So what is a Novice Rig Roundup? I had no clue, but now I know a little bit more. For those of us who are old enough, there was a time when nearly everyone started off their ham radio career as a novice. A novice was limited by watts and bands. Most novices worked hard to improve their CW and to do what was necessary to upgrade to General and beyond.
A Novice Rig is a radio that was somewhat geared for Novice operators. For example, my Ten Tec Century 21 pictured below.
I have removed the top cover of my Ten Tec Century 21 to perhaps do some maintenance.
Now, this radio is a "novice" type rig in that it has about 75 watts of input power in keeping with novice guidelines. Output power according to Ten Tec was 30 to 40 watts, but other have realistically stated that output power is about 25 to 30 watts. I have found this to be true, in that the lower bands are around 32 or so watts out on my Bird wattmeter, and less on the higher bands.
The Novice Rig Roundup classifies a 75 watt input radio as a "Novice 1," and gives points based on contacts between Novice 1 and Novice 2 stations. Novice 2 is a station beyond 75 watts input.
It is really essential to click on the link above to learn all about the NRR contest...all 8 days of it.
Unfortunately, I am going to use my C21 in a slightly handicapped condition since the PTO is in need of some care. Something is mechanically screwy with the tuning shaft so I am getting some random variation in frequency. This will most likely be fixed by rebuilding the PTO, but since there is no time before the contest to do the repair, well, I will just have to get by with an occasionally quirky PTO.
Here's the inside of the C21...
The PTO is inside the silver box looking thing which is behind the main tuning dial and just below the two light bulbs in the bottom center of the photo. It is somewhat nerve-wracking to disassemble the radio to do the job, but it is worth it for at least 2 reasons: 1) it will hopefully solve your PTO issues, and 2) it is a tremendous opportunity to learn some new skills and deal with a late 1970's radio the way a Novice would back in those days.
There are 2 excellent youtube videos about breaking down and repairing the TenTec C21 PTO. Even if you don't have this radio sitting in your shack, it is worth it to watch and learn. Click here to see the first of the 2 videos.
If you have a novice rig, then by all means, participate in the contest. In addition, you don't need a Ten Tec or other commercial novice rig to take part. You can get on the air with a "rock bound," crystal controlled transmitter and have a great time. In the USA it should be very easy to work stations with 5 watts from your homebrew crystal controlled rig.
I am interested very much to know what kind of Novice rig you may have sitting on your shelf. Please send me your thoughts and ideas for the upcoming March 2 to March 10 contest...and have a great time!!