RAN Technology

Whatever happened to Globe Electronics

Vintage Ham Radio 0 Comments 03/18/2019 

and the Globe Mobiline Six...

Posted By: Robert Nickels (ranickels)


In his book "In Touch with Leo", the success and growing backlog of CB-100 orders is what drove Leo to his banker, Lou Ross, who asked him why he didn't anticipate the number of orders and required capital.  Leo responded "Lou, never on God's green earth could I have believed such an influx of orders!".    More funding was needed than the bank could provide so Ross set out to find a suitable partner, which led him to General Cement division of Textron in Rockford IL.   They saw the potential and acquired Globe Electronics in Sept. 1959 along with other underfunded electronics companies, which took Textron stock from $7.50 a share to over $20.    Leo was retained as President and Roger Mace (of Heathkit fame) became Director of Engineering.    The book claims that at this time "Globe had well over half of the CB business in the country".   But Textron's manufacturing engineers convinced their management that even after expanding the Council Bluffs facility by 13,000 sq. ft. (which they had a 10 year lease on), it still made more sense to move operations to their 300,000 sq. ft. facility in Rockford,  and that move occurred in 1961.   They tried to get Leo to move and continue running things - even offering to buy WRL as well, but he refused and ended up selling his Textron stock back to the parent company after he resigned.

Once in Rockford, things did not go well, with quality problems and despite having hired and moved 48 key Globe employees from Council Bluffs to Rockford, 35 had left by the end of the first year.   Textron tried again to hire Leo and even offered to sell Globe back to him,  but Leo felt they'd tarnished the reputation of his former company and declined.  Globe Electronics folded soon thereafter.    The biggest upside for Leo is that this terminated the 5 year non-compete agreement he'd signed, which enabled him to form Galaxy Electronics and get on with the next phase of his entrepreneurial career.    Anyone who has had involvement with mergers and acquisitions will agree that this scenario is unfortunately the rule rather than the exception.

I summarize this part of the book here because I know it's hard to find and suspect many are interested in this fascinating piece of ham radio history.   I live about 45 miles from Rockford and when I first moved here in the 80s attended a ham club auction there where I bought a Globe Mobiline 6 that had been assembled by an employee, and which worked but was lacking a few decorative elements that must have been hard to find.   I also have a semi-assembled chassis that came off the production line when it was finally shut down and later bouth a 2nd complete unit that appears to be complete.   The Mobiline 6 is an impressive design with built-in VFO, 2E26 final, and a low-profile stylish cabinet that is similar to the CB-100.    The electrical designs were solid and there's no doubt that Globe hired an industrial designer to make these products look good as well, evidently they just lacked the electronics manufacturing expertise needed to make them!

The Mobiline Six is featured on a fold-out page in the 1961 WRL catalog (wonder how many didn't even know it was tucked in there?).   It provided a sensitive receiver and a transmitter with 20 watts input and a built-in VFO.  A crystal could be installed in an opening on the bottom which actuated a switch that disabled the VFO.    The rig could operate from either 115 volt AC or 12 or 6 volts DC.   It was no lightweight weighing in at 30 pounds and not cheap at $229.95.   Still this was during an active part of the sunspot cycle and the Mobiline Six would have garnered some fraction of six meter AM rig sales if Globe had been able to manufacture it long enough to stay in the amateur radio business.

    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

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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 

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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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