Last week was the AWA Linc Cundall Memorial CW Contest. I used my 1934 style crystal controlled oscillator-buffer (47 to two 46s in parallel) driving two TZ-20s in push-pull. The receiver was a 1936 vintage HRO Sr.
QSOs included W0CWU (MN), K1TG (CT), VE3AWA (ONT), N0EK (ND), WA9WFA (MN) and WB8APR (MI). Unfortunately, as I wrapped up with WB8APR, my transmitter output dropped to zero. Earlier I had had a hint of trouble when two stations reported chirp on my signal. I was keying the buffer stage, not the oscillator. Any chirp should have been slight. Contest or no contest the transmitter wasn't getting better by itself. After a few minutes of tube swapping and coil reseating I knew I wouldn't be back on any time soon. Eventually I found the problem: a bad solder connection. A little heat and solder fixed it. I had a working transmitter but I couldn't turn back the clock. The contest ended without my making any more contacts.
The HRO Sr and a three stage crystal controlled transmitter does make a nice late 30's CW station, though. It is one of my favorite winter operating positions. I'll be on it a lot. After all it is below zero today, I'm certainly not heading to the park.