Collins Aerospace Museum

233D Transmitter Restoration Project

This control panel has the famous Autotune® rotary dial.
When we get this baby running again, we can find out happens when you dial ’A’.
I intend to start detailed status reports next week. Any comments or suggestions will be appreciated.

Mike Wilson has agreed to take on documentation organization and will hopefully serve as the head of a “QC” committee to provide constructive critiques and recommendations for the project. Rod has completed clean up of the first two chassis from the RF bay and we expect those will serve as reference standards for the level of restoration required.

The modulator bay has been completely stripped except for the cable harness and we expect to complete the RF bay dis-assembly next week. We had originally planned to leave the cable harness in place because of the impact removing the harness might have on the integrity of the harness because of the fragility of the old wire. Rod discovered that the condition of the old wire in the final PA tube deck was so poor that replacement new wire was required. While the condition of the wire in this assembly was likely the result of extreme heat associated with normal operation, the probability of similar problems in the cable harnesses require that we consider replacement of most of the old wire. We expect that the cost of the wire will be fairly reasonable, considering potential donations and the possibility of buying wire from engineering lab stock rooms. However, rebuilding the harness will be a major effort, so we hope we can enlist the help of retirees who specialized in cable building. Rod thinks an RCRV member may be able to help. New cabling will help guarantee the successful operation of the transmitter and allow it to continue operation for many years to come. It appears that the transmitter is at least 63 years old and parts of it may be 10 years older. So I think our goal should be to expect to keep it operational for another 40 years.

We currently are meeting between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Wednesdays. I will only be there from 11 to noon tomorrow, but I expect to spend at least 4 hours on February 6th with the hope that we can enlist additional volunteers that day.

I have not been attending RCRV sessions, but expect to attend sometime soon and provide information about the project. Rod and Jules tell me that there is some level of discussion about the project at the meetings, but I don’t think the group has included the work as a group project.

We are attempting to establish the provenance of the project, but have found very little in the archives. We are planning to contact Warren Bruene in Dallas to see if he remembers the transmitter and how it evolved.


Jim Jones