---   Halifax #1 - The Birth of BigRig   ---




This begins a 60-year story about a transmitter.

The end of World War II in 1945, allowed the resumption of ham radio in many parts of the world, including Canada. My father, Ron Hart, VE1MZ (SK), was, like most if not all hams, anxious to return to the air after the six-year war hiatus. His 80 meter 100 watt rig was just not going to do the DX job on 20 meters, and his “war assets” (“war surplus” to you colonialists) Russian Mark 19 tank transmitter-receiver* was even more inadequate.

Dad enlisted the help of a pal, Tommy Baker, VE1SF (SK), and they built the transmitter that I’ll be telling you about.

I was about 10 years old when the project began, and much of the planning and building went on well after my bedtime. So, I remember little about the birth of the transmitter beyond providing the critical help of periodically holding a screwdriver and on request, handing it to Dad. I’ve long suspected but could never prove, that my forced bedtime absence may also have been somehow related to the flow of off-color language when holes were accidentally drilled in the wrong location, and the flow of scotch and soda necessary for therapeutic treatment of construction headaches or the celebratory response to some construction success.

Radio parts were hard to come by in Nova Scotia in those days. I remember but one radio store, called “Manning Bros.” and although Manning stocked ham gear, I suspect that new parts were expensive, that money was scarce, and that a lot of scrounging went on.

The transmitter was eventually finished, and took its rightful place in the VE1MZ hamshack on Oxford Street in Halifax. Our house sprouted a 20 meter 3-element beam mounted on a short wooden tower and DX was the order of the day. The transmitter was built into a 7' relay rack and was huge compared to the other equipment in the shack. So, the new transmitter took on the name “BigRig” (one word, please!) to distinguish it from the much smaller 80 meter rig and the smaller yet Mark19 gear.

This section of the website will further document the history of this transmitter, so please do read on!



Tnx es 73 de al hart, W8VR es VE1VI



* Properly called the WS #19 Mk II set, there are entire websites devoted to its memory.


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