National RAO-7 (NC-120)
This receiver was manufactured by National Company from 1940 to 1944. It was much more widely known by it's military designations and variations than by it's "civilian" name.
This James Millen design is a follow-on to the NC-100/101 series of receivers and it uses the same "catacomb" design for bandswitching as it's predecessors used. The coils for all 5 bands were enclosed in a partitioned aluminum box and the entire box moved along a set of rails. The appropriate set of coils was engaged by a set of contacts beneath the chassis and the correct frequency range was thus selected. The large knob just below the main tuning knob moves the catacomb box and changes bands.
This receiver was given to me in 1978 by Clinton Phillips of Cushing, Texas. Clinton is a World War II veteran - Pacific theatre. He operated a heavy machine gun, and when properly persuaded, can tell stories that will chill your soul. Although he would never accept such accolades, like thousands of his comrades across the land, Clinton is a true American Hero.
I have replaced all paper capacitors in this receiver and retubed it - it sounds great!
I often hear people comment "If only this thing could talk". Well, this receiver can! It is a veteran of World War II, and one can only imagine the events that it described during that epic time in world history. I recently used it to listen to President Bush's addresses to the nation and to a joint session of Congress concerning the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. How's that for spanning history?
I use this receiver now as a part of an AM station on my shack. It is paired with a Heathkit TX-1 Apache to provide vintage AM transmit/receive capability. This pair is fun to operate and the old National is surprisingly sensitive for it's age. The old WWII mil spec equipment was well engineered and strongly constructed. It shows after all these years!
Click here for a brief technical description of this receiver.
Click here to view this 80 pound beauty!
Click to see the restored receiver in use today.
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