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 Post subject: What’s a good mid-1950’s transmitter to pair with my R-388?
PostPosted: Jan Thu 04, 2018 6:07 pm 
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Joined: Feb Mon 25, 2013 8:37 pm
Posts: 578
Location: Seattle, WA
Hi all

I would like to put together a vintage (mostly) CW station around my restored Collins receiver. What do you suggest for a transmitter?

Don


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 Post subject: Re: What’s a good mid-1950’s transmitter to pair with my R-3
PostPosted: Jan Thu 04, 2018 6:22 pm 
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I had my Collins 32V1 paired with my R-388 for awhile but now I have it paired with a 75A1.

A Johnson Viking 1 or 2, Ranger, or Valiant , or the somewhat expensive and collectible Navigator would all be a decent match. Or maybe a DX-100 or DX-100B from Heathkit. For price/availability/reliability I think it would be tough to beat a Viking 1 or 2 with its matching external VFO. If you don't run full break in CW use an extra set of contacts on your keying relay to keep the VFO keyed whenever it is in transmit (and then keying the transmitter proper only with your key/keyer/bug) and this provide click and chirp free operation of the Viking 1 or 2. The Valiant, Navigator, 500, (and some Ranger versions have stock or added) tube time sequence keyer that starts the VFO prior to the rest of the exciter chain and holds it on briefly after the key is lifted providing break-in with reasonable levels of chirp but still noticeable on the higher bands due to the VFO output (and any chirp) being multiplied to the operating frequency.

Even the external Johnson VFO can be affected by RF getting into the VFO on 40 meters (where both the VFO and final are on the same frequency) but unlike the Ranger/Valiant, etc. internal VFO Johnson rigs you can run the external VFO in its 160 meter mode (normally used for 160 and 80) and quadrupling in the transmitter for 40 meters. This prevents this RF induced chirp if it is a problem at your station. The same conditions exist when operating on 160 meters but I have never seen any of the Johnson rigs having this issue on 160, probably because it is much easier to prevent 160 meter RF from getting into the VFO compared to 40 meters. This problem can occur in any transmitter where the high power final and VFO are on the same frequency but it is mainly reported in the Johnson Valiant due to its power level and relative popularity. I ran into it with one Valiant but my 500 has never shown any sign of the issue.

Some of the WRL rigs would also be a consideration like the readily available Scout and Chief series.

If you happen to come across one of the Collins 4 to 1 reduction tuning update kits (primarily targeted to the 75A series) it will fit the R-388 and is very helpful on CW to slow down the otherwise somewhat fast tuning rate due to its 1 Mhz. segment coverage. I have one on my 51J-4. An Autek QF-1A or similar external audio filter further adds to the CW enjoyment of these fine receivers. When I was a VERY young ham going through my initial testing at the FCC field office in Mobile, AL I recall being impressed by the large bank of R-388/51J receivers they had rack mounted there. That and my novice Valiant probably had a lot to do with my attraction to vintage gear although in 1974 the R-388 wasn't that vintage :)

Rodger WQ9E


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 Post subject: Re: What’s a good mid-1950’s transmitter to pair with my R-3
PostPosted: Jan Thu 04, 2018 6:38 pm 
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Joined: Feb Mon 25, 2013 8:37 pm
Posts: 578
Location: Seattle, WA
Thanks Rodger.

Over the past few years I’ve come to the realization that I’ve become vintage as well.

I’ll start looking around for a Johnson Viking. I have an Autek QF-1 (not 1a) to use with my Drake R4s. I also have a 75A-1 that’s a little farther back in the restoration queue, but I should start looking for a reduction gear kit as well as a 32V1.

I’m starting to sell some of my boat anchor receivers to make room for a few pieces of new gear.

Thanks again

Don


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 Post subject: Re: What’s a good mid-1950’s transmitter to pair with my R-3
PostPosted: Jan Thu 04, 2018 7:07 pm 
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Collins 310A Might as well go for something different..

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 Post subject: Re: What’s a good mid-1950’s transmitter to pair with my R-3
PostPosted: Jan Thu 04, 2018 7:18 pm 
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Good thought Peter! I have a couple of 310 series Collins in the waiting to restore pile.

Of course a nice T-368 would provide a nice perch for the R-388 :)

Rodger WQ9E


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 Post subject: Re: What’s a good mid-1950’s transmitter to pair with my R-3
PostPosted: Jan Thu 04, 2018 7:59 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 3580
Location: Monterey California USA
It seems to me that these days it's more a question of what finds you rather than what you want. Most of these transmitters are so heavy that shipping would be very expensive and difficult. You have some very good hamfests in the Seattle area with frequently excellent prices, so I would think something will show up locally. Deciding on one or two particular rigs and then trying to find one locally could be very frustrating, and buying one from an Internet auction expensive and a gamble as well.

Frankly, while I love them, I would stay away from a Collins 32V- series transmitter because not only are they becoming outrageously expensive, they are very difficult to work on, extremely heavy and have a number of expensive common issues (low voltage B supply transformers, for example.) They do make a nice match for the 388 but I presume you want something you can get on the air simply and reasonably soon. Vikings fit that description, as do the Heaths such as DX-100 or Apache. I have noticed that Viking VFO's are selling for as much as the transmitters these days, which is unfortunate, and it's no fun to acquire a Viking I or II and then spend a year or two looking for a VFO. That is something to consider if you find one without it. And the Viking doesn't really have the best CW note, although it's usable as-is. Something like an Apache, DX-100 or a B&W 5100 would be a self contained ready-to-go solution.

Military T-368's (and even BC-610's) were mated with the 388 in prehistoric times, but both are monsters the size of a clothes dyer and with the weight of a small car. And they are not cheap. Ideal for some people but overkill for a 1950's CW station and definitely not desktop material.

I never see this mentioned, but when ham radio went over to SSB by the mid 1960's, all the old AM-CW transmitters became just so much ballast, other than as a starter rig for novices. Many of these found their way into the hands of CB'ers who used them illegally on 11 Meters, or at least tried to. I have gone through many rigs of all description for the last 45 years and plenty of them were refugees from CB service. I have seen my fill of melted down bandswitches, bizarre modifications, PA tubes with the glass sucked in, incinerated modulation transformers, blown up RF capacitors and the like. Something to watch out for these days when one of these rigs surfaces in as-is condition. Getting a Heath or Viking repaired from this sort of thing is going to be easier than doing the same on a Collins 32V- series.

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 Post subject: Re: What’s a good mid-1950’s transmitter to pair with my R-3
PostPosted: Jan Thu 04, 2018 9:40 pm 
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Joined: Feb Mon 25, 2013 8:37 pm
Posts: 578
Location: Seattle, WA
I like the idea of the 310 exciter. I can pair it with either the R-388 or 75A1. Thanks Pete.

There's one on ebay right now for $300. The front has been modified to apparently include an antenna trimmer. I could restore it back to original. I've done tougher restorations, so I might bid on it if they're really hard to find.

Don


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 Post subject: Re: What’s a good mid-1950’s transmitter to pair with my R-3
PostPosted: Jan Fri 05, 2018 2:56 am 
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Joined: Jul Tue 21, 2009 1:38 pm
Posts: 924
Location: SW WA state
Hi Don!

All good advice so far!
Why don't you go to the Mineral (WA) Hamfest on Friday Jan 26th or Sat Jan 27th and shop for a rig? I can put out feelers for you...
It's more a get together later in the day, but a lot of stuff is available Friday and Saturday mornings.
This is geared to the AM crowd (it's an extended meeting of the 3870 AM group), so it's like what you would find at the typical Hamfest of the late 1960's.
Drop me a PM, and I can fill you in on the details.

That being said, my first suggestion would be a 32V3 to go with your R-388 (I have both!), but the Valiant is probably a better choice, as they made more of them, they probably have less proprietary parts, have a more common final (4D32 vs 3-6146's), and they do 160M.
I have three Valiants: One is on standby in case the Viking 500 craps out, the other two have not been looked at yet.
I suspect one can easily be restored, possibly both of them.
Oddly enough, when I bought my BC-610, they threw in the R-388! The R-388 is my daily driver. I will work to put the '610 back on the air when I get time.
There is also a T-368 in the queue, along with a 75A1.
Best of Luck!

-Tom


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 Post subject: Re: What’s a good mid-1950’s transmitter to pair with my R-3
PostPosted: Jan Fri 05, 2018 3:20 pm 
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Joined: Jan Mon 28, 2013 9:35 pm
Posts: 1370
Location: Santa Rosa, CA
Agree with others recommendations. In my shack I've paired up
several 51J and 75A series receivers with Johnson Valiants, Rangers
and a Ranger-Thunderbolt (amplifier) combo. Also a 75A4 with a 32V2.
While I like the 32V series the Johnson transmitters are FAR easier
to restore and work on as well as being affordable. Valiants and
Rangers are nice beacuse the VFO is built in. And they look great
on the operating desk.

Once you get started on this vintage stuff, it becomes a slippery
slope real fast so be careful!
Steve W6SSP

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'cell phones and the internet are tools, not a lifestyle'


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 Post subject: Re: What’s a good mid-1950’s transmitter to pair with my R-3
PostPosted: Jan Fri 05, 2018 6:20 pm 
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Joined: Feb Mon 25, 2013 8:37 pm
Posts: 578
Location: Seattle, WA
Tell me about it, Steve!

I started a few years ago with one SX-28a. I now have over 30 receivers-most of them from the 20s-50's. I also have one transceiver and a nice Drake T-4X and an MN-4 to go with my R-4.

Don


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 Post subject: Re: What’s a good mid-1950’s transmitter to pair with my R-3
PostPosted: Jan Fri 05, 2018 7:11 pm 
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Joined: Mar Sat 08, 2008 3:21 am
Posts: 368
Location: hillsborough, nc
Anyone have experience with a Haynes Clipper?
I have and use a 310-B I've had since 1958.
Wilson
W4BOH


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 Post subject: Re: What’s a good mid-1950’s transmitter to pair with my R-3
PostPosted: Jan Sat 06, 2018 3:24 pm 
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Joined: Jan Mon 28, 2013 9:35 pm
Posts: 1370
Location: Santa Rosa, CA
Don F wrote:
Tell me about it, Steve!

I started a few years ago with one SX-28a. I now have over 30 receivers-most of them from the 20s-50's. I also have one transceiver and a nice Drake T-4X and an MN-4 to go with my R-4.

Don


Hehehe. Its an obession or sickness many collectors have.
Few things are as enjoyable as 'discovering' something new/different,
researching it, finding one then restoring and finally using it.
Then repeat in a seemingly endless loop. I've been doing this
on and off for 50+ years and its as enjoyable now as when
I got started.

I've lost count of the radios stashed around here.
Steve

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'cell phones and the internet are tools, not a lifestyle'


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