The month of December will soon be upon us and that means it's 'BK' time once again! The Bruce Kelley 1929 QSO Party is the annual two-weekend event celebrating the sound of amateur radio as it was in 1929.
At no other time of
the year can you tune across the bands and hear the melodic sound of radio as it
once was ... before the days of crystal-control, when most hams were using
self-excited one or two-tube transmitters.
With antennas blowing in the wind,
these directly-coupled oscillators often make the band sound like a musical
symphony gone wrong ... the wonderful whooping, chirping, buzzing, clicking, drifting, swishing,
swaying, warbling, and other interesting sounds of '29, when amateur radio was in its
If you've ever considered joining-in on the fun, then you
still have a few weeks to slap something together for the party ... it need not
be 'pretty', but it must be 'compliant'. That is, the tube (or tubes) that you
use, must have been available in 1929 or earlier. For receiving, use anything you like ... modern or vintage, as there are no restrictions.
I've penned several
blogs on popular circuits and tubes that are commonly used among the BK regulars
and they can be viewed here:
Building '29 Style
Building '29 - What To Build? - PT.1
Building '29 - What To Build? - PT.2
More BK Building
With the usual propagation of early
December, it is not surprising that many transcontinental QSO's are made every
year, even with the little two or three watters. Considering the 10 watt power
input rule, it is surprising how strong some signals from across the country can
become on the lower bands, especially on 40m.
Please consider rolling-up
your sleeves, heating up your soldering iron and putting something together for
the BK fun, especially if you are on the left coast ... and don't be the least
concerned about how it looks!
For a gallery of inspiration from
individuals that were too weak to resist the temptation, have a look at some previously built '29 time machines.
For the first time, I'll be using my newly constructed MOPA, a two-tuber that will hopefully reduce my annual BK windstorm
angst. It seems that every BK weekend, I have gale-force winds here on the island,
making my signal a little bit 'too musical', although some '29 diehards still
claim to love the sound ... for them, there is no hope.