The RF Section

Mr. Valve Hurling Fire Into the Aether!


Gee, Dad, it's 31 meters! I've been a ham forever. I thought I'd lost interest in radio, but it turned out that I'd only lost interest in post-modern radio. It's all boring chitchat on overdesigned, mass-produced toys that are obsolete every 9 months. It's fun to keep inventing new modes, but a bit of the cutting edge is losing out to cellular phones, which nowadays can do just about anything except slice bread. Radio romance must inevitably shift from the mere doing of radio to doing it as art. It's already starting, as witness the sudden rush to own any kind of tube radios at all. (Mine are not for sale.) This is getting good...  



The huge mailing list dedicated to restoration of vintage comm gear  [Boatanchor Logo] 
The term, Boat Anchors, started as derogatory ham slang for old tube radios that were being junked, sold for scrap, or (in one eponymous case) actually used to anchor a boat. It is now more of a term of endearment, for neat old radios that you need another guy and a truck to haul home.  

The SUV of RXsPost-WWII hams liked big equipment, built like the proverbial battleship, and so older boat anchors look more like 50s broadcast or maritime gear, which some of them were. In the 60s, with the coming of SSB, some of the radios got smaller but the signals didn't. To my ears, the Collins and Drake sound better than your typical 90s riceboxes, and they really aren't all that much bigger.  

The Boat Anchor mailing list was started by a couple of hams who liked to tinker old radios. I don't think they had any idea how big it was going to get. It's read all over, and it is definitely an authoritative source for answers to just about any tube communications radio question you'd ever have. It's probably what kept me in ham radio. 


Here's my gorgeously illustrated, forever unfinished, guide to boat anchor manufacturers.


No, she won't let you put it in the living room


     +-- Line: Cool Russian Suprematist Doo-Dad --+



Mr. Valve's Radio Picks

Finding the golden signal in the sea of blue ook  [Boatanchor Logo] 


History of Radio:

Short Wave/Morse Code/DX:

Radio Collecting:

Nice abs


go back to previous frequency
turn off the rig and get some sleep  

Maybe YOUR final costs $1.29