Radio Rescuers Journal

Rescuing the Orphaned or Abandoned from the Final QRT

Journal Entry No. 6

From the Radio Rescuers Journal, entry #6.

A short time ago i rescued another boatanchor from the trash heap ( it was in a junk store, buried amidst a pile of old 50's NATO-Bundeswehr uniforms the propietor was trying to pass off as Nazi Uniforms.)

Actually, they were two, a pair of National NC-125s. Both in really rough shape. I mean, really rough. And as rusty as humid swamp air can make them.

In central florida, even a coke bottle will rust.

I looked them over to see what was left, and determined there just might be enough functioning in one to repair the other if the price was right. I was in the mood for a decent SW bench receiver, so i asked the price for the pair.

The proprietor obviously didn't know what they were, and to hear him fumbling for a sales pitch was kinda funny: "Oh, yeah, those. Transmitter and Receiver. Ham stuff, y'know. Talked all around th' woild on that 'ting. Real powerful."

"Oh, you talked on these?"

"No, the engineer i got them from did."

"Do you remember his call??"

"Uh, yeah, Hammerhead, i think. Up North."

" I'll give you fifteen bucks for the pair."

So, off i went with my new found treasures. Oh, they were nasty. I snuck them past the wife, and out to the junque room, thru the side entrance. Perhaps if she saw them for the first time a little more cleaned up, they would be better received than those Milsurp O-scopes were.

I had no intention of restoring them to anything other than decent working shape. No hopes on museum quality silk screening or dipping of the chassis in solvent, none of that. The knobs were calcified clumps of powder, the bottom plates were missing, the one unit that had an S-meter still in it seemed to the least trashed of the two, although the meter was faded beyond readability. And every corner or angle had remains of some ancient Palmetto Bug attempts at colonisation.

After some recapping, re-tubing, replacing corroded hardware one set to the other, replacing dial glass, switching over the lids, toggle switches, de-oxing the "Select-o-ject" demon summoning device, plus some new knobs courtesy Collins, AND dis-assembling the S-meter, removing the paper, and with Rapidograph pen #.00 fine, hand lettering the number scale ( which looks pretty good . . . . from a distance ), I now am the proud owner of what used to be a National 125. It now sorta looks like a Datsun Pickup with big tyers and a homemade decal job. Just right for mud trucking.

Hey, those old collins knurled knobs look pretty good on it. And it works on all bands, too. The BFO and LO holds their own on up to about 20 metres, then gets a little drifty around 20 mc. Much past that point, it's pretty deaf, except for an occasional trucker on CB ch 19, passing us on Hwy 40.

Left over is a rusted cabinet, broken dial glass, a tandem tuning cap set, some tubes, and a decent power supply sans filter caps for a future project.

I call it a joint homebrew project-- me and National. I did the artwork.

And my reward? It is now proudly sitting in the Lab at the Clinic right now, happily playing the SouthCars Traffic net for the benefit of our patients. The Dr's think it's a cool box (they all identify with what i do with Boatanchors-- they do likewise with vintage aircraft and profess an affinity with old communications gear, applauding the resurrection of any old Iron. Even a hay-wired odd ball.)

I wish it was pretty, like the ones on e-Bay. But it has a great heart.

Later on, i'll treat them to some high-speed CW from 20m, or a Bible study via HCJB. Maybe Arnie can talk them into becoming SWLs if we catch his broadcast!!

I like to spread the joy. Whether patients like it or not. :>)

vy 73
gary // wd4nka
" . . . who forgets the past forfeits the future . . ."

As per request, i managed to get a shot of the NC-125. It looks a whole lot better in the photo than in person. When i can, i will get a front panel close up. If you look closely, you can see some of the effects of our fine Florida humidity on the transformers. You oughtta see the chassis! Yow! Note (to the left) the chief restoration tool for any Radio Rescuer in the swamp: Bart, the 10,000 cfi critter-catcher (our 1969 Sears & Roebuck vacuum cleaner.). We have to flip a coin to see who's gonna empty the vacuum bag.