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Reviews For: Johnson Viking Ranger II

Category: Transmitters: Amateur radio

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Review Summary For : Johnson Viking Ranger II
Reviews: 5MSRP: 249.50
1960's vintage VFO controlled CW/AM transmitter. 50 watts output, with very good grid block keying and superior AM audio. Originally available as a kit or pre-wired. One of the best transmitters of the 1960's and a very sought-after transmitter for collectors.
Product is not in production
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# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
W0LC Rating: 2005-03-25
Great Boat Anchor!! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I have both the Ranger I and Ranger II. Not real noticeable difference between them operationally.

I like the Ranger II. Easy to tune up, easy to use.

1. Don't like the microphone connector in the back of the radio.
2. Power out is a bit on the low side (40 watts).

I think the Ranger II is about as generic of a boat anchor as one can get. I love mine and plan on keeping it a long, long time!
WB5OAU Rating: 2004-03-18
Classic BA transmitter Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I own three Rangers, and they're all great rigs. An afternoon replacing electrolytics, and the undersized 18K resistor that drops OA2 voltage in the VFO and you're likely to have a well working rig.

Love the Ranger I...the amber glow from the meters and indirect dial lighting sets the mood for some great vintage operations.

If you find one, buy it and keep it...these are getting hard to find. Plan on putting a muffin fan on top to pull hot air out (just REST it on top of the cabinet on some rubber feet!! No holes please!), as this dude puts out some serious heat.

If you're a CW op, look for the presence of the keyer tube on a little shelf to the left of the VFO, as you're looking from the front.

I think if I had to pick one BA transmitter to keep, it would be my Ranger I.

John K5MO
KA3POY Rating: 2003-07-01
Classic AM/CW rig Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
Overview: Classic and classy AM/CW (no ssb) transmitter. AM modulation consistently gets compliments from a picky community. Very attractive looks. 117 VAC rx/tx signal keys commonly available Dow key relays to provide rx/tx switching, rcvr muting, and amp keying all from the same relay device. Maybe most importantly, this is one of the few classic top notch AM/CW transmitters of this generation that can reasonably be carried by one person any distance, and can be shipped without extreme precautions, due to its relatively compact size and relatively light weight.

HOWEVER - caveat emptor. If you are shopping for one, please know the following: early Ranger 1's do not have the special factory CW mod and tube, and they may click so bad you may be driven off the band by enraged operators! Also, the VFO is stable enuf for AM fone but will drift right through a CW rcvr xtal filter bandwidth in about 4 minutes, at least mine does. AM fone operation with xtals or with internal vfo is lots of fun. Most Rangers I see for sale are missing some if not all of the really long bolts that fasten the cabinet to the face plate - this is something to look for before you bid. Finally, for relatively new hams - the rig won't work unless you plug an aux octal plug into the rear panel socket.

73 and cu on 7.291 or 14.286

was KA3POY
N6KRY Rating: 2002-04-04
Superb Radio Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Of all the vintage "boatanchor" transmitters I have ever owned, the Johnson Viking Ranger II (perhaps both the I AND II) were the best rigs.

While not as high tech as some of the latests "I-ken-su" rigs, I can equip my shack with just that transmitter and a favorite ba vintage receiver of choice and be very happy with that combo for a long time.

Small and compact, the EFJ Ranger is at home sitting on a hamshack desktop aside a classic receiver. It doesn't take that much space and one can easily obtain replacement tubes and some parts. Not bad for a nearly half century old transmitter.

It's time sequenced keying sets it apart when operating CW. Ask some of the old timers who listen regularly to the digitally produced CW solid rigs and all of a sudden a Johnson with T.S. keying comes on line.

Well, I'm not done there. My liking for the transmitter comes from its legendary beautiful audio coming as a result from that tertiary winding built in by the EFJ engineers. The result is extremely warm and pleasant audio experienced by the listener during an Amplitude Modulation QSO. The two 6L6's (or 7027's if in the II) in push-pull configuration into a single 6146 coupled with a none amplified Astatic D-104 is probably the best combo one can have for AM.

Aesthetically, you can't go wrong with the I or the II. My preference would be for the I (because I like the glowing amber meter) but the II is great.

Only one minor drawback on the II: if you have one with original paint on the cabinet, get it stripped and repainted or powdercoated. The old factory original paint was bad and could be literally shaved off with just your fingernail.

So, I give the EFJ Ranger series (I and II) 5 thumbs up! If you find one, restore it and hang on to it for dear life! They are harder to come by these days.
Larry Robison Rating: 2001-10-16
Solid .. after all these years! Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
The RangerII is basically the standard by which all others are measured. The EF Johnson Company took a very solid design (for the time) and put it in a box that's even fun to look at. Here I am 40 years later still using and enjoying it! The VFO is stable and you can count on 45 to 50 watts of nice sounding AM out of it at any time. I am always surprised at what that much RF will and won't do. The RangerII will give you a signal that will get you great reports and it won't get into your neighbors telephones.

If you are a purist, there are modifications that can be made to tailor the RangerII for almost any desired result. If you want to sound like a broadcast station the little ol Ranger II can do it. If you want to modernize the power supply and eliminate some heat, you can do it, but you don't have to! Mine is still original, no mods, looks great, works great still and I love it!