The definition of a Boat Anchor radio is a radio that weighs enough that it could be used as a boat anchor.
Yah, I know, it all depends on the size of the boat. I think the cutoff point is around 30 pounds so any radio in that vicinity or greater could be considered a Boat Anchor Radio.
Additionally, the expression Boat Anchor typically only applies to amateur radios of the tube era. I know there are some old broadcast radios in hardwood cabinets that could not only anchor a boat, but could possibly sink it!
Someone actually developed a cute, but involved, equation for determining a figure of merit for a boat anchor radio. Check it out at: http://www.qsl.net/kb7rgg/radio/babe/babe.html
Anyhow, what follows are some of my BA radios, so sit back and enjoy.
This Hammarlund HQ-180 receiver is from 1963.
This is the first HQ-180 that I have seen without the clock option that goes in the clear glass on the upper left of the front of the cabinet.
This radio doesn't weigh nearly as much as the SX-101 from Hallicrafters though. Hammarlund probably uses more aluminum then Hallicrafters did in that era.
This radio works well on all bands and so far all I have had to do is some contact cleaning and lubing of the tuning linkages.
This is an "action packed" transceiver from Swan, the 350A.
The transceiver was introduced in 1977. This unit has a built-in power supply so it is fairly heavy.
This Swan 350A has one remarkable difference from other Swan equipment from the same era and that is the horizontal white line is straight across on this model, while on all other models that line dips down under the main tuning knob. Also, on most Swans the upper part of the front panel is a lighter color then the lower part. So, at first glance this one doesn't LOOK LIKE a Swan.
From the introduction in the manual: The Swan Model 350A and 350D SSB transceivers are designed to be used in either CW or SSB modes on all portions of the 80, 40, 20, 15 and 10 meter bands. Power output on all bands exceeds 125 watts PEP on SSB frequencies and 90 watts on CW.
Oh, that is my ham call sign on top of the radio and it is made out of wood!
This Yaesu FT-101B was made in the early 70's and it was a powerful beast.
The power specs are SSB: 260 W (PEP input), CW: 180 W (input), AM: 80 W (input) which is not bad considering it had built-in AC and DC power supplies.
There were a number of transceivers produced in the FT-101 series and a good web site for an overview of all the FT-101's can be found here: http://www.qsl.net/nw2m/ft101.html
This FT-101ZD was my personal radio while living in Singapore and it still works as good as new. My Singapore call sign was 9V1UO
I bought this new in 1979. This model doesn't have as much power as the 101B, above, but it was, and is a solid performing rig. The D in the model number designated a DIGITAL readout and I believe this was one of the first ham radios with a digital faceplate to show you the frequency you are dialed into.
The radio operated AM/SSB and CW modes and the power was 30W on AM, 100 watts on SSB and CW.
There is a story related to this radio on my Amateur Radio page.
This Atlas 350XL transceiver was purchased by its original owner in 1978.
This unit requires a separate power supply and the one that I got with this rig is a home brew model, and it is HEAVY.
The frequency coverage is from 160 - 10 meters and can operate in SSB/CW and RTTY(AFSK) and SSTV.
It is a powerful unit with 359 watts PEP input on 1.8 to 23 Mhz and 250 watts PEP input from 28 - 30 Mhz.
I bought this from the original owner and he has a receipt that says he paid $1,224 plus tax back in 1978 so this was a pretty pricy rig for those days.
This is an Atlas 210X transceiver with its docking power supply.
The rig covers 80/40/20/15/10 meter bands on SSB/CW and power is 200 watts PEP input on 80/40/20/15 meter bands and 120 watts on the 10 meter band.
The docking station/power supply/speaker cabinet is designed so you simply pull the transceiver out of the docking chamber and then slide it into a mount in your vehicle for mobile operations. So when you were done with your trip you can just pull the radio out and bring it into the shack and slide it back into this docking station and you are ready to operate. Pretty cool!
The SB-301 and SB-401 Receiver/Transmitter hold nostalgic meaning for me.
I was using this type of equipment when we moved to Singapore. Singapore does not allow "home built" equipment to be licensed in their country. In fact, if you were to take this equipment there they would confiscate it until you leave. That concept is just the opposite of what US hams practice. We were founded on home built equipment and that practice continues today.
SB-301 RECEIVER ABOVE
SB-401 TRANSMITTER BELOW
I can still remember building the SB-401 transmitter late into the night and when I finally had everything fully checked out I couldn't wait to hook up the antenna and give it a try. So I tuned up the rig and started calling CQ and the first station to come back was a VK8 something or other. I explained the situation and that I wanted to see if the transmitter was working or not. The guy replied that he was over 8,000 miles away (Australia) so he felt it was working just fine!
Thanks to a friend, W0BXS, I now have this wonderful piece of gear in my collection. Don (W0BXS) in now what we hams call a "silent key" and has passed away.
This is a Central Electronics model 20A, SSB multiphase exciter. All modern ham radios have SSB (single sideband) capability built into them, but in the "old days" if you wanted to operate SSB with your old transmitter then you needed to add one of these.
Just looking at the panel you can tell this is a very fine piece of gear. Anything with more then four or five knobs must be top of the line equipment, or so marketing folks would have us believe that. In this case they would be right!
Thanks Don for the opportunity to keep this unit "alive" for a few more years.
This is the Knight R-100 amateur radio receiver.
It was out of its case when this picture was taken because I had just been working on it. Thanks to Tony, WA4JQS, I was able to get some documentation and a schematic to allow me to work on this rig.
So far I am very pleased with the audio I hear through headphones on this radio. I think it will be an outstanding performer.
This is a complete Yaesu Ham station that covers the HF bands plus 2 Meters. This equipment is from the late 1970's.
The equipment in this group (from left to right) FP-301 power supply and speaker, FC-301 antenna tuner, FT-301S HF 20 Watt QRP transceiver, FL-110 200 watt linear (on top of FT-301S), FV-301 external VFO, FT-221R 2 meter transceiver, YO-301 monitorscope and SP-301 speaker for 2 meters.
Everything is working as it should except transmit on the FT-221R, 2 meter rig, and we hope to have that repaired soon.
This is a Japanese made communications receiver, the Star ST-550.
The radio has 7 bands that cover from 8 Mc to 50 Mc and operates in AM, SSB and CW modes. It is a double conversion model for better selectivity and better image rejection. The set has 11 tubes.
6/03/2009 WOW....I received a very good copy of the manual for this radio from Gene Payne, W4YSP....thanks a million Gene. Gene informs me that there are not many of these around and that although the set is made in Japan, it was marketed in Europe. That explains why very few of them are in the US.
Some of the controls on this rig are Calibrate, AVC, ANL, and selectable Sensitivity.
Here is an example of some of the surprises you face when working with old radios (dead spider in meter).
If you look in the lower left hand corner of the S-meter you will see a dead spider! This set will require a little "debugging".....hahaha.
I call this the Spider Meter and it is reading between 3-5 units!