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The Birth of a Flamethrower!!

Posted by Frank Foti on Nov 11, 2015 2:15:00 PM

Back when I was in grade school (a time long before electricity), the tallest building in the world was the Empire State Building in New York City. The majesty of that building has always held a special place in my heart; that’s why, in the summer of 1983, it was even more special that I got involved with a project that was to add a twelfth FM radio station to Master FM Antenna System at Empire.

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Topics: Vintage Radio Technology

Found in the Attic: Zenith Royal 1000 TransOceanic

Posted by Tom Vernon on Oct 5, 2015 12:49:00 PM

The lure of snagging distant short wave signals from the other side of the globe has been a part of radio listening from the earliest days. As receiver and battery technologies improved, radios became portable, meaning DXers were no longer confined to listening in their basement or attic radio shacks.

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Topics: Vintage Radio Technology

The Dawn of Plug and Play

Posted by Tom Vernon on Jul 23, 2015 3:49:28 PM

The advent of modular electronics was a great leap forward for broadcast maintenance. Many of us remember the Gates Solid Statesman line of consoles - the Executive, Stereo Statesman, Gatesway II, Dualux II, and Diplomat, as some of the first items of studio gear that had plug-in modules. The amplifiers, power supplies and muting control could all be swapped around, which was a great aid in isolating troubles, repair, and staying on the air.

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Topics: Vintage Radio Technology

Found in the Attic: National Radio NC-HFS VHF Receiver

Posted by Tom Vernon on Jul 13, 2015 5:03:11 PM

During a recent Found in the Attic we visited Malden, Massachusetts while discussing the Millen 90651 grid-dip meter. Malden was also the home of National Radio Company. It occurred that after about 25 installments of FitA, no NRC equipment has ever been hauled down from the great upstairs for a write-up. Easy to remedy. The only challenge was finding something a bit unusual. Almost hidden behind a stack of National shortwave receivers was a 1949 NC-HFS VHF radio. Yes, that will do.

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Topics: Vintage Radio Technology

Valley People Audio Processing

Posted by Tom Vernon on Jun 24, 2015 3:30:00 PM

A recent installment of Found in the Attic examined the Allison Laboratories 650 noise generator. In the company history, we mentioned that Allison Laboratories was not to be confused with Allison Research. That comment fired up your author's memory cells, and led to a search deep under the rafters, flashlight in hand, for this month's find. Our next subject is a holy trinity of 1970s audio processing: the Allison Research MAXI Q parametric equalizer, Gain Brain II Limiter / Compressor / Ducker and KEPEX II Keyable Program Expander.

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Topics: Vintage Radio Technology

Found in the Attic: McMartin TR-66 FM-SCA receiver

Posted by Tom Vernon on Mar 4, 2015 2:57:00 PM

Broadcasting, by its very definition, means using an RF signal to reach as large an audience as possible. So the opposite of broadcasting is narrowcasting, targeting a small, niche of the population. In the Internet age, with web streams and podcasts, it’s easy to reach out to a handful of people scattered across the globe. Just twenty short years ago, narrowcasting to a small audience was a much more involved affair. This month's Found in the Attic examines a 1960s-vintage McMartin TR-66 FM-SCA receiver, and the related technology of FM subcarriers.

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Topics: Vintage Radio Technology

A Step into the Vintage Gear Time Machine

Posted by Tom Vernon on Oct 1, 2014 7:00:00 PM

Most of us make the annual trek to Las Vegas in April to see all of the new tech at NAB. But if you walked down the main lobby of the convention center this year, you could also see old broadcast tech. In case you had this experience and wondered where you were, you had likely entered the vintage equipment time machine known as the Museum of Broadcast Technology (MBT).

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Topics: Vintage Radio Technology, Broadcast History

Found in the Attic: Sencore DVM-56A Microranger

Posted by Tom Vernon on Jul 30, 2014 3:15:00 PM

A better title for this month's technical missive might be "Found on the Workbench", because that's where this item has lived for the past 30 years. When it was introduced in the early 1980s, the Sencore DVM-56 was a milestone device. It was one of the first DVMs to feature autoranging, thanks to the marriage of voltmeter and microprocessor technologies. No more constant fiddling with the range switch, remembering units of measurement, or where the decimal point goes. Other nice features were a programmable dB function, peak-to-peak, average and true RMS AC ranges, peak and null indicators and switch-selectable resolution of 3, 4 or 4 ½ digits. Resistances could be measured up to the unheard of range of 100 megohms and greater by paralleling a 90 meg resistor across the input terminals and using the Hi Power Ohms function.

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Topics: Vintage Radio Technology

Found in the Attic: GE BM-1-A FM monitor

Posted by Tom Vernon on Jul 16, 2014 12:00:00 PM

During the golden age of radio, all of America's largest electronics manufacturers were engaged, as there was lots of money and prestige to be had building broadcast equipment. RCA, Raytheon, Westinghouse and General Electric were all big players. By the 1960s, the AM and FM expansions were pretty much over. One by one, these big firms got out of broadcasting, often to pursue more lucrative government contracts as the war in Vietnam escalated.

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Topics: Vintage Radio Technology

Found In The Attic: ITT Mackay Marine 3010-C Receiver

Posted by Tom Vernon on May 13, 2014 5:06:00 PM

This month's attic treasure is a 1968 ITT Mackay Marine 3010-C.

If you've served shipboard or been around maritime HF receivers, you know that this type of equipment is in a class by itself. Design specs demand reliable service in harsh environments, the ultimate in sensitivity, and reception of MW, CW, MCW, SSB and FSK signals within its frequency range.Weight, bulk and expense are not a problem.

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Topics: Vintage Radio Technology, Radio Technology

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