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(in the picture at top right above - Jr Ops Snickers and Reese)

Sherrills Ford North Carolina is 20 miles north of the city of Charlotte, and lies along the banks of the Catawba River, now Lake Norman (the dam was built in the early 1960s). Before Lake Norman, the Sherrill family operated a ford across the Catawba river in this area. 

There is a lot of history under Lake Norman, including a recently discovered single-engine floatplane!


Below is a picture from the 2010 Rock Hill S.C. hamfest showing me with Ron W4RON and Robert KD4HSH.

Ron and Robert are "the" charter members of the Carolinas Chapter of the AWA (Antique Radio Charlotte), club website here.

Save the dates for the 2018 Antique Radio Charlotte Conference!

March 22-24, 2018

We all hope to see you there!

Here's the three of us putting on the first Carolinas AWA display, at the 1978 Shelby hamfest:

And the three of us still discussing old radios in front of the AWA booth at the Charlotte 2014 hamfest.


I like oddball radios with an interesting story behind them including military radios of all eras (anything with a data plate!), and HROs and earlier Nationals. I also like any vintage photograph showing radios in use.

For the radios that come my way I try and capture the history of the set - who the previous owner(s) were, and where and how the radio was used.


Below from left to right are two 1935 HROs sn#s D34 and D35 (first production run), a WWII Coast Guard RC-105 HRO, and a nicely marked WWII-era HRO with coils, coilbox and doghouse power supply.

On the earliest HROs the sn# is stamped in front of the antenna and ground terminals.

Here's an example:

Which HRO do you have?  Feel free to email me.

Some great resource pages for all HRO models are:

HRO General Identification (scroll all the way down this long article)

Dating the Early HRO

Barry William's HRO pages

The Western Historic Radio Museum

National (History) by Larry Babcock

N4TRB's HRO Resources (downloadable manuals)

Electric Radio article about the first 100 National HRO owners

The National HRO Receiver: A Historical Reconstruction

The Evolution of National Shortwave Receivers (SW-2, SW-4, SW-5, SW-3)

A Brief History of the National Company, Inc. - by John J. Nagle K4KJ (and AWA)


I'm currently researching airplane and ground radios used by Pan Am (PAA), Braniff, TWA, American, Eastern etc. If you have any related information or pictures or interest in the same please email me - thanks!

I am also interested in "Radio and the Disappearance of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan"

This is based on the TIGHAR hypothesis.  Below is the latest Ric Gillespie youtube where Ric discusses the upcoming expedition and all the background info in depth:


The most historical item in the shack so far is a SSR-201 Aperiodic Receiver designed and built by the Radio Intelligence Divison (RID), part of the FCC in WWII.  It was used as "early warning" to tell if anyone in the local vicinity was transmitting (on any frequency from 60 Khz to 60 Mhz :-).

Here is a downloadable SSR-201 article from "Wireless For The Warrior" Vol 4"

Also the document below mentions the SSR-201 (K-series aperiodic receiver manufactured by Kann):

Also included is a great description of the RID (later FCC) long-range direction finding equipment

Be sure to read Dan Flanagan W3DF's amazing online history of the FCC's Radio Intelligence Division based on the writings of George Sterling, the head of the RID during WWII.


The ability to visualize signals is one of the best features of SDR radio software. Before SDR, there were panadapters.

The panadapter was invented (or at least patented) by Dr. Marcel Wallace F3HM (a French amateur radio operator) who founded the Panoramic Radio Corporation in New York in the late 1930s.  The first customers of this new technology were the U.S. Government (RID), and the U.S. Military. Panadapter technology played a significant role in WWII by assisting in the identification and "finger-printing" of transmitters and individual radio operators.

Here is Dr. Wallace with a Panoramic SA-1 T-100 panadapter connected to a SX-28:

And the picture below shows a pandapter connected to a Hallicrafters S-27 VHF receiver in a U.S. Army mobile radio intercept van (from the book "Codes to Victory", a terrific read):

Here's an ad circa September 1944:

If you know of any other panadapter pictures from the WWII era, please email me.

For more info visit Nick K4NYW's Navy Panadaptor website.


Below is a picture of a WW-II German HF receiver model Ln 21021, nicknamed "Schwabenland".

Three unique attributes of this very unusual recever are:

- the same "acorn" tube RV12P2000 is used throughout (in every stage)

- each tube can be checked "in-circuit" from the front panel

- any tube can be changed without taking the receiver out of it's case, through access doors on the left side of the receiver.

A great website about the "Schwabenland" rx is here,

and the "Schwabenland" manual can be read here - how's your German?


This is a WWII German Telefunken E437S HF receiver nicknamed "The Breadbox". This 6-tube radio was designed in 1935 and used on Type II, VII and IX U-boats, larger Kreigsmarine warships and raiders, and also shore stations. See the manual here (also in German).

Photographs of U-boat radio rooms are hard to find.

Below are pictures of a E437S in use on WWII German U-boats:

(courtesy of http://uboat.net/men/crew/radio.htm)



See if you can spot the E437S rx in this picture of U-889's radio room:


This is a Japanese Model 92 Special Receiver.  This receiver was designed in 1932 for submarine (I-boat) use, and was also used on capital ships and shore stations.

(the right-most meter shown in the picture below had been added post-war and has been removed)

The Model 92 has two different antenna inputs, one for longwave and the other for MF/HF frequencies. The frequency coverage of this one receiver is 20 Khz - 20 Mhz or roughly equivalent to both the RAK and RAL receivers, and all three of the RBA/RBB/RBC receivers found on most WWII U.S. Navy warships.  A big difference is the Model 92 Special uses plug-in coils (lots of them :-) to change frequency:

Here is a picture of multiple Model 92s in use aboard the Japanese light cruiser ABUKUMA in WWII:

and a picture of the radioman aboard the destroyer TSUGA:

In the first seconds of the video below,  a Model 92 Special Receiver can be seen in use on a Japanese i-boat (submarine) in the Indian Ocean.  Note the pocket watch hanging from the front of the receiver.





These Japanese radios were captured during the Battle of Cape Gloucester (New Britain) in 1944:

The Japanese Model 94-2 Air-Ground receiver was widely used throughout the war but very few survive (and if you find any Japanese radio don't forget to also get the plug-in coils!)

Here is a picture of a Model 94-2 receiver in use (during training):

And this training group picture also shows the matching (much larger) transmitter:


Below is a Type 96 HI Mk2 aircraft receiver/transmitter

The receiver is on top and the transmitter is on bottom.

Both use (different) plug-in coils.

Here is a 96 Hi Mk2 installed in a twin-engine Army aircraft:
And in use on the ground (training):
In war one goal is to capture and use the enemy's equipment against them.  To facilitate this the U.S. War Department published a series of "Technical Bulletins" throughout the war covering weapons and equipment.  These are the best source of "how to use" information (in English!).  A number cover German and Japanese radio equipment, and I'm trying to collect the entire set.  
Here are six more I just had the good luck of finding!  I'll be scanning them in shortly, let me know if you need a copy of one.
If you have any others that I can borrow and scan in, please email me
One of my best friends is William W4BZ (ex-W4PER).  William is ex-RCA and a PE in the broadcast industry and was a communication officer on the USS Barton (DD-722) during the mid-late 1950s (and did his midshipmen's cruise on the USS Wisconsin BB-64).  William loves to educate others (including me!) about RAK/RALs and RBAs, RBBs, and RBCs and the other radio gear on the Barton.

Another great friend who is a storehouse of knowlege on anything ham radio-related AND life in general is my buddy Dave N4XO... if you ever need a good story on just about any topic just ask Dave - seriously!

Here's another good friend - a very happy (now retired) Haney K2XN, voice of the Rock Hill SC hamfest.  Haney was a CBS News reporter in Southeast Asia during Vietnam, here's a local PBS video segment about his experiences:

During the late 1960s and early 1970s, the United States Army was the largest employer in the world (even larger than Walmart). President Nixon sent me a letter one day so I did a stint in the US Army 1971-73 and though a ham prior to being drafted I ended up with an infantry MOS (11C - mortars). Being young and dumb I volunteered for Vietnam. I was with E 52 14th Infantry at Long Binh in summer - fall 1972 - pictures here.  Afterwards until the end of the "American War" I went up north to F Troop 4th Cav Air, one of the last Air Cav outfits in country - pictures here.

Here's a writeup of my tour.

And for some interesting Vietnam trivia, take a look here...


Below are a picture of more old friends taken at the 2010 Shelby N.C. hamfest - that's Wayne KU4V, Nyles KS4S, and Tom W4JZA.

The technical leader of our pack is Steve N4LQ - he's a true (retired!) ham, always doing something in the hobby - working someone or some new mode on his Icom IC-7300, or changing his antennas - and then telling us all about it to educate us.  Steve is the guy we take all our projects to once we give up, he'll take on just about anything!  A good example is the big Navy 1950s era FRR-24 HF rx acquired a while back thru Chuck W4MEW (now SK) and Carl AJ4AU - it's possibly the largest HF rx ever made!  It only took Steve a couple of days to sort it out and get it running, with assistance from another NC friend "Navy Nick" K4NYW who is the king of FRR-24s (has 3 FRR-24s set up for full diversity!).  This single FRR-24 (sn#1, rack #1) started out at Steve's but now resides at my QTH. Here's a picture:

And thanks to Steve's YouTube video skills you can hear and see the FRR-24 in operation:


Friends are what it is all about, and stories are the spice of life...!  I think that's why I like ham radio so much, it provides the opportunity to meet interesting people with common interests, different accents, and great stories.  And coming across a few interesting radios along the way doesn't hurt either.

If you ever need an "ice-breaker" discussion topic with another ham, just ask them about their first rx, tx, and favorite antenna. Or, "when was the best propagation"? The typical answers I've heard over the years are "1949", "1952", "1957" and "1958" - "10 meters open all night and the entire band full of signals"... Sorry I missed these openings!

Looking forward to a QSO with you sometime (and feel free to email me).

Until then best of 73s from Sherrills Ford, North Carolina.



PS - have time to kill?  Take a look at these great reference websites:

Radio Boulevard

Society of Wireless Pioneers Spark Journals





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