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Author Topic: What were the first commercial HAM radios?  (Read 671 times)
ONAIR
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« on: February 28, 2007, 11:51:03 PM »

   I'm thinking that I'd really like to get my hands on an old 1930s or even 1920s commercially made HAM radio to play with.  Anyone recall what were the first radios available, and who were the manufacturers who made them?
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KA5ZCB
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« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2007, 03:08:36 AM »

 http://www.AntiqueHAMradio.com/  
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KA5N
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« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2007, 03:39:21 AM »

There are any number of receivers made in the 1930's still around.  Notable examples are Hallicrafters SX-28(A), SX-25, S20R etc.  National HRO-50 are sought after.  Even something like a Hallicrafters S-38 can be fun.  Some of these old receivers work surprisingly well (when restored). Do a search on the web and you will find many sites for antique ham gear. You can also buy QST on CD's covering the start of ham radio up until the present time.  The old ads are great reading and you can see the difference in prices of today vs. 1920's and 1930's remember to apply the difference in the value of the dollar (you'll be surprised).
73 Allen
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K8AC
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« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2007, 05:31:23 AM »

An interesting question.  If you look at the early 1930s and before, none of the manufacturers of what many today call "antique" radio gear were in existence.  I think you'll find that almost all commercially made ham gear before that time period consisted of receivers.  I suggest you obtain some QST magazines from the 20s and early 30s and read through the ads.  Here's a link to a QST from the 1920s on eBay right now and the seller included several photos showing receiver ads:
http://cgi.ebay.com/Antique-1922-QST-Magazine-Vacuum-Tube-Radio-Electronics_W0QQitemZ130083728527QQihZ003QQcategoryZ29223QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

I've found that many of the old ads for receivers that cover the shortwave bands didn't refer to amateur radio at all.  Another magazine of the period was Radio News and you'll find a ton of them on eBay as well.  I have a January 1936 issue here with a column called the "Ham Shack" that introduces the reader to the "new" Hallicrafters Super Skyrider receiver and the National HRO.  Other ham receivers shown are by Montgomery-Ward, Browning and RCA.
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K7KBN
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« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2007, 07:11:41 AM »

Notice the picture of the guy wielding the Wouff Hong in that old QST?
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73
Pat K7KBN
CWO4 USNR Ret.
K0FF
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« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2007, 09:09:07 AM »

Wouff Hongs you can see coming. The Whizzing Rettysnitches sneak up on you!

Geo>K0FF
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N1XBP
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Posts: 80




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« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2007, 09:55:52 AM »

Atwater Kent goes back quite a ways. As does Harvey Wells (Harvey radio company). I've used a few pre war Nationals. As someone else mentioned, you'd be amazed how good they are. Hammerlund predates WW2 I'm pretty sure, but I don't know about complete sets commercially aimed at amateurs.

As you go back you'll discover they didn't offer so much complete radios as much as discrete components, since people were building more of their own equipment and the average baseline setup was a bit simpler than now.
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