Friday, September 23, 2011

New Item in the Marine Radio Collection

Could not stop myself from buying an "Emergency Radio Type 610". I believe it is made by Clifford & Snell, but I am not sure about that.
The radio services the frequencies 500kHz (RX/TX), 2182kHz (RX/TX) and 8364kHz (TX). As in this sort of package, cranks are provided as a power source.

The transmitter seem to be built around two electron tubes (have not checked the types yet), while the receiver seem to employ OC transistors, Germanium that is.
Whilst test TXing into the built-in dummy load, on 2182kHz (A3E), the antenna current meter nicely peaks when the matching variometer (coil with dive-in ferrite rod) is agitated. The two other frequencies would require the operator to have a third arm!?? My radio was supplied with the emergency instructions, which showed one operator only, even the text referred to a single operator doing the cranks and the communications all at once. Who ever wrote this may have never operated a radio himself. While in A3E, a carrier in generated anyway. One hand operating the crank, the other to tune the variometer, no problems here.
It is a different story with 500kHz and 8364kHz. Those are A2A frequencies. No, there is not typoe, A2A it is, AF modulated code. And yes, that makes sense. The signal is received in both, an AM receiver as well as a receiver employing a BFO. However, when tuning the emergency transmitter, one would need one arm/hand operating the crank for energy, a second arm/hand for operating the manual key and a third arm/hand for operating the tuning knob.
The makers of the radio seemed to have spent some thought on this issue, although, maybe not enough. The radio is equipped with a mechanical auto-keyer. Keying the transmitter for tuning can therefore be done, sort of, without three arms. However, the designers seemed to never had the code operator in mind. The built-in manual key is so close to the position of the cranks, that operating both at the same time seems to be a challenge per se. However, if that was your option to survive at sea, that what you would be going for.

Enough about the transmitter, lets have a word on the aerial system provided. A system which managed to impress me. As in all of those sets, the aerial is contained in the box itself. Motto: if your vessel is sinking, throw the emergency radio overboard, get in the life raft and hope for the best. Hence, the floating waterproof box of the emergency radio has to contain everything required to perform emergency communication, including the aerial.
The 610 comes with an antenna base, about 1m long, having a rubber foot (for not damaging the life raft's soft bottom). On this foot, a stainless steel telescopic whip is to be mounted, the whip having an impressive length of estimated 4m (maybe more).

To the downside, and the reason why this radio is not widely available.
In order to keep it smaller, I presume, the designers choose to have a low profile for the cranks. Fair enough... however, they put the cranks so low that they can't be used when the radio laying perfectly flat on the ground. A problem that the very similar TRP1 does not have. Is the TRP1 really as similar? Maybe not... think of it, the TRP1 uses TTL circuits, whilst the 610 employs electron valves and Germanium transistors...

Do I regret having bought on of the 610s? No! Would I buy another one? No!
What is the best thing about the type 610? The aerial provided. I believe, there is no other (convenient) way to get your hands on stuff alike... Think of it!