apparatus. Remember that the shack is screened by a wire
partition. Now this looks like a cage, and the first idea that springs
in the mind of onlookers is that we are monkeys. That is, we are lowered
in zoological scale, and since our feelings on the matter are very sensitive
we have to destroy the impression by the process of neutralization.
We feel that we have succeeded, as starting up VE2CP is no mean affair.
To begin with we enter the d.c. lab and proceed up to the large
slate panel covered with powerful looking switches, meters and circuit
breakers. We close the two 24-inch switches after closing the two-odd
hundred-ampere circuit breakers. The "juice" is now running up to the
secondary panel on the motor frame. To this panel we go, close the 6-inch
switch and proceed to bring the motor up to speed with the control resistance.
Then we turn on the oil on the generator. A third panel on the wall
behind the generator enables the power output to be sent either to the
shack or to the radio lab upstairs. Well, we throw the switches to the
right. Then we insert the wall plug that gives us 110 d.c. for the filament
circuit and for the generator field circuit.
Here we are in
the shack with the power arriving to our switchboard - just fancy, our
own switchboards! Close the right hand switch and presto! the filament
lights at 10 volts d.c. Close the large 6-inch top switch, then the
left hand lower switch, and that's all. CQ CQ CQ de VE2CP!