Alpha Goes Down

Let me preface this post by saying Dick Byrd, N4UQ of Dick Byrd Enterprises in Douglasville, Georgia did a dynamite job on breathing life back into an Alpha 76PA that I acquired from father, which has been shelves for nearly 25 years. Price was really no object here, as it was a wonderful piece of shack hardware from a different era, one that I recall like it was yesterday as I would sit in my father’s shack languishing in the sights, sounds and smells.

Dick wasted no time in repairing the unit and shipping it back to me. This was last April when I posted Alpha Update: 1.5 and Alpha Update: 1.7 regarding the work that was being accomplished by Dick.

Fast forward to yesterday, I was off from work watching my son and decided to put a few hours in playing radio as there were a few QSO parties going on, as well as a RTTY contest. I figured I might get lucky and score a few QSOs, who knows maybe even Delaware would grace my log, since they were having a QSO party. I turned on the power supply, the radio and amplifier. Unfortunately, the amp did not turn on.

I went to the breaker box to make sure nothing had tripped, which it had not. I confirmed the 240v outlet was hot, which it was. I checked the two external fuses, which did not look burnt out and I confirmed their measurement. With that work done I pulled the unit down from the shelf and started unscrewing the casing. As I peered inside I pulled the one fuse in sight and measured it, which was okay as well.

I e-mailed Dick Byrd for some quick items to check, as well as posting a question on the QRZ Forums. Steve, WB2WIK had information similar to what Dick told me, in believing it was the step start relay (K1 & K2) that needed replacing.

So with RTTY WPX on the horizon next weekend, I begrudgingly packed up the Alpha and sent it UPS ground (5 days) to Georgia in order to get it repaired. This means I will be 100w in the upcoming RTTY contest. Hopefully out friend Sol cooperates and gives us a few good operating days with no rain. Since RTTY is my strongest mode I should have a fairly successful contest. Based on my results from RTTY RU, I am going to look at clearing 1000 QSOs. More on that later as the contest draws near.