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Reviews Categories | Transmitters: Vintage amateur | Harvey Wells TBS-50D Help

Reviews Summary for Harvey Wells TBS-50D
Harvey Wells TBS-50D Reviews: 6 Average rating: 4.5/5 MSRP: $137.50
Description: 80-2 meter AM/CW transmitter - available external power supply and VFO
Product is not in production.
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KE0ZU Rating: 5/5 Jul 22, 2018 15:23 Send this review to a friend
Great little transmitter  Time owned: more than 12 months
When I was an eleven YO Novice in '53 I wanted one of these in the worst way, it looked to be a REAL MAN's transmitter.

I finally bought mine 4 years ago at the Kansas City Shriner's ham fest as a basket case for $25, and it wound up needing A LOT of work to get it running again.

I was told the poor thing had even did duty as a Chicken Band linear.

I paired it with a Viking VFO, and its turned out to be a reliable and fun little "DC to Blue light" transmitter.
W3AMF Rating: 4/5 Jan 13, 2012 18:15 Send this review to a friend
Bought new in 1955. Used a lot. Still working. Enough said?  Time owned: more than 12 months
My parents bought it new for me in 1955 with the matching VFO, AC supply, and a D-104. I bought a Hammarlund HQ-140X and Vibroplex Lightning Bug in 1957, and that was my station until the early 1970s. I modified it for PTT and for solid state plug-in rectifiers in place of the 5U4G tubes. It works well on AM/CW--as per 1950 era gear--and is fun to use. The VFO is "pretty stable" on 80-20 but.... Oh well, that's why crystals were invented. It works on 6 meters, but I never got it to work on 2 meters. My late uncle, 8AJY (licensed before prefixes) always said, "It looks like a transmitter." A friend ran out of room last year and gave me another TBS-50D with matching VFO and AC supply. I need some space so need to sell one set. Problem is, which one?
W1WSN Rating: 5/5 Sep 15, 2011 12:02 Send this review to a friend
Remarkable workhorse for its day!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I was working for Store #1 (in Boston) of Radio Shack in the mid-50s before the Tandy buyout. I was one of two radio hams on the sales floor, and had just turned 16. My first commercial transmitter was the TBS50D, which, without shielding or RFI attention quickly got me the "WAC - worked all channels" award for TVI.
Mods and copper screening cleaned it up, and an antenna tuner also helped. During the peak sunspot cycle I quickly worked DXCC on 14 CW after solving a bad key click problem, and then mounted the rig mobile with a PE101C surplus dynamotor. AM Mobile was a challenge, but the rig stood up amazingly well to the rough treatment. That took me through the early sixties!

I had become friendly with Harry Perssons, the Sales Manager, and often visited the factory in Southbridge, MA. I watched the radios being made and it was a fascinating experience.I picked up the matching VFO while I was there, and still have the combination in working order along with the APS-50 AC power supply.

The receiver (National NC125) my father got me is also in working condition.

Great memories, all-purpose radio, and the AC supply had a separate plate transformer which allowed for plate primary keying. Magnificent sound on the air with NO clicks or chirps whatsoever after this mod. The mod only required 300 volts for the VFO provided from a separate source.

Steve, W1WSN September 16, 2011
K1AZG Rating: 5/5 Sep 16, 2010 09:40 Send this review to a friend
mobile TBS-50D  Time owned: more than 12 months
Considering I used the TBS-50D mobile with a PE103 for power in a 1949 Desoto, it was a great rig for me. Lots of help from my Elmers. My biggest memory is actually hearing the PE103 windup and the headlights dim. The receiver was a converter of some kind (don't remember what) into the BC radio. Oh! those were the days. By the way, it was crystal control and the ham copilot did the tuning or I parked to tune. Used mainly on 10 mobile, I think. I can not imagine trying to fit the TBS-50 and PE103 into a modern car. thank goodness for solid state but so much romance has gone away.
W9RAS Rating: 4/5 Sep 16, 2010 07:50 Send this review to a friend
TBS-50 A GOOD OLD BOAT ANCHOR RIG  Time owned: more than 12 months
my first rig in 1958 was a harvey Wells TBS-50C purchased with a BC-348 WW2 surplus receiver,3 element beam , 50 feet of RG-8 coax and an International Crystal converter for 6 meters all for $75.00 a lot of money for a 16 year old in 1958 My brother Jim (K9YCA) and I still talk about taking down the beam after I bought the rig it was on a two story house and we took it down in a snowstorm ! my brother almost fell off the roof ! ...I operated low band CW and 6 meters with the Harvey Wells TBS-50 for years ...NOW Fast forward to Today ...I have resurrected my original first station with a TBS-50 that I restored and another old BC-348 RX and home brew tube converter for 6 ... I recommend using a carbon telephone microphone out of an old telephone I got mine from an old Bell system dial desk telephone purchased at a yard sale it was in terrible condition but the MIC was OK anyway the telephone microphone cartridge from the handset gives full modulation with very good audio ...I have tried several surplus carbon microphones and aviation ones etc. with poor results ...I have NEVER had the telephone microphone lock up or jam where you have to rap it on the table to get it to work all the others did that ...I soldered two short wires to the mic cartridge and mounted the telephone microphone into an old CB microphone case with a piece of sponge rubber in there to hold it in place works great ...Other changes I made are adding a piece of thin plexiglass or lexan over the high voltage connections on the back of the TBS-50C...I reached around to move the TBS-50C once and got the shock of my life ! so I mounted the plexiglass over the terminal strip for safety with a couple of short stand offs made of plastic tube from a plastic 3/8 inch sink flex pipe and 2 long self tapping screws this allows air in there for the resistor on back ...One last improvement I made was to carefully clip loose the variable tuning and loading capacitors from the coils with very small wire cutters then installing two .01 @ 2kv capacitors there in series with each Cap ...These provide much needed insulation for the capacitors which short out when you are tuning... The tiniest piece of dust will cause the caps to short and arc these .01@2kv Caps eliminate this arcing problem completely the TBS-50 is a great old rig and fun to operate ...I use it on 6 meters AM mostly on the Kalamazoo michigan boat anchor net Tuesday nights at 9:30 to 9:45...
My TBS-50 does not develop much output on 6 I get around 9 watts is all but have no problem working all over with a 5 elemant beam antenna ...I tried it once on 2 meters and got 1.5 watts out was all I gave up using it on 2 ...I recommend the TBS -50 as a really fun old boat anchor rig ...It is possible for me to get on CW low bands with it and I have used it for straight key night new years ...73 BOB W9RAS
WA2CCN Rating: 4/5 Sep 27, 2007 09:58 Send this review to a friend
Lots-o-fun!  Time owned: more than 12 months
Obviously ratings are subjective and not absolute - that's why I've rated the Harvey Wells TBS-50D so high. Yes, there were many transmitters on the market back in the 50's that could run circles around the TBS-50D, but - for the price and intended market - it was great! It was the only HF transmitter on the market that also covered 6 & 2 meters (!), albiet in a kinda funky way. The transmitter was quite conventional on 80-6 meters, but it used the suppressor choke coil on the plate of the 807 final as the 2 meter tank circuit! Power out on 2 meters was in the upper milliwatt range at best - but it did generate some 144-148 MHz RF!

The "D" model (there were TBS-50 A's, B's & C's too) is the best - it had a pre-amplifier allowin use of crystal mics unlike the "C" that required a carbon mic. The 807 final was "high level" (!) plate modulated by push-pull 6L6's! It really did have a nice sounding AM signal.

Power output on 80 & 40 was in the 25-30 Watt range, not as good as the 40 watts or so from some of the competitive "little" transmitters from Johnson & others with 6146 finals - but whats a couple db among friends!

It was tall, had a bunch of knobs and switches, and just looked good! I'd love to get my hands on a good used TBS-50D with PS & VFO, but such complete sets are running well over $200 on e-Bay! Amazing!

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