As a living history enthusiast, I enjoy using World
War II Navy radios in their original condition as much as
possible. I prefer not to modify them, and if you sell
your radio eventually, the market values unmodified
On this page, I want to share some information on how to
get the most out of your Navy radio without altering it.
Original connectors can be a challenge to
find. Many receivers such as RAO, RBA, RBB, RBC, RBS use
a concentric (coaxial) connector that is unfamiliar to the
novice. There is an easy adapter you can make that lets
you use standard coax connectors with these
In the picture below is the actual Navy
connector, and an adapter I made to replace the original
connector. I made the adapter by taking a standard
double female coax connector and turning the threads off of
one end with a lathe. The final diameter is .55
inches. This end of the adapter fits into the receiver
antenna input, and a PL-259 with transmission line is attached
to the remaining threaded end. I've now made a
connection to my receiver without altering it.
|Navy Concentric Line Plug and Homemade
You'll get the best results with your Navy radio if you
find the original power supply. This can take some time,
and naturally you want to see how your radio works, so
homebrewing a supply can get you going.
When it comes to transmitters, many of the Navy rigs used
motor-generators that are nearly impossible to find.
These motor-generators had extremely good voltage
regulation. If you replace them with an ordinary
rectifier power supply, especially for the
frequency-determining stages, you will be disappointed in the
performance of your transmitter. I think that most
complaints of chirp in old Navy rigs are due to the use of
inadequate power supplies.
I encourage you to use a well-regulated power supply for
the master oscillator stage of your Navy transmitter.
Some folks have had good results with electronic
regulation. I am using a dynamotor for the MO and IPA of
my TCK transmitter that makes 550V open circuit, and 525 under
load. It also makes a nice rotating machinery ambiance
in my radio shack.
The toggle switches often used for power and
function switches are of the type with a body made of
laminated phenolic(or some similar insulating material) and
are not able to be opened up for cleaning. I have had a
high success rate with putting the radio on its back so that
the front panel and switches face upwards, and spraying
contact cleaner into the switch where the toggle goes into the
body. With a little exercise, this seems to get
enough cleaner down into the switch to do the