RAN Technology

International Crystal CBs


Vintage Radio 0 Comments 12/01/2020 

Posted By: Robert Nickels (ranickels)

Like most people who received a catalog from International Crystal in the 60s, I was always intrigued by their assortment of PC board kits.   There were boards for every stage in a radio transmitter or receiver and they could be combined to make almost anything - from converters to complete radios.   But little did I know that International actually did just that when they went to create their line of CB radios!

Maybe not all of them but the most popular models are all made up of separate modules that could be purchased directly from the catalog.   Of course it was no accident that they use crystals!     To produce a new model they basically combined existing modules in different ways, as I'll show in later examples.

The Model 660 is one of the earlier ones but important in that it was an early CB to offer full 23 channel operation.   That was a real luxury in the early days of CB when many sets were confined to 4 to 6 channels or even fewer.   It was the top of the line model in the 1965 catalog with a list price of $265.     That would be the equivalent of  $2190 on 2020 dollarettes!      

Like all the early 23 channel sets, the 660 uses a heterodyne process to mix two different crystal oscillators to produce the needed 27 MHz output.   Of course International made crystals in-house which gave them a cost advantage over other CB manufacturers who had to buy them.   I wonder how many refused to buy from ICM because they were a competitor?

The 660 I recently received suffered the fate of all radios with perforated metal tops - all the top surfaces are coated with a thick layer of dust, which will be easily vacuumed-up.    Otherwise it is intact and unmodified and in great shape - even the brown textured paint.    The mechanical construction is massive, judging from the pile of sheet metal once the outer covers are removed, and the crystal-plexer circuitry is still inside it's own aluminum enclousre behind the front panel.   Definitely not a cost-cutter model!

More examples of International Crystal Manufacturing CBs to come...

Click on the image title or on the image itself to open the full-sized image in a separate window.

   Lakeshore Industries of Manitowoc WI was an early follower of Wes Schum and Central Electronics to supply single sideband transmitters to early adopters of the new mode in the mid-1950s.   Both companies used the phasing method developed by Don Norgaard at General Electric and made popular through articles in QST, CQ, and GE Ham News.  Like most companies, Lakeshore sought to c...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  02/26/2021 
  

International Crystal and the crystal synthesizer

How a crystal company reduced the number of crystals needed
Category: Vintage Radio
I have always been intrigued by the International Crystal CB radios which had a unique appearance with a channel selector that resembled a telephone dial.    The high end "Executive" models were big and expensive and sported an aluminum trim ring that no other radio had.    So I had to buy one to play with.     It was cheap, like $25 and ...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  02/19/2021 
  

KBCX - US Forest Service Regional Radio

from Missoula Montana to the northwest
Category: Historic
Hams, especially those who enjoy operating AM and QRP should be aware of the pioneering efforts of the US Forest Service to adopt and advance the radio art in the early decades of the 20th century.The history of radio in the USFS literally takes a book to cover, but an interesting example can be found in station KBCX, the Region 1 Radio Operations Center in Missoula Montana.    It w...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  02/11/2021 
   Working on various vintages of equipment gives one a better appreciation for what we have today.    Example - this is a frequency counter from the "HF Manual Receiver" which was part of a wideband surveillance receiving system that extended from VLF to microwave frequencies using a bank of front-ends to cover the range.    It was designed as "ESM":...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  02/09/2021 
  

The John Meck T-60 Transmitter

the only ham product from this famous radio/TV manufacturer
Category: Vintage Ham Radio
Plymouth Indiana might not be famous for too many things, but John Meck Industries was the first manufacturer to start producing radios for home us in the US after World War II.   He'd started the namesake company prior to the war but like most others in the radio business it was converted to wartime production, making quartz crystals among other things.   Later, thousands ...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  01/30/2021 
   If, like me, you enjoy flipping through old issues of 73 magazine from the 60s, you're bound to have at least seen the ads for the Transcom SBT-3 three-band SSB tranceiver.  Being made in Escondido CA in the mid-60s, my guess has always been that engineers from other San Diego SSB compnanies such as Don Stoner, Les Earnshaw from Southcom, Herb Johnson, founder of Swan or Faust Gonsett may...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  01/16/2021 
  

Model FP-1 "FORESTPHONE"

The Amalgamated Wireless Ltd. (AustralAsia)
Category: Vintage Ham Radio
This short article about the AWA Forestphone was the last one put on the Midwest Classic Radio Net website by for former webmaster George K9GDT before he unfortunately became a Silent Key.  MCRN articleNow that a longer version has been published in Electric Radio magazine I thought I'd include it here as well.Throughout most of the 20th century AWA was Australia's leading electr...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  01/13/2021 
   Alexander M. Lewyt died in 1988 at the age of 79, a holder of patents on scores of inventions. His penchant for invention, he once said, was so strong that he had chronic insomnia from lying awake at night envisioning new products. When he learned of undertakers’ difficulty in fastening neckties on corpses, the teen-age Lewyt devised a new kind of bow tie that clipped on. He sold 50,000 of t...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  01/08/2021 
  

AN/GRC-9 Bias Battery replacement

Cheap and easy fix using coin cells
Category: Technical
The Korean-war vintage AN/GRC-9 is one of the most useful and fun military field radios for ham use, as with AM and CW modes and 2-12 MHz coverage and a VFO it's all ready to go on several ham bands.    The battery tube superhet receiver is also power-friendly and sensitive and stable enough to copy CW and SSB but has one annoying flaw - the 4 volt bias battery used by the audio...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  01/03/2021 
  

Beware of the LED Noisemaker!

MR-16 lamps have no home in the hamshack!
Category: Technical
Halogen type MR-16 lamps are commonly used in track lights and other spot lighting applications so what would be cooler than to drop in LED replacements!   A lot, as it turns out.   The LED replacements are HORRIBLE RFI emitters that totally trashed several ham bands when I unknowingly installed them.Halogen spot lights are 12 volt devices so it's long been common prac...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  01/02/2021 

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