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

Reviews Summary for Johnson Viking Ranger
Johnson Viking Ranger Reviews: 13 Average rating: 4.8/5 MSRP: $179.50
Description: This is the original (ca. 1960) Johnson Viking Ranger, plate modulated, AM transmitter. It uses a single 6146 rf power output tube. It operates on 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 11, and 10 meters with a built-in VFO. The output power is approximately 50 watts (carrier level).
Product is not in production.
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W4PTO Rating: 5/5 May 24, 2004 20:11 Send this review to a friend
Best BA xmtr ever made!  Time owned: more than 12 months
Over the years, I had several EFJ Rangers. This is probably the best boatanchor transmitter ever made. With its small footprint, you can sidle this transmitter up next to your newer YAECOMKEN radio along with a compact classic boatanchor rx and you have a complete boatanchor station.

As of this writing, various parts can still be had for this radio (which was built in the late 1950's). This is a testament to an enduring design that still appreciated by many ham radio operators today. Couple the Ranger with a classic D104 or your favorite Vibroplex bug or Speed-X key and you have a vintage station ready to tap out beautiful time-sequenced keyed CW or great sounding Amplitude Modulation. If you have a chance to own one of these transmitters, grab it! You won't regret it.
AD5X Rating: 4/5 Apr 22, 2004 11:53 Send this review to a friend
Great Boat Anchor rig  Time owned: more than 12 months
I dreamed about owning one of these when I was a kid, but they were too expensive for me. Found this one locally for $100 and have had a ball restoring/upgrading it. Goes along great with my Drake 2B receiver (also wanted one as a kid). You've got to be carefull working on these old vacuum tube rigs, but it sure is fun to get them on the air.

Phil - AD5X
AB2EZ Rating: 4/5 Apr 22, 2004 09:40 Send this review to a friend
A nice, vintage, AM transmitter  Time owned: more than 12 months
The Johnson Ranger is an excellent choice for a “boat anchor” AM transmitter. It has all of the features of any classic, plate-modulated AM transmitter, in a reasonably sized (and reasonable weight) package.

They are available, in working order, at prices ranging from $200.00 - $1000.00, depending upon the cosmetic condition (e.g., eyesore v. mint), and whether or not any modifications have been performed (e.g., to upgrade the audio fidelity, to add push-to-talk capabilities, to upgrade/renew the power supply's electrolytic capacitors). Depending upon your interests in owning one of these, you may prefer one that is in "stock" condition, or one that has been significantly modified. See for an example of a restored and modified unit.

They are reasonably well designed (i.e., they work as specified, and their parts don't wear out or fail often, in ordinary use); they are relatively easy to work on for maintanence, modifications, and repairs; and they sound great on-the-air.

As with all classic, vacuum tube equipment:


The unit contains and produces lethal voltages, several of which appear on external accessory connectors.

If you own one of these, you should expect to have to perform some routine maintanence every few months. Therefore, you should either be knowledgable and experienced enough to perform such maintanence (including trouble-shooting), or you should be in a position to obtain help from someone who can perform this maintanence for you.
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