[CQ-Contest] Information Opinions for Article

Glenn Rattmann k6na at cts.com
Fri May 26 19:32:16 EDT 2000

At 08:47 AM 05/26/2000 -0500, Lee K0WA wrote:

>Between 1960 and 1980 (20 years) what was the rig or rigs that gave
>contesting a push during that time period?  Why?  What features were

>HW -Line
>SB- Line
>FTdx - Line
>TS - Line
>Ten-Tec Tritons


The S-Line may have contributed to interest in contesting from the late
Fifties to the mid-Sixties, mainly due to its "Cadillac" reputation.  But
it was not long before competitive operators realized the S-Line had been
left in the dust.  The two most significant "breakthrough" rigs which had
the biggest impact on competitive operating, and in turn forced all the
manufacturers to pay attention to what people wanted and would expect in
the future, are not on your list.  These rigs were:

Drake 4-Line (~1964-1977)
Signal/One CX-7 (1969 to about 1974)

The Drake Line allowed separate-or-transceive operation (from either VFO!),
offered great filter selection, good notch filter, and passband tuning
which was truly revolutionary.  The Drake VFO was 500 kHz instead of the
(limiting) 200 kHz spread of the Collins, and was the first gear to offer
Collins-like stability and smoothness in tuning for far less dollars than
Collins.  And, it covered 160 meters, with the first noise blanker that
actually worked on Loran A interference!  Yes, the Drake Line was BETTER
than an S-Line, and far more economical, too-- contesting for "the masses."

The Signal/One, although relatively expensive, was arguably the first radio
actually conceived and produced, start to finish, by a contesting fanatic
of the day, namely Dick Ehrhorn (K6CTV, WA4NGO, W4ETO, W4EA; now W0ID of
Alpha fame).  The CX-7 brought us true RF speech processing, near-instant
bandchange with pre-tuned final tube, 150-Watt+ power output, dual-receive
(!) from two VFOs, full break-in on CW, digital readout, and an extended
bandswitch shaft.  Ahh... What?  Yes, some of us had automatic antenna
switching 15 years before most people implemented it, because the CX-7
bandswitch shaft extended out the rear apron, allowing an additional switch
wafer for selecting antennas or amplifiers. Thank you, Dick.  This rig, it
is fair to say, raised the bar for other manufacturers to a level perhaps
not appreciated at the time.

The Drake Line and Signal/One together brought us the features that
contesters needed... and many operators (and companies) were slow to
recognize what had happened.  These two rigs changed the future course of
manufacturing forever, and were probably most directly responsible for the
eventual demise of Collins in the amateur market, even though there were
only about 1,100 CX-7's produced.

As a footnote I would add that Yaesu in Japan saw the light early, and
their FT-101-series "complete station-in-a-box" of the 1970's also made a
very big contribution to the development of radios we see today in contesting.

Submitted by:
Glenn Rattmann K6NA

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