Thanks to all for your insightful and poignant inputs for this column. We
have an interesting and fun topic for this issue and I look forward to your
The topic is "The Nickel Fix That Saved Your Bacon". I will explain the
origin of the "nickel fix" at the beginning of the article, but I am
basically looking for inexpensive and innovative ways that you solved
last-minute problems and went on to successfully complete a contest.
The "cheap fixes' may include that clamp-on RF choke that kept RF out of the
computer, the bypass capacitor you added to your rotor box to keep the
indicator needle from swinging with your RF voice peaks, that post-it note
that reminded you to watch the grid current on the amp, or even that set of
labels that you attached to your wiring behind the radios that helped you
sort out problems when Murphy struck.
A second, and equally interesting aspect of cheap and simple fixes includes
innovative "work-arounds" to solve last-minute problems. I've heard "urban
legend" stories of using a two hole amp with just one tube (at reduced power,
of course), making emergency tube substitutions in amps, using a VOM as a
rotor indicator, using a rope and pulley arrangement to replace a defective
rotor, etc. Give us your "war stories" of economical and innovative
work-arounds, we'll withhold names to protect the innocent if requested.
Again, an enormous "thanks in advance" for the inputs you provide that will
entertain and inform the contest community. I look forward to hearing from