Many of our number are skilled restorers of vintage equipment, and without them, we’d be significantly poorer. Here’s a place to show the rest your projects, to share the wisdom of trial and error, often on gear 50 years old and older. We are indebted to those amongst us so willing to offer a helping hand with our boat anchors.

Click on the Photo to Enlarge

Concoction for Bathing Boatanchors

by W3HPW

SX28A Chassis after Cleaning

The Before Pic of SX-28A Chassis before cleaning

The mixture is equal parts of denatured alcohol, murphy’s oil soap, janitorial strength ammonia, and acetone.  Cut this with 50% distilled water.  Once it is sprayed on with force, rinse with distilled water, and blow dry with compressed air.  Rinse again with denatured alcohol and blow dry again.  Then apply WD-40 and blow again.  If you are not doing a complete (frame off) restoration this makes cleaning under the chassis a much easier job.  You will actually be able to read the resistors in a once filthy radio.


If metal parts are out of the radio, i.e. away from plastic parts, etc you can use a greater strength mixture without cutting much at all.  In fact, I have gone to stronger solution even with gang switches that have fiber wafers, etc. cutting at only about 30%.  For gang capacitors like on the top chassis of the SX-28 this makes cleaning the plates of the variables easy—for these I use almost 80% mixture.  The second rinse with alcohol is important to remove any water from first rinse.


To get a shine with chassis that has rust you will have to use 400 grit sand paper then go to a fine sanding sponge.  However, if you don’t clean first (as above) the sandpaper will not work well at all. If you must sand skip the WD-40 step until ready to wipe dry.

de W3HPW


Chapter Ten-

Radio Nomads
by Clinton B. DeSoto

FOR A CLAN who boast that they roam the world in their armchairs, radio amateurs are a remarkably active lot.

Not all of them manage to visit in person the exotic spots they call at in fancy. But there are a few radio nomads whose customary ports of call bear the strange names that are found in a DX man’s log.

Tales of their peripatetic adventures are among the more exciting pages of short-wave radio.

George W. Polk is a newspaper correspondent who has operated amateur stations in Alaska and Shanghai. A foot-loose free lance, he roams the world at will and can usually be found wherever there is trouble and excitement.

It was in Aden, near the mouth of the Red Sea, while chasing down a war yarn that Polk met Rex Purcell. Purcell was one of the crew of the Pang Jin, a Chinese junk in which three adventurous Americans set out from Hong Kong to sail to the New York World’s Fair.

This is the story of the cruise of the Pang Jin as told to George Polk by Rex Purcell:

” ‘QST de VS6BF, QST de VS6BF, QST de VS6BF, AR K.’ Over and over I pounded my call. The heavy crashing of the junk sounded dangerous and labored down in the shack. Waves cascaded over the deck, thundering and smashing. The barometer was dropping alarmingly and had already passed a figure lower than I had ever seen before.

“I tuned through the twenty-meter band in the hope that someone had heard my call; traffic was heavy. Suddenly the mounting tone of a stronger carrier whistled into the headphones. I tuned into it, heard nothing and then gradually dialed past. Slowly I tuned back. Sharply a voice was saying, ‘Hello, VS6BF, calling VS6BF, Venezuela-Spain-six-Boston-France. ZS6DY, Johannesburg, South Africa, is answering your QST and standing by. Go ahead, please.’

“I flipped my generator switch and keyed out my reply. ‘ZS6DY de VS6BF. Chinese junk, Pang Jin, in severe storm off east central coast Madagascar. Urgently need weather reports and forecasts on direction of cyclone this vicinity. Can you arrange? AR K.’

“The ‘phone came right back. ‘ZS6DY to VS6BF. Will try to obtain weather info for you imeediately. PLease QRX while I check.’

“The sea was so rough that my receiver would not hold its frequency setting steadily, but I heard bits of ZS6DY’s rapid-fire calls for weather data. There was one to Durban, another to Cape Town. Then he asked a local station in Delagora Bay to telephone the local Coast Guard and weather stations. I did not hear the answers, for I was afraid of losing ZS6DY, constant tuning being necessary. Overhead the shouts of the men battling with wind and waves were dimly audible. Conditions were undoubtedly becoming worse. After what seemed hours but was actually only minutes I heard my call. ‘Calling VS6BF, VS6BF, VS6BF. ZS6DY is calling and standing by.’

“I immediately answered. This message came through: ‘Cyclone off east central coast of Madagascar plotted as progressing east to west, speed twenty-eight miles per hour. Weather bureau advises you proceed northwest in order to escape danger zone. Can stand by for you long as necessary or will arrange sked for later contact. Go ahead, please.’

“A few seconds later my thanks had been acknowledged by ZS6DY and he agreed to a contact for that evening, at which time he would furnish me with further storm reports. Twelve hours later we had sailed far enough to the northwest to be in much calmer waters. Thus was our Hong Kong-to-New York voyage interrupted. We had planned on exhibiting the Pang Jin at the New York World’s Fair by July first; the cyclone was but the first of a series of misadventures which threw us farther and farther behind schedule.

“Eight months before Jim Peterson, Homer Merrill and I had met in Hong Kong to build the Pang Jin. Months of planning and preparation had gone into the making of our ship. We personally selected each piece of timber, coil of rope and bucket of paint used in its construction. While we were building another junk was on the ways in a near-by shipyard. This second junk was the Green Dragon, owned by Richard Halliburton. The Green Dragon sailed from Hong Kong on March eight carrying a crew of twelve Americans, her destination the San Francsico World’s Fair. Since March twenty-fourth, when her radio failed during a storm, the Green Dragon has been unreported. She is now given up for lost.

“When plans for our trip to New York had become definite I appealed to Leroy Lewis, radio engineer for the Philippine Aerial Taxi Company, for technical advice and practical assistance on the radio equipment we planned to install. He designed a compact portable transmitter which operated on phone or c.w. from a motor generator; output was forty-five watts. The single wire antenna was stretched from mast to mast, but since the booms rose above the tops it frequently broke as the sails were shifted.

“I was familiar with radio communication, both phone and c.w., because of my experience in the U.S. Army Air Corps. For the past four years I have been flying for the Philippine Aerial Taxi Company and, as much of our communication was handled through the medium of aircraft radio, I felt capable of assuming the role of operator aboard the Pang Jin.

“The British Government agreed to grant me a special license assigning the call VS6BF. Power was limited to fifty watts, and the license was to become void upon arrival in New York. Little did any of us imagine how important those forty-five watts at work on 14,136 kc. would become during a cyclone in the Indian Ocean…

“An amusing feature of a few of these QSOs has been the sounds of civilization which have been heard yet not experienced. As we roll and dip our way across various oceans and seas toward America the noise of an auto’s horn or the ringing of a telephone bell emanating from the loudspeaker sound strangely out of place. So long unheard are they that they are practically forgotten. Our longest at-sea stretch has been seventy-seven days. Almost at the end of this period we heard Lowe (ZS6DY) talking with his wife and family. Again we recognized the splash of a tub being filled. How we longed for a hot bath, we of the dirty fingernails and long, flowing beards! The unattainable pleasures of civilization can be trying at times.

“Originally our route had been planned to take us from Hong Kong through the Straits of Malacca and on to the southern tip of the island of Ceylon. Here we expected to take advantage of the northeast monsoon season and sail to the southwest across the Indian Ocean to the Cape of Good Hope. From Good Hope we were to continue to New York over the waters of the Atlantic. These plans have been altered, however, because of the cyclone which drove us from our course in monsoon season.

“The monsoons of the Indian Ocean are steady winds which blow from the northeast to the southwest from December to June and then turn and blow in the opposite direction for the next six months. A sailing ship finds beating against a monsoon all but impossible. We took the chance of completing our passage to Cape Town before the change in season although we realized how late our start had been. We figured without the gale off Madagascar. The monsoon turned and blew against us after the storm. We then decided to attempt to reach the United States via the Seychelle Islands, Aden, the Red Sea, the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean.

“Here in Aden at the southern tip of Arabia we are still faced with adverse winds in the Red Sea. New York is yet thousands of miles distant, but we are determined. It is New York or bust!”

And so ended Rex Purcell’s account of the cruise of the Pang Jin as told to George Polk at Aden. The sequel to the story was told in this news bulletin in the London Times a few days later:

Five days out of Aden, Arabia, the Chinese junk, Pang Jin, bound Hong Kong to New York, sank in the Red Sea. All members of the crew were saved by the Greek freighter SS Olga E. Embiricos. Due to extremely rough seas and high winds the survivors were unable to salvage anything but a few personal belongings.

From the 1930s. Helped save a sailing ship from a storm off Africa enroute to NY World’s Fair 1939
VS6BF Modulator Deck
VS6BF Power Supply
VS6BF Side View



Randy KC3CH is understandably proud of this beautiful Viking Valiant I restoration

Randy’s most recent post on the project…

The Valiant project is winding down. Last night I finished solid stating all the power supplies & installing the negative feedback circuit.

The pair of 866 ( warm glow photos ) were replaced with ( 8 )1n4007 diodes and a pair of 100 mf capacitors W/20K equalizing resistors across them, as shown in photos. As with the AF section gut and rework there is much more space in the radio, and much more stable operation. Rock solid voltages this morning.. Plate Voltage is now at 700.

The negative feedback circuit is setup to reduction gain 10 db which on the scope removed distortion on the peaks, and the waveform on peaks became rounded, clean and symmetrical as I adjusted it using the pot that was the old clipper pot on front panel. It works!

I noticed improved fidelity as I increase feedback as well.

A Key Feature is the Solid Stating of the Valiant’s Power Supplies

The 866s have to go

High Voltage Power Supply Mod

Randy replaced tube sockets among other things

New Tube Sockets

Valiant really cleaning up nicely for Randy

  1. George says:

    Saw the transmitter Saturday morning at UCF. Very nice!!

  2. very interesting topic, outstanding post. Please visit my blog whenever you want. thx.!

  3. John W. Peel says:

    Enjoyed the article. Rex Purcell was my father-in-law and I heard his story firsthand during the 1970’s and early eighties. He was quite the adventurer. I still miss seeing and talking with him.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s