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eHam Forums => Boat Anchors => Topic started by: KA5S on September 02, 2012, 01:31:54 AM



Title: EF Johson Avenger in estate gear at Grand Rapids swap meet this month
Post by: KA5S on September 02, 2012, 01:31:54 AM
http://www.w8dc.org/index_swap.htm

Includes many boat anchors, examples, HRO50, 60, (AND coils), NC300, NC-173, 125 and 98; SP200 w. PS, SP600's, R390's, an R392 and an R808; WRL Globe Champion 300, Heath Marauder HX10; Hammarlund HX50, Swan 102BX, Galaxy GT550 and  more modern radios too.  Many either haven't been tested (out of concern for letting the smoke out) or don't show good function on being (very carefully) powered up; others work better than their age would suggest.  We're still testing.

Probably the biggest surprise in the basement was an E.F. Johnson Avenger with AC and DC power supplies.  That is rare enough it may be sold by private bid.
Personally,  I hope someone with connections to EFJ will get that and restore it, but we can't play favorites 

The sale is on behalf of the widow and family, so we are looking for a good turnout.


Title: RE: EF Johson Avenger in estate gear at Grand Rapids swap meet this month
Post by: K0OD on September 03, 2012, 07:58:46 PM
Quote
Probably the biggest surprise in the basement was an E.F. Johnson Avenger with AC and DC power supplies.  That is rare enough it may be sold by private bid.
Personally,  I hope someone with connections to EFJ will get that and restore it, but we can't play favorites

I'm drawing a blank on an "E.F. Johnson Avenger with AC and DC power supplies." Seems to be a HT and not even for a ham band.


Title: RE: EF Johson Avenger in estate gear at Grand Rapids swap meet this month
Post by: K0OD on September 03, 2012, 08:17:09 PM
Thanks to N2EY for his 2010 post that describes that Johnson Avenger:

"in the early 1960s EF Johnson developed a revolutionary SSB transceiver called the Avenger. It was all-solid-state except for the final and driver tubes, had dual VFOs and many other features. But it cost something like $2000 to manufacture at a time when a KWM-2 was $1100 or so, and only about a dozen prototypes were made. EFJ lost a bundle on the Avenger, and it soured them on SSB and transceivers at precisely the time they should have gotten into the game."

http://www.eham.net/ehamforum/smf/index.php/topic,68242.0.html


Title: RE: EF Johson Avenger in estate gear at Grand Rapids swap meet this month
Post by: N4NYY on September 03, 2012, 08:34:26 PM
$2,000 to manufacture? What the hell was the retail cost and what is in on today's money? Holy crap!


Title: RE: EF Johson Avenger in estate gear at Grand Rapids swap meet this month
Post by: K0OD on September 03, 2012, 08:39:12 PM
The $2,000 certainly didn't go for cosmetics.

Even photos of the Johnson Avenger transceiver are ultra rare. Here's the only one I can find on the web. Hope someone takes a bunch of pics of the Avenger at the swap meet and posts them online:

http://rigreference.com/rig/5543-E_F_Johnson_Viking_Avenger


Title: RE: EF Johson Avenger in estate gear at Grand Rapids swap meet this month
Post by: WA2CWA on September 04, 2012, 12:46:36 AM
I have an original 8 page product brochure that Johnson had printed for the Avenger. I was told that 30 prototypes were built. Some went to employees after the project was canceled. I was also told by someone who acquired one of the Avengers that a preliminary manual was produced. Unfortunately, that person passed  several years ago and no one seems to know what happened to the transceiver or the manual.

Pete, wa2cwa


Title: RE: EF Johson Avenger in estate gear at Grand Rapids swap meet this month
Post by: AC5UP on September 04, 2012, 04:56:06 AM
$2,000 to manufacture?

We're talking early 60's.... Well before transistors got cheap.

If a mass produced six transistor pocket AM radio sold for the equivalent of $30 - $40 in today's money, what would it cost to build a niche market item like an SSB transceiver that's many orders of magnitude more complex than a pocket radio?

Your Unca' Sam used to pay TI something like $300 a pop for an IC that was the equivalent of a 741 op-amp back in the day because in certain applications... Like a fighter plane or space capsule... The size and weight saved by the chip was far more important than the cost. Remember that Neil Armstrong flubbed his line in 1969 and in sand-state technology that's almost Barney and Fred at the quarry territory.

BTW:  The line was supposed to be: " One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind... "


Title: RE: EF Johson Avenger in estate gear at Grand Rapids swap meet this month
Post by: N4NYY on September 04, 2012, 10:48:20 AM
I am assuming that these will blow the doors off the Hallicrafter's SX-88 as far as value.


Title: RE: EF Johson Avenger in estate gear at Grand Rapids swap meet this month
Post by: K0OD on September 04, 2012, 12:37:24 PM
I wouldn't think it would be worth a fortune. It's an ugly early prototype. basically a homebrew radio made by Johnson. And it's a prototype of a transceiver failure, not for example a KWM.

OTOH, an SX-88 is a gorgeous and rare radio from Hallicrafter's pinnacle, that will be functional for decades to come. It has a pedigree; it's impressively sized for display. Note that some apparent prototype SX-88s survive. I don't believe they have special value. I'd rather have the last SX-88 made than the first one. LOL!

Such prototypes exist in coin collecting... pattern coins. They're numerically quite rare, of course, but they're pretty removed from the numismatic mainline and sometimes aren't that valuable. (It doesn't help that many pattern coins left the mint under questionable circumstances).  The 1804 silver dollar is a very special case.


Title: RE: EF Johson Avenger in estate gear at Grand Rapids swap meet this month
Post by: N4NYY on September 04, 2012, 01:09:54 PM
I wouldn't think it would be worth a fortune. It's an ugly early prototype. basically a homebrew radio made by Johnson. And it's a prototype of a transceiver failure, not for example a KWM.

OTOH, an SX-88 is a gorgeous and rare radio from Hallicrafter's pinnacle, that will be functional for decades to come. It has a pedigree; it's impressively sized for display. Note that some apparent prototype SX-88s survive. I don't believe they have special value. I'd rather have the last SX-88 made than the first one. LOL!

Such prototypes exist in coin collecting... pattern coins. They're numerically quite rare, of course, but they're pretty removed from the numismatic mainline and sometimes aren't that valuable. (It doesn't help that many pattern coins left the mint under questionable circumstances).  The 1804 silver dollar is a very special case.

That is a fair point. I am sure as hell curious how much it sells for. Were they ever functional?


Title: RE: EF Johson Avenger in estate gear at Grand Rapids swap meet this month
Post by: N2EY on September 05, 2012, 06:46:16 AM
That is a fair point. I am sure as hell curious how much it sells for. Were they ever functional?

If you mean the Avenger, yes they were. There was an article about it in Electric Radio some years back, with pictures and block diagram. I thought it looked great. Had dual VFOs and a number of features the KWM-2 lacked. The writer said it was a very good performer for the vintage.

The reason they cost so much to make was that transistors weren't cheap back then - particularly RF transistors suitable for use in such a rig. And it used a LOT of transistors, plus lots of other parts. IIRC, the driver and finals were tubes.

Sad, really. What EFJ should have done was come out with a good low-to-mid price range SSB transceiver - maybe even a kit? -  to get themselves in the game. Similar to what Heathkit did with the single-banders and SB-100.

73 de Jim, N2EY



Title: RE: EF Johson Avenger in estate gear at Grand Rapids swap meet this month
Post by: G3RZP on September 05, 2012, 08:27:58 AM
EFJ really got themselves hooked into the CB boom. Then into VHF mobile radio, and I'm not sure if they still exist.


Title: RE: EF Johson Avenger in estate gear at Grand Rapids swap meet this month
Post by: KA5N on September 05, 2012, 08:39:20 AM
Early equipment used mostly Germanium transistors which were easy to destroy and suffered many
failures.  Replacements were costly and most transistors were PNP which seemed upside down
to those of us who were accoustomed to tube circuits. 

If one wishes an example of  early ham gear that actually worked check out the Davco.  I lusted
for one of these and a few years back I discovered one at a ham fest.  It was in such poor shape
that I just sighed and walked away.

The first portable solid state TV sets were also a bucket of worms.  A sideways look was enough
to pop transistors in these hopeless hulks.

Allen KA5N


Title: RE: EF Johson Avenger in estate gear at Grand Rapids swap meet this month
Post by: K0OD on September 05, 2012, 09:38:25 AM
Quote
the driver and finals were tubes.

Anyone know what tubes were in the Avenger? That would play a role in determining its current value. 


Title: RE: EF Johson Avenger in estate gear at Grand Rapids swap meet this month
Post by: WA2CWA on September 05, 2012, 11:37:07 AM
6HB6 was the driver tube and two 6HF5 sweep tubes were the final. Selling price estimate, taking into account recovering development and material costs, was somewhere around $1900. Truly they priced themselves out of the current market before they even got started considering the Drake, National, SBE, and Collins SSB rigs were selling for way less.

Pete, wa2cwa


Title: RE: EF Johson Avenger in estate gear at Grand Rapids swap meet this month
Post by: KD0REQ on September 05, 2012, 12:38:14 PM
plenty of silicon transistors in the mid 60s were driving out the germanium.

EF Johnson got broken up... GE bought the landmobile radio stuff, capacitors went out east to the guys who bought Hammarlund variables (can't remember the company right now,) sockets and other ceramic parts became part of Emerson Electric.  keys, tuners, etc. went to Nye Electronics.

I had a Viking II and burned up the plate RF choke putting a shield on the driver tube.  they were still around in 1970, and for a letter asking the price of the choke, they sent one free.  they were probably shovelling stuff off the back dock into a dumpster about that time, but sad to see 'em go.  their stuff was hard to break.  partly because it was so darn hard to lift up first.


Title: RE: EF Johson Avenger in estate gear at Grand Rapids swap meet this month
Post by: K0OD on September 05, 2012, 01:20:31 PM
Quote
two 6HF5 sweep tubes were the final.

Those were used in the Swan 400 which was rated at "400 watts pep and 320 watts input on CW."  HP mobile?


Title: RE: EF Johson Avenger in estate gear at Grand Rapids swap meet this month
Post by: WA2CWA on September 05, 2012, 03:00:33 PM
Everyone was using sweep tubes back then. Cheap and you could drive them hard. SSB audio "quality" wasn't high on everyone's list.

Pete, wa2cwa


Title: RE: EF Johson Avenger in estate gear at Grand Rapids swap meet this month
Post by: AC5UP on September 05, 2012, 04:06:34 PM
Speaking of Germanium transistors:  http://www.shopgoodwill.com/viewItem.asp?ItemID=11365667

Had one of these years ago and gave it away as a gift. Now I wish I hadn't as it was a very cool looking radio. Performance was nothing to brag about, but at the time I thought it was a looker..............


Title: RE: EF Johson Avenger in estate gear at Grand Rapids swap meet this month
Post by: K0OD on September 08, 2012, 06:39:23 AM
Quote
That is a fair point. I am sure as hell curious how much it sells for.

I too wonder about the level of bidding on the "$2,000-cost" Johnson Avenger. Did anyone here attend the swap meet?


Title: RE: EF Johson Avenger in estate gear at Grand Rapids swap meet this month
Post by: N2EY on September 10, 2012, 10:16:11 AM
Everyone was using sweep tubes back then. Cheap and you could drive them hard. SSB audio "quality" wasn't high on everyone's list.

Yep. And there was also the fact that you could get sweep tubes at any TV repair shop, radio store, etc. Even a drugstore in a pinch! Not like 6146s.

The rig designers never imagined a day when a TV sweep tube would be far more rare and expensive than a "real" transmitting tube.

Then again, they probably never imagined that those rigs would still be in use 30, 40, 50 years on. When I became a ham back in 1967, nobody was using rigs from 1922 (45 years earlier). But today there are plenty of hams using (or trying to use) rigs from 1967 and earlier.

73 de Jim, N2EY


Title: RE: EF Johson Avenger in estate gear at Grand Rapids swap meet this month
Post by: KG6YV on September 13, 2012, 01:38:11 PM

"Collins SSB rigs were selling for way less."

Huh?  What?  Look at a 1962 Collins Price List.  Of course their reputation and use of the latest technology supported their prices.

Greg


Title: RE: EF Johson Avenger in estate gear at Grand Rapids swap meet this month
Post by: N2EY on September 14, 2012, 05:54:30 AM

"Collins SSB rigs were selling for way less."

Huh?  What?  Look at a 1962 Collins Price List.  Of course their reputation and use of the latest technology supported their prices.

A KWM-2 cost about $1100 back then. That's a lot less than the ~$2000 Avenger. Remember that a dollar back then equals about $7 today.

For $2000 you could get a complete S-line with several options. The Avenger couldn't compete with that.

Squires-Sanders ran into the same problem.

73 de Jim, N2EY


Title: RE: EF Johson Avenger in estate gear at Grand Rapids swap meet this month
Post by: K0OD on September 14, 2012, 07:38:20 AM
And the earlier Collins KWM-1 cost $780, but it only had 10-20 meters. Power supply extra.

Looking back, the Collins stuff wasn't all that expensive for what you got.  BTW, U.S. minimum wage in 1960 was $1.00 per hour.


Title: RE: EF Johson Avenger in estate gear at Grand Rapids swap meet this month
Post by: N2EY on September 14, 2012, 02:32:46 PM
And the earlier Collins KWM-1 cost $780, but it only had 10-20 meters. Power supply extra.

Looking back, the Collins stuff wasn't all that expensive for what you got.

In the mid-50s Collins ran an ad showing what their past products had cost, what their approximate resale value was, and how much the unit cost per day to own. Did the same for competing rxs and txs. Their idea was that it actually cost less to own a Collins station because the stuff kept its value better.

They only ran those ads for a short time, though. I wonder why.....



  BTW, U.S. minimum wage in 1960 was $1.00 per hour.

Yup. Which puts a different spin on how much a ham rig really cost in those days...

73 de Jim, n2EY


Title: RE: EF Johson Avenger in estate gear at Grand Rapids swap meet this month
Post by: K0OD on September 20, 2012, 01:59:41 PM
Update on the Johnson Avenger for sale:

"The Grand Rapids (MI) Radio Association (GRARA) is offering for sale an E.F. Johnson Avenger 80-10 meter hybrid tube/transistor SSB and CW 100 watt transceiver, condition clean, nonworking but pilot lights do illuminate. Has dual VFO's and comes with a working AC power supply and an untested DC power supply. Includes original user/maintenance manual in good condition. Source: estate sale item not sold at Grand Rapids ARA hamfest swap meet.

Very few of these were made (see below).

$880 or highest offer above that received by 29 September 2012, buyer to pay cost of packing and shipping.

Contact this station via PM or (munged) [callsign] "at" e arth l ink "decimal" n et. All bids regardless of amount will be be forwarded to Grand Rapids Radio Association members handling the estate sale.

Cortland
KA5S"

http://forums.qrz.com/showthread.php?361632-E-F-Johnson-Viking-Avenger-hybrid-80-10-1960-s-transceiver