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 Post subject: Earliest superhet communication receivers?
PostPosted: Jun Fri 07, 2019 2:11 am 
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Joined: Jan Mon 28, 2013 9:35 pm
Posts: 1486
Location: Santa Rosa, CA
By communication receiver I mean one that has a BFO that will
allow CW reception in the SW bands.

For a few years now I've been collecting equipment to join in the
fun of operating in vintage (ham) equipment contests. So far the
oldest receivers I've found are a National FB-7 (actually an FBXA
since it has the optional xtal filter) and a Comet Pro. Both from
1932.

I know National built a few prior to this like the AGS but are there
others? TIA
Steve W6SSP

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 Post subject: Re: Earliest superhet communication receivers?
PostPosted: Jun Fri 07, 2019 7:28 am 
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Joined: May Wed 23, 2018 6:28 am
Posts: 525
Steve,

You have to go back a few more decades. Fessbender created the heterodyne receiver circuit for detecting CW, as we know it, in 1901. This was before there was an oscillator tube, so I don't know what created the BFO signal. By 1913, there was an oscillator tube followed by TRF and Regenerative sets that included an oscillator (BFO) that tracked 1,000 cycles above the receiver frequency. Apparently, it was ganged to the tuner. The earliest examples I know of are the SE1420 from 1918 and the Regenerative IP501A from 1923. Early RCA Navy Superhets like the LW RAA (1931) and HF RAB (1931?) used the BFO as we know it. The first Army Superhet was the BC-175 (1932-1933). I think the heterodyne use continued through WWII in some military receivers, but I can't name them offhand.

You can probably find an RAB. The weight of the RAA and RAB may deter you. With typewriter and workstation they weighed 450 pounds.

John


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 Post subject: Re: Earliest superhet communication receivers?
PostPosted: Jun Fri 07, 2019 2:19 pm 
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Joined: Jan Mon 28, 2013 9:35 pm
Posts: 1486
Location: Santa Rosa, CA
John,
As far as production communications superhets go I'm not sure there were
many prior to 1932. Primarily because RCA owned (stole) the superhet patents
from Armstrong and would not license others to make them until 1931.
At least thats my understanding of the situation back then.

But don't think there were many (if any) RCA communication type
receivers prior to 1932 either. The ACR-163 and -175 came later.
Have heard of others like the AVR-11 but have never owned one.
Sure there were regens well before this that were ideal for copying
CW but I'm focused on superhets.

Are you referring to the RBA/RBB/RBC receivers of WWII? Been there,
done that. Prefer the RBM receivers. Smaller, lighter and well built
but will not tolerate 16" guns like the RBx receivers. :lol:
Steve

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 Post subject: Re: Earliest superhet communication receivers?
PostPosted: Jun Fri 07, 2019 2:34 pm 
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Joined: Jan Mon 28, 2013 9:35 pm
Posts: 1486
Location: Santa Rosa, CA
Just looked up RAA and RAB. Cool! Was not aware of these.
Thanks John! Now to find one....
Steve

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 Post subject: Re: Earliest superhet communication receivers?
PostPosted: Jun Fri 07, 2019 3:03 pm 
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Joined: Oct Thu 20, 2016 3:54 am
Posts: 285
Location: Missoula mt
??? The rba is a vlf regen set not a superhet......WA7OPY :? :?


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 Post subject: Re: Earliest superhet communication receivers?
PostPosted: Jun Fri 07, 2019 3:43 pm 
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Joined: May Wed 23, 2018 6:28 am
Posts: 525
Steve,

This is an RAB:

Attachment:
RAB.jpg
RAB.jpg [ 206.67 KiB | Viewed 1808 times ]


http://www.skywaves.ar88.net/commrx/RCA/RAB/RAB.html

It does come in 3 pieces, so it may be a moveable object.

I would guess Radio Boulevard has more info on either or both the RAA and RAB. I have never seen how many were made.

John


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 Post subject: Re: Earliest superhet communication receivers?
PostPosted: Jun Fri 07, 2019 4:08 pm 
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Location: Minneapolis, MN 55304
According to the Western Historic Radio Museum http://radioblvd.com/RAA-3_LW_Receiver.htm

"In 1931, the Navy had RCA design and build the ultimate shipboard receivers for both longwave and shortwave coverage. The RAA and the RAB were gigantic, 450 pound superheterodyne receivers"


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 Post subject: Re: Earliest superhet communication receivers?
PostPosted: Jun Fri 07, 2019 7:09 pm 
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Joined: Oct Thu 20, 2016 3:54 am
Posts: 285
Location: Missoula mt
I have never seen a rab, looks neat....WA7OPY


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 Post subject: Re: Earliest superhet communication receivers?
PostPosted: Jun Sat 08, 2019 1:04 am 
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Joined: May Wed 23, 2018 6:28 am
Posts: 525
There is a phenomenal difference between the RAA and RAB on the inside and their predecessors. The SE 1420 and the IP501A look like consumer radios of the period. The 2 RCAs look very will engineered.

There are pictures on both Radio Boulevard and AR88.

John


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 Post subject: Re: Earliest superhet communication receivers?
PostPosted: Jun Mon 10, 2019 6:16 pm 
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Location: Charlotte, NC
The Hatry & Young HY-7 superhet of 1930. National also offered a model HFR in 1931, a little known superhet which appeared briefly before the AGS and FB-7.


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 Post subject: Re: Earliest superhet communication receivers?
PostPosted: Jun Tue 11, 2019 4:43 am 
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Joined: May Wed 23, 2018 6:28 am
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Those are obscure.

Work on the design of the HY-7 seems to have begun in 1928. They were made on request, but I found no hint of when the first was delivered to a customer or how many were made. A year frequently associated with it is 1931. Nostalgia Air says 'pre 1932'. Bill Meachem made a reproduction from schematics. It isn't clear how he decided on appearance.

I've found even less about the HFR. Radio Museum gives a date of '1932'.

Is there more information available?

John


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 Post subject: Re: Earliest superhet communication receivers?
PostPosted: Jun Tue 11, 2019 2:52 pm 
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Superretrodyne wrote:
Those are obscure.

Work on the design of the HY-7 seems to have begun in 1928. They were made on request, but I found no hint of when the first was delivered to a customer or how many were made. A year frequently associated with it is 1931. Nostalgia Air says 'pre 1932'. Bill Meachem made a reproduction from schematics. It isn't clear how he decided on appearance.

I've found even less about the HFR. Radio Museum gives a date of '1932'.

Is there more information available?

John


Yes, I have both of them

-Greg


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 Post subject: Re: Earliest superhet communication receivers?
PostPosted: Jun Sat 22, 2019 3:23 pm 
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Superretrodyne wrote:
Those are obscure.

Work on the design of the HY-7 seems to have begun in 1928. They were made on request, but I found no hint of when the first was delivered to a customer or how many were made. A year frequently associated with it is 1931. Nostalgia Air says 'pre 1932'. Bill Meachem made a reproduction from schematics. It isn't clear how he decided on appearance.

I've found even less about the HFR. Radio Museum gives a date of '1932'.

Is there more information available?

John

Here's my Hatry replica. Its an 'electrical' replica and appearance wasn't a consideration.

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 Post subject: Re: Earliest superhet communication receivers?
PostPosted: Jul Tue 02, 2019 9:35 am 
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Location: Charlotte, NC
Your work is commendable Bill! I'll see if I can add to this with some pictures of the Hatry Young HY-7 and the National HFR. They're both packed away in an unused upstairs bedroom and I'm still working full time but I'll try to get to it in the next few days.


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 Post subject: Re: Earliest superhet communication receivers?
PostPosted: Sep Wed 25, 2019 2:06 pm 
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Finally got a chance to dig the National HFR out. I've only seen two of these in twenty three years.

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Last edited by Greg G on Sep Wed 25, 2019 8:37 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Earliest superhet communication receivers?
PostPosted: Sep Wed 25, 2019 3:17 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 2626
Location: Potomac, Md.
Bill M wrote:
Superretrodyne wrote:
Those are obscure.

Work on the design of the HY-7 seems to have begun in 1928. They were made on request, but I found no hint of when the first was delivered to a customer or how many were made. A year frequently associated with it is 1931. Nostalgia Air says 'pre 1932'. Bill Meachem made a reproduction from schematics. It isn't clear how he decided on appearance.

I've found even less about the HFR. Radio Museum gives a date of '1932'.

Is there more information available?

John

Here's my Hatry replica. Its an 'electrical' replica and appearance wasn't a consideration.


And your description references our very own Peter Bertini!

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 Post subject: Re: Earliest superhet communication receivers?
PostPosted: Sep Wed 25, 2019 8:47 pm 
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Location: Seattle WA US
Bell/Western Electric was working with receivers for the transatlantic SSB (and ISB) circuit in the same time period. Propagation articles in Proceedings of the IRE for October 1926, April 1930, and September 1931 may have some information on these receivers. Unfortunately, I don't have easy access to these references to check. By July 1935 they were again publishing in Proc. IRE, describing a SSB transmitter and receiver and voice quality experiments performed with this equipment over the transatlantic channel. The receivers were large, occupying floor to ceiling in a telephone style rack. and not available for non-commercial use.

-Chuck K7MCG


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 Post subject: Re: Earliest superhet communication receivers?
PostPosted: Sep Thu 26, 2019 12:06 am 
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Greetings to John and the Forum:

Superretrodyne wrote:
Fessbender created the heterodyne receiver circuit for detecting CW, as we know it, in 1901.


Are you sure you don't mean Reginald Fessenden (1866-1932)? I can't find any reference to a "Fessbender" in this context.

Regards,

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 Post subject: Re: Earliest superhet communication receivers?
PostPosted: Sep Thu 26, 2019 2:55 am 
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Joined: May Wed 23, 2018 6:28 am
Posts: 525
Jthoreson,

You are correct. Google still provides a link to the site I used, complete with the wrong name, but the link takes you somewhere you might not want to visit.

This is a link to a valid source:

https://home.strw.leidenuniv.nl/~brandl/DOL/DTL_07_HeterodyneReceivers.pdf

John


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 Post subject: Re: Earliest superhet communication receivers?
PostPosted: Sep Thu 26, 2019 1:42 pm 
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Joined: May Sun 13, 2007 5:22 am
Posts: 218
Location: United Kingdom
EM Sargent produced a double conversion superhet in 1933. The model 9-33 had IF's of 465 KC and 175 KC. Also had bandspread and a BFO.
I've got one kicking around here somewhere. I thought of restoring it but as it still has the original components it's become a shelf queen.


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