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 Post subject: RCA Audio Chanalyst 170-A Project
PostPosted: Dec Sun 13, 2020 10:58 pm 
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Whereas the RCA Audio Chanalyst Model 170-A seems to be somewhat rare, I am of two minds whether to share the adventure of electronically restoring it.

On the one hand, taking up forum space might not be considered its best use since so few might find it useful.

On the other hand, it might be a useful addition to the meager documentation I’ve been able to find on the 170-A.

Besides doing so for the benefit of those following after, a selfish motivation for taking you along would be my hope it would give me inspiration to keep at it and finish it in a more timely manner than might otherwise be the case.

Pending feedback from folks here, I’ll just start with a little backstory.

I thought I was done collecting and was in the “thinning the herd” mode, especially when it came to units truly heavy enough to deserve the name “boatanchor”. I hardly needed another Chanalyst-type unit, as I already had these three:

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Then along comes Steve (targeteye here) offering one I’d not seen before, an RCA Audio Chanalyst 170-A, seen in the first photo in this post.

I had just finally finished restoration of the first of my two 162C Radio Chanalysts, having done the Hickok 155 Traceometer earlier in the year. The prospect of adding an Audio Chanalyst along side it was more temptation than I could handle.

Steve and I could not have worked out the equipment swapping we did without the help of the free transport provided by my Texas brother-in-law who was headed my way for a visit. (The 170-A weighs in at almost 50#.)

While I was awaiting delivery of the unit itself, I continued my search for a manual and/or schematic. I discovered that the documentation is even more rare than the unit itself. However, I find the detective work involved is part of the fun of the hobby.

I first checked all the usual suspects (BAMA, and over a half dozen others) and then read every mention in old ARF threads.

Next I sent eMails to everyone who’d asked about a manual to see if they’d ever found one. All to no avail.

Continuing the search, I read every article I could find about it in the periodicals on the wonderful American Radio History site, saving many of them to my Evernote file on the Audio Chanalyst.

Learning from those articles that the US military made use of many of these during WWII, I began to follow the military manual trail that, a few years ago, had finally produced my military RF Chanalyst manual.

While this last trail didn’t produce a manual directly (apparently the Audio Chanalyst was only used by the military via contractors and never carried a military designation or manual), what I did learn was that RCA had produced a document, I.B. 4170-A, that was a copy of the manual for the military so their people could figure out if they needed one.

Turning Google loose on this designation led me to The Hagley Museum's RCA collection index where I found the manual was contained in their holdings. They have a regular service that will scan you a PDF of most documents there - for a price.

Their people were excellent to deal with and did a superb job with the scans. I had the PDF files via email within a couple hours of ordering. They (Angela Schad) even cheerfully checked to confirm that there was a schematic in the manual they had, and even emailed me a scan of it and the table of contents prior to purchase.

A careful HD scan of a brand new manual, as well as a PDF of a 7-page letter from RCA describing a stability mod, was well worth the $46 it cost! I took the PDF to my local printer and came away with a very nice spiral-bound manual and a 24”x36” blow-up of the schematic to work from.

By the way, for those of you who are RCA collectors, the Hagley Museum apparently houses a huge collection of RCA papers and documentation.

Let me know your thoughts on documenting the restoration here.

Meanwhile, a quick look at the innards - lots of audio iron!
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Last edited by WoodchuckTN on Dec Mon 14, 2020 10:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: RCA Audio Chanalyst 170-A Project?
PostPosted: Dec Sun 13, 2020 11:05 pm 
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Come on, Chuck. You know we all like to look at vintage test equipment porn :-)

I vote YES!

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 Post subject: Re: RCA Audio Chanalyst 170-A Project?
PostPosted: Dec Mon 14, 2020 1:14 am 
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I also vote yes!

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 Post subject: Re: RCA Audio Chanalyst 170-A Project?
PostPosted: Dec Mon 14, 2020 1:23 am 
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Put me in the YES column as well. Since I can't get to my own stuff, I might as well watch someone else suffer .....er........ relish in a job well done.

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 Post subject: Re: RCA Audio Chanalyst 170-A Project?
PostPosted: Dec Mon 14, 2020 3:37 am 
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If forum space were a problem then the "Clubhouse" section would not exist.

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 Post subject: Re: RCA Audio Chanalyst 170-A Project?
PostPosted: Dec Mon 14, 2020 3:54 am 
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Well of course you have my vote to do it here :). I'm glad it found its way to someone that can appreciate it make it part of their collection. Worlds just seemed to align on this one chuck, it was just meant to be :).


Steve


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 Post subject: Re: RCA Audio Chanalyst 170-A Project?
PostPosted: Dec Mon 14, 2020 10:16 pm 
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Thanks to you folks for the encouragement and to Geoff for the logical point I hadn’t thought of.

While y’all are waiting for me to start the project in earnest - currently finishing my semi-annual shop reorg - I thought I’d provide some of the documentation I found that will give you an understanding of the design purpose and implementation of same for the Audio Chanalyst.

First a brief sales blurb:
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This is a 3-part article by, I believe, one of the design engineers:

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There'll be a test on this reading assignment later (as you help me through this project). :D

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If talk is cheap, it's because the supply usually exceeds the demand.


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 Post subject: Re: RCA Audio Chanalyst 170-A Project
PostPosted: Dec Tue 15, 2020 12:50 am 
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that thing is cool. :).

To bad the multitudes of patch cables it came with are missing. Although made for the sound enforcement industry , seems it has all the required doo-dads to work on Mono audio amps.

Another use (which i contemplated) was an over the top, but cool playback amp for mono records. Just plug in an equalizer network between to of the amp sections.

STeve


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 Post subject: Re: RCA Audio Chanalyst 170-A Project
PostPosted: Dec Tue 15, 2020 5:34 pm 
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Definitely a yes!
It is too bad that when old test equipment was stored, the first thing they did was make sure that any leads/probes were separated and discarded. (I think that was part of some sort of pre-storage checklist.)


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 Post subject: Re: RCA Audio Chanalyst 170-A Project
PostPosted: Dec Wed 16, 2020 4:10 am 
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Fortunately these would not be a problem to duplicate.

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What will present more of a challenge is the impedance matching transformer shown below. I’ll have to decide if I’ll really have any use for such a thing. (I know, “What’s that crazy old man gonna do with the analyzer, much less the accessory transformer?”). :roll:

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73, de Chuck K4CCW

If talk is cheap, it's because the supply usually exceeds the demand.


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 Post subject: Re: RCA Audio Chanalyst 170-A Project
PostPosted: Dec Wed 16, 2020 4:25 am 
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WoodchuckTN wrote:
What will present more of a challenge is the impedance matching transformer shown below.

No problem, Shure sells what you need for $20:
https://www.shure.com/en-US/products/accessories/a85f
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 Post subject: Re: RCA Audio Chanalyst 170-A Project
PostPosted: Dec Wed 16, 2020 4:31 am 
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Thanks, Steve!

I’m reminded of the Staples commercial, “Well, that was easy!”

I hope the rest of the project goes that quickly.

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73, de Chuck K4CCW

If talk is cheap, it's because the supply usually exceeds the demand.


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 Post subject: Re: RCA Audio Chanalyst 170-A Project
PostPosted: Dec Wed 16, 2020 5:34 am 
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Here’s the accessory if you need binding post terminals instead of an XLR connector:
https://www.markertek.com/product/hk-10 ... apter-male

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 Post subject: Re: RCA Audio Chanalyst 170-A Project
PostPosted: Dec Wed 16, 2020 3:10 pm 
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Steve, at the rate you’re going, you’re going to find one with the 250 ohm center-tapped side as well. :D

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73, de Chuck K4CCW

If talk is cheap, it's because the supply usually exceeds the demand.


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 Post subject: Re: RCA Audio Chanalyst 170-A Project
PostPosted: Dec Wed 16, 2020 3:20 pm 
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Simple. All you need is one of these. Add your own mini-transformer, readily available brand new. This one is from Sescom. There are others, or roll your own. ;-)
Just noticed I grabbed an XLR version... 1/4" stereo versions also available, or use an adapter and have even more fun.


Attachments:
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 Post subject: Re: RCA Audio Chanalyst 170-A Project
PostPosted: Dec Wed 16, 2020 3:33 pm 
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One must never, ever, doubt this crew's tenacity and resourcefulness!

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73, de Chuck K4CCW

If talk is cheap, it's because the supply usually exceeds the demand.


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 Post subject: Re: RCA Audio Chanalyst 170-A Project
PostPosted: Dec Wed 16, 2020 4:16 pm 
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WoodchuckTN wrote:
Steve, at the rate you’re going, you’re going to find one with the 250 ohm center-tapped side as well. :D

Jeez, you're picky! :-)

https://www.markertek.com/product/hk-11 ... ost-narrow

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 Post subject: Re: RCA Audio Chanalyst 170-A Project
PostPosted: Dec Wed 16, 2020 6:35 pm 
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This thing is in the category of "too cool to pass up", the same reason I have a Hickok 155 Traceometer, a Philco 7008 Visual Alignment Generator and other irresistible things I never actually use.

RRM


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 Post subject: Re: RCA Audio Chanalyst 170-A Project
PostPosted: Dec Sun 20, 2020 6:57 pm 
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That 170-A is pretty sweet. I especially like that built-in amp and speaker. I've got a Chanalyst 162 that I got at an auction of a local high school that they were getting ready to tear down. I got an entire science lab classroom for $185. I'm still going through all the gems I got but the Chanalyst was in the storage closet and still in it's original box. Just from it's age it needs a complete going through. Just recently I picked up a similar piece:
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Its a Meissner Analyst 9-1040. I believe it is a clone of the Chanalyst with a few extra connection points. I didn't really NEED it but it looks so cool I couldn't resist. I''m a sucker for black with red. So if anyone has a line on a Triplett 3433 signal generator let me know. The Meissner looks to be in great shape but supposedly all the knobs were red and the two bottom knobs look like they have been replaced with black ones although they seem to match the others in shape and size. If they aren't original I'm sure finding original replacements will be the hard part of the restoration.


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 Post subject: Re: RCA Audio Chanalyst 170-A Project
PostPosted: Dec Sun 20, 2020 8:02 pm 
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Barky, that’s a really nice-looking Meissner. That’s about the only Chanalyst type of unit I don’t have - so far. I’ve bid on a number of them in the past.

Maybe one of these days I’ll come across somebody that has two Meissner units and needs a 162-type, of which I have two. Why do I need a Meissner? For the same reason I need the ones I already have. :D

(Sorry I messed up the name 1st time, Barky. Just caught it 9/25/21)

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If talk is cheap, it's because the supply usually exceeds the demand.


Last edited by WoodchuckTN on Sep Sat 25, 2021 8:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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