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Reviews Categories | Transmitters: Vintage amateur | Johnson Viking Valiant Help


Reviews Summary for Johnson Viking Valiant
Johnson Viking Valiant Reviews: 13 Average rating: 4.4/5 MSRP: $349.50 kit, 439.50 wired and tes
Description: 160 - 10 Meter Plate Modulated CW/AM Transmitter
Product is not in production.
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WB9GKZ Rating: 2/5 Jul 5, 2002 12:56 Send this review to a friend
Be Careful!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owned a Valiant for about 10 years and have helped repair several other Valiant transmitters. The Valiant transmitter has several inherent problems that...in my humble opinion....put this transmitter in the "needs help" catagory.

First problem: The Bandswitch. There are several amps of antenna current flowing through the switch contacts connected to the load capacitor bank. The switch cannot handle this and breaks down, eventually destroying itself. Have seen this on several Valiants. The switch belongs in a Ranger or DX-60, not the Valiant.

Second problem: The Filament/Low Voltage transformer is an accident waiting to happen. The fuse for this transformer blows when the correct-rated fuse is installed. Many owners install a higher amperage fuse to "hold" the transformer. Bad idea. Transformer melt-down imminent.

Third problem: Low power output. Caused by Johnson's choice of cheap meter shunt resistors in the transmitter. My Valiant Plate meter reads
500mA for an actual 335mA of Plate Current. Loading to a front-panel meter reading of 335mA of
Ip (recommended value in manual) is acutually about 195mA of plate current and the power output is about 70-watts. Don't beleive the meter.

Before buying a Valiant, ask around....you will find out that most owners have modified the audio stage to get it to "sound decent". It is my opinion that the amount of mods assigned to a rig is inversely proportional to the quality of the unit. How many mods are out there for the Ranger.
Not many....it's design and quality is light-years ahead of the shakey Valiant.

My recommendation: Forget the Valiant (unless you like constantly repairing and tinkering)...buy a nice, clean Ranger and drive it into a pair of 3-500's in grounded-grid. You'll have more power and alot less grief.

One last note: I laugh out loud when I see Valiants go for $500-$1000 on eBay. Good reason!
 
W1EBI Rating: 5/5 Jul 5, 2002 00:32 Send this review to a friend
I loved this rig!  Time owned: more than 12 months
OK, I was a Johnson baby. Started with the Adventurer as a Novice in '55, had a brief fling with a Globe Scout and Globe Linear when I got my General, then moved to the Viking II/VFO/Matchbox as caretaker for the local radio club in between FD's. Finally got my own Valiant as a teenager and LOVED it. I could barely lift it, but it kept the basement shack in PA warm in the winter and with low (and I mean low) dipoles on 40 and 20, I managed WAS, WAC and 70 countries on CW and some AM before going to grad school. Sold the rig in '64 and have been off the air until last week. I'm loving my new FT-920, but I admit my heart did a pitty-pat when I saw the photo of the Valiant. Johnson stuff was solid, and this rig was the Buick vs. the DX-100's Pontiac. Great piece of tube gear. Kinda wish I still had it.

George W1EBI, ex-W3CMN
 
W9LBB Rating: 5/5 Jul 4, 2002 22:46 Send this review to a friend
The 160 Meter Warhorse...  Time owned: more than 12 months
Ham rigs in the 1950s and 60s were roughly anologous to cars. Your choices in cars and rigs said a lot about your place in the American social food chain / pecking order.

If you were a working stiff, you probably drove a Chevy and your shack was probably home to some Hallicrafters, and later Heathkit, gear.

If you were higher in the scheme of things, you drove a Chrysler or Caddy and you ran National, Hammarlund, or maybe even Collins stuff.

The car and rig for the upwardly mobile Ford owners was unquestionably Johnson... and the Valiant was the one we ALL wanted, tho if bucks were tight it's little brother, the Ranger would do until better times.

The Heathkit DX-100 (aka, the "Benton Harbor Kilowatt") was an upstart in the scheme of things; it was in direct competition with the Johnson Viking, and a hell of a lot cheaper. Both designs ran high level plate modulated AM, and the later version of the Viking matched the DX-100 in that the PA ran the (then new) 6146 PA tubes. They were about the same power level, but Heath beat the pants off of Johnson by including a VFO; the Viking was crystal controlled, and the VFO was an optional external box. The Heathkit also endeared itself to a lot of us by including 160 meter coverage; at that time most manufacturers ignored the band because of the fact that amateur operation was severely restricted by our shared status with LORAN A at 1850 and 1950 KHz.

Back then, if you wanted a manufactured rig for 160 that wasn't military surplus your transmitter was marked either Heathkit or Johnson.

The Valiant was Johnson's broadside salvo to the Heathkit upstart.

Besides adding a VFO to what was essentially the same design as the Viking, they went one better; the PA stage ran about 50% MORE power by using THREE 6146 tubes instead of DX-100s two.

The old gal STILL gives an excellent account of herself on the air, especially on 160 AM.

Look up the word BOATANCHOR in the dictionary, and you'll see a picture of a Valiant! This is ONE HEAVY TRANSMITTER... a big time hernia generator. Everything about this rig screams CONTINUOUS DUTY. The modulator uses ANOTHER pair of 6146s, bringing the grand total to five of 'em... BTW, it was never cheap to keep a Valiant in tubes, but nowadays it's getting downright painful! While Heathkit got by with a pair of 5R4 rectifiers to provide the PA and mod plate voltage, the Valiant had to step up in the world a bit; it's fitted with a pair of 866A mercury rectifiers!

BTW, to keep expenses down and the hassles of mercury vapor tubes to a minimum, my Valiant runs a pair of 3B28 Xenon gas tubes in place of the 866As. They're a direct replacement, they last a WHOLE lot longer, and are much harder to destroy by accident than the old mercs... but I sort of miss the blue glow of the mercury tubes.

The rest of the tube lineup is pretty much standard for the era... 5763 RF driver / multiplier, 6CL6 crystal oscillator / multiplier / buffer, and 6AU6 VFO. Throw in a few incidental tubes (voltage regulators, bias rectifiers, speech amplifiers and audio drivers), and you've got the idea here.

Operating is pretty simple, assuming you know how to tune a transmitter (nowadays, not everyone does), but the PA was a bit unnerving for those of us who'd graduated from lesser transmitters; there's something about dipping & loading the PA plate current to 450 MA @ 750 VDC that makes you sweat a little bit... that's a HELL of a LOTTA PA current! With a DX-100, a current reading like that means that the PA tubes are running cherry red and getting ready to blow at any moment!

The rig is a real joy on CW; there's enough power output (225 watts or better) to give you a fighting chance in pileups, and if you've done your homework with modifications the CW note is clean and crisp on all bands. If you HAVEN'T, the note can get a bit funky on 15 and 10 meters.

On AM, the rig stands out of the crowd. Even without reworking audio stages, the modulator packs a POWERFUL audio wallop! In a way, the great AM performance was the rig's downfall; like most AM rigs of the period, they went cheap at hamfests, toppled from thier places of honor by SSB gear. Far too many Valiants wound up getting abused and butchered by 60's vintage CBers who wanted to run a rig more powerful than the rules allowed.

In the new century, there are STILL Johnson Valiants on the air out there in day to day use, and they'll be around, especially on 160 and 80 meters, for a long time to come. They were built to last, and they'll still perform in the hands of an operator who knows how to get the best out of them.


W9LBB



 
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