The RCA 807 turns 80

RCA 807 Add from QSTThose of us who grew up in the 50s and 60s lusted after the early Chevrolet Corvettes and Ford Thunderbirds, two seaters that melded performance and style into an irresistible combination. Not as versatile, or powerful as some of the later, more refined models, but inspiring none the less, firing our creativity to customize and innovate.

Such was the appeal of the RCA 807 vacuum tube.

Alexander Magoun, writing in the IEE Spectrum, points out that, even during the depths of the depression, RCA “earned a tidy profit” with this multifaceted device, something that performed well across a variety of electronic applications.

As this QST ad from March of 1940 gives you an idea of how many different jobs the venerable 807 did well. They are no longer made in the USA, but are still churned out in Russia and China.

Jean Shepherd on Amateur Radio

Jean ShepardBroadcaster and raconteur Jean Shepherd, K2ORS was an avid amateur radio enthusiast. He spoke often of the hobby on his WOR broadcasts. With thanks to Joe Levine, W8JRK, here is a link to an archive. Included in the collection is his 1985 Dayton HamVention speech where a number of MSUARC members were in attendance.  It’s still as funny as it was back in 1985. And anyone who has been in the Armed Forces will surely appreciate “Code School”. Some fun listening.

Kits and catalogs of yore

1964 Allied Radio CatalogOnce upon a time, we built Heathkits and Knightkits and got our resistors, capacitors and solder from places like Allied, Radio Shack and Lafayette Radio Electronics. Allied has had a renaissance as a mail order parts retailer, but brick and mortar stores are fading into the sunset.

Elecraft remains the premiere purveyor of build-it-yourself ham gear, making much of its high quality equipment available fully assembled or in kit mode.

For Allied fans, here is a link to an archive of their famous catalogs.