ACITRON SSB-400

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ACITRON SSB-400

Post by VK3RX » Fri Jul 20, 2012 7:35 pm

I saw this on ebay recently. I recall ads in AR in the 70's, and there was talk at the time of the import duty on FT101 etc. rising because of this Australian-manufactured unit. "Suitable alternative reasonably available" I think the particular Custons regulation read.

Anyone know the full story behind these units?

The bicycle chain at the back was a nice touch :D

After this loads scroll down a bit:

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/ws/eBayISAPI ... true&rt=nc
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Re: ACITRON SSB-400

Post by VK2AAH » Sat Jul 21, 2012 9:34 am

What a remarkable find Damien! There aren't many items that when typed into Google draws a total blank- but this one did. In Googleland that qualifies as a total mystery...

Cheers,


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Re: ACITRON SSB-400

Post by VK3ALB » Sat Jul 21, 2012 9:53 am

Looks like it uses a 6-40 or similar in the final.
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Re: ACITRON SSB-400

Post by VK3RX » Sat Jul 21, 2012 2:14 pm

I mentioned it at our club meeting today, and one member said he knew the designer who still has one in use, and I suggested an article in AR.

A rare thing, and there must be a good story behind it.
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Re: ACITRON SSB-400

Post by VK7JG » Sat Jul 21, 2012 2:19 pm

Hello Damien .
David VK7MS had one of these units and from memory he was very happy with it , and as you said it was built in Australia to compete with the imported products and possibly eliminate the import duties .
I do remember that it tuned up using pulsed full power the PA was either a 6-40 or a YL-1060.

It was many years ago so the memory has faded a little :-( .

Just checked and David is still licensed, I guess you could contact him for more info.

73
Joe
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Re: ACITRON SSB-400

Post by VK6AXB » Thu Jul 18, 2013 11:31 pm

Hello,

Surfing at random and found this old conversation... I know this post is a year late, but if there is still any interest in Acitron, I do know that Ken VK2KP designed the SSB-400 radio for ACI, the glass manufacturers, who for a while had a radio division. Still probably the one & only commercially made Amateur HF transceiver produced in Australia? (As opposed to the many commercial/public safety HF radio models). The "Acitron Story" is in Radio Amateur Old Timer's Club magazine "Old Timer's News" (OTN) of March 2008 - a RAOTC member of that time may have a copy - or join RAOTC, and buy their "OTN on disk" magazine archive, a fascinating resource for anyone interested in history of AR, or radio history generally...

BR & 73,
Anthony VK6AXB

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Re: ACITRON SSB-400

Post by VK3YE » Fri Jul 19, 2013 6:35 am

AR July 1971 pictures the rig on its cover and has a brief write up inside.

The PA is a dual VHF tetrode.

(had to compress to upload so image quality is poor)
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acitron
acitron
acitron
acitron
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Re: ACITRON SSB-400

Post by VK3KTO » Fri Jul 19, 2013 11:30 am

The article in the RAOTC mag. is agood read. Some years ago I had thre pleasure of a 3 way QSO, during the RAOTC old rigs contest, Ken VK2KP and Doug VK3KMN, both using SSB400s. They sure sounded great! As far as I know these 2 would be the only ones left in working order, although I think Doug may have some others in his shed.
73 de Mike VK3KTO

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Re: ACITRON SSB-400

Post by VK3RX » Fri Jul 19, 2013 12:31 pm

I've been a member of the RAOTC for a number of years and even recently bought their DVD of all back issues. I haven't had a chance to look over them, and didn't realise that article was there :)

Thanks for the tip.
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Re: ACITRON SSB-400

Post by VK3YE » Sun Aug 04, 2013 8:01 pm

EVEN OLDER!

The SSB-400 was not ACI's first attempt to enter the amateur SSB transceiver market.

September 1968's AR magazine has a cover photo and detailed 2-page article on the proposed Acitron 200W. It had a dial like the early Ten Tec Argonaut QRP rigs. It was largely valve-based apart from the VFO. The final was 2 x 6146B driven by a 12BY7A (ie fairly standard).

The idea was to produce a set for amateurs which could then be adapted for other users eg Flying Doctor etc (presumably as AM was phased out). The quoted price was $478. John Bays VK2BLH led the development. There were also plans for a mains power supply, remote VFO, mobile power supply and 1kW linear amp (Acitron 1000W).

I don't know if it ever entered production as it would have been almost obsolete when new.

While valves might appeal to a glass maker, by the late '60s they were getting old-hat even for communications gear. If you were going to update from AM to SSB gear then you might as well have updated to solid state (at least for the low level stages) at the same time. Could they have realised this and devoted all efforts to the SSB-400?
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Re: ACITRON SSB-400

Post by VK3BOB » Fri Feb 28, 2014 2:12 pm

I have a working ACITRON SSB-400 Many years ago when the remnants were sold they were purchased by a Ham who assembled the parts to make about 10 or more. I helped him and assembled 7 of them and got them working.
I also traced out the circuits which were scant and converted my own to mainly solid state switching plus some other mods.
It never ran 400w pep successfully. It runs 100w pep

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Re: ACITRON SSB-400

Post by VK3RX » Fri Feb 28, 2014 2:57 pm

Sounds like you have a great piece of Oz amateur radio history there, Bob.

Thanks -
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Re: ACITRON SSB-400

Post by VK3ZAZ » Fri Feb 28, 2014 3:03 pm

ACITRON
Ken old VK3AKK now 2AKK had one mobile in the WICEN Canoe Marathon
Burnt top off his whip
USES A YL1060
supposed made 400 pep

No one could afford one

Ask VK2AKK if he is still alive


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Re: ACITRON SSB-400

Post by VK3AQZ » Wed Jun 29, 2016 8:41 am

This is an old post but I can add that the Acitron SSB400 kits were sold by Dave Clancy, VK3DC at Mt Dandenong. I purchased one kit and bits of a second one. I assembled the kit with help from Bob Begg and eventually sold it to Bob. It used YL1060 and could only manage 100W. All other devices were solid state. The drive to the PA was a 10W amp using a pair of 2N5890 or similar VHF transistors. The VFO was a permeability tuned device with a pile of half inch diameter ferrite cores on a brass threaded rod. The readout was a small frequency counter. The front end was a tuned MPF121 with switched band coils and fine tuned with a pair of BA162 varicaps. IF was 9MHz using a KVG filter. AGC was pretty ordinary but overall it was a pretty good rig. I still have a couple of blank RF deck PCBs. Most of the receiver was on these PCBs. Since it used easy to get parts, faults were easy to fix. I think the main designer was Ken Nisbet. Unfortunately the market size here was too small so the cost was not much lower than a good overseas product
with all the resources behind them. And not too many VK hams would be prepared to spend that sort of money on what was essentially a product with no real market testing and buyer feedback. I used my second case for my own design a few years later. This rig used 2 PLLs with the Qulcomm DDS chips as the PLL reference. Built around later 70's when the Qulacomm chips become available. I still use it but it is about to be upgraded with an Arduino VFO system.
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This was rig built in the ACITRON SSB400 case.
This was rig built in the ACITRON SSB400 case.
The inside view at one end.
The inside view at one end.

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Re: ACITRON SSB-400

Post by VK2AOH » Wed Jun 29, 2016 3:16 pm

Wow this brings back memories. Although 1968 is before my entry to amateur radio dimly recollect discussion on these sets.

Don't know of anyone whom makes YL1060's nowadays so getting spares would be something of long search.

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Re: ACITRON SSB-400

Post by ZL3MH » Wed Jun 29, 2016 4:42 pm

I lived in Melbourne for a while in the 1972 or around that time. I went to a Hams place that had a
similar look but had Nixie tube display. ( made in OZ ) He worked for a government department
that had just starting using video recordings of the activities etc. Is this the same transceiver ?

Thanks ZL3MH Murray

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Re: ACITRON SSB-400

Post by VK4WDM » Wed Jun 29, 2016 7:40 pm

I don't know this radio but a guy in Auckland called Wright built and sold SSB transceivers in the 1960's and 1970's. I brought one with me to Melbourne in 1974 and used it until the mid 1980's when I changed to an FT101E.

73

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Re: ACITRON SSB-400

Post by VK3YE » Wed Jun 29, 2016 8:10 pm

Links to articles on Acitron transceivers in AR magazine (available online)

Sept 1968 http://armag.vk6uu.id.au/1968-september-AR.html
July 1971 http://armag.vk6uu.id.au/1971-july-AR.html
Nov 1971 http://armag.vk6uu.id.au/1971-november-AR.html
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Re: ACITRON SSB-400

Post by VK3RX » Thu Jun 30, 2016 1:50 pm

And I didn't know AR past issues were online - thanks Peter :)
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Re: ACITRON SSB-400

Post by VK3AUU » Sat Jul 02, 2016 6:42 am

As far as I Know, Ken VK2AKK is still around. I spoke to him on 40 metres not too long ago. He has all the guff on the rig in question. It ran a QQE06/40 in the final. As I recall, it ran around 1000 volts on the final and it had some sort of pulsed arrangement to time up which produced corona at the tip of a helical whip. Quite spectacular.
David

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