Tube Type Transmitter Guide, By Eugene Rippen

Transmitters, Exciters & Power Amplifiers 1930-1980, By Raymond S. Moore

Comparing the Moore and Rippen books


From Antique Radio Classified
(Copyright 1996 by John V. Terrey - For personal use only.)

Cover of The Tube Type Transmitter GuideTube Type Transmitter Guide, By Eugene Rippen

Collectors of antique radios have a variety of reference books and price guides available to them. Communication receivers have also been documented, although to a lesser degree. But the vast number of amateur radio transmitters and transceivers have not been well documented. Now Eugene Rippen's Tube Type Transmitter Guide provides a wealth of useful information on the subject of transmitters and transceivers as well as some ancillary equipment.

Although the title suggests only tube type transmitters, the book's subtitle "Manufactured Pre-builts and Kits from 1922 to 1970 Using All, or Mostly Tubes" assures us that some hybrid transceivers are included.

An impressive range of transmitters and transceivers are covered from "Abbott" to "Yaesu." Approximately 100 manufacturers are listed. The earliest equipment covered is a Benwood Wireless Telephone from 1921. Some obscure and interesting gear is included. I was surprised to see that a 5-meter transceiver in my collection, a Chauncy Wing rig from 1934, was included in the book.

The equipment descriptions are arranged in alphabetical order by the manufacturer's name. Most, but not all, of the equipment is illustrated. The author acknowledges the cooperation of the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) in providing most of the photographic material used in the book. The reproduction quality of the illustrations is disappointing in what is an otherwise satisfactory book. Nevertheless, readers will find the illustrations useful as an aid to identifying equipment.

The descriptive material and illustrations are supplemented by four indices. These include a "MAKE then MODEL INDEX" that lists the make, model, year first produced, tube type used in the final stage and page number; a "MODEL then MAKE INDEX" that lists model, make, year and page; a "MODEL YEAR INDEX" that lists the year, make, model, finals and page; and a "TUBE TYPE INDEX" that lists the finals, make, model, year and page. These cross-references make locating a particular model and its associated information very easy. However, with only a few exceptions, it is necessary to consult one of the indices in order to determine the year in which a model was first produced. Had the author included the production date in the description of each model, the book would be much easier to use, and the reader would be saved a lot of page flipping.

The author has included a short, but informative, history of amateur radio, including some background information about Single Side Band (SSB).

Old timers will probably salivate and marvel at their original selling prices when they see their old rigs described. On the other hand, the book provides new collectors with a good introduction into the mysteries of older equipment. The author has written the introduction "with the consideration that the reader may have experience mostly with solid-state devices." New collectors may be amazed at the variety of transmitting tubes that were used over the years. Some of the older high-power transmitters are monstrous.

Little known manufacturers are listed, including Haigis Laboratories of Maple Shade, New Jersey, circa 1934, and Marmax Electronics located in Alamogordo, New Mexico, in 1952. As you might expect, the major manufacturers are well represented in the book, but you may be surprised at the number of rare items that are documented, such as the National TRM and TRW.

In addition to transmitters and transceivers, the book includes ancillary items such as linear amplifiers, converters, antenna matching units, modulators and VFOs. The book even describes a crystal oven.

The Tube Type Transmitter Guide is a good reference book that collectors have been longing for, but it is also fun to leaf through -- either to reminisce or discover treasures from the past.

This 8 1/2" x 11" softbound book contains approximately 150 pages and includes over 500 illustrations. The cover price is $17.95. It is available from Sound Values, PO Box 9, Auburn, CA 95604, A.R.C. and other suppliers. Be sure to check these sources for ordering information.

(Ray Bintliff, 2 Powder Horn Ln., Acton, MA 01720)

Cover of The Transmitters, Exciters & Power Amplifiers 1930-1980 Transmitters, Exciters & Power Amplifiers 1930-1980, By Raymond S. Moore

Raymond S. Moore's popular book Communications Receivers now has a companion publication that covers amateur radio transmitters and amplifiers. This latest effort, Transmitters, Exciters & Power Amplifiers, follows the format used in the 2nd and 3rd editions of Communications Receivers and consists of equipment shown in alphabetical order by manufacturer. The equipment described in this book was produced in the period from 1930 to 1980.

Moore's ground rules for including an item in this book are that it must have been manufactured in the U.S.A., must have been offered for sale to hams directly or through surplus channels, and must cover the HF bands.

Moore begins his book with a 5-page introduction that traces the development of transmitters, beginning with the basic 1-tube oscillator and ending with the application of solid-state technology in the "finals" of transmitters and transceivers. As Moore notes, not all of the changes in equipment resulted from technological progress -- regulatory changes also accounted for some advances in equipment design and construction. This section of the book is a good primer for collectors with a desire to learn about the major milestones in the history of amateur radio.

Section II of the book contains illustrations and descriptions of equipment from about 120 manufacturers that range from Ace Radio Labs to Wholesale Radio Labs (WRL). Most, but not all, of the descriptions are accompanied by an illustration. The quality of the illustrations ranges from very good to fair.

This wide range of quality is not surprising when you consider the nature of the source material that was available to the author. Many of the halftones and line drawings taken from old magazines, manuals, catalogs and brochures were probably not of high quality even in their original state. However, the illustrations serve their purpose by enabling the reader to identify a piece of equipment readily.

The major manufacturers are well represented, and Moore has unearthed some obscure manufacturers. Do you remember Ace Radio Labs, Aero Products, Delft, Marmax, Neil or Web? They are in this book. And were you aware that Micamold (yes, the capacitor manufacturer) made a 3-tube transmitter in kit form?

Moore conserves space by using abbreviations in his descriptions. Fortunately, he provides a list of these abbreviations and their meanings, although the "Preface" states that they are not included. One attempt at conserving space may be a bit confusing to readers who are not familiar with the layout technique used in this and in his previous books. For example, sometimes an illustration will appear at the bottom of a right-hand page, but the accompanying description is located at the top of the following page.

Transmitters, Exciters & Power Amplifiers is another in a growing number of good reference books for collectors of ham gear. The book represents more than three years of effort by Moore. We are fortunate that he and others are so dedicated to our hobby.

This 144-page softbound book with over 500 illustrations is priced at $21.95. It is available from RSM Communications, PO Box 1046, Key Largo, FL 33037-1046, A.R.C., and A.R.C. advertisers. Be sure to check these suppliers for ordering information and shipping costs.


In Raymond S. Moore's Transmitters, Exciters & Power Amplifiers and Eugene Rippen's Tube Type Transmitter Guide, collectors have two excellent sources of information about amateur radio equipment. The quandary -- which book should I buy?

Although both books cover the same general subject, there are significant differences between them. Rippen covers the years 1922 to 1970, and Moore covers 1930 to 1980. Moore includes only U.S.-made equipment, while Rippen includes foreign products as well. Each book covers manufacturers not found in the other book. For a given manufacturer, some models can be found in one book but not in the other. Rippen includes an index and cross-references, but Moore does not.

Each book has something special. After some careful thought, the answer becomes clear -- both books should be in your library.

(Ray Bintliff, 2 Powder Horn Ln., Acton, MA 01720)

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Copyright © 1996 by John V. Terrey - For personal use only.
Last revised: August 26, 1996. Pages designed by Wayward Fluffy Publications