First Name Bob
  QTH Cassopolis, MI
  Prior Call(s) ⇰  KN9VYE K9VYE W8MDV
  Other interests ⇰  Antique Cars
  Email W9RAS
   My External Web Site None

Licensed in 1958 as K9VYE and KN9VYE ... acquired an FCC broadcast 2nd class license in 1966 just missed getting a first class by a few weeks ...Moved to Michigan in 1977 and was required to change calls at that time and was issued W8MDV...Got the Extra class ticket in 1985 with 100% on the 20 WPM code test required at that time ... Used W8MDV until 10/20/2009. When I was granted by the FCC ... work on HF SSB and CW ... I work a lot on 6 and 2 meters CW, FM, SSB and AM ... Work on 6 meters SSB / AM boat anchor nets with a Harvey Wells bandmaster TBS-50C runs about 9 watts AM output with a 300 VDC supply, a BC-348 WW-II Receiver and home brew 417-A 3 tube converter built out of what was in the junk box. It has cascode 417-A tubes in it given to me by Chuck K9JKG in 1959 and I was surprised it receives really well....

At the Fort Wayne Indiana hamfest 2013 I bought a very beat up partially gutted ARC-5 Transmitter 6-9 mhz BC-459 and a receiver a BC453 beacon receiver rebuilding and repairing these and making the power supplies, receiving converter and a hetrodyne VFO was a long involved process. it all works great now with only 1 switch to flip for transmit or receive.


In Early September 2015 I was surprised to see a heathkit SS-8000 tranceiver advertised for parts on Ebay . Heathkit employees I worked with told me the SS-8000 units had all been destroyed and the chassis parts sold for scrap metal . The SS-8000 was developed as a kit in 1978 and was never sold only three evaluation units were assembled in plant and to the present date only this one is known to exist. The SS-8000 project was scrapped then due to the 1979 world amateur radio conference bands (WARC) that were added and also due to the fact that the SS-8000 was too complex for the average Amateur to assemble with over 3500 parts and also to its requiring more advanced equipment for alignment than the average Amateur had access to . Bidding on the SS-8000 on Ebay I was again surprised to find that I was the high bidder and had purchased it. The SS-8000 when it arrived was found to be an EXTREME basket case many parts were damaged. Many parts were missing. The chassis was rusted badly and the wiring had been destroyed by mice . The schematics that came with it did not match some of the SS-8000 circuits that came in the box as well this was due to the many revisions as it was being designed and tested in the Heathkit development lab. Restoration was a long drawn out process obtaining parts, figuring out circuits, rewiring and making a couple of small replacement circuit boards that were missing. All in all, the restoration journal shows 206 hours on the workbench from start to finish of the restoration. Some hours I know were not recorded so the actual time spent was actually more than 206 hours .

To take a look at the YouTube videos of some of these rigs, Click here!  (page opens in new browser window)

Note the Photo (below) of me much younger at the bench in my office at work at Heathkit in the Amateur Radio Lab area ...This was the start of the assembly of the very first heathkit SS9000 Synthesized solid state digital tranceiver with WARC bands ...NOTE the GREY front panel this was a front panel for the SS8000 the same rig without WARC bands that was never produced...The front panels were made by an outside vendor and had not arrived when this photo was taken so I started assembly with that front panel the SS9000 panels arrived a few days later andI then just changed the front panel to the brown one with the WARC bands marked on it ...This is the only photo I know of taken of the construction of the very first prototype SS9000. it was snapped by a coworker (I wish I could remember his name ) using the Heathkit labs Polaroid scope camera with the scope adapter taken off ...This photo is dated November 1981 ...


SS-9000 production 1982

The SS9000 tranceiver was to compete with the foreign tranceivers produced at that time . At about the same time Zenith Corporation had purchased Heathkit to have a facility to manufacture computers. The manufacture of computers was much more profitable than selling Heathkits . The SS 9000 was a fully manufactured state of the art tranceiver made on an assembly line in the main Heathkit plant on hilltop road . Original production of the SS9000 was to be 375 units . During this production run it was determined by Zenith/Heathkit management to dis-continue production and the maximum units produced was estimated to be close to 350 . During this short production run I was instructed by the engineer in charge Jerry Tolsma to observe the production line and point out any assembly errors and make suggestions on how to best assemble the SS9000 . I was also instructed to test personally the first 25 PA (RF power amplifier ) units for proper assembly and operation . Later when the assembly line was shut down The remaining metal parts and assembled circuit boards were sent to a scrap yard and sold for scrap .


The home brew 6 meter SSB rig (...above)

This has a lot of Heathkit in it. Note the Heathkit SSB filter ...Other pictures ...1929 Ford touring car or Phaeton my other hobby, The little 1 watt 6 meter beacon as it was being tested and the shack picture of course ...THE beacon photo was taken before the frequency was selected to be 50.063 MHZ so it has the frequency 50.077 in that photo on the beacon ...

One of the projects is the "New 160 to 6 meter 250 watt linear" from the 2011 ARRL handbook . I bought this on Ebay the project had been started by another Amateurwho acquired all the parts and built a nice case for it . I am sure that just acquiring all the parts for this was a huge project in itself however he had not completed the amplifier and there was much to do to get it working . When I worked at Heathkit we would have said "THIS IS NOT A BEGINNERS KIT" It took me many many hours to get it operational.

W9RAS home brew 6 Meter beacon. 2N2222 50 mhz Xtal Oscillator, 2N5770 buffer, 2N3904 driver into a PT-6619 final downrated to less than 1 watt for maximum reliability. Tested on a frequency of 50.077 then 50.0615 keying switch is a 2N3906...As of 08/01/2010 The beacon frequency was again moved to 50.063 to provide separation from another beacon in Auburn Indiana on the same frequency ...At the same time the home brew lawn chair squalo antenna for the beacon was moved up on the tower to a height of 80 ft above ground ...The ID itself is a 8 pin dip chip unit from K1EL ...All in a 6"X 5" X 2" box ...Antenna is a home brew squalo made from an old lawn chair I bought at goodwill for 75 cents ...Please report hearing the beacon send an email to: Bob W9RAS ...You can also report the beacon to Beaconspot.com THANK YOU 73!

The other Hobby is the antique car, a 1929 Ford Phaeton shown here with me driving in the 2014 Memorial Day parade in Cassopolis, Michigan. 

Life is Short get out and DO something ! Help someone in the Ham tradition. Be a good "Elmer"!!!

73 DE Bob W9RAS


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  Last update June 12, 2017