April 2011
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Donating old equipment

There is a propensity among radio engineers to save old equipment. Sometimes I look at something and think, “Man, that cost a lot of money ten or twenty years ago.”  Truth be told, much of what is saved will never be used again.  This equipment should be scraped or donated to someone who might find it useful.  One thing that is most appreciated by Amateur Radio (AKA Ham) operators are old 1 KW tube type AM transmitters.  Ham operators love these things, and with good reason.

A fair amount of repair work, some cleaning and a bit of reworking will turn what might have been a useless dust collector into a 160 or 80 meter AM rig and with a good story to boot.

Personally, I’d rather see a Gates BC1T or RCA BTA1R off to a new home than off to the scrap yard.  To that end, today we unloaded the BC1T at WLNA to a willing ham.  This particular transmitter had last run in 2001 or so and was used as a spare parts supply for other BC1T transmitters owned by the same company.  There was no way it would ever work again and truth be told, it really wasn’t needed any longer anyway.  Since the Harris MW5B was replaced as the main transmitter by a BE AM6A, the backup transmitter was never used.

Gates BC1T transmitter

Gates BC1T transmitter

John Aegerter, a frequent commenter on this blog, drove all the way from Madison, Wisconsin to pick it up.  Prior to pick up, I removed all of the tubes, transformers, crystals and glass envelope time delay relays.  I packed up the glass objects in a box.

Gates BC1T tubes, transformers and spares

Gates BC1T tubes, transformers and spares

There were several spare tubes and parts which are no longer needed.  These went with the rig, along with what ever manuals I could find.

Gates BC1T loaded into pickup truck

Gates BC1T loaded into pickup truck

The transmitter was then loaded into the back of a Dodge Ram 2500 pickup truck and tarped for it’s trip back to Wisconsin.

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7 comments to Donating old equipment

  • It’s great to see old gear like this live on instead of landing in the recycling yard. I entered into the world of broadcasting in the mid-1970’s in my teen years, thanks to a community FM radio station housed at my hometown’s high school. When we were granted a power increase we were fortunate to obtain a donated transmitter from the Empire State Building. The transmitter was “smuggled out” in the empty crate its replacement was delivered in as the building’s union personnel prohibited us from moving the unit ourselves. Our station’s technical director (who also served as my mentor) performed the necessary work to put it on the air.

    Some 35 years later I find myself “paying it forward” with building a campus-limited AM and FM radio station to mentor my students in the broadcast media arts. While a two studio suite was built during a somewhat recent building renovation there was no budget to speak of to equip the station. I was fortunate enough to obtain some used equipment donations to start the buildout, but I hope to obtain some ancillary gear like modulation monitors so I can provide these students a teaching environment as close as possible to a real-world broadcast experience, albeit on a smaller scale using low power Part 15 AM (free radiating) and FM (radiating coax) campus-limited broadcasting.

    The school station project actually spawned a side project for me, , which is where I gathered resources to assist other educational institutions wishing to create a campus-limited radio station.

  • Speaking of donating old gear, I’ve got two sealed boxes of Fidelipac carts I’d be glad to send to someone who needs them.
    Somewhere there are a couple of machines that match them…somewhere.

  • Jini Edmond

    greetings, we need stuffs like that to help train our youths of tomorrow what broadcasting is all about.

  • Tom

    I’ll take those carts.

  • Brian

    Do you have any more carts? I will pay for shipping if you do


  • Paul Thurst

    @Brain, tapes or machines? I can probably find both.

  • gregory iannarelli

    I have a great working vintage 1950s rtty would like to donate it to someone who really appreciates this hobby


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