What is a boatanchor? A boatanchor is what many people call "vintage tube communication equipment". This includes both military and commercial equipment. Many times this equipment is usually very heavy.

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Boatanchor Image Library

Attention Boatanchor Collectors!
Want to learn more about Central Electronics equipment? Check out the web page of Dominic (Nick) Tusa, who offers a full range of parts and restoration services for the Central Electronics products.

Central Electronics 100V After becoming a subsidiary of Zenith, Central Electronics was ready to produce a transmitter loaded with features and performance. The result was the 100V transmitter, which marked a turning point for Central Electronics. A total of 1500 100Vs were produced during their run until the 200V came out. This transmitter is a broad-band transmitter which means there is no tune up needed. Just find the spot on the dial you want and start transmitting. In the upper right corner is a small 2 inch scope which helps monitor your modulation. The two panels at the bottom of it are hinged and house many "set and forget" controls. The finals on the 100V are two 6550 tubes. This 100V has been completely restored by Nick Tusa. Beside the 100V is the later 200V transmitter, which is shown below.
Central Electronics 200VThis is the famous Central Electronics 200V transmitter. This was the last of CE's fine lineup of equipment before Zenith pulled the plug on them in the early 1960s. This transmitter has also been completely restored by Nick Tusa, who did an excellent job. Although the 200V looks similar to the 100V there are some differences, both cosmetic and internal. On the outside the main difference is the removal of the lever switches to the right and left of the main tuning knob on the 200V. Internally, the 200V uses solid state rectifiers and has a little different tube line up. The overall specs of the 100V and 200V are, for the most part, the same. I think collectors are willing to pay more for the 200V only because it is rarer than its older brother the 100V. There were only 500 200V transmitters made. Here is a March 1961 full page ad of the 200V. Later that year Central Electronics changed their ad to this June 1961 full page ad of the 200V.

Central Electronics 600LThe Central Electronics 600L is an excellent little amplifier that dates back to the 50s that uses a single 813 in the final. By using separate broadband couplers in the grid and plate circuits, it does not require any tuning. The 600L is designed to work 160, 80, 40, 20, 15 and 10 meters. This 600L differs from most because of the black rack mount front panel which was an option that Cental Electronics offered.
600L MeterDesigned to work with the SSB transmitters of that day, the 600L only requires 8 watts of drive (2 watts AM) to obtain full output. With this in mind, care must be taken not to overdrive the 600L with todays 100 watt transceivers. I use an attenuator on the input to keep this from happening. Another unique thing about the 600L is that it uses an 812A tube to regulate the screen supply. This gives the screen supply better than 1 % regulation for any load or line voltage change. The plate supply uses a rather hefty plate transformer and swinging choke in addition to a large 45 mfd capacitor, to give 1800 volts for the plate supply.
Central Electronics ReunionThis recent photo was taken on September 4th, 1999, just after the Shelby hamfest, where you get to meet the three people who are most responsible for the creation and restoration of my Central Electronics equipment. Starting on the left is Joe Batchelor, lead engineer at Central Electronics, who's influence contributed to the design of the broadband coupler, vfo, balanced modulator and the audio limiter. In the center is Wes Schum, Central's founder, who designed and marketed the 10A Multiphase Exciter in 1952, thus starting the single-sideband movement in the amateur community. On the right is Nick Tusa, which is probably the foremost expert today in the restoration of the 100V/200V broad-band exciter/transmitter and the 600L broad-band linear amplifier.

Talk about customer service, click here to see a photo of Wes Schum checking out my 200V at my home QTH. Or click here to see a photo of both Wes Schum and Nick Tusa in my ham shack. It was quite an honor to have both Wes and Nick stop by the N4OZI QTH.

Hammarlund SP-600The famous Hammarlund SP-600 receiver. Also known by it's military designation of R-274. It has a label on it that states "Complete Overhaul January 1973". I have not been able to find any indication that tells me the exact model number. One thing that I like about the Hammarlund SP-600s is the quality of the audio you get from them. They sound great on the SWL bands. With just crystal filters, they do a great job when the QRM on 75 meters gets excessive. Covering all the way to 54 MHz they can also cover 6 meters too. This SP-600 has been totally re-caped with all black beauties removed, including the ones in the RF deck. Check out this April 1953 ad of the SP-600. Notice the price!

Collins R-390The boatanchor of boatanchors!! The famous Collins R-390/URR. Yes, it has the original meters and they do work! Everything about this boatanchor works including the dial lights. Old hams tell me the only drawback about this rig is that Motorola made it instead of Collins. There is a date label on the back that says July 20, 1955, but I'm not sure what that means. The serial number on the radio is 4256. I also have the original manuals that came with it. Wow, was I surprised when I found out that it had 33 tubes! The tubes are: 3TF7, 6AJ5 (x3), 6AK6 (x3), 6BH6, 6BJ6 (x7), 6C4 (x3), 12AT7, 12AU7 (x6), 26Z5W (x2), 5651 (x2), 5749 (x2), 6082 (x2)
Take a look at this March 1961 photo of the U.S. Army Signal Corps installation of R-390As at the Signal Corps' R&D Lab at Fort Monmouth, N.J.

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This page last updated 17 January 2004