Knight R100

Discussion in '"Boat Anchor" & Classic Equipment' started by KW4H, Jul 22, 2021.

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  1. KW4H

    KW4H Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Ran across this old R100 locally at a dealer who was selling items from an estate sale. Couldn't resist picking it up (it was cheap). I've never owned one of these or seen them before -- looks like an inexpensive single-conversion design -- probably a cheap radio back in the day -- however, it looked cool and I couldn't resist putting it in the restoration queue.

    Internal inspection shows it to be in relatively good shape but dusty. It doesn't appear to have been bungled and (cough) modified (cough); however, for some reason the SO-239 panel connector is missing and the only antenna connection is for a longwire. That's easy enough to fix.

    Would be interested in hearing more about this radio and the story behind it.

    73, Steve

  2. KE9EX

    KE9EX Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I have the later model R-100A, but they're about the same on the inside.
    I use it with my homebrew MOPA for "Novice Night" type activities.
    It works OK for those purposes.

    73 es GL, Mike
  3. WA5VGO

    WA5VGO Ham Member QRZ Page

    For a receiver in its price class, it’s a surprisingly decent performer.

  4. WA9FZB

    WA9FZB XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Decent? For its price range ($99 in 1962), it was superb! The R-100 was my novice receiver, paired with a DX-60 in 1962.

    Yes, it is basically an all-American 5, five tube superhet receiver, but it has not only an S-meter, but also a wonderful Q-multiplier. The Q-multiplier makes it a very selective CW receiver, once you learn how to use all of the receiver's charms. Turn up the audio gain, turn down the RF gain, and learn how to use the Q-multiplier's "peak" function to learn how selective it really is. It will surprise you, I promise.

    One of the mods I did to mine was to install a second filament transformer to allow the oscillator (and one or two other tubes?) filament to remain powered 24 hours/day. This kept the temperatures more consistent in the box, aiding stability.

    Hopefully yours has the 100 KHz crystal calibrator. This is essential, as the "main plus bandspread" tuning setup is not very linear or accurate without constant touch-up.

    The other major mod my receiver had was a set of external gear drive mechanisms on the front panel which made bandspread tuning about 5 KHz per full turn of the knob. With that, I could actually use all the nooks and crannies of the CW bands.
    KP4SX and KW4H like this.
  5. KW4H

    KW4H Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Just opened it up to see, and I'm relieved that the crystal calibrator is installed. The date stamp on the main circuit board is 1957 -- the overall condition is a pleasant surprise for a receiver that's 64 years old. Also, whoever built this did nice work.

    Did some quick random checks of resistors and only found one so far that has drifted substantially. The electrolytics are, of course, immediate candidates for replacement.

    Putting the Knight away for now until I get the HRO-60 completed and off the bench.

    73 de KW4H


    Last edited: Jul 23, 2021
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  6. KE4OH

    KE4OH Ham Member QRZ Page

    Nice find! I Have a couple of R100A, which are nearly identical electrically to yours. They really aren't very good receivers. Although as another said, they were a great deal for the money back in the day. The tuning rate is too high on the bandspread for my taste. I wish KnightKit had designed it as ham band only. But I imagine they were trying to capture both ham and SWL customers with the same radio. The best thing about them is the very good Q-multiplier.
  7. KW4H

    KW4H Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Agree that it can't be all that great -- it's probably not a long-term keeper (I have limited space, anyway). But it will be fun to restore it just for kicks and another learning experience. Restoring boat anchors is an addiction I've picked up since everything went work-from-home and the contract work I do slowed down some. I love digging into these old beasts -- and it's a great way to get an electronics refresher.
  8. WA9FZB

    WA9FZB XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    The quality of the R-100 all depends upon your perspective. Today, these are antiquated, semi-usable old hulks. If, however, you were a novice in, say 1962, then that same R-100 is way better than a Heathkit AR-3 or a Hallicrafters S-53 or so. No, they can't compare to even the cheapest modern receiver, but they are entitled to their place in the boat-anchor museums.

    Also, as I mentioned, some of us felt that the tuning rate was too high back then, too. Mine had a heavy aluminum angle-iron bar across its front panel. There were two surplus gear drives fastened to the bar -- one for the main tuning, one for bandspread. No problem with fast tuning rate for me. It did get really tedious getting from one end of the band to the other, until I realized that I could reach into the gear drive and spin the intermediate gear to tune faster.

    I'm not trying to say that the R-100 is a great, modern receiver. Not by any means. Mine was a good receiver for a novice at that time. Others were far, far better. . . but not for the price.

    My R-100 is so long gone that the guy who bought it doesn't even remember having it. I guess that's just how it is.
    KW4H likes this.
  9. KW4H

    KW4H Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    This brings up a point about how I view "boat anchors". To put this in perspective: I was born in '59 and grew up in the 60s and 70s. Was licensed as a novice in '74. These were, technologically speaking, the in-between years. The old "boat anchors" were still active and available to some degree, and the newer sort-of solid state radios were also on the market. My first transmitter was a Heathkit DX-60, and then followed up by other radios such as a Kenwood TS-520 and Heathkit HW-101. The rig I use today for on-air use is an Elecraft K-3, and just prior to that a Tentec. But -- to be completely honest, I love the older rigs. The reason? You controlled them, they didn't control you. There's something to be said, from a operator perspective, to be sitting in front of a panel of knobs and switches and having to know how to turn them and tune them in order to bring in a signal. Even to this day, I struggle at times with my K-3 -- not because I'm technically illiterate (my profession is cyber security), but because it can be, at times, "too much". Too many buttons, too many options. I feel old.... LOL!
    WA5VGO, N2EY, WA9FZB and 1 other person like this.

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