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Reviews Categories | Amateur Radio Equipment Repair | Chuck Rippel R-390A Restorations Help

Reviews Summary for Chuck Rippel R-390A Restorations
Chuck Rippel R-390A Restorations Reviews: 13 Average rating: 5.0/5 MSRP: $(missing—add MSRP)
Description: Restoration of the venerable R-390A Military Receiver. With decades of experience repairing and restoring this popular military receiver, Chuck Rippel is a master-craftsman, among the very few capable of restoring the R-390A to better than new. Contact:
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KB1OKL Rating: 5/5 Jun 24, 2017 13:33 Send this review to a friend
R-390A Restoration  Time owned: more than 12 months
Just sent in my R-390A to Chuck for a couple of miscellaneous touch ups unrelated to his original restoration, he did an excellent job as always, radio shipped back to survive. He restored this radio at least ten years ago and the kilocycle control is as easy to spin as they day I got it back years ago, you can tune it with your little finger if you want to. It's very sensitive and selective as it should be and the audio mods were done, you can actually hear the bass and enjoy music on it. When I shipped it the idiot who packed it did a lousy job and a front corner got bent, Chuck straightened it out and it's barely visible unless you are looking for it. Bottom line: If you want an R-390A restored to as good as new condition (maybe better) Chuck is your man, he's been doing these for a long time and knows his stuff, I would not hesitate to send him another one.
WE1X Rating: 5/5 Jan 23, 2017 19:26 Send this review to a friend
Magnificent  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Last summer I had the opportunity to pick up two R-390As from an estate sale. Both were in relatively good condition and played well given they had not been in service for 5 to 10 years. Apart from the receiver's legendary performance the R-390A's mechanics are a wonder. After a couple of months I thought it would be a shame for these receivers not to realize their full potential. With that said, servicing these radios was well beyond my skill set. Enter Chuck Rippel.

In October I sent Chuck the first receiver - a 1958 Motorola R-390A where a family of rodents had taken up residence with the previous owner. While in relatively good condition the Motorola needed updating, mods reversed, and cleaning up. The other day I visited Chuck and picked up what I thought was a new radio! Almost physically unrecognizable from when I shipped it to him. Performance is outstanding. I was so impressed with Chuck's work I left my 2nd R-390A (an EAC 1967 production) with him.

Chuck is not only knowledgeable about this receiver (he's been restoring them for about 30 years) he's truly a craftsman. He's focused, takes his time and devotes his efforts to one restoration at a time. With a radio of this caliber that's the way it should be.

Finally, Chuck is a nice guy willing to share information, lend a hand and provide boat anchor restoration tips.

Thanks, Chuck!
AE6FL Rating: 5/5 Oct 31, 2016 19:18 Send this review to a friend
Excellent  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Have wanted a R390A for a couple of decades. Found this Stewart-Warner version on eham classifieds and then found that Chuck had worked his magic on this radio! Done deal. Very good audio with diode out and making plans for better monitoring, RX antennas and T/R switching 'cause this receiver is great. Everything as Chuck described, shipping was painless until I had to lift it to bring in to the QTH ...
KG6AOH Rating: 5/5 Aug 12, 2016 14:13 Send this review to a friend
Flawless work  Time owned: more than 12 months
I sent two different R-390A receivers to Chuck for work. One was a Stewart Warner built "Blue Striper" (from the famous abomination) that managed to stay intact, and the other was a thoroughbred Motorola built 390A purchased from Miltronix.

The Stewart Warner worked, but wasn't great. I did manage to repair all the components that had failed and brought it to life. However, even after going through the alignment procedure several times, it never seemed "right". Called Chuck, and he couldn't have been more gracious and helpful. In the end, we decided it would be best to send it to him for a look. I told him I am in no hurry, and to take his time. Chuck had the radio for a few months, but when it came back, it looked and operated like brand new! Chuck even repainted the knobs, faceplate, etc. Wow! It looked like it had never been sitting on a pallet outside for years (some of you know what I'm talking about!).

A couple years later, I started having a problem with the Motorola built 390A receiver that I paid top dollar for quite a while ago. Since it had racked up several years of use on it now, I decided to get a tune up and repair at the same time. Miltronix was busy, and about to stop doing work on 390A's anyway, so I asked Chuck if he would have a look at it. Chuck was really excited to work on this receiver since it was a new in crate receiver that had very little use before I bought it.

Chuck did find some issues with a couple modifications that had been done by Miltronix and repaired them. Chuck fixed the power switch, and did a full alignment. When I got the receiver back, it was awesome! Even better than before.

I kept the shipping crate for 'just in case', but neither receiver has been back to Chuck for repair. The Motorola 390A has been working flawlessly for 4 years!

I highly endorse Chuck Rippel and his work. Besides, his positive attitude is infectious. God bless Chuck.

W2VMC Rating: 5/5 May 11, 2016 10:13 Send this review to a friend
Excellent SP-600 Dial Overlays  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Chuck was gracious enough to sell me a couple of his beautiful Hammarlund SP-600 dial overlays. They are of EXCELLENT quality and indispensable when restoring a unit whose dials are plagued with many decades of crud and corrosion.

Chuck also gave me some really good advice about what to do and look out for when restoring my SP-600s. Can't beat that, eh?

NF8B Rating: 5/5 Aug 11, 2015 20:57 Send this review to a friend
Totally satisfied customer.  Time owned: more than 12 months
I couldn't be happier with my radio. Chuck took his time and did it right. He didn't rush through to "meet a deadline," and the results testify to his thoroughness.

The radio, as I gave it to him, was not working. It came back a rock star!

I would not hesitate to send him another one.
AD4U Rating: 5/5 Jan 27, 2014 09:40 Send this review to a friend
OUT STANDING  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I acquired my R-390A when a good friend went to a nursing home. I thought it worked well, but for some reason I decided to take it to Chuck. After some 8 weeks the radio was ready. When I saw it I could not believe it was the same radio. On the air performance is nothing but outstanding. I recommend that you speak with Chuck if you have a R-390A. You won't be disappointed.

Dick AD4U

PS: The R-390A was designed by Collins but several different companies manufactured them. The front panel on my R-390A indicated it was made by EAC. However when Chuck started the restoration he called me to let me know that my R-390A was 100% Collins made. Apparently at some time the original Collins front panel got damaged and was changed out with an EAC front panel.
KA9EGW Rating: 5/5 Dec 29, 2013 08:41 Send this review to a friend
MINT!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I doubt any 390A was ever 'newer' when it rolled out of Cedar Rapids, than mine was when Chuck was done with it.
W3UAL Rating: 5/5 Dec 2, 2013 06:36 Send this review to a friend
The best!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
As you can tell from reading the reviews Chuck has quite a fan base and with good reason. The rebuild/restoration he did on my 390A was beyond any expectations I may have had. The sensitivity is the best of any of my receivers and the improved audio is much appreciated. I was periodically informed of progress and problem areas during the rebuild. If you have a 390A and want to find out what it is truly capable of....send it to Chuck.
K7PZN Rating: 5/5 Aug 9, 2013 09:50 Send this review to a friend
Good service  Time owned: more than 12 months
Over the last year Chuck has done two R390A’s for me. Both came back looking like a million bucks – his knob and front panel resto quality are great. He does a great job cleaning the radio, restoring the mechanical tuning and restoring the electronics. The gear train tuning on both is effortless and velvety smooth. All the problem caps were replaced; bad components, wiring and tubes discovered and replaced; incorrect circuit mods by previous techs were corrected; mechanical and electronic alignments done and some improvements, both visual and electronic, implemented. The result – the late model EAC R390A is so sensitive Chuck couldn’t get it to register on his test equipment, the Collins R1247/R390A is sensitive to less than 0.5 microvolt. Chuck’s attention to detail, quality of workmanship and performance standards both for his work and the radios he works on are excellent. He is also a nice guy and makes himself available by phone and email to reply to inquiries and issues about your radio. In my experience Chuck has been honest, ethical, keeps his word and has a true interest in the quality of his work– I had no problems with communication, payments, dates or shipping. And, when the R1247/R390A arrived and I discovered that the 4kc mechanical filter had gone open due to shipping mishandling during transit, Chuck immediately sent me a new filter at no charge because he wanted the radio to be 100%. I highly recommend his working on your R390A.
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