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

Reviews Summary for Johnson Viking Valiant
Johnson Viking Valiant Reviews: 13 Average rating: 4.4/5 MSRP: $349.50 kit, 439.50 wired and tes
Description: 160 - 10 Meter Plate Modulated CW/AM Transmitter
Product is not in production.
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KA4KOE Rating: 3/5 May 14, 2013 12:40 Send this review to a friend
Work in Progresss  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
My Valiant has a multitude of problems. I got mine relatively cheap but will still pay less than one obtained off of Ebay after the cost of new parts and widgets. One has to do a whole lot of work to get one ready for reliable air time without 4th of July fireworks. Here is what I've done to date:

1. Replaced all electrolytics. Mandatory.
2. Installed a 3 wire, fused line cord. Mandatory.
3. Replaced 866 rectifiers with 866AS' solid state direct replacements from RF Parts. Highly recommended.
4. Replaced "Chernobyl" 18K power resistor in the VFO. Mandatory.
5. Rewired accessory socket as it is a big cause of intermittents in my case. Optional.
6. Cleaned all tube sockets and corresponding pins with Caig Deoxit.
7. Fixed intermittent connections in the microphone jack.
8. Installed new transmit "ON" lamp.
9. Insulated HV/LV wires where the exit the transformers from underneath the chassis with spaghetti to prevent arcing.
10. Cleaned all rotary switches with Caig Deoxit and a toothbrush.
11. Replaced both modulator tubes as well as their associated 22 ohm suppressor resistors.
12. Will undo speech clipper bypassing to have this function available.
13. Needs work in the clamper section to stop high plate current condition on "key up".
14. Calibrate VFO.
15. Set RF bias and clamper voltages.
16. And last, purdify the silver coils on top (gently) to remove all the nasty tarnish.

Again, not bad for what I paid for it.

Fortunately, none of the big iron items appear to be defective. The group is a must if you're a newbie like me and working your way through a host of issues.

This transmitter is not for the beginner. A manual is also a mandatory item.

If you enjoy tinkering, you'll love it.
K2OWR Rating: 5/5 Jan 13, 2012 13:08 Send this review to a friend
Great Old Transmitter  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Found one of these at a hamfest. It looked awful, and filthy. Underneath it all though was a piece of equipment that had never been modified, or even played with in any way. This meant none of the mods that you find recommended all over had ever been done. After re-capping, a bunch of new tubes, a lot of cleaning, and several boxes of fuses, it came to life. I added the old D104 mic I bought at the same time. All I can say is that this thing works great and I use it regularly, and get great audio reports.

I sincerely believe that lots of 75 AM guys just have microphones that don't get along with their transmitters and so they start modifying everything to make it sound better. A work a lot of these guys who've made the "mods" and have to laugh at how they sound.
W1CJF Rating: 5/5 Oct 24, 2011 14:55 Send this review to a friend
one bad mama jamma  Time owned: more than 12 months
I got my valiant on craigslist for $200. After chuck ( put new caps and checked it over she got a clean bill of health. Its just badass! You just can't beat one of these old transmitters.I was lucky to find mine all 100% stock paint and all. Just a great radio and one that will goto the grave with me. Being 30 years old I just love this old stuff and want to collect more.. plus the 6146's are cheap and can take a beating!
KG8LB Rating: 5/5 Apr 1, 2008 02:57 Send this review to a friend
Fine transmitter  Time owned: more than 12 months
Over the years I have owned at least 6 of these great transmitters. Due to the fact they are approaching 50 years of age there are of course a few areas that may need attention. The coarse loading switch may be showing affects of boneheaded "hot switching" Seems some sloppy operators over the years may have seen fit to simply increase the loading by moving the switch to the next position while the carrier is on. With all that RF current circulating a careful operator will drop the carrier before moving the switch. The audio is quite good when properly set up and a good mic is employed. Old $5 hamfest D-104s with aged elements may not cut it.
The meter shunts have been mentioned in an Electric Radio article and they are an area to give some attention. Too many folks blame low output on the meter shunts and never really confirm the real source of low output which in many cases is simply the wrong type of 6146s in the final.It is best to actually CHECK the meter accuracy before assuming error. BTW, Loading the final above the 335 mA limit can lead to poor audio. The modulator works best when operated as intended and loading above 335 mA is not going to work well!
Most of the imagined "shortcomings" held by a very few critics are actually symptoms of operator error or lack of maintenance. Valiants often fetch pretty good selling prices simply because so many folks have had excellent experience with them.

Most of the "audio mods" for the Valiant have been debunked as un-needed and in fact having a negative outcome. There are a few reports on the internet in that regard. A well setup , properly adjusted Valiant is a fine sounding and operating transmiter.
BTW there are many "mods" out there for the T-60 KNIGHT, RANGER, Apache, DX100, DX60 Viking II etc. Be careful and do your homework before trying any of them is my suggestion.
W1BKZ Rating: 5/5 Jan 29, 2007 16:45 Send this review to a friend
Typically E.F.J. Nicely designed and implemented rig.  Time owned: more than 12 months
My first transmitter (after the Heath AT-1) was a Viking II. Its major problem was key-clicks and no VFO. This was in 1955.
Along came the Valiant, and I longed for it in the worst way. It wasn't until 1980 that I was given one (from a CB'er who all but destroyed it. Several months of tender loving care and replacement of a LOT of parts, she came to life. I solid-stated the HV rectifier, softened the clipper, re-tubed the final, and replaced the fixed caps (that turret-like thingy) in the pi-net output. I thought about replacing the modulator, but I left well enough alone for the time being. I did, however, increase the speech amp coupling caps.
Capacitors, burnt resistors, and the like were replaced, and it came back to life like the day it was made. It made 100% modulation, with a carrier of 125 watts out, and gave me really fine AM (of course I used a D-104.....what else???). A little cleaning up of the VFO got rid of some spurs, and I took it down to the CW portion. What??? No key clicks???
Yes, the Valiant is first rate in my book. Since it is running good, my next rig will be a 500....I can dream, can't I?
KQ6IG Rating: 4/5 Jan 2, 2007 08:39 Send this review to a friend
Nice Rig  Time owned: more than 12 months
It's funny how nostalgia influences what otherwise would be objective reviews. I was born in 1974, after the AM era. So, I think I'm viewing this from a more objective perspective.

The Valiants strength is it's coolness factor. It's big, and bold. I love the way the operating table shakes every time I switch on the HV.

As an AM transmitter, it's a solid design that's held up pretty well. My Valiant still has all of the original capacitors, and functions well. How these rigs age is largely due to how they were treated (stored, operated, etc). If it's clean on the outside, it's probably clean on the inside.

The only problem I've found with my Valiant is the inprecise Ip reading due to a bad meter shunt.
It does suffers from spectral inpurity, however.

If you get a Valiant, use a low pass filter on the output, and keep the neighbors happy! Also, replace the inefficient 866 HV rectifiers with solid state plug-ins. It'll take stress off of the LV transformer.

If you're more interested in performance than nostalgia, homebrew yourself a rig. Valiants were obviously built to cost. You can build yourself a much better rig for the same cost many Valiants are going for.

WA2DTW Rating: 5/5 Oct 25, 2006 15:58 Send this review to a friend
No complaints  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have enjoyed this rig for 3 years. Reliable on AM. "Communications quality" audio, as was meant to be. Easy to tune up and to use. Cuts through the noise on 160 and 75. Mine worked well with few if any modifications.
KG6AOH Rating: 4/5 Jun 21, 2005 15:38 Send this review to a friend
Pound for pound, a heavy rig!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
A Valiant entered my life quite by mistake. Someone at my work knew I liked old radios and said he had a pile of them that his wife's father left him. He was a CBer, and had no interest in ham gear, so I accepted. I had no idea what would be in this 'pile'. I got a phone call from the receptionist one day saying there was a pile of radios waiting for me and nobody could lift them. What did I get myself into???

Upon arriving at the office, there was a couple B.A. receivers sitting on top of a Valiant! I really did not want to be rude for this wonderful gift, so I loaded everything into the truck and took it home where they sat in a storage shed. And sat.

All three radios were full of rat and mouse leavins, so they were not allowed in the house. The Valiant had about the least amount of rust and crud, but was heavily modified (cabinet had 2 huge fans on the back, extra wires hanging out etc.). I bought a manual and schematic for the Valiant and when it arrived, asked a friend if he would help (he did a great job on the cabinet!). After recapping it and removing all the CBer modifications, the Valiant was full of other problems like burnt switch pins, melted 0A2 and burnt VFO, bad resistors, bad or burnt pots, etc. Several mod removals and repair parts later, it again matched the diagram on the schematic and working well. I did use 3B28's instead of the 866's just because that is what I had on hand.

Since I am not a big 'talker', I let my friend use it for quite a while. He really liked it a lot. After he got tired of it, I did bring it home and hooked it up to an antenna relay which also switches the break-in circuit on my R390A for a complete AM TX/RX station. I have played with it a short while, and really like the sound (no audio mods, btw). Using a Shure desk mic, it sounds 'tooby'. Performance is head and shoulders above the solid state radios made today. Why doesn't anyone make a modern radio that works good on AM? Oh well...

If you buy a Valiant and use it, you will like it. And so will your power company.
K3HVG Rating: 4/5 Jun 17, 2003 14:18 Send this review to a friend
Excellent AM/CW rig!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I currently own and operate 2 Valiant I's. Both have had the "ER" audio mods, etc., performed on them. After 3-4 years of operation, I have had good success on all fronts. I would give the V-1 an excellent rating, but there are a couple of things one should/must do (some apply to Rangers, too!). The VFO screen resistor must be changed and moved. Its a good idea to move the VR tube, too. The phonelic mount inside the VFO box will eventually begin to burn up in the immediate area of the VR tube. Another reviewer mentioned the HV meter shunt problem. The Ranger and Valiant share this problem. The shunts should be checked an "adjusted" (lengthened or shortened) to re-calibrate the meter. The PA loading fixed capacitors, provided in a 4-cap pinwheel, are an abomination. These prone to short caps, coupled with changing course loading while key-down, will burn up the switch wafer. I've changed both mine over to doorknob type caps and I don't change course loading while key down. There's no reason to do that, anyway! Subbing 3B28's for the 866's is another must... unless, of course, you enjoy the blinding flash of mercury! I have solid-state replacements but have decided not to subject the rig to increased B+. I also fused each transformer separately to better protect the iron. As with any boatanchor, each Valiant must be judged on its own merits. Be it factory wired or kit, the good ones are where you find them. After 3 disasters on Ebay and the net, I discovered both my current units, locally. If you do find a good one at some distant point, please insist (and pay) for proper crating... yes, crating. I have 2 units that will fully attest that Valiants will not survive most cardboard box shipments. The "Browns" appear to give Valiants an especially rough ride! I've had transformes pull loose from the chassis, front panels folded back, and the VFO drive mechanism destroyed. EFJ shipped wired units via crate, so should you. If you find an especially nice Valiant, inside, but the front panel is rough? Not to worry, W4PNT does a nice job (too nice?) factory-quality refinishing. Save a few bucks, though, and do the cabinet yourself. So, if you're desirous of a very nice, and actually quite reliable, 150 watt AM/CW rig, the Valiant is a very good bet. Rangers are OK, but you can have double the power at the same price with a Valiant! And, your cocoa (or whatever)will stay warm, on top!
W4PTO Rating: 5/5 Jul 12, 2002 16:16 Send this review to a friend
One of the all-time best  Time owned: more than 12 months
I love my Johnson Ranger. Only one problem: on 75 meters, sometimes she can't punch through the QRN and get away from QSB. Enter the Johnson Viking Valiant, a 1950's vintage transmitter that boasts 150 watts out via a triple entente' of three 6146's modulated by a pair of the same. Think about the Valiant as a Ranger on steriods. Probably weighing about twice the weight of a Ranger, it's power out will deal with the QRN and QSB that the Ranger can't deal with.

If you do get a hold of one, the first thing you should do is ditch the 866 mercury vapor rectifiers (no matter how "purty" they look during key down) and replace them with solid state 866's (or if you have to use tubes, a pair of 3B28's will do).

The only problem that one may encounter is the "tight" audio of the Valiant (usually referred to as that "Valiant sound"). I left my old Valiant stock because historically, it was the way it left the factory. Others do away with the clipper circuits and whatnot, trying to compete with the local broadcast AM stations for fidelity. Nah, not me. Sometimes you need that thin audio to get through the muck (but that's my opinion).

On CW, the Valiant also is no slouch. It also has one of the best keying "sounds" on the band. A few years ago, when my rig was teamed up with a National HRO-50T, there was one OM in Nevada who asked me "what was I running"? Sure enough, it was the time sequenced keying that he liked. Like a glass of bourbon, a properly tuned t.s. keying of a Johnson is smooth as silk to a CW ops ear.

One more thing: got a stock Valiant II? If you haven't done so, get the cabinet refinished! The factory paint peels off with just a scratch from a fingernail!

So if you do happen to stumble across a Valiant (I or II), snap that puppy up and hang on for dear life! The don't make these classics any more and a Valiant is a premiere medium power transmitter to own!
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