1944 BC-610 E back home!

Discussion in 'Amplitude Modulation' started by N6YW, Jan 28, 2019.

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  1. K4KYV

    K4KYV Subscriber QRZ Page

    Back in the late 50s or early 60s I remember getting flyers from some surplus outlet, advertising BC-610s for $400 (or $600?). That would be about $3500 (or $5300) in 2019 dollarettes.
  2. K5UJ

    K5UJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I think Fair Radio back in the 1960s sold NOS BC610s still crated. Oh, to have been a ham and an AM operator back then.
  3. N2EY

    N2EY Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Yes and no.

    The oldest Fair Radio catalog I have is 1967, and there are no BC-610s listed in it.

    More importantly, the prices back then look great until one considers inflation, as @K4KYV points out. $500 in 1965 inflates to a tad over $4000 in today's money.
  4. W2VW

    W2VW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Fair Radio did not always put everything they sold in their catalogs.
    N2EY likes this.
  5. K4KYV

    K4KYV Subscriber QRZ Page

    I have never visited there, but folks have told me stories about seeing loads of stuff piled up that wasn't in the catalogue, but they wouldn't let anyone rummage through it.
    N2EY likes this.
  6. K5UJ

    K5UJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I think the 610s were being sold earlier than 1967. The mother lode of WW2 surplus began to diminish by the late 1960s I think. It wasn't all good. Soon after the end of WW2, Uncle Sam disgorged a huge volume of vacuum tubes that had been manufactured and bought up by the U.S. for the War. Suddenly H. and K., Taylor, Eimac, RCA etc. tubes were available, high power triode bottles, for pennies on the dollar. It was a windfall for hams. But it was a disaster for Taylor, H.&K. and others who had no other lines of business and did little R&D. They went under after a few years. RCA survived of course because they were much more than tubes. Eimac survived because they immediately started developing new and better designs such as the 4-65A, the 4-125A and other compact internal anode tubes in that family. Raytheon had other businesses and made out okay.
  7. K4KYV

    K4KYV Subscriber QRZ Page

    Look back in early QSTs and CQs. BC-610s and all other WWII gear were being sold all the way back to just a few years after the end of the war, as soon as surplus began to be released. Much of it was never released, but dumped into massive landfills and the ocean. Plus, a lot of WWII surplus made its way to the ham community via MARS. Depending on how active you were in MARS, you could scarf up a lot of WWII surplus free of charge. Theoretically, the equipment was on "loan" to MARS members for use in the nets, but in reality, Uncle Sam just wanted to get rid of it and didn't care what happened once it as no longer in the way; I never heard of a ham being asked to return anything he had received from MARS.

    Reportedly, that was one of the reasons why a lot of communication equipment as well as Jeeps, tanks and aircraft were dumped into the ocean instead of released on the surplus markets, to protect the domestic manufacturing industry. This was a net loss, because most of the newly manufactured stuff for the civilian "consumer" market was nowhere near the quality of leftover military equipment. As for tubes, they kept hams in affordable supply for decades, but once they began to run dry, or tubes long on the shelf turned gassy (especially ones like the 250TH, 100TH and 304TL), there weren't many manufacturers left to produce new ones, and the tooling had long been sold or cannibalised. We can thank the A-bomb for the huge surplus inventory after the war; it had been produced for the anticipated land invasion of Japan, which was projected to be a lengthy operation and extremely costly in both material and human life.
    N2EY likes this.
  8. N2EY

    N2EY Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Yes....but there's another factor.

    Take a look at the list of JAN VT-xxx tube numbers. These were tube types that got supply and manufacturing priority, and which were used in practically all military electronics during WW2.

    Most of the tubes are RCA. Some of the older ones are Western Electric. Almost all others are Eimac. Most of the other manufacturer's tubes were left out in the cold.

    (Raytheon made the ruggedized subminiatures used in the proximity fuze, which was top secret).

    Taylor, H&K, and other manufacturers were licensed to manufacture tubes on the VT list....but their own designs weren't on the list, and faded into obscurity. And when the war ended, the licenses to manufacture RCA and Eimac designs ended too.

    Note that when the HT-4 was redesigned to become the BC-610, all the tubes used in it became RCA and Eimac types.

    It is not a coincidence that David Sarnoff got himself a commission as a General, and had influence....

    In the post-WW2 era, the civilian demand for tube designs was mostly driven by television, which required enormous numbers of tubes (a typical B&W TV set needed about 20 tubes, most of them miniature types, plus the P4 CRT).
  9. N2EY

    N2EY Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    There was also the question of location. Huge amounts of equipment had been stockpiled in places such as Pacific islands, and the cost of bringing it back to the USA was enormous. So it was dumped where it was.

    Plus industry had moved on. Newer designs were based on newer tubes.


    My father was a B-24 navigator in the 7th Air Force during the war. He was based on Guam and then Okinawa. Had flown 13 missions when the war ended. He said many times that in July 1945 everyone there expected the war to last another year, and that those fortunate enough to survive might get home by Christmas.....1946.

    In the event, the sudden unexpected end of the war changed everything. He and many other bomber crews were allowed to fly their planes back to the West Coast, usually with passengers who were liberated POWs. The priority was getting as many back to the USA and out of uniform as quickly as possible, because the costs of maintaining so many men in far off places were staggering (food, supplies, pay, etc.). His crew landed at Moffat Field, and he suspects their plane was scrapped soon after they landed. He arrived home in Philadelphia November 15, 1945....the same day as his brother, who was in the Navy.
  10. KA4KOE

    KA4KOE Ham Member QRZ Page

    Your debauchery knows no limits. Good JOB OM!

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