April 09, 2017

International Vintage Contest

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Today I spent some hours on the 40m band making SSB contacts in the International Vintage Contest. The International Vintage Contest, organized by the Rimini section of the Associazione Radioamatori Italiani (ARI), encourages ham radio operators worldwide to dust off their vintage transceivers, transmitters, and receivers, and to make contacts with it during the 10 hour long contest held each year in April. This year's edition marked the 10th anniversary of the contest.

I really love vintage rigs. I own one myself, a Yaesu FTdx-100 of over 45 years old. The FTdx-100 was built in the late 1960s and is the predecessor of the legendary FT-101. It's a hybrid type transceiver, partly solid state, but still with tubes in both the driver and final stage of the transmitter. I love the soft glow of the tubes, and making contacts with my FTdx-100 always gives me such a special feeling. The rig, to me a piece of Japanese art, the embodiment of pure Japanese technological craftsmanship, is still fully operational, and occasionally I like to go on the air with it. The Vintage Contest was a good excuse to turn on the "Time Machine" (as I affectionately like to call my FTdx-100), warm up those vacuum tubes, and send some electrons through them again.

Looking at the participants today though, and in the results of previous editions, it looks like the Vintage Contest unfortunately doesn't enjoy too much fame outside of Italy. I participated in the contest "search and pounce", and of the 11 contacts, 10 were with Italian stations. I hope this blog entry will help a little giving this wonderful contest some more publicity. It's a great chance to operate your own vintage equipment and at the same time make contacts with it with other fellow vintage-rig owners. I'm already looking forward to next year's edition, hopefully then with some better propagation conditions than today. It would be nice to participate in CW, but I'll have to look into building or purchasing a keyer to connect to the FTdx-100, as otherwise I will not be able to use my Kent twin paddle key with it. Another option would be to practice using a straight key (I do all my CW with iambic paddle keys, and I have minimal experience with a straight key).

More information on the International Vintage Contest can be found at http://contestvintage.beepworld.it/index.htm.

Below is a video made earlier today of my FTdx-100 receiving the CQs of an Italian contest participant (actually IQ4RN, the station of organizer ARI Sezione Rimini).

Original FTdx-100 advertisement brochure

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