Gates 833A tube.

Discussion in 'Amplitude Modulation' started by N4WLL, Jun 27, 2021.

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  1. N4WLL

    N4WLL Ham Member QRZ Page

    Just got back from a trip to South Carolina to get a Gates BC-1G from an old station there that has been off the air since 2011, along with the BC-1G itself was a collection of assorted tubes. Mostly 833A's, 807's, 8008's, and a few others. There were about 20 total 833A's, and one 833C, all from various companies. Most of them are probably bad, but going through them I found one that's marked Gates, looking around on the internet I really couldn't find much information on it.

    Is the one marked Gates and original tube that came with the BC-1G when the station purchased it? Or did Gates sell replacements that had their name on them? Since the internet wasn't giving any information I figured someone on here might know something about them.

  2. WA3VJB

    WA3VJB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Congratulations on the BC-1G rescue. Hope you got the technical documentation along with the spare parts. I haven't come across any tube manufacturing units among Gates Radio and its parent companies, successors and assigns. So you indeed may have one of the OEM tubes, painted in GATES, that came with the transmitter between 1962-1971, when the smaller BC-1H came out. Post a photo when you get a chance. Many tubes have certain style and design cues that can help identify who made it. I have at least one and maybe two 807s marked COLLINS, in the winged emblem design, that resemble RCA manufacture.
  3. N4WLL

    N4WLL Ham Member QRZ Page

    Unfortunately not much technical documentation, except for notes and labels on the transmitter itself. I think anything else, including some more tubes, was in the attic which I didn't have access to. The whole building was infested with wasps so it was 3 and a half hours of fighting wasps and the heat to get it out and loaded up.

    Here's a picture of the entire tube, and a close up of the writing on it. There are some more 833A's I haven't looked through yet so there might be more marked Gates but so far I've only found this one. The rest are a mix of RCA, ARS, National Electronics, and a few unmarked ones.

    Attached Files:

  4. W3SLK

    W3SLK Ham Member QRZ Page

    Notice that it is after the take-over by Harris.
  5. K5UJ

    K5UJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I can 99% guarantee you that Gates did not own the materials and Sealex gear etc. needed to manufacture tubes. The technical aspects involving the tube specifications that come from element spacing and emission resulting from cathode construction with high reliability and repetition from one unit to the next are far and away beyond anything a radio manufacturer would want to deal with. It would in no way be cost effective compared to buying them in bulk from a tube manufacturer. Radio companies having their brand printed on tubes is fairly common. Hallicrafters etc. all had rigs shipped with tubes branded with their names. What's new here to me at least is that Gates did it also. You can get an idea of the time period because the 833A was printed when Gates was owned by Harris Intertype. By the early 1960s, Gates was probably the last tube AM rig manufacturer still using 833As. The others still in business had gone to tetrodes and pentodes, usually 4-400s, and 4-500s for 1 KW rigs.

    Let us know what you plan to do with the rig, i.e. what bands you intend to run it on, once you have made that decision.
  6. W7TFO

    W7TFO Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    My recollection is that RCA made those for Gates.

    K0UO likes this.
  7. AC0OB

    AC0OB Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Just like today, many oil company blenders make House Branded oils for company X with the House branded Logos and Labels, various tube manufactures labeled tubes with the OEM's logo under contract.

    Congrats on your acquisition of the Gates. :cool:

  8. K5UJ

    K5UJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    It's important to note the special case of RCA. RCA, one of the crown jewels of American manufacturing in the 20th century was formed following WW1 as a trust owned by Westinghouse, GE, AT&T and the United Fruit Company, because the Federal Government feared foreign ownership of the American Marconi Company. RCA went far beyond being only a "radio company" with a knowledge base, research and manufacturing capability second to none. The modern version of this would exist if Microsoft developed operating systems, all apps, routers, modems, servers, made all the chips, peripherals, and operated a large theoretical R&D center.
  9. N4WLL

    N4WLL Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yeah that is what I figured, and everyone else confirmed, that it's just the Gates name printed on a tube. I plan to eventually use it on at least 160, maybe 75. I still have to get an antenna up. And it's going to need a good cleaning as well as it's been sitting since around 2011 gathering dirt and dust.

    I also have to go through and look for broken parts as someone's failure to help resulted in one end taking a 3 foot drop to the floor... The fun part will be getting it into the house tomorrow without damage.
    WA3VJB likes this.
  10. K4KYV

    K4KYV Premium Subscriber Volunteer Moderator QRZ Page

    And an old one with many hours on it, since it was most likely an original that came with the transmitter, and most BC stations bought their replacement tubes from local suppliers. I doubt if many stations ever bought replacement tubes directly from Gates. Back in the day when I was doing my BC engineering gig, even our local small town electronics store carried popular transmitting tubes, mostly to supply broadcast stations in the region, since they needed them regularly.
    WA3VJB likes this.

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