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Reviews Categories | Receivers: Commercial/Military/Marine adaptable to ham use | R.C.A. AR-88 Shortwave Communications Receiver Help

Reviews Summary for R.C.A. AR-88 Shortwave Communications Receiver
R.C.A. AR-88 Shortwave Communications Receiver Reviews: 2 Average rating: 5.0/5 MSRP: $$495.00 (1944, approx.)
Description: Classic WW2-vintage "boat anchor" general coverage shortwave receiver.
Product is not in production.
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K7WXK Rating: 5/5 Jun 16, 2011 07:40 Send this review to a friend
Great General Coverage Receiver  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I've joined the ranks of the boat anchor enthusiasts and I am not disappointed. The AR-88F that I acquired is in good working condition and needed only minor repair/cleanup, etc. It is extremely sensitive and dial accuracy is spot-on. It took me a couple days to clean and evaluate the rig, and I determined that a few minor changes had been made. The first RF tube had been changed to a miniature 6SK7, I presume to reduce the noise signature. I don't know if this improved it or not, but the signal to noise ratio is very good. The filter cans are leaking, but so far are fully functional. This will need some attention in the near future. The "F" model has the Diversity IF Gain control added to the front panel, otherwise it is the basic AR-88D. I compared its performance side by side with my FT-990 and the results were amazing. Every signal was equal to or greater than the same signal on the FT-990. SSB is no problem with the usual adjustment of the BFO and RF gain. I completed a calibration of the receiver and the dial is very accurate for such wide coverage. The calibration technique does require some patience and very careful adjustments, but the results were impressive. Of course the rig is built like a tank and very heavy. The "F" model was intended for rack mounting so it does not come with a cabinet. I plan to make a wooden box for it to finish it off. The tuning gear is very smooth with no slop. There is no S-meter since it is designed to work in conjunction with two other receivers through a master monitoring panel containing an S-meter. This is a typically over-built WWII era receiver that is in the same class and quality as the Collins R-388. I happen to have the Collins, too, and I think the Collins still has the slight edge, but it's mighty close. Definitely one of the elite of the boat anchor group.

VE3CUI Rating: 5/5 Mar 6, 2009 11:52 Send this review to a friend
Top Notch, Even By 2009 Standards!  Time owned: more than 12 months
It absolutely AMAZES me that no one has yet bothered to generate a review of this classic, venerable stalwart from WW2, the AR-88 --- and ALL of its derivatives...

I procured my 100-pound behemoth in the early 90's, for the princely sum of $150.00. I'd wanted one ever since I first saw photos of the AR-88 for sale in Montreal, courtesy of then "North American Electronics, Ltd.", in 1969.

This is one WW2-era receiver that can hold its own easily copying SSB on the 10-meter band. That's pretty advanced, considering its vintage. The construction is first-class all the way, too, and oh that glow from the radio dial! Mine has the rare S-meter, too, and is 100% stock --- it even has the factory-installed alignment rods and allen wrenches inside, too!

What a beautiful example of 1940's "...a-place-for-everything-and-everything-in-its-place" practicality & functionality. I just love this thing.

PS: I have PAGES of scanned literature specific to the rig: if anyone reading this would like to expand their personal AR-88 library, please let me know --- I'll be only too happy to share. ~73~ Eddy VE3CUI - VE3XZ (

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