This is a
RACAL RA17C-12. It is one of the
BEST tube receivers I own. I have to say
'one of' because of my
R-390-A... which has been
completely restored by Chuck Rippel (see it at: <http://www.n4xy.com/rcvr_MIL_r-390-a_p1.html>.)
I don't know how I could choose between the two-and fortunately I have never
This receiver has aGREATstory behind it:
Several years ago, I
saw an ad for it somewhere. It was in "best offer" form. I knew my funds
were such that my 'best offer' wasn't all that 'best'. But I answered
immediately anyway, and made certain that the seller understood that I buy
things like this to keep, and have a sort of 'rotational' rig policy: I
rotate through my 'collection', operating them for some period ranging from
2 weeks ('didn't work so well'-e.g. needs more restoration) to 6 months (my
Ranger II is way past that-but I can't
bring myself to 'rotate'!)
Well, anyway, I had a
nice chat with the guy, and he told me the history of the receiver.
THIS radio was the primary receiver for the
Executive Offices of
Radio Free Europe in Washington, DC (or nearby.)
It had been re-tubed
and air-freighted to RACAL England (RACAL - USA no longer worked on tube
gear) for a complete tuneup. A similar return method was employed. Shortly
thereafter, RFE shut down, and he was able to obtain the unit. During our
conversation, he came to appreciate my fondness for receivers, and that I
would suitably treasure the unit.
Bottom line is that,
despite higher offers, he sold it to me to care for. It's beautiful. With
its 1st-ever tube implementation of the Barlowe-Wadley Loop (the 1st
production version of the Phase-Locked Loop), it is stable as a rock.
Recently, I was able to obtain the matching LF Converter, extending the
receiving frequency range from
12.5kHz (!!!) to 30MHz.
Following is a quote on the RA-37
directly from the best RACAL website I know:
I felt Keith did such a good
job on this description, it would be better just to quote it-with
attribution, of course.
The RA37A / RA137A are
Longwave converters for the RA17 series of receivers.
They cover the frequency range of 10-980 kHz. If you have ever wondered why
there is a red scale below the black main tuning on the RA17 film scale now
you know, it is for tuning when using an LF adaptor! It is not a logging
scale as I have heard some people comment.
Both units were produced in
two versions, one for the Europeans the other for America. The only
difference between the two units is that the RA137 has a tuning scale for
The controls from left to
right are as follows: Attenuator 0-40db,
Aerial range (pre-selector),
Preselector tuning, Power
ON-OFF, HF-LF selection
for the main receiver.
Adding one of these converters to an RA17 can make a useful addition to an
Connection is made to the RA17
by means of the RF and 1 MHz osc outputs on the rear of the receiver. The HT
line has to be broken on the terminal block at the back of the receiver and
connected to the converter to enable switching between HF & LF.
There is also an RA237 model which was made specifically for the RA117. It
has an extra filter fitted as the RA117 does not have a tunable 2-3mhz
This is a
RACAL RA6790/GM. It is the
BEST receiver I own. It is one of 3 or 4
receivers that I simply would never part with. Many of them have become
available in the past couple of years because of the all the HF Marine Radio
Communications stations closing. It is sensitive, has a ton of filter slots,
and has the slowest
tuning rate I have ever tuned. Turning the knob as fast as you can and still
maintain contact with the fingerhole on the knob, its tuning is so slow, it
sounds like an old Heathkit VF-1 warming up from cold!! Built-in BITE
testing, 10Hz accuracy, very high stability, plus the LF/MF EPROMS (which I
have), all combine to make it a truly awesome receiver.
browsing the website, please select from these categories: