RAN Technology

International Crystal's KB-1 Citizens Bander for Kit Fans


Vintage Ham Radio 0 Comments 08/02/2019 

and not just for CB!

Posted By: Robert Nickels (ranickels)


International Crystal Company of Oklahoma City was certainly best known for its crystals but the company was also a not-insignificant player in the CB radio manufacturing business, and also had a pretty extensive line of experimenter kits.   The kits typically had one to three tubes on a PC board and provided a single function, such as an RF amplifier, or transmitter, although some were complete converters or IF strips.    No doubt many hams and builders incorporated these modules into their homebrew projects - I remember building a converter for 2 meters using an RF amp, Mixer, and Oscillator module from the solid-state "OX" Series in the early 70s.     Because they were professionally designed and used PC board construction the result was more professional-looking that most ham homebrew projects.

But ICM also used these modules to make some of it's own CB radios, and created new ones just for that purpose.   The ICM CBs followed the same template, with heavy discrete components like the power transformer, relay, and filter mounted to one side of the chassis and the modules making up the receiver, transmitter, and audio section mounted on the side of a vertical partition.    The KB-1 is a case i point, as it was offered specifically for "kit fans" who could buy the complete kit for $90 for 115VAC power or $98 with the 6/12/115V power supply option.   Or they could buy the individual modules and mount them in their own chassis - or in the metal cabinet that was offered separately for $20.

Of course most ICM kits required crystals - and not by accident!

I have a fondness for old CBs and picked up a KB-1 at some hamfest, and noted that it had a ham call on the front panel.   No big deal because many hams also used CB, but thought it was a bit odd that he didn't put his CB call letters there - until I looked inside.    To my surprise, this KB-1 was on six meters!    There's no mention of this in the catalog so I suspect the builder modified the tuned circuits himself and purchased the three crystals after doing a factory-looking modification to add a 3-position crystal switch.   The sharp-eyed will also notice that the lever-type T/R switch is gone, replaced by a PTT relay and a nice "goof plate" with Transmit and Receive indicators has been put in it's place on the front panel.    Two very nicely done and useful modifications, in addition to moving the KB-1 up to the "magic band".     This rig would have put out about the same power (2-3 watts) as a Heathkit Sixer but with PTT and a superhet receiver with squelch, it would have been a much better radio.

I can't find a date in the catalog where the KB-1 and tube-type modules are featured but it was between 1962 and 1964, based on the CB models that were featured and the years they were introduced.

 

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

    Jay Miller KK5IM recently wrote an article in Electric Radio magazine about fulfilling his dream of building a homebrew "AM Kilowatt" transmitter (375 watts output by today's standards).     His crystal-controlled exciter that drive the 813 was based on his Novice transmitter, which was built by his grand-uncle back in the 1960s when Novice class hams were l...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  07/09/2020 
  

Bias control of Class E amplfiers

Previously undocumented phenomenon
Category: Technical
Micro SDR innovator Guido PE1NNZ has implemented polar modulation using an Arduino MCU and a class E PA.   For more informartion on this fascinating project, join the discussion group at https://groups.io/g/ucxInitially, Guido's design implemented the polar or EER modulation scheme using modifications to the QCX CW transceiver hardware in the traditional way as described by Leonard K...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  06/20/2020 
    I'm always intrigued by the odd and unusual ham gear that I remember seeing in catalogs as a kid but have seldom seen after hundreds of hamfests and uncountable for sale listings.   One such is the Lysco mobile transmitter which was produced by the Lysco Manufacturing Company of 1401 Clinton St. Hoboken NJ between 1949 and 1953.   Despite being a very cute and co...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  06/06/2020 
  

Class E Notes

the result of experiments with high efficiency class E amplifiers
Category: Technical
 There is a lot of misunderstanding about how a Class E amplifier works.    Including my own ;-)   As the result of studying the literature and experimenting, I thought I'd share what I have learned.Below is an example of a test amplifier I used to optimize my 2 watt wspr transmitter boards.   It can be visualized as two circuits - the amplifier itself a...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  06/06/2020 
   Seeing this article on Hackaday about how a guy in China made a crystal set using the diode in a chip credit card for the detector reminded me of the Postcard Radio.  It was a project in the WWII-era "Boys Fun Book" that I had as a kid and although I remember it well I had no reason to build one because who would want to mail a radio to someone else?     I did ma...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  06/04/2020 
   What can I say, I like oddball radios!    There was already a different version of this CAI SSB-125 on my shelf but it had the remote control head, and this one was cheap, well under $100 including shipping, and I'm easily amused.   VIDEO DEMO HERECommunications Associates Inc. was a supplier of commercial, military, and marine radios based in Huntington Station, ...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  05/14/2020 
   The HW-16 had to be pushed aside while waiting for parts, creating an opening just big enough for the homebrew receiver I got recently via eBay for $18.50 - plus 2X that to ship it here.   I like saving and restoring old homebrew gear just out of respect for the amount of time and effort our forefathers put into making things from scratch, and this receiver intrigued me, as the IF transf...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  04/28/2020 
    The Multi Elmac Company of Hazel Park and later, Oak Park MI is best know amongst hams for it's great mobile transmitters and receivers which were probably the most popular rigs of their type and are still often used on AM today.   The Multi Elmac Net pays tribute to these little rigs by and typically a half-dozen or more are heard on the net weekly.But the company's origin...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  04/22/2020 
  

Wireless on a Train

a lesser-known radio "first"
Category: Historic
WHEN Frederick Wally stepped out of a little cubby-hole in one corner of the forward day coach on the Lackawanna Limited, west-bound, as it neared North Scranton, Pennsylvania, Tuesday, November 25, 1913, and pinned a sheet of paper on the wall, the passengers in the front seats, who had been casually wondering what caused the strange, crackling sounds that had been coming from the cubby-hole, pri...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  04/14/2020 
    The  Dentron MLX-MINII thought it would be cool to use the Dentron MLX-MINI on the Saturday Vintage Sideband Net but it's a little marginal since the rule is "no tubes, go home!".   However hybrid rigs are allowed, and Special Dispensation is given for rigs with Red LEDs.    So I thought the MLX was double-qualifed - even more so after I realized t...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  04/04/2020 

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