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 Post subject: AN/FRR-59A Aqusition
PostPosted: May Wed 08, 2019 6:52 pm 
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Joined: Mar Thu 15, 2012 10:28 pm
Posts: 121
Location: Madison, WI 53704 USA
I just got myself the ultamate boat anchor. The AN/FRR-59A is almost identical to the AN/WRR-2. It has 61 tubes and 4 semiconductors & depending on whom you listen to it weighs 250 to 300 Pounds.

Alas, I have none of the cables so I cannot vary if it works yet. It consists of 2 large rack mount cabinets. connected mechanically by a large tube air duct and four corner spool shaped corner supports. The 2 cabinets are electrically connected by several cables. The person I got it from bought it at an estate auction and the cables and corner supports did not come with it. They were probably in a box that was sold to someone else. I can fabricate the corner supports and cables once I find all the needed connectors. I'd like to make the corner supports as original as I can. If anyone has one of these old boatanchors it would help if you could measure the supports and post the measurements.

I'll keep you posted.

Jim


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 Post subject: Re: AN/FRR-59A Aqusition
PostPosted: May Wed 08, 2019 8:09 pm 
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Joined: Jan Mon 28, 2013 9:35 pm
Posts: 1548
Location: Santa Rosa, CA
Congrats Jim! I've come close to getting these a couple of times.
Post pics if you can and let us know how it goes.
Steve

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 Post subject: Re: AN/FRR-59A Aqusition
PostPosted: May Thu 09, 2019 12:43 am 
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Joined: Mar Thu 15, 2012 10:28 pm
Posts: 121
Location: Madison, WI 53704 USA
OK I started making cables out of pins and sockets pulled out of other connectors and am using them individually to make all the connections. The two cabinets are stacked onto each other as they would be in service. However, I have the top cabinet supported on 2X4s to distribute the weight over a larger service than just the center duct.


Jim


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 Post subject: Re: AN/FRR-59A Aqusition
PostPosted: May Thu 09, 2019 1:03 am 
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Joined: Jun Sun 19, 2011 2:31 pm
Posts: 7026
Jim,

Congratulations on acquiring a very heavy beast! It is definitely one you don't want to move around a lot!

It is one of the heaviest receivers out there and definitely the heaviest of the Wadley loop variety.

Rodger WQ9E


Attachments:
AN FRR-59A Peoria.jpg
AN FRR-59A Peoria.jpg [ 227.92 KiB | Viewed 1308 times ]
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 Post subject: Re: AN/FRR-59A Aqusition
PostPosted: May Thu 09, 2019 4:24 am 
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Joined: Mar Thu 15, 2012 10:28 pm
Posts: 121
Location: Madison, WI 53704 USA
Roger,

Thanks for the picture. Can you please measure the major & minor diameters & the thickness of the end flanges of the corner supports for me? It doesn't have to be perfect. I can calculate the length on my own.

I have mine on a piano dolly too. It is a real monster!

My variac is chomping on the bit to get started bringing it up slow.

Jim


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 Post subject: Re: AN/FRR-59A Aqusition
PostPosted: May Thu 09, 2019 11:30 am 
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Posts: 7026
Jim,

I am heading out for a meeting early this morning but as soon as I get home later today I will pull out the dial caliper and make measurements for you.

Just be prepared for the environmentalists to picket your house for running the alter ego to Energy Star appliances. I am going to be placing an order for a 40 KW standby diesel generator shortly and the AN/FRR-59 and Tektronix 555 Dual beam scope (also has a very high tube count with two cooling fans) should be a great way to load test the new system :)

Rodger WQ9E


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 Post subject: Re: AN/FRR-59A Aqusition
PostPosted: May Thu 09, 2019 1:09 pm 
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Joined: Apr Thu 12, 2007 3:24 am
Posts: 2306
Location: Milwaukee WI
With 61 tubes I hope your power supply came from Dr. Frankenstein's lab. Anything less won't last.
Sal, get ready for a huge cap order. :P


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 Post subject: Re: AN/FRR-59A Aqusition
PostPosted: May Thu 09, 2019 1:52 pm 
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Posts: 7026
Jim,

The posts are 1" OD and the pads they fit into on cabinets are 1.97" OD.

Rodger WQ9E


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 Post subject: Re: AN/FRR-59A Aqusition
PostPosted: May Thu 09, 2019 3:41 pm 
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Joined: Oct Fri 02, 2009 2:41 am
Posts: 129
Location: Chapel Hill NC
It is a great and very interesting receiver.

I have several (dirty) parts units in case someone needs something for repair. No spare cables. No spare FRR-59 support posts or WRR-2 cradles. Just the RF and IF/AF sections. I can bring something to Dayton, but speak up quickly!
Nick

FWIW, here are a few photos of this receiver in use -
http://www.navy-radio.com/commsta/gitmo-frr59-1968.jpg
http://www.navy-radio.com/ships/cg10/albany-1966.jpg

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 Post subject: Re: AN/FRR-59A Aqusition
PostPosted: May Fri 10, 2019 4:13 am 
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Joined: Mar Thu 15, 2012 10:28 pm
Posts: 121
Location: Madison, WI 53704 USA
rsingl wrote:
Jim,

The posts are 1" OD and the pads they fit into on cabinets are 1.97" OD.

Rodger WQ9E

Roger,

Thanks! How thick are the 1.97" diameter pads?

With that info I should have no problem making them on my metal lathe.

Jim


Last edited by KG9MM on May Fri 10, 2019 4:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: AN/FRR-59A Aqusition
PostPosted: May Fri 10, 2019 4:25 am 
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Joined: Mar Thu 15, 2012 10:28 pm
Posts: 121
Location: Madison, WI 53704 USA
Well, I brought it up slowly today and guess what! So far it is a 250 pound door stop. No signs of life whatsoever. Yes I have 120VAC at the mains in connector and it shows up at the power out connector (Right next to it on the upper cabinet). From there is goes to the lower cabinet and yes it gets there and is at least going into the two pins it is supposed to go into and the ground wire is at ground. No blown fuses that are accessible without cracking it open. Tomorrow I plan to first check the dial lamps and replace them if they are bad. If they don't light up then I will have to dig deeper. If they do light up my first guess is the bridge rectifier in the power supply section.

All for now,

Jim


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 Post subject: Re: AN/FRR-59A Aqusition
PostPosted: May Fri 10, 2019 5:15 pm 
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Joined: Mar Thu 15, 2012 10:28 pm
Posts: 121
Location: Madison, WI 53704 USA
Silly Me!

I just finished checking all the lamps. They are all good. I pulled the lower chassis out of the cabinet and found the AC connector on a retractable extension cord at the back of the cabinet. This time I connected it to the back of the chassis. It should work better now. I'm bringing it up slowly again. I discovered my variac is not functioning so I am using an old home-brew transformer with a lot of toggle switches on it. The switches allow one to bring up the voltage in 1-v, 2-V, 4-V, 16-V 32-V or 64-V increments. I have opted for 4-V increments. 20-min at each step. I am at 4-V now. I'll let you know what happens.

Jim


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 Post subject: Re: AN/FRR-59A Aqusition
PostPosted: May Sat 11, 2019 4:30 am 
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Joined: Mar Thu 15, 2012 10:28 pm
Posts: 121
Location: Madison, WI 53704 USA
I brought it up slow today & made it up to full line voltage. All the dial lights started to glow at 48-VAC. I started to get sound in the headphones & deflection of the 100-Kc tuning meter at about 90-VAC. No other changes except louder noise and more deflection of the 100-Kc tuning dial the rest of the way up. I got no deflection from the 5-Kc tuning meter.

I was unable to pull in any signals anywhere on any bands. Will try a signal generator tomorrow & start testing tubes. I count 64 tubes in the parts list. That should keep me busy for a while.

The Mc odometer readout will not tune all the way to the ends of the bands. Probably needs lubrication.

So far the list of things missing or just not right:

The grill on the upper chassis is not original and is glued on not fastened with screws.
Missing the left side lower drawer catch and spring.
Missing the data plate that should be on the bottom of the escutcheon lower chassis.
Filter cover has been repainted which obliterated the graphics.
Missing all the external cables. I have described how I got around this problem previously. However, I am looking for connectors.
Missing the 4 spool shaped corner support pillars. I plan to make new ones. I have a South Bend model 9 metal lathe to do this.

Things to figure out beyond getting it to receive:

The upper chassis left locking rack handle does not stay latched.
Lubricate the tuning mechanism.
Lubricate the upper chassis drawer slides and tilting mechanism. I have already lubricated the lower chassis slides etc.
Find all the required connectors and make up cables.
General internal clean and inspection. It's quite dirty inside.

Also, Something stinks. It smells like heated oil or something. I'm probably killing myself with PCP exposer.


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 Post subject: Re: AN/FRR-59A Aqusition
PostPosted: May Sat 11, 2019 10:49 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 2814
Location: Mt. Airy, Maryland
Although more complex than most radios (!) it's still just a superhet. The complexity is in the separate IF strips (which are pretty simple in and of themselves) and the synthesizer.

The synth needs to fully track with the RF or you'll get nothing. Having been faced with a very similar situation years ago, a full alighnment (which took all day) got mine going. A scope and frequency counter, in addition to a good sig gen, make the process easier.

I'd start by correcting any mechanical issues with the counter and tuning mechanism, making sure no shaft couplers have slipped and everything is mechanically where it should be. Then shoot a signal into the IF input of the upper deck and verify if it is or is not working, troubleshoot as necessary.

Once the IF and audio are cool, go to town on the RF deck. THe manual is good but there are a LOT of adjustments and you'll need to go back and forth to make sure everything tracks correctly. Start by using your scope to check that every LO signal is where it needs to be. The reference dividers as I recall use resonant circuits and several were off and were dividing by 5 or something instead of 10. Until I dragged out the scope and counter that was bamboozling me.

Good luck, it's really a cool receiver and a remarkable example of engineering. Well worth putting the work into to put it back in service.


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 Post subject: Re: AN/FRR-59A Aqusition
PostPosted: May Sat 11, 2019 4:29 pm 
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Joined: Aug Mon 16, 2010 6:58 pm
Posts: 219
Location: Madison, WI
Congtrats, Jim! I saw you trying to hook up with the seller in a Craigslist ad. I'm glad it worked out!

Good luck with getting it running. I'll let you know if the lights dim on this side of town :)

-Clark


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 Post subject: Re: AN/FRR-59A Aqusition
PostPosted: May Sat 11, 2019 11:53 pm 
Member

Joined: Mar Thu 15, 2012 10:28 pm
Posts: 121
Location: Madison, WI 53704 USA
Update for today 5/11/2019

I started out the day cleaning and lubricating the converter lower deck odometer gearing. There are multi turn limiters that prevent one from turning the dial too far up or down the band. These are made of several discs on a shaft. Each disc and a tooth or tab that hangs over the next disc. It the shaft turns clockwise these discs will turn independently depending on the friction between adjacent discs. As the shaft is turned each tab hooks the tab on the adjoining disc until they are all lined up and prevent the shaft from turning farther.

The discs were closed with dried and dirty oil. I spent a half hour spraying cleaner and manually manipulating the discs until they were clean. Then I lubricated them with mobile 1 synthetic oil. Now the dial spins all the way from one end of the band to the other.

I plan to do more cleaning and tube testing before I dig into solving the major problems. Before I get too far I would like to get it mounted in a rack so it won't tip over on me when I pull out a drawer. Before I can do that I have to fabricate corner support pillars. Unfortunately I don't have the stock on hand so I will have to order it. I will probably work on other projects until I get the material to proceed.


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 Post subject: Re: AN/FRR-59A Aqusition
PostPosted: May Tue 14, 2019 11:05 pm 
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Joined: Mar Thu 15, 2012 10:28 pm
Posts: 121
Location: Madison, WI 53704 USA
When I have free time during the day I have been testing tubes. I use a Hickok 533 to test them. The 533 has no data for testing the ballast tubes so I tested the 0B2 tubes on my Sencore MU-150 Continental tester. The ballast tubes in the converter chassis power supply tested questionable so I tested several new in box JAN 02B tubes and they all test the same. Therefore I am assuming they are all good. I found several marginal 5654 tubes. The 6AK5 was superseded by the 5654 tube. I have been able to replace the marginal 5654 tubes with NIB JAN 5654/6AK5 tubes so far, but there are over 30 of them in the radio and will have to buy more if I keep finding marginal ones.

Today I found one 5814A with an open filament. I replaced it with a 12AU7. I plugged it in and turned it on and still no reception. No big deal there are still a lot of tubes to test.

I have tested all the tubes I can reach in the converter chassis. I need to get the radio rack mounted to access the bottom of the converter chassis. Tomorrow I should be receiving 1 inch diameter by 3 feet long 6061 aluminum rod for making the corner pillars. Once I have them completed I can rack mount the radio. Everything will be easier and safer once it's in the rack.

I have been digging through my Ampernol & Cannon connectors and have found acceptable connectors for the audio out connectors. I have shells for one of the power connectors & both the control connectors. All I have to do is find 2 more power connectors and buy some of those plastic inserts that hold the pins and sockets.


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 Post subject: Re: AN/FRR-59A Aqusition
PostPosted: May Tue 21, 2019 11:22 pm 
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Joined: Mar Thu 15, 2012 10:28 pm
Posts: 121
Location: Madison, WI 53704 USA
Today I finished making the corner support pillars. I have the two cabinets installed in my rack and fastened together. I pulled out both blisters to free up the cabinets and I am having a devil of a time getting the upper blister re-installed. This one is permanently cabled to the upper chassis so one has to work around the chassis to install the blister. Setting the chassis at an angle of 45 degrees and removing the cable from the tension roller helps gain access, but I cannot get all the pins to come thru far enough to snap them in. The inside is black as a coal mine and that doesn't help either. I even tried putting some past wax on the pins and holes to reduce friction, but no joy. All I could get connected was the bottom one on the left edge and the right one on the bottom edge. The other bottom edge one is missing the pin.

I have tried pounding with a 2X4 too. The one I got connected on the bottom edge I got connected by loosening the pin from the back so it would stand out farther. Then after snapping it in I tightened it again.

I plan to try and rig up some kind of jack to push the top back, but before I do that does anyone have an easier way to do this?


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 Post subject: Re: AN/FRR-59A Aqusition
PostPosted: May Thu 23, 2019 3:52 pm 
Member

Joined: Mar Thu 15, 2012 10:28 pm
Posts: 121
Location: Madison, WI 53704 USA
zarco wrote:
Congrats Jim! I've come close to getting these a couple of times.
Post pics if you can and let us know how it goes.
Steve

Here are some pics


Attachments:
File comment: This is the picture of the unit as received
IMG_3169.jpg
IMG_3169.jpg [ 148.69 KiB | Viewed 716 times ]
File comment: This is how I have resolved the no matching connector problem. Hopefully a short term solution.
IMG_3170.jpg
IMG_3170.jpg [ 107.87 KiB | Viewed 716 times ]
File comment: Here is the data plate. See# A 74. Does this mean this is the 74th AN/FRR-59A manufactured?
IMG_3173.jpg
IMG_3173.jpg [ 113.07 KiB | Viewed 716 times ]
File comment: This is a closeup of the upper chassis. The blower grill is just stuck on with mortite & the blower is missing.
IMG_3174.jpg
IMG_3174.jpg [ 122.02 KiB | Viewed 716 times ]
File comment: This is a close up of the lower chassis. The filter cover has been repainted and all the original graphics are covered. Any suggestions on re-doing the graphics?
IMG_3175.jpg
IMG_3175.jpg [ 123.47 KiB | Viewed 716 times ]
File comment: Don't forget to connect this plug to the back of the chassis when installing it in the cabinet.
IMG_3176.jpg
IMG_3176.jpg [ 123.85 KiB | Viewed 716 times ]
File comment: Here is a fuzzy pic of how it is supposed to be connected
IMG_3178.jpg
IMG_3178.jpg [ 110.59 KiB | Viewed 716 times ]
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 Post subject: Re: AN/FRR-59A Aqusition
PostPosted: May Thu 23, 2019 4:04 pm 
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Joined: Mar Thu 15, 2012 10:28 pm
Posts: 121
Location: Madison, WI 53704 USA
Yesterday I re-tested all the tubes in the lower chassis. This time I am documenting the test results in a spreadsheet. Normally I don't need to do this, but it's difficult to keep track of 64 tubes in one radio. So far I have found one tube with an open filament and 2 shorted tubes. Several of the tubes test questionable, but I am not sure if its the tube or the tube tester. I will need to get some NIB known good tubes to compare to be sure. I'm starting on the upper chassis today.


Last edited by KG9MM on May Thu 23, 2019 4:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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