Tag Archives: boat anchors

Share your photos on Boat Anchor Tuesday!

Yesterday, as I took a little time to curate a massive collection of photos I took at the Museum of Radio and Technology, I posted a few “boat anchor” (heavy metal vintage radio) photos and labelled them “Boat Anchor Tuesday” on Twitter and Facebook.

Much to my surprise, I received a number of comments and emails with readers asking for more Boat Anchor Tuesday pics!

So I’ve decided to make it a feature here on the SWLing Post. After all, anyone who knows me knows that I’m a massive fan of boat anchors!

Your photos on Boat Anchor Tuesday!

Please send me a photo (or a few) of your favorite boat anchor. Every Tuesday, I’ll feature a reader’s boat anchor here on the SWLing Post.

If you can, include a few sentences about the radio: how you obtained it, what you like about it or any memories. We radio nostalgic people love this stuff!

Please send photo(s) and radio blurb to my email address found on our Contact page. I only plan to post one radio per week, so these will be scheduled far ahead to post automatically.

South African Antique Wireless Association Valve QSO Party on May 6, 2018

(Source: Southgate ARC)

Antique Wireless Association Valve QSO Party

The AWA Valve QSO Party is a phone contest held over two sessions on Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 May 2018.

On Saturday afternoon the AM session will be on the air from 13:00 to 17:00 UTC and on Sunday the SSB session will run from 13:00 to 17:00 UTC.

Activity on both days takes place on 40 metres between 7 063 and 7 100 kHz and on 80 metres between 3 603 and 3650 kHz with your call sign a RS report, a consecutive serial number starting at 001 and the type of radio used, e.g. HT37 Tx as the exchange.

Log sheets must be submitted by 25 May by e-mail to andyzs6ady@vodamail.co.za or by mail to the Antique Wireless Association of Southern Africa, PO Box 12320, Benoryn, 1504.

Certificates will be awarded to the first three places in each category (AM/SSB). Please consult the 2018 SARL Contest Manual for all the information.

The South African Radio League

The National HRO-5TA1: Parting is such sweet sorrow…

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’m in the process of selling and giving away radio gear that I no longer use or that’s been sitting on the workbench way too long.

This is an easier process when it involves modern gear, as I have comparatively little attachment to radios I could go out and purchase once again, should I feel so moved. The only modern portables I keep, regardless, are those I must have on hand for comparison testing and reviews. And, yes, I do have a number of favorites I never intend to sell.

But when it comes to vintage gear?  Letting go is hard to do.

A few years ago, I acquired a bunch of vintage gear and accessories from a friend whose father was a radio operator in WWII. Since then, I’ve been selling this equipment and giving the proceeds to our non-profit (ETOW). I’ve also donated a lot of equipment to the Hickory Aviation Museum in North Carolina––I’m a member, and have been piecing together an AN/ARC-8 system for permanent display (only now lacking a good BC-348).

The only receiver I kept for myself was a National HRO-5TA1. It’s totally original and has likely not been operated since the late 1940s.

In a sense, this is the radio equivalent of a “barn find.”

I love the HRO dial and the overall aesthetics of this vintage set.  It absolutely shouts “1940s” radio––! These sets were initially manufactured during WWII under some large orders. Indeed, the “H.R.O.” acronym is said to be the National internal designation of the series…meaning, “Hellva Rush Order.” There were many variations of the National HRO; mine was the 1946 “5TA1.”

The HRO-5TA1 uses coils to change bands. My HRO has the full set of coils and even the coil box. To change coils, you simply pull out (unplug) the coil from the front of the receiver and plug in a new one.

The power supply is self-contained and connects to the HRP-5TA1 via a four conductor plug.

The back panel of the receiver couldn’t be more simple.

Inside, it’s impressively clean for its age; check this out:

If you can’t tell, letting this one go is going to be one of the toughest I’ve experienced. Parting will, indeed, be sweet sorrow. I must give someone else an opportunity to put this girl on the air, else it will sit here for many more years before I have an opportunity to do the necessary upgrades to make her airworthy again (needs at least recapping).

This weekend, my buddy, Vlado (N3CZ) and I will reserve a couple of tables at the Greenwood, SC hamfest. Unless I sell the HRO-5TA1 beforehand, you’ll find it on my table there!

On that note, readers, please comment if you have a suggestion what I should charge for this set. You can also comment if you think I’m crazy for selling it. It’s not going to be easy!

The Minerva Tropic Master: a portable WWII era morale radio

If you’re a regular here on the SWLing Post, you’ve no doubt discovered that I’m a fan of vintage radios.

Lately, I’ve been attempting to let go of some of my vintage gear to give my favorite rigs proper shelf space and dedicated antenna time. To keep temptation at bay when I visit flea markets or hamfests (like Hamvention and the one in Shelby, NC) I now focus on WWII era radios; specifically “morale” radios that were used for troop entertainment. I’ve two morale sets: the Scott Marine Radio Model SLRM (technically, a commercial version of a Navy set) and the Minerva Tropic Master.

I purchased this Minerva set off of eBay a couple years ago. I got it for $50 or $60, if memory serves (the seller originally wanted $180 + shipping!). He claimed it worked, but after I asked him a few questions prior to making an offer and learned that “working” meant the speaker prodeced a noise and the backlight worked. I made a low offer and he accepted.

Last year, I took Minerva over to my buddy, mentor and boat anchor doctor, Charlie (W4MEC). Charlie discovered the radio had many issues and several poorly implemented repairs. Still, in a few short weeks, when parts arrived he brought the girl back to life.

With front cover closed.

The Tropic Master is a portable eight tube receiver that covers both the AM broadcast band and shortwave bands from 5.5-18 MHz. It can be powered by AC or DC. It was “tropicalized” to withstand extreme heat and humidity. The internal speaker produces mellow, full-fidelity audio and the volume can be increased to room-filling.

To give you a taste, this morning I tuned the Tropic Master to my in-house AM transmitter on 1570 kHz which was being fed audio from The UK 1940s Radio Station (my favorite Internet radio station). This particular clip features Jay Lawrence’s excellent show, From Stateside:

Click here to view on YouTube.

The Tropic Master is portable and even has a fold down handle on top of the chassis. Though substantial, it must be the lightest of all of my vintage metal chassis radios.

Tuning isn’t exactly precise, but it does the job and is a pleasure to use. It’s quite sensitive on both shortwave and mediumwave. Last night, she was tuned to the Voice of Greece on 9420 kHz–I probably listened to two hours of Greek music while her eight tubes warmed the shack.

Who could turn down a radio with this speaker grill?

If you ever find a Minerva Tropic Master at a flea market or hamfest, I say adopt one! It’s a beautiful receiver and like all good vintage radios has a story and history of its own.

Post readers: Any other Tropic Master owners out there or do you have a morale radio? Have you ever spotted a Tropic Master in the wild? Please comment!