Vintage CW Transmitters

Expertly Constructed by Gary Poland, W8PU

This popular tuned plate tuned grid (TPTG) oscillator is just one of many working replicas of vintage CW transmitters built by Gary Poland, W8PU.  Gary is a good friend, long time Ham, and superb craftsman. This transmitter appeared in the March 1927 issue of QST magazine and was called "A Flexible Transmitter."  It was described "as one of the best circuits for short-wave transmission because of its inherent steadiness, efficiency, and ease of adjustment."

Many of transmitters featured below also originally appeared as a construction article in QST. Each one has a story, so tag a long and enjoy some Ham Radio history.   de K8WDA

1926 QRP Transmitter

built by W8PU

This 40 meter transmitter design appeared in the April 1926 issue of QST under the heading Some Low-Power Records.  It was originally built by Loren Windom, 8GZ (later W8GZ), in Columbus, Ohio.  Windom is often rememebered for the Windom antenna, which is another story.  Using a UV 199 triode vacuum tube running a total input power (filement and all) of .567 watt with this transmitter, Windom worked 5BG in Adelaide, South Australia, amoung others, winning the 1925-26 "Jewell Contest" with a record 17,820 miles per watt.

1925 windom station description

1929 Hartley Transmitter

built by W8PU

The design of this transmitter came from an article in the August 1928 issue of QST titled Overhauling the Transmitter for 1929.  It is a Hartly (tapped coil) oscillator using a pair of type 27 vacuum tubes.  It was designed for 40 meters.

1929 TNT Transmitter

built by W8PU

Appearing in the 1930 edition of the ARRL How to Become a Radio Amateur, this Tuned plate Not Tuned grid (TNT) transmitter features a UX 210 triode and operates on 80 meters.

1930 Push-Pull TNT Transmitter

built by W8PU

This transmitter, along with a companion power supply, built almost entirely from "receiving equipment" was possible to build in 1930 for approximately $45.  The construction article, A Complete Push-Pull C.W. Transmitter at Low Cost by George Grammer, ARRL Assistant Technical Editor, appeard as the cover story in the November 1930 issue of QST.  It uses a pair of type 47 vacuum tubes.

"'Flea Power' Short-Wave Transmitter"

built by W8PU

Another circa 1930 TNT transmitter, this one from an article in the Volume 3, Number 3 issue of Radio Design.  This magazine was published by Pilot Radio and the original transmitter was built using all Pilot parts.  Gary's version is very close to the original using mostly actual Pilot parts or duplicates.  It uses a 201A tube and is designed for 40 meters.

1932 Hartley Transmitter

built by W8PU

A 160 meter transmitter, this one uses a type 45 tube and puts out around 3 watts.  It appeared in the 1932 edition of ARRL's How To Become a Radio Amateur.  Gary used his version in an ARRL 160 Meter CW contest and in a short time worked 17 states, several on the west coast, and Mexico.

More Information...

If this "sparks" an interest, check out the links below for more information from the Antique Wireless Association.


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