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Re: [TowerTalk] 80m 4Square Comtek box

To: "Joe Subich, K4IK" <>,"'Jerry Muller'" <>,"'towertalk'" <>
Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] 80m 4Square Comtek box
From: "Jerry Muller" <>
Reply-to: Jerry Muller <>
Date: Thu, 18 Nov 2004 15:47:02 -0500
List-post: <>
Actually Joe, I've not only got a good scope and an MFJ-259 and an MFJ-269,
but an HP vector voltmeter, HP signal generators, square law detectors,
bridges, etc. also. The "tons of time" includes chasing down parts,
construction, debug, etc. I consider my time to be worth more than the ~$350
that Comtek gets for the box.

I don't disagree that a competent individual COULD do it. I just don't want
to spend my time doing that particular job. I spend enough time building
switch networks, amplifier interlocks, and other station goodies to keep a
four station competitive (we hope) Multi-two contest station to use up more
time than I have. I'm not looking for new ways to spend spare time I don't
have. Just the parts for a four square controller including a PC board (the
local contest club just did a buy of 30 custom boards designed by one of our
members for a four square controller) is about $75 bucks. That doesn't
include a box. If you add all the bits and pieces, time spent hunting down
parts, finding them in stock, etc. Yes it can be done, but include all the
parts and costs, and it looks like the Comtek box is a bargan. As I write
this, somebody else did a better analysis of the reality of the project. I'm
going to do exactly that for my 160 system (which isn't a four square, but
has three elements in an approximate V shape). I can't buy a box for that
one, so I homebrew.

One of the great things about this hobby is that there are an infinite
number of fun things to do, and everybody doesn't have to do the same
things. Plunking down $350 for someone else to do what I don't have time to
do is a bargan to me. I have monoband amps in my station that are shared
between several operating positions. Keeping each amp connected to the right
radio and the right set of antennas takes a lot of custom stuff. Making that
all happen automatically in less than a half second without tuning when the
operator double clicks on a packet spot is cool and you can't buy that. You
can buy some of the boxes to make that happen, but you can't buy it all.
That's where I spend my homebrewing time. But everybody's different and
that's what makes ham radio so much fun. If you get tired of doing one
thing, find something else. I wasn't always an HF contester but that's my
passion right now. I used to do VHF/UHF DXing. My wife won't let me get back
on EME just now, but I remember the thrill I got when I first heard my own
echoes on 432. Half a million miles to the moon and back. THAT'S long path!

73, Jerry K0TV

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Joe Subich, K4IK" <>
To: "'Jerry Muller'" <>; "'towertalk'"
Sent: Thursday, November 18, 2004 11:52 AM
Subject: RE: [TowerTalk] 80m 4Square Comtek box

> > From: Jerry Muller
> >
> > The tradeoff for me is an easy one. I buy the Comtek box (I
> > have two of them, 80 and 40) instead of spending tons of time
> > working on a W7EL phasing unit for two bands.
> Actually, there is enough information in ON4UN's book for a
> competent individual to build a hybrid style (quadrature)
> phasing unit without much more than an MFJ-259B.  Of course
> a good scope and current probes would help if one wanted to
> optimize the unit.
> 73,
>    ... Joe, K4IK
> _______________________________________________
> See:  for "Self Supporting Towers", "Wireless
Weather Stations", and lot's more.  Call Toll Free, 1-800-333-9041 with any
questions and ask for Sherman, W2FLA.
> _______________________________________________
> TowerTalk mailing list


See:  for "Self Supporting Towers", "Wireless Weather 
Stations", and lot's more.  Call Toll Free, 1-800-333-9041 with any questions 
and ask for Sherman, W2FLA.

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