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Author Topic: Meissner Signal Shifter Deluxe  (Read 27976 times)
N4NYY
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« on: September 02, 2013, 08:05:20 AM »

A friend of mine gave me one of these. Looks like a QRP VFO/exciter of about 7W or so. Poor condition. I may give this off to someone that does low band QRP or such. Anyway, after a google, still do not know exactly how you use this. What else is needed to make a transceiver. I have never seen anything like this. In fact, I thought it was an RF Generator (I suppose it can still be one).
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W9GB
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« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2013, 08:22:01 AM »

Geoff Fors, WB6NVH has been assembling a history of the Meissner Manufacturing Company, Mt. Carmel, Illinois.

Meissner was very busy between late 1938 and 1940 and there are a bunch of model variations on the theme.
http://www.42north.org/equipment/Meissner%20Signal%20Shifter/index.html

Basically, the original Meissner Shifter had a black wrinkle panel and a recessed "airplane" dial. Then they went to an external dial and knob combo. That was further changed around with a slightly larger knob, and the red pilot lamp comes and goes depending upon the exact model. The "Deluxe" 1941 Shifter is the one with the half-moon amber plastic lens dial.

The front panels were nickel plated and for some reason they attract rust (improper plating process?)
It seems really hard to find one that isn't rusty to some extent.  If corrosion was very bad, a new steel panel blank would require fabrication, then nickel plated, and then a screen made up to re-paint the lettering.
Alternatively, there's always the solution of grinding or blasting the panel clean and painting it in a color you like, and then lettering it with one of a number of methods. It would not be a museum piece but then these are pretty common anyway.

The cardboard discs are always falling out of the coils, and have to be glued back in. You should be able to extrapolate which disc goes where.

These transmitters are intended to feed a low impedance balanced line output. In 1939 terms, that means about 300-600 Ohms. Not unbalanced coaxial cable at 50 or 75 ohms.

MEISSNER DELUXE SIGNAL SHIFTER COIL SET REFERENCE
This is a chart I made of the plug-in coil set part numbers for the prewar Deluxe Meissner Signal Shifter VFO/exciters.  The part numbers were originally printed on a cardboard disc glued to the top of each coil, but these discs fell out and were often lost over the years.  The part numbers were also printed in faint silver paint near the base of each coil.  If those numbers are still visible, you can use this chart to identify the coil's band.  Note that the coils have different numbers of pins on the bottom, so that they can not be plugged into the wrong stage.
by Geoff Fors, WB6NVH
http://www.wb6nvh.com/DATA/Meissner.pdf
« Last Edit: September 02, 2013, 08:38:01 AM by W9GB » Logged
N4NYY
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« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2013, 08:25:21 AM »

Geoff Fors, WB6NVH has been assembling a history of the Meissner Company.

MEISSNER DELUXE SIGNAL SHIFTER COIL SET REFERENCE
This is a chart I made of the plug-in coil set part numbers for the prewar Deluxe Meissner Signal Shifter VFO/exciters.  The part numbers were originally printed on a cardboard disc glued to the top of each coil, but these discs fell out and were often lost over the years.  The part numbers were also printed in faint silver paint near the base of each coil.  If those numbers are still visible, you can use this chart to identify the coil's band.  Note that the coils have different numbers of pins on the bottom, so that they can not be plugged into the wrong stage.
by Geoff Fors, WB6NVH
http://www.wb6nvh.com/DATA/Meissner.pdf



Since my brain started in the 1980's, I am trying to grasp the concept of a 7W VFO/exciter. What drives it and how much? Can I drive it with a QRP SSB transmitter? I am only familiar with integrated transceivers.
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AC5UP
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« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2013, 08:28:40 AM »

Start Here:  http://bama.edebris.com/manuals/meissner/ss

Yeah, it's a 7 watt VFO / exciter capable of all band operation - if - you have the proper coil set, and that's often an issue with these. Each band needed three plug in coils. Oscillator grid, oscillator plate, output plate. No coils = NoGo although even a doofus should be able to build a coil set for a band or two. Could be modded for AM with a modulator input, otherwise it's a QRP CW transmitter. Could also be a foundation chassis for a rebuild using the schematic for a Heathshkit DX-20, 35 or 40.


As for what would be needed to make it a transceiver, that's easy:          A receiver section.
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AC5UP
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« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2013, 08:41:53 AM »

What drives it and how much? Can I drive it with a QRP SSB transmitter?

Long ago and far away the average Ham transmitter was rockbound and VFO's were the stuff of dreams. Wasn't uncommon to work split 'cuz you and the other dude didn't have the same crystal in your collection. So the marketing niche for the Signal Shifter was simple: Here's a frequency agile QRP CW transmitter that can be optioned out with coil sets for a fraction of the cost of a crystal collection. Pay as you go, a little now, a little later, and some day you might build a power amplifier to take the 7 watt output up to 50 watts or better. Then you'll smoke the bands like never before...........

Radio wasn't cheap prior to the 50's and 60's when war surplus goods became plentiful, but there were still technically challenged Hams who wanted a way to get on the air at entry level cost then build up the shack as time and budget allowed. The signal shifter was a self-contained QRP CW transmitter and a stepping stone product to bigger & better ideas.
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N4NYY
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« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2013, 08:56:29 AM »

Face is poor. Case, especially the bottom needs surgery. It needs to cut out and new bottom piece welded. I know someone that loves this stuff and may just donate it.
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G3RZP
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« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2013, 09:00:40 AM »

I believe that the Meissner signal shifter was originally pre WW2: I remember having read somewhere that the US govmnt was buying them off hams in the early stages of WW2, but not sure what for. More stable than the VFO in a BC610 tuning unit, but probably nowhere near as good as the Wilcox-gay VFO for the ET4336.
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N4NYY
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« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2013, 09:21:28 AM »

I believe that the Meissner signal shifter was originally pre WW2: I remember having read somewhere that the US govmnt was buying them off hams in the early stages of WW2, but not sure what for. More stable than the VFO in a BC610 tuning unit, but probably nowhere near as good as the Wilcox-gay VFO for the ET4336.

Back in the day, they always had a transmitter/VFO/receiver? When did they start integrating them?
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G3RZP
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« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2013, 09:29:41 AM »

Depends what you mean by 'integrating'. By the end of the 40's and the early 50's, VFOs were becoming more common, especially in Europe because they work out cheaper than crystals. So the transmitters by 1950 were normally VFO controlled, like the Collins 32V and KW 1. Johnson got into the market too. Receivers were separate until a little while after SSB started getting popular: I think the first 'amateur' HF transceiver as such was the Collins KWM1 SSB rig, covering 14 to 30 MHz, which would have around 1958 or so. Of course, the move by the USAF in particular to HF SSB made transceivers commercially attractive to keep down size and weight, and for airlines, even more so if you could get rid of the radio operator and make the pilot do more work!

But separate amateur SSB transmitters and receivers, some designed for transceiver capability by interconnection, were being made into the 1980s.
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K8AXW
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« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2013, 09:33:56 AM »

The Meissner Signal Shifter was the military VFO.  We used it back in the 50's to control the frequency of our BC-610 transmitter. 

As I recall it was very stable (after a proper warm up time) and very reliable.

To put that one back to the original shape would indeed be a labor of love.
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A Pessimist is Never Disappointed!
N4NYY
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« Reply #10 on: September 02, 2013, 09:48:40 AM »

The Meissner Signal Shifter was the military VFO.  We used it back in the 50's to control the frequency of our BC-610 transmitter. 

As I recall it was very stable (after a proper warm up time) and very reliable.

To put that one back to the original shape would indeed be a labor of love.


I may have to call my friends at the Battleship NJ radio club. They they have a National HRO receiver, but I do not know if they have a transmitter. If they do, I will fix it up and donate it to them.
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G3RZP
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« Reply #11 on: September 02, 2013, 11:44:15 AM »

AXW,

I thought it was something like that!

After Dec 7, 1941, the US was very fortunate it had so many radio amateurs and so many companies making equipment for them.

One wonders how long WW2 would have lasted without the companies and the amateurs....the end result would have been the same, but the getting there far more tortuous.
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W9GB
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« Reply #12 on: September 02, 2013, 12:24:31 PM »

Quote
Back in the day, they always had a transmitter/VFO/receiver?
When did they start integrating them?
You saw the first ones in late 1950s, such as the Collins KW1, not cheap!

The 1960s was the transition period, with separates (receivers and transmitters)
and transceivers co-existing until late 1970s.
Novices during this period often used SW receivers with homebuilt or
WW2 converted transmitters.  The Heathkit HW-16 was a popular CW transceiver for Novices.

Kenwood's R-599/T-599 separates were available at same time Kenwood TS-520 transceiver was released in 1974.  Separates disappeared with end of the Heath-kit SB-series, Drake 4-Line, and Kenwood's 599 series of radios.

First-generation all solid-state HF transceiver designs emerged, with PLL and early microprocessor usage, in mid to late 1970s (Icom IC-701, Kenwood TS-430, Yaesu FT-107).
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K8AXW
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« Reply #13 on: September 02, 2013, 09:53:08 PM »

Peter:  You are right on all accounts.  I don't think the ham radio operator influence in WWII has ever been adequately documented but I do know from bits and pieces of literature that I've read that hams did play a major roll.  They not only were able to get up to speed quickly with the communications needs but also they were instrumental in teaching new operators and electronics technicians.

In fact, I still hear tales of recruiters lighting up like a Christmas Tree whenever they found a potential volunteer was also a ham radio operator!  I know that in my military field there were quite a few hams. 

I have read the history of amateur radio in this country and it's very interesting.  Once "wireless" really caught on, manufacturing companies in the US seems to have popped up like mushrooms.
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W9GB
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« Reply #14 on: September 02, 2013, 10:02:50 PM »

Quote
I have read the history of amateur radio in this country and it's very interesting.  Once "wireless" really caught on, manufacturing companies in the US seems to have popped up like mushrooms.
The expansion of Radio in 1920s has many similarities to Internet in the 1990s.

By most accounts, the Radio Boom in Roaring 20's was larger and faster (impact)
than Internet of 1990s.  It also made the Crash of 1929/1933 all that more dramatic.
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