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Most are available from Electric Radio, some from W7FG, some from Antique Electronics Supply

"Comprehensive guides" usually have list of features, freq. coverage, years produced, cost when new, tube line-up, and a photo for each model

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Book Reviews

by Michael Crestohl, W1RC

RCA Receiving Tube Manuals. I have several editions in my library because older tubes were deleted and newer ones added between editions. I won't list all the tube manuals in my library but they are spaced out over three-four year intervals. The latest one I have is RC-25 which is dated 1966 and has 607 pages. Availability: Hamfests & shows $5.00 to $15.00

RCA Transmitting Tube Manual - 1962, 320 pages includes the lineup of transmitting tubes including the venerable 807, 6146, 811A, etc. Availability: scarcer than the Receiving Tube manuals but I've seen them around - $5 - 15.00

I believe both these manuals have been reprinted and are sold by AES in Tempe AZ.

While on the subject of tubes....

Tube Lore, Ludwell Sibley 1996 ISBN: 0-9654683-0-5 $19.95 available from author (Flemington NJ 08822). 186 pages. Excellent reference source on the subject written for collectors and vintage radio buffs. Features cross-reference on tube types and general essays on tubes.

Elements of Radio, (William) Marcus & (Abraham) Marcus. 3rd Ed. 1953 771 pages. Prentice-Hall Library of Congress Catalog No. 53-8544 A classic text that focuses on radio receiving theory. Very well written and presented. Good first text on BA technology. Availability: Should be easy to find at any vintage/antique radio show - $5 - $20.00

Radio Servicing - Theory and Practise, (Abraham) Marcus, 1954, 794 pages, Prentice-Hall. Library of Congress catalog number 53-9729. A good second text that follows on Elements of Radio. Quite thorough in its coverage. Availability: same as Elements of Radio.

Elements of Radio Servicing 2nd Ed. (William) Marcus and Levy, 1964, 566 pages. McGraw-Hill Library of Congress catalog number 54-9698. Its very interesting that the "other" Marcus collaborated with another author to write a similar book. As with Radio Servicing - Theory and Practise it is focused on radio receivers with emphasis on broadcast radio repair and troubleshooting. Availability: same as Elements of Radio.

Here are four US Army TMs that I think are really good for learning about Boatanchor technology: I found these to be of particular help when learning about this stuff back in the 1960s.

TM11-4000 - Troubleshooting and Repair of Radio Equipment. April 1958, 177 pages. R-390 enthusiasts will especially want to get this book if they can as it uses that receiver as the "sample", although not actually identified as such. As it was written for soldiers it is clearly presented and covers receivers and transmitters. One of my favorite texts.

TM11-662 - Basic Theory and Application of Electron Tubes. February 1952. 215 pages.

TM11-664 - Theory and Use of Electronic Test Equipment. February 1952. 158 pages. Covers meters, tube testers, signal generators, etc. One of the neat things I like about this book is it details the venerable mil surplus test gear like the URM-25D, TV-7(*) and other equipment of the era. Very important book for any BA fan.

TM11-665 - CW and AM Transmitters and Receivers, Spetember 1952, 274 pages. Another essential book to have. Title is self-explanatory. Another personal favorite.

On availability: These may be found for a few dollars at flea markets and vintage shows if you're very lucky. They are otherwise hard to find. I don't know if they are available through NTIS. I've seen them go for $15.00 to $20.00 a copy. They're well worth it.

There are other military TMs that teach DC, AC theory, antenna/propagation, power supplies, etc in this series but I have omitted them because they are really generic and not Boatanchor-specific. However, if the editor feels they should be included I will be glad to provide a description of them. The Navy also has an excellent set of manuals that accomplish the same purpose and are quite excellent as are all Navy technical manuals.

Finally, there's Fundamentals of Single Sideband published in 1959 by Collins Radio Company. This book is quite technical and detailed on the subject written by the engineers who designed and developed SSB. There is not a picture of any of their amateur line in the book although the theory certainly applies to any filter-generated SSB transmitter. Its about 200 pages with lots of charts and diagrams. Availability is very scarce and I've seen them priced from $50.00 and up. I believe there was a reprint in the 1970s and these may be found at a much lower price. The original is a large paperbound book with bright yellow covers.

The titles above only represent a portion of my radio library and I have selected them as my favorite books of interest to Boatanchor enthusiasts. I have several other titles from the 1940s and earlier but did not list these as I do not feel they meet the criteria for this purpose, ie: the technology is pre-BA and falls more into the realm of antique equipment.

This section copyrighted 1997 by Michael Crestohl. Permission to reprint granted provided credit is given.

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Last modified:  16 Mar 2014