CONAR - The Barbarian !!!(WD0HCO had these fun Conar web pages online for a while and had to take them down.
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How far can I get with a $50 radio ?
Here is WD0HCO's working CONAR station! Complete with an MFJ Bencher keyer and a 24 hour Tymeter ID clock. My cost new was $50 for both the transmitter and receiver. Do you remember CONAR? If you do, then you're probably an old timer for sure!
For the rest of us, CONAR was an offshoot from NRI (National Radio Institute). Back in the late 60's and early 70's NRI offered a home study course in Ham Radio. Back then you had to go to the FCC to take the code and written test for the Amateur Radio License. Part of this course was a kit transmitter and receiver that you got to build while you waited 4 to 6 weeks for the postman to show up with your new ham ticket from the FCC's Gettysburg field office.
Here is an advertisement from the back of a ARRL Handbook: Click Here!
Many old timers had this setup at one time or the other because it was so cheap. However nearly everyone quickly sold their CONAR stations as fast as they could to new unsuspecting novices. The reason was that the single tube transmitter (6DQ6) could only put out 10 watts and the 4 tube receiver was nearly worthless. It had a horrible 60 cycle hum and if you could stand listening to it, you "might" pickup a signal or "something". Listening to that receiver was akin to listening to a dentist's drill. In short, it was a piece of crap that gave even crap a bad name.
Did I jog any old timers memories ???
Fast Forward 30 years... Now the big thing is QRP. Working the world on 5 watts or less. Old tube rigs are out of the closets, commanding high prices on eBay and on all ham bands, CW rules supreme!!!
Getting back to the "less is better" movement, some old timers have dragged out their CONARs and have started having great fun re-living their novices days using this little 10 watt transmitter.
Ahh, but that receiver still remains a piece of crap!!!
So here then, is the purpose of these web pages! I fixed mine up. I will show you how you can fix yours. How "good" does it work now you ask?
On the early morning of January 3rd, I worked Mark WA8SME in Coleville CA from my QTH here in Dallas TX. He was only running 1 watt on 7.045. He was weak but the CONAR receiver give him a solid 529. On the 13th, again on 7.045 Megacycles, I worked Gordon KR6AE (FISTS #6812) in Monterey CA. He was running 50 watts for a good 559. Not too shabby for 4 tubes, eh?
On most evenings, I can hear CW signals from both coasts on 40 and SSB comes in around 400-700 miles. My CONAR does pick up many signals on 80 and 15 but I have not been very active on these bands. There is no reason why I can't use them now. It's just I have always been a 40m CW man!
So keep readin' ! You just might want to dig out and dust off that CONAR receiver from your closet!!!
My CONAR LOGBOOK
How does it work?
Modifications needed to get it to work !!!
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Conar Transmitter Manual - and - Conar Receiver Manual