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Reviews Categories | Receivers: Commercial/Military/Marine adaptable to ham use | Bendix / General Dynamics R-1051B Help

Reviews Summary for Bendix / General Dynamics R-1051B
Bendix / General Dynamics R-1051B Reviews: 4 Average rating: 5.0/5 MSRP: $24,000
Description: A very expensive (!!) receiver
used in Navy submarines.
Product is not in production.
More info: http://
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KP4FAR Rating: 5/5 Oct 5, 2015 06:05 Send this review to a friend
Superb triple conversion receiver with excellent SSB.  Time owned: more than 12 months
I landed my R1051B as a trade and never regretted it. It arrived in two boxes in order to comply with USPS weight limits. After reassembly, the receiver was placed in a sturdy shelf from which it has been moved only once for a small repair, otherwise it has been flawless with excellent sensitivity and acceptable selectivity. It is nott a bandsurfer by all means but right on the dot when tuned. My only problem was a power supply diode full wave bridge rectifier. After replacement, it has never given me any other trouble. I was also lucky to get the full maintenance manual and connecting cables used in maintenance. These receivers were built to last forever. It is a pity that many were crushed. Someone mentioned that they were part of the Navy HF capability. I wonder if the Navy or the other branches of the armed forces still keep this capability.
W0GAV Rating: 5/5 May 30, 2005 16:19 Send this review to a friend
It was the best at its time  Time owned: more than 12 months
For several decades from the mid 1960's through the 90s??, the R-1051 was THE HF reciever of the U.S. Navy. It, along with the matching URT-23 and 24 transmitters, were the HFwork horses of every radio shack. The R-1051 was used on all Navy ships from patrol boats through carriers. It was designed to allow anyone to set up and operate tactical SSB nets or run a full period HF termination to a NAVCAMS shorestations. The 1051 was channelized and all you had to do was click to the proper frequency, patch in the right antenna, patch in the right output and you were set. Much less effort and skill than tuning up an R-390, which the 1051 replaced. With its amazing stabilility, it was tune and forget.

Today, it's still a pretty good reciever albeit a pain to tune around with due to the channelized decade tuning that was incorporated to make set up very cookbook for the radioman. It's a beast weighning in at about 80 lbs. From a maintenance standpoint, it was a charm. Almost fully modularized, the ET's (repair techs on board ship) loved it. Stocks of the "Six Packs", the six main modules in the radio, were kept onboard and if one of these radios was off the air for a few minutes, it was rare.

As a comm officer on a guided missile destroyer in the late 70's early 80's, I had eight R-1051B's in the radio shack. I came across one at a ham fest in Colorado Spings and with nostalgia in my eye bought it for $200. The CPS synthesizer module as fried but a quick call to Fair Radio sales yielded one for $ 40 and within a week the radio was fully operational.

In side by side comparisons with my Drake TR7, the 1051 is about equal in sensitivity but far more stable. The audio output is a bit light but fully usable. These things operated into an amplified patch panel in the Navy and you could switch their output to the bridge or CIC.

All in all, these were the radios that helped win the Cold War when the U.S. Navy had to operate HF only in what was termed "Smallpipe" operations that simulated the loss of all satcom systems. You see, the Soviets were known to have planned to take out all the Navy sat comm satellites as a first strike in a hot war and the U.S. Navy drilled hard to maintain HF capabilities in order to maintain command and control if the satellites all vanished. After all maintaining reliable HF comm is a an acquired skill that is as much art as science.

This is just a little sub note about this little known radio that was built on a fluke by General Dynamics...I beleive this was their one venture into HF electronics. I have heard that most of them were crushed as the Navy moved on the the Harris replacement. In any event, I hope that this sheds a little historical light on this great radio.

Feel free to e-mail me at if you have questions or comments.
WB6NVH Rating: 5/5 Dec 3, 2004 01:29 Send this review to a friend
Great receiver !  Time owned: more than 12 months
The R-1051B is to be preferred over the R-1051 because it has finer frequency steps and newer design modules. Most of these receivers need work when found because of poor maintenance and storage practices while they ended their military careers. The 1051 series was used on all manner of vessels and also shore installations. The 1051 is a spinoff of the Stromberg Carlson SC100 radio system designed for USAF missile silos in 1960. The 1051D and later sets use plastic chains to couple the modules together, unlike the steel chains of the 1051B, and the plastic chains are unreliable. The stability of the 1051 series is wonderful and SSB sounds great. The AGC action leaves a little to be desired but it is adjustable. The CW mode is all but useless, it's easier to use the USB mode on CW instead. The 1051 weighs a LOT, even more with the shock mount. Better have a sturdy operating desk for these ! Otherwise, the other review of this receiver says it all !
N4UE Rating: 5/5 Aug 28, 2002 07:54 Send this review to a friend
Incredible performance but has some faults  Time owned: more than 12 months
OK, OK, I gotta give this one a '5' also. It has some shorcommings, but I will explain those, but they are not design defects......

The R-1051B is a (almost all) solid state, VERY heavy military radio, It does use 2 vacuum tubes (6BZ6, an excellent RF amp) as the RF amplifier section. I believe these were chosen for several reasons:
1. excellent performance
2. immunity to overload
3. isolation of the receiver to prevent enemy detection of the local oscillators

The radio is triple conversion and is tuned by decadic knobs for frequency selection. It uses mechanical (back-lit dials). The Mhz and 100 Khz stages are turned by a motor driven mechanism.....
Frequency stability is 1X10-8 per day! The B model has a 100 Hz synthesizer, which you can unlock for tuning dead on. This is one of the most sensitive receivers I have ever used.

Draw backs? :

NOT a band cruiser!
only goes down to 2 Mhz
No narrow filters for CW OR SSB ( 7 or 3 Khz)

Good points? :

EXCELLENT sounding SSB (probably ONE of the best)
ISB (independent Sideband) The military would send voice on one SB and data on the other)
Built like a tank (er, sub)

If you use military 600 ohm speakers, the volume is nore than enough, The radio was designed to be connected to an audio distribution system.

I would just LOVE to find the LF converter that would cover from 14 to 2000 Khz. I did find the optional shock mounting system. Pretty cool.

All in all, this an excellent radio, but I wouldn't recommend it's use during an opening or contest.

have fun,


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