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


Reviews Summary for Johnson Viking Adventurer
Johnson Viking Adventurer Reviews: 12 Average rating: 4.8/5 MSRP: $54.95
Description: Crystal-controlled 80-10 meter CW transmitter, originally marketed in 1954
Product is not in production.
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You can write your own review of the Johnson Viking Adventurer.

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WB0FDJ Rating: 5/5 Jan 21, 2013 16:48 Send this review to a friend
Simple hollow state stuff  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I hadn't used a tube rig since I was a novice in the 70s (when I foolishly sold my HT-40). Just picked this up and am having fun with it. It's just about the simplest rig made, CW only, about 20 watts out and an absolute minimum of switches and knobs. 2 tubes: an oscillator and a final. You peak the grid, dip the plate and you're off!. Crystals are getting hard to find but I've located a few and am having a blast. Yes it's got some chirp so I just ordered all new caps and plan to refurb it. For an old boat anchor this is actually pretty small. Next step: get a working VFO. Since I'm a QRP op, running 20 watts is plenty. If you want a simple older radio to have fun with, this would be it. Not too expensive on the used market. It's a keeper.
 
KC2VDM Rating: 4/5 Oct 15, 2011 13:40 Send this review to a friend
FUN FUN FUN  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Got this transmitter in less than great condition at a fest for $24! After lots of TLC and help from a few friends on eHam, The rig now chirps ( yes, there is a slight chirp, even when using crystals) out 50W max. Great looking, Easy to use, Simple construction, and a look into the past. Once I finally learn CW, Look for me around 7.114 mHz

-Alex
 
N8QZ Rating: 5/5 Feb 22, 2008 18:23 Send this review to a friend
Wow! memories  Time owned: more than 12 months
Saw this post and it brought back a ton of memories. I used a converted ARC-5 for my 1st novice (KN1QZL) xmtr, but the neighbors complained of TVI. Dad bought me the Adventurer from a dealer in NH. I used a dipole on 80M and made tons of contacts. When I upgraded to General I found a Heath VF-1 VFO and could expand my frequency coverage. Also found the plug-in screen modulator and made phone contacts on 40 & 80 for great rag chews.

One issue which was my fault . . . spent a couple of weeks at Wellfleet on Cape Cod on summer vacation and didn't have enough space to hang the 80 M dipole so I loaded into a random wire. When we got home I had a number of OO reports based on the out of band 2nd harmonic and one "friendly FCC" notice. As I recall, I didn't have to send in a reply, but I did have to answer my parents! Learned a geat lesson about antennas that summer.
 
KM1H Rating: 5/5 Feb 22, 2008 18:02 Send this review to a friend
The Model A of ham radio, simple, and functional  Time owned: more than 12 months
I had a used one in 1957 in between selling a DX-100 that never stopped drifting and looking for another TX in the 100-150W range. I worked Europe on 40M with a dipole many times and worked the world on 20 and 15 with a ground plane and 3 el Gotham yagi respectively. The receiver was a HQ-129X.

I finally got a Viking I and the Adventurer sat on a shelf until around 1963 when it was sold. Never had a problem or bad signal reports.

Now in 2008 I have another Viking I,122 VFO, HQ-129X, and just picked up an Adventurer. A friend found it under a tattered tarp in Idaho where it had been sitting for a few years and sent it to me. Except for a lot of pine needles and dead bugs the interior is very nice with no corrosion. Replaced the electrolytics, hooked up the 122 VFO and it worked right off. It says something about the dry climate in Idaho as it would have been ready for the trash here in Southern NH.

A prior owner had added a BNC connector to the front panel for a VFO so Im looking for a nice replacement panel.

Carl
KM1H
 
W8AAZ Rating: 3/5 Dec 16, 2007 13:22 Send this review to a friend
Heartache box  Time owned: more than 12 months
Got a used one off the shelf as my first novice tx back in the 70's. Thought it was the coolest thing in the world. Loaded up a lightbulb dummy load and loved to watch it glow as I tuned thru the dip. Finally put it on the air. Did get one OO for a harmonic with it. Everyone I tried to work complained that the freq. drifted the longer I transmitted. Apparently stressing the xtals I had. I tried some stuff but never could overcome that problem. Drift in an xtal rig! ugh. Tried new tubes etc. No luck so it ended up off the air and eventually 25$ at a garage sale. Now I would love to have another try at it but since it is a "rare classic" the prices are hard to swallow. Probably will build a two tube rig similiar from parts and save $$$ instead.
 
K4MSG Rating: 5/5 Sep 20, 2007 19:26 Send this review to a friend
Simple, great classic!  Time owned: more than 12 months
My first rig in 1957 was an Adventurer, and I've owned and restored several others in the past 10 years (even tore one down to the last screw & washer and rebuilt it from scratch - talk about deja vu!). It is a bare-bones basic CW rig that puts out a clean signal, is reliable and well-made, and is easy to repair. It's a wonderful rig for "newbies" who want to learn something about tube technology "from the good old days" because it is so simple and easy to understand.

While a separate "standby-transmit" switch with extra contacts for switching an external relay would be nice, this can be solved with an external switch and using rear-panel 6.3VAC for the relay, so it's no big deal. I also much prefer the 6AG7-807 lineup to the ubiquitous 6CL6-6DQ6 used by "other" manufacturers.

I use my current Adventurer with a Drake R-4A on 80m & 40m CW and I must say it is really a blast to work DX with this set-up.
 
WA8QNJ Rating: 5/5 May 25, 2007 06:02 Send this review to a friend
WHAT A CLASSIC.....!!!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I HAVE BEEN PLEASANTLY SURPRISED AT HOW SIMPLE AND STRAIGHT FORWARD THIS LITTLE TINY TUBE TRANSMITTER BY JOHNSON IS... I USE IT XTAL CONTROLED AND HAVE A BALL... LOVE THE WAY THE SINGLE 807 FINAL PUTS OUT THAT BEAUTIFUL WARM RED GLOW WHILE PUTTING OUT A 20 WATT CRISP CW NOTE... THEY CERTAINLY DON'T MAKE THEM LIKE THIS ANYMORE, ALL METAL, JUST LIKE A CLASSIC CAR FROM BACK IN SAME TIME PERIOD... HAD FUN PUTTING SOME WAX ON HER AND SEEING HER SHINE... A KOOL PIECE OF HAM AMERICANA FROM THE MID 50'S THAT WILL BE A WELCOMED ADDITION TO ANYONES SHACK... THE ADVENTURER IS NOT A BIG AND HEAVY RIG LIKE THE OTHER JOHNSON EQUIPMENT I'VE HAD IN THE PAST, AND DOESN'T TAKE UP MUCH SPACE... IT LOOKS RATHER IMPRESSIVE SITTING NEXT TO MY DRAKE 2B, IN FACT, IT'S ABOUT THE SAME SIZE AND MAKES FOR AN AWESOME COMBINATION... EVERY CW HAM SHOULD HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO OWN ONE OF THIS GEMS... SIMPLE, IS REALLY BETTER...!!
 
W6LBV Rating: 5/5 Apr 10, 2006 19:33 Send this review to a friend
"THE KIND OF QUALITY STUFF THAT THEY DON'T MAKE ANYMORE"  Time owned: more than 12 months
In 1959 I began setting up my first novice station while studying for the exam. Upon recommendation from an active ham friend I bought an E. F. Johnson, Inc., Adventurer transmitter kit, and having previously successfully built other electronics kits I began to assemble and test it.

My initial impression upon unpacking the kit was an overwhelmingly sense of QUALITY. I still recall staring bug-eyed at the supplied chrome plated nuts and star washers, at a big and heavy power transformer easily large enough to run a fifty watt (if not more) transmitter, and at three new "brand name" vacuum tubes. The case and chassis were sturdy enough that I could stand on it (I weighed less in those days). The circuit design was conventionally conservative, with no tricks or short cuts.

That initial impression of Johnson quality never faded. Thirty-four years later I traveled to Minneapolis, representing my employer, to sign a $3 million purchase contract for a Johnson commercial two-way radio network (which contract EFJ. Inc. won on the merits). And I told the Johnson contracts manager (who wasn't a ham) across the table from me the story of how I still remembered with pleasure unpacking the first Johnson kit. He was amused by the story.....but it was clear that he didn't have a clue about what I was describing! (And on that trip I also visited the Johnson, Inc. museum at the factory down in Waseca, where many of the old Johnson Viking ham transmitters, still in working shape, are on display).

The Adventurer was better than I was as a novice. For an antenna I used a 40 meter folded dipole made from 300 ohm TV twin lead. It was a balanced feed antenna, but the Adventurer had a 50 ohm unbalanced output, and I hadn't yet learned about antenna tuners and baluns. I fed the twin lead directly, and the Adventurer's pi-network output didn't care. It loaded up without complaint and I still made some contacts. And I had no transmitter failures during my entire novice period.

I eventually bought the AM screen modulator kit and tried unsuccessfully to get the Adventurer's 807 final to double in the output stage to reach 6 meters. One can imagine how delightful that result might have proven in suburban Los Angeles, which is home to a major CBS-owned and -operated TV Channel 2. Eventually I sold everything and moved on. But I've always kept a soft-spot for the ruggedness and reliability of that first Johnson transmitter.

The Adventurer is well worth having if you are someone who appreciates the "kind of quality stuff that they don't make anymore!" That holds for almost any Johnson amateur product. Thank you to (the late) Edgar F. Johnson, B.S.E.E., a farm boy from the Minnesota prairie town of Waseca, who understood and built quality!
 
N4PSE Rating: 5/5 Aug 23, 2004 20:12 Send this review to a friend
Just plain fun!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I picked up one about a year ago and promptly blew the 50 year old electrolytics. What a mess when they blew! Replaced them with modern substitutes and she now puts out a decent signal. Still has a slight chirp on 40, better tone on 80. Have made many contacts with it (xtal controlled) and must admit it is really a kick. It's a nice way to break the boredom of good rig / bad propagation. It's a lot more fun to work 500 to 1,000 miles with one of these!
 
N8QZ Rating: 5/5 Aug 23, 2004 13:41 Send this review to a friend
Ant Matching  Time owned: more than 12 months
First commercial rig after TVI problems with my ARC-5 novice station back in the early 60's. Not sure the pi-network would match everyting. I was on an extended summer vacation on Cape Cod and was running portable with a random long-wire. My Dad brought (from the home QTH) a handful of OO reports and an FCC warning based on my 599 2nd harmonic (out-of band) from the 80M novice band. Where was my Elmer when I needed him? Live and learn. Formerly KN1QZL
 
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