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Vintage Amateur and Military Radio Amateur/military receivers and transmitters, morse, and any other related vintage comms equipment.

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Old 25th Jun 2019, 10:22 am   #1
WB6NVH-GEOFF
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Default Ex marine AM radio equipment.

I rescue such things on this side of the world with the best intentions of using them on 160 and 80 Meter AM gathering frequencies. The difficult bit here is always finding documentation for the unusual ones, and now, crystals. I have a Harvey Wells 1940 vintage set which had been painted a ghastly yellow with a brush, a small 1952 vintage Radiomarine 10 Watt set, and a rather rare Gray Marine Radio thing that mounts vertically on a bulkhead and uses a separate power supply (long AWOL.) Also have a French "Homologue" set built in Nantes by a "mom and pop" operation circa 1950.

Some of these have rather strange designs. The Gray set (above) uses a pair of 6146's to modulate a pair of 807 RF PA tubes!

I believe these all were intended to load a random wire tied off on a mast or the back stay and worked against a hull plate ground. What are people doing about an antenna on these for the amateur bands? Some here have converted theirs to a pi-network but I don't have room for a 160 Meter dipole so a 50 Ohm match is not likely here.
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Old 25th Jun 2019, 11:27 am   #2
David Simpson
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Default Re: Ex marine AM radio equipment.

As discussed in Roger's adjacent thread posts, and others - These 1950's/60's marine band sets had rudimentary antenna matching/tuning. A length of wire between the masts, then down through an insulator on the wheelhouse roof to the Tx. Excellent "earthing" to the metal hull or to seacocks & engineroom metalwork in wooden boats.
With the restored sets I've had, by trial & error I discovered that an 80m Doublet with a ladder feeder was best. However, ground conditions are a problem for earthing. In the 21st century, with houses full of expensive domestic electronics, I would avoid using the utilities' "electrical earth". I ended up digging narrow channels into a grass lawn & burying a "radial" of 16mm sq bare copper wire, plus a couple of rods. All line-tapped together, then fed back into my workshop with 16mm sq insulated copper wire. A Johnson Matchbox supplements the Tx's basic variometer.
Before entering the 80m AM amateur world of interference, personalised nets, and SSB yappers - check your rig's capabilities using WebSDR. Some amateur folk look down on restored ex marine rigs, and may sometimes infer that you're off-tune or drifting, compared to their 21st century expensive rigs. This can be disproved by using WebSDR, and therefore put your mind at rest.

Regards, David
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Old 25th Jun 2019, 8:36 pm   #3
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Default Re: Ex marine AM radio equipment.

Hello Geoff,

I have a Harvey-Wells too, the 1950s TBS-50D Bandmaster and VFO, in fact it's my avatar for this group.

Wasn't there a policy by the US Civil Defense to issue such sets to selected hams in the event of WW3 happening? I have certainly seen photos of TBS-50s with a CD sticker on the side and I think also some yellow markings. The TBS-50 has provision in the manual for converting to 2 MHz and 143 MHz for Civil Air Patrol use.

Be interested to see the other rigs you have, especially the French one, there were some nice sets made over there. I have a French Jupiter Radio ER504 ex-police set, runs a pair of 807s modulating another in the PA, has two dynamotors and used fixed or mobile. Pic attached.

73

Roger/G3VKM
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Old 26th Jun 2019, 7:44 am   #4
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Default Re: Ex marine AM radio equipment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Simpson View Post
As discussed in Roger's adjacent thread posts, and others - These 1950's/60's marine band sets had rudimentary antenna matching/tuning. A length of wire between the masts, then down through an insulator on the wheelhouse roof to the Tx. Excellent "earthing" to the metal hull or to seacocks & engineroom metalwork in wooden boats.
With the restored sets I've had, by trial & error I discovered that an 80m Doublet with a ladder feeder was best. However, ground conditions are a problem for earthing. In the 21st century, with houses full of expensive domestic electronics, I would avoid using the utilities' "electrical earth". I ended up digging narrow channels into a grass lawn & burying a "radial" of 16mm sq bare copper wire, plus a couple of rods. All line-tapped together, then fed back into my workshop with 16mm sq insulated copper wire. A Johnson Matchbox supplements the Tx's basic variometer.
Before entering the 80m AM amateur world of interference, personalised nets, and SSB yappers - check your rig's capabilities using WebSDR. Some amateur folk look down on restored ex marine rigs, and may sometimes infer that you're off-tune or drifting, compared to their 21st century expensive rigs. This can be disproved by using WebSDR, and therefore put your mind at rest.

Regards, David
I was once criticised for being off frequency on vhf. The other chap had a soopahdoopah New rig and was (probably) smack on 144.300.000 when I called so he had slightly retuned.
I asked him where he thought i was and he said something like 144.301.245. So i said said perfect, Sounds like were both smack on freq then...whats the issue?
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Old 26th Jun 2019, 6:00 pm   #5
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Default Re: Ex marine AM radio equipment.

Hi,
I Use ex marine equipment on air on 160/80 Meters. For the antenna matching as you say many are quite crude being designed to run into an end fed up the rigging working against the hull or a copper plate. of at least 4 square feet, on the hull.

My solution was to run the output using a short piece of co-ax into an external capacitor box to form a pi network to get to 50 ohm. On a spectrum analyser this was effective at matching and 2nd/3rd harmonic suppression providing the pa was dipped correctly. This then leaves me free to experiment with various antennas using home brew and commercial equipment . I have used a top loaded L against a folded counterpoise for top band and various big magnetic loops 4-5 meters in dia all getting good reports on our local net. But we do have an active group within a 10 mile radius so no DX experiments here, the main challenge being to get above each others noise floor!

Pete
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Old 27th Jun 2019, 7:08 am   #6
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Default Re: Ex marine AM radio equipment.

Hello Pete,

I've seen a similar arrangement for the American TCS transmitter. Originally, the TX was used on small craft with a 25ft whip antenna and a tapped loading coil at the TX output. When they wanted to use the TCS on larger ships a coax run was needed to the antenna, so they changed the RF out binding post for a N or UHF socket and used a capacitor box at the TX end which could switch combinations of fixed mica caps until a match was achieved. Of course, one could do the same with a pair of tuning caps.

I use a dummy load to tune my vintage TXs into, then switch from the D/L to a Smartuner and a 100ft inverted L with 6 buried 33ft radials in the back lawn. Not ideal but it gets out on most bands

73

Roger/G3vKM
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Old 27th Jun 2019, 10:24 am   #7
David Simpson
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Default Re: Ex marine AM radio equipment.

As Roger says, a Dummy Load is an advisable addition to your marine band/80/160m endeavours with these old sets. I use a Marconi TF1020/1 which has two ranges - 50W & 100W. Modulation Meters are a fine addition to your test gear, but jolly expensive. A loose coupling from near the Tx O/P to a decent scope, can with practice, give you a decent idea of %Mod.
These old marine HF R/T's such as Coastal Radio, Woodsons, and Sailor, etc., usually had two Tx o/p power selections - 10W Low, and 20 to 60W High. The 10W selection was for inter-vessel comms between skippers, and the High selection was for comms to the numerous coastal stations which once existed, plus calls to their fish merchants & wives - as some skippers had a home R/T. ("Betty, hen, I'll be in the harbour Friday night. Have a good look at the floor, as you'll be looking at the ceiling all weekend !").

Regards, David
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Old 27th Jun 2019, 12:51 pm   #8
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Default Re: Ex marine AM radio equipment.

Sunday evenings were definitely NOT the time to try and make a business link-call as most of the fishing fleets would phone home then. Their calls used to consist of three minutes of the skipper's YL or wife giving the family news at high-speed, interposed with an occasional, "Aye" from the skipper, who always sounded relieved when Humber (or whatever coast station was in contact) said "Nonsuch" that's your three minutes, old man". Cellphones and T'internet - they don't know they're born!

What's the second thing you do when you get home from sea? Put me bag down, of course!

(I'll get me coat!).

73

Roger/G3VKM
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Old 27th Jun 2019, 11:08 pm   #9
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Default Re: Ex marine AM radio equipment.

Back in the early 80's I did occasional P/T work for Woodsons for about 4 years, whilst living in the far NW of Scotland, then a year F/time over here on the East Coast. It was a great time for working old marine band HF AM R/T's, but the writing was on the wall as SSB's started to replace them.
Oban Radio, Stornaway Radio, Wick Radio, Stonehaven Radio, etc. Must've accumulated quite a few air-hours making test calls. I think the Coastal Station staff appreciated my no-nonsense & formal speech(drilled into us RAF guys back in the 60's when carrying out test calls with STR18 or Collins 618T. Cyprus to UK, or Shajah, or Gan in the Maldives, etc.). Happy days. Fishing skippers mostly spoke in Scottish Doric with additional swearies added at times.
Back on subject - I hope all these reminiscences encourage more Forum folk to restore old marine band R/T's. If you leave the casing off a CR Nimbus or a Woodsons Spey when transmitting, you can almost see the electrons bashing the anodes of 807's or TT22's, if you let your imagination run away a bit.

Regards, David
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Old 28th Jun 2019, 8:08 pm   #10
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Default Re: Ex marine AM radio equipment.

I would post photos but I don't know where most of this equipment is! This is caused by having too many radios and moving to a smaller house. Eventually I will find everything, hopefully before the mice do.

The French set dates from probably about 1949. It operates on 12V with a built-in vibrator power unit. It needed little work, all the "Regul" branded capacitors, which were a glass tube with the ends sealed in tar, had totally broken down and were leaking DC terribly. The only other issue was that some prior owner had attacked the chassis with steel wool and there were now bits everywhere in the main tuning condenser. Those were flushed out with non-residue spray cleaner and the remaining stubborn ones burned out by applying a current limited 500V DC to it from my Eico multi-function bridge, which resulted in a miniature Chinese New Year display for a few minutes as the dial was placed end to end.
It has several bands for the receiver, as in Longwave, trawler band and (I think) AM broadcast. Took awhile to determine what PO, GO and Lugo meant. If I recall correctly, it uses a 6V6GT as the output PA tube.

The American sets (and the French) all use a lamp bulb in series with the aerial lead output and it's a case of "tune for maximum brilliance."

Harvey Wells was a going concern until a flood damaged the factory beyond recovery and business tapered off and ceased. They were involved in amateur, marine, aircraft and police radio and made attractive equipment, although you have to wonder what they were thinking when they offered the Bandmaster as having 2 Meter capability with an 807 PA tube, which is hitting its ceiling at 50 MHz as it is. One of the Antique Radio Forums members is using his Bandmaster mobile, and apparently it fits as the auto is a 1960 Dodge.

The Civil Defense "CD" program is a complex subject. Basically, the federal government subsidized the purchase of radio gear for civil defense use, by local agencies, as well as supplied it, and anything in that program would have had a decal set supplied by "FCDA." Some amateur gear was specially designed for the program, such as the Johnson Viking II CD model (general coverage) and the famous yellow Gonset VHF AM "CD Communicators." The CD radios were used by local civil defense organizations. The government also gave funds to local fire departments and police agencies for newer radios, with the requirement that decals and labels be placed on it saying where it came from. I am unaware of any equipment being issued to individual amateurs, it was sent to organizations. The whole program more or less fell apart by 1963 and the CD radio gear languished in storage or "took a walk" until the 1970's when much of it was surplused or scrapped out along with the contents of nuclear war "fallout" shelters such as the useless yellow CD V-700 radiation survey meters (which only tell you whether you will live another few days or another few weeks.)

The marine sets here generally have a variable tuned AM broadcast band and then crystal control or fixed trawler band channels matching the crystal controlled transmitter channels. It was popular to cut down the AM broadcast coils and move the variable tuned receiver to 160 or 80 Meters, wiring that in place of the fixed channels. It is generally impossible to find any documentation on these things so conversions are done by reverse-engineering. Most of the western USA is more or less desert soil and getting decent grounds involves burying radial wire for a counterpoise. A couple of cronies are using series capacitors between the marine set output and their 160 or 80 Meter 50 Ohm antennas. Same with their ARC-5 aircraft transmitters.

I have a TCS setup too, including the ghastly AC Collins shore power supply which weighs 50 Kg and is an annoying huge lump which leaks oil like a 1949 Studebaker. That accessory load coil on the TCS was for frequencies below 3 MHz as I recall. That is the last item I don't have, but I have plenty of substitutes.
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Old 28th Jun 2019, 9:10 pm   #11
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Default Re: Ex marine AM radio equipment.

Somewhere in the attic I've got a 1950s-era "Marlin" marine-band AM set: I think it hails from the Antipodes because the receiver-dial (it covers MW down to around 4MHz - no LW band: did they have marine DF-beacons on LW in Oz/New Zealand) has MW station-callsigns of the format 2XY or 4AB which I gather was how broadcast stations were known down there).

Receiver is a "hybrid" with three US-style Brimar 12V-HT valves in the RF stages (FC, IF amp, detector/1st-audio) coupled with an OC72 and an OC16 as the audio-output.

Transmitter is valve: vibrator-HT, two EZ81 as rectifiers, an EF80 xtal osc with six xtal-positions, a 6L6 as PA. Modulator is another 6L6 coupled to the PA by a centre-tapped choke (like the primary of a push-pull amp). it's designed, seemingly, to use a carbon mic as the grid of the modulator 6L6 is fed from the secondary of a small transformer and there's DC on one side of the mic audio-connector.

How this came to be in the UK I really don't know.
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Old 29th Jun 2019, 11:45 am   #12
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Default Re: Ex marine AM radio equipment.

From my research into BEME of Hythe & Coastal Radio of Edinburgh & Poole, and what I picked up during my time at Woodsons, such companies were set up post-war by "one man band/family" radio entrepreneurs. Folk who were demobbed with excellent radio skills, and who saw opportunities from "re-cycling" heaps of decent surplus military equipment. Powerful PA valves, miniature valves, Crystal controlled Collpits oscillators, MOPA circuitry, etc. All resulted in robust & reliable Tx/Rx's suitable for small wheelhouses of fishing boats & inshore vessels. Later taking contracts with the RNLI, and catering for the growing yachting fraternity in the 50's & 60's.
The growing amateur radio fraternity plumbed straight for adapting & working the military equipment itself. Therefore mainly by-passing the ex marine equipment when it became available.
BEME was swallowed up by Derritron in the 60's, Coastal Radio became "Marconi 1956", and good old Woodsons(Mr Wood & his sons) are the only remaining family business left in the UK, I think. Good for them.

Regards, David
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Old 29th Jun 2019, 6:40 pm   #13
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Default Re: Ex marine AM radio equipment.

In this context I recall reading something about surplus WWII-era WS22 and WS62 radios being 'reworked' for marine-band use in the 1950s.
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Old 29th Jun 2019, 9:19 pm   #14
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Default Re: Ex marine AM radio equipment.

That’s a possibility but wouldn’t the transceiver operation of the WS19 and 62 would mean that the TX would need conversion to crystal controlled channels? John’s Radio of Bately used to covert the WS22 to something called the TR101.

Just a thought.

Cheers

Roger

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Old 29th Jun 2019, 9:27 pm   #15
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Default Re: Ex marine AM radio equipment.

Geoff,

Many thanks for that detailed reply about CD radio in the US, very interesting indeed.

Yes, Harvey Wells we’re pushing their luck with the 807 PA doubling! Have used my TBS50 on 50MHz but not at all stable there.

73

Roger
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Old 30th Jun 2019, 11:42 am   #16
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Default Re: Ex marine AM radio equipment.

Thankfully, the three parallel 807's in my CR Nimbus behave themselves on 80m, and in valve testers. However, I recall when VCM testing their siblings - the VT136's - that without a ferrite beaded extension valve holder, the VT136 burst into parasitic oscillation towards the top of the slope. My diddy wee Watson Super Hunter hand-held freq. counter revealed a prominent parasite in the 50MHz region.

Regards, David
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Old 1st Jul 2019, 12:37 am   #17
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Default Re: Ex marine AM radio equipment.

Here is a photo of the Gray Radio Co. Type G3 VR, made in Palm Beach, Florida. It was easy to find as I am tripping over it at the bottom of the cellar stairs. I imagine it dates from about 1953-1955.

It used a separate power supply, which was not found with it, a typical scenario. Probably either a vibrator or dynamotor type. Someone has crudely replaced the original porcelain cone output insulator assembly with a SO-239 UHF connector.

It was obviously intended for mounting on the bulkhead of a yacht's bridge. The controls include a switch between receiver crystal channels and a tuned AM broadcast receiver, standby-operate, handset or both handset and speaker, and a noise limiter (squelch?)
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Old 1st Jul 2019, 4:04 pm   #18
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Default Re: Ex marine AM radio equipment.

Quite a good-looking radio, Geoff, the rounded-off corners on the cabinet are of their time, I have seen a British radio of the same era where the front cover and sides were an alloy casting, a shame I can't remember the make and model! May be a Kelvin Hughes, will have a look around.

73

Roger/G3VKM
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Old 8th Sep 2019, 3:40 pm   #19
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Default Re: Ex marine AM radio equipment.

Hi Bumped this back up as I forgot to mention the following and did not see it in the thread , apologies if I missed someones post covering this.

Converting to a PI output at 50 Ohms also enables an RF safety choke to be fitted to ground at the low impedance 50 Ohm end. These sets can run with an unrevealed HT coupling capacitor short and present RF+HT on the antenna.


Pete
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Old 8th Sep 2019, 9:18 pm   #20
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Default Re: Ex marine AM radio equipment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by G4_Pete View Post
Hi Bumped this back up as I forgot to mention the following and did not see it in the thread , apologies if I missed someones post covering this.

Converting to a PI output at 50 Ohms also enables an RF safety choke to be fitted to ground at the low impedance 50 Ohm end. These sets can run with an unrevealed HT coupling capacitor short and present RF+HT on the antenna.


Pete
A good safety point Pete. I've come across amateur equipment with that hazard, in fact the Harvey-Wells TBS-50 transmitter I use as an avatar photo on this forum has a 0.01uF cap between the PA HT and the aerial terminal. If that fails with a short circuit then the HT can get onto the aerial!

73

Roger/G3VKM
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