N4UQ – Alpha Repair

I received word from Dick Byrd this morning regarding my linear amplifier. Since Dick, N4UQ comes very highly respected in his field of Alpha repair I did not hesitate when my Alpha would not start last week. Of course as Murphy’s Law would have it it was only 5 days out of the WPX RTTY Contest, more on that in a minute.The same day I spoke to Dick I packaged the amp and sent it off via UPS Ground (5 days). Dick’s email was uplifting to say the least. As I was provided the invoice and tracking number to my amp, along with this:

“Stephen the amp is up and running just fine. The resistor K4 was open.Since I couldn’t actually see a reason for that, it seemed like a good idea to replace the step-start relays.The T/R relay replacement was a precaution. It would likely fail as most of that design have. Here’s hoping for many good hours of operating.” 

Yes, here is to hoping for many good hours of usage. I forget sometimes just how old this amp is. My father was the only owner of this amp and picked it up in 1978 or the early 80’s at the latest. So it is easily 30 years old, but still a very well respected name when it comes to amps.Up until the resistor failure last week it had been running very nice, no problems (that are amp related, don’t ask about the antennas). So I expect to get this back and inline in order to use it when necessary, I guess have a new found appreciation for “low power” when it comes to contesting. I would have been just another number if I would have operated high power during the WPX RTTY.

Since I was low power, it looked more impressive in some regards at what I accomplished, for myself. I was also looking at the tally of NCCC members who participated in the WPX RTTY Contest and was one of only eight members who participated low power. Overall in our club I was ranked 15th (by score) out of a total of 36. So again, I am pleased with my performance working low power, but in all honesty I cannot wait to get the amp back inline.