10 Meter Conversions
NOTE: Click on pictures to view larger versions
CB Type: Pace CB-144
The “Green Radio” seen here was made to simulate a military radio. It uses a converted CB Radio for its guts. The bag has 10 NiMh “D” batteries wired in series below the radio. The antenna is an old Larson mobile CB whip that has been shortened for 10 Meters, and there are provisions for a PL-259 cable connection. The whip is covered in electrical tape to simulate a MIL “brush antenna”, the handset is the real thing! The battery charger fits in one of the pockets and counterpoise wires can be deployed out the bottom. Built by WA3NFV.
The radio inside the back-pack is a Pace CB-144 and has been re-crystaled and re-tuned for 12 channels in the 10 Meter Band. This radio was selected because the circuit design provides low current draw and the T/R switching is relay based, which is a requirement for using the MIL handset. The range of the radio in “field service” is around four miles, which is similar to the real MIL counterparts! Like the other radios seen here, 29.005 MHz is the common channel. With the exception of the walkie-talkies, each of the radios have at least four channels in the 10 Meter Band. Converted and owned by WA3NFV.
CB Type: Johnson Viking Messenger Model 242-127/128
These were manufactured from 1958 – early 1960’s. They were made to be both mobile (6 volt (with vibrator change) and 12 volt) or AC power powered. Converted using Ran Technology board which is a “solid state” replacement for the crystals at programmed frequencies. Converted and owned by N2VUZ.
Found in a box lot at an Auction, this “Smokey” CB was complete with power cord, Mic and manual/Schematic. 23 channel crystal controlled. Dan figured out the proper crystal for me to order and helped with the conversion/tuneup. Owned by KS3Z.
CB Type: JC Penny 6204
This J.C. Penney model 6204 was the first converted, of the two. It’s a very simple radio with essentially no features except for the PA. The first contact made with this unit was a PA to Italy QSO and it was used for several contacts of more that 500 miles, including while mounted under the dash of a Toyota Camry, for a few years. Ultimately, it ended up with the same problem as the other 6204, that being an intermittent transmitter. It was recently recovered from the attic (for this photo) and three contacts were made within a few hours, with no problems from the transmitter. The price of the radio and an hour or so in the conversion was the extent of the expense. Converted and owned by WA3NFV.
CB Type: JC Penny 6204
This J.C. Penny was the third of the contemporary conversions by WA3NFV, and the second J.C. Penney, it is now owned by KS3Z, and was purchased at the club auction probably 2014-2015. It is one of three with an LED channel display which is handy for mobile operation. Intermittent problems with the transmitter, which occurred subsequently, in both J C Penney radios, still has Dan scratching his head. Until the issue is resolved, conversions of this model should be avoided.
CB Type: Kris XL-70
The Kris XL-70 is an AM / SSB transceiver that was likely produced in the early 1970s. It uses crystal mixing and currently has 12 channels installed, including 28.360, .370, .380 and .400. It produces approximately 12 Watts PEP output and the first contact was PA to CA! A dozen or more circuits require tuning to make this unit work on 28 MHz and it is not a conversion for the faint of heart. Converted and owned by WA3NFV.
CB Type: Midland 77-888
The Midland 77-888 was the 40 Channel follow-on to the 23 Channel 13-888 version. Like so many of the Midland radios this particular model was manufactured in 1977. This unit wins three awards: 1. It has the most chrome. 2. It has the most controls and switches (there’s even one on the microphone). 3. It was the least expensive, coming in at under $18, including shipping! Yet an another eBay find, with great cosmetics and post conversion performance. The original microphone also worked. No parts were required for the conversion. Apart from the tuning that went on, the circuit board required the addition of two jumper wires and two cut traces. Converted and owned by WA3NFV.
CB Type: RCA CO-Pilot 14T270
The RCA, CO-Pilot, Model 14T270, shown here, is essentially the same as the RCA units on these pages, with an advanced feature set similar to the base station version, in the CO-Pilot series, namely the 14T303. This particular unit has been operated in WA3NFV’s Cessna 210 to make contacts while airborne, including checking into the Club’s 10 Meter, Sunday night AM net. Converted and owned by WA3NFV.
I converted this RCA model 14T270 Co-Pilot as my entrant in a contest with friend and fellow avid converter, of CB radios to ten meters, Denny WI5V. The contest was to see who could convert and make the first contact on 10 meters using radios of unknown condition, purchased simultaneously from eBay, “Buy it Now” sales. We compared notes on all of the candidates we could find on the eBay website and planned our purchases. This RCA radio was spotted and I immediately suggested that this might be the perfect radio for Denny’s selection. His response was “I’m not buying any radio with a description that states: “for parts only, not working”! OK, so I wasn’t going to talk him into it. After our perusal of the radio market we made our choices. Denny liked the Midland, 77-857 (see below) and I couldn’t resist the “for parts only”, RCA. On the count of three, we hit the commit to buy button and we were on. This is far from the end of the story.
It turns out that in Oklahoma City the U.S. Post Office makes Sunday deliveries. Denny had his radio and mine was who knows where. All I could do was wait, while Denny converts! To add insult to injury, I work for a living and pay for Denny’s Social Security, while he’s working on his radio, I’m at the office. Darn! As it turns out, I get a call from Denny about mid-afternoon, complaining that his radio just will not convert! After describing the problems and status, I suggested a few things to try, (I’m a good sport, by the way). Then the next bomb! Denny’s states “I may have to move to one of the other two radios”. Guess what my response was? “What other two radios? “I don’t remember other radios in the rules” Denny’s response: “I thought some insurance might be a good idea”. Remember, I haven’t seen my “parts special”, yet.
Shortly after we concluded our call, I confirmed with my wife, that the radio had been delivered. I had catching up to do when I got home. I scrambled to get the shipping box open and access what I had. With the screws out, a quick peek indicated that there were loose wires dangling around inside with new wires added and attached between the circuit board and one of the front panels switches. I concluded that the changes were likely the aborted result of an 11 Meter enthusiast’s efforts to “add a few channels”. With what documentation I could find on the internet, I was able to restore the radio to the original state. A few quick checks into a dummy load confirmed that the transmitter was indeed on the channels that were intended, with RF power in the correct output range. The receiver when attached to my ten meter antenna indicated signals being heard.
Roughly another hour was spent performing the conversion. It was late, by then and I was unable to locate anyone to consummate the contact portion of our contest. A check with my competitor was a surprise. He still wasn’t up and running. We compared notes and things to try (remember, I’m a good sport). When I went to bed I was certain that WI5V would prevail, as he still had the next day to get his going and make a contact.
During the drive home, from work, the next day, I set up a schedule with Joe, WS2K, for the minute I walked through the door and the rest was history. A call to Denny to make my report that I had completed my conversion and a contact was completed, but I was amazed to find that he was still having problems. A few days latter Denny and his “Blue Light Special”, as I call it, were making contacts.
– Dan WA3NFV
CB Type: Midland 77-857
The Midland, 77-857 model seen here, (“The Blue Light Special”) bares similarities to both the Midland, 77-888 and the Midland, 77-882, seen elsewhere on these pages. All three share a common chip set and circuit architecture. The ‘857 is similar in size to the ‘882, however, it has the somewhat more modern case style of the 77-888, it also lacks the Noise Blanker found in the other two. The Blue LEDs were added during the conversion, by WI5V, the owner.
Once the “Black Sheep”, now revered by all! The Kraco CB De Luxe. This little rig has everything including chrome and imitation wood grain! As CB radios they were sold by small department stores and retailers that didn’t have their own brands. This radio uses a PLL circuit, so, no crystal swap-out is needed to get to 29 MHz, just a change in the arithmatic! Converted by WA3NFV and owned by N3RSG.
CB Type: Courier Royale w / linear amp
The Courier Royale seen here was a bit of a brutal conversion. In addition to the conversion, it needed a restoration, which was completed by N2VUZ. A crystal was located which would allow the radio to operate on our favorite frequency of 29.005 MHz, however, it was of modern design and housed in a HC-49/U holder. Soldering it into the circuit was no problem but trying to come up with the proper loading and feedback was another matter.
The radio has a bit of an odd frequency conversion scheme which leads to a first IF frequency of 6.000 MHz. Odd, but apparently not unique because we’ve seen it in other radios of similar vintage. The odd low first IF means that careful tuning is required to remove the resulting spurious frequency from the transmitter output. Additionally, the 6 MHz IF, is also problematic, in that it is one of the main frequencies used by Radio Havana, and the IF rejection of the radio is not particularly stellar! Not bad though, if you don’t mind listening to Communist propaganda in Spanish, while chatting with your buddies on ten meters.
Because of the color scheme, its been nick named the “Crown Royal”, by several of us. The companion amplifier is now being used on the frequency for which it was designed, well kind of, but, the explanation would require a history lesson. The conversion was performed by N2VUZ, WA3NFV and the owner KC3HHK.
CB Type: Regency Formula 23
he Regency Formula 23 seen here, was an “opportunistic” purchase made at a local Hamfest, by its owner W3LMR. He claims he bought it because it looked good! Indeed it does, having only some minor cosmetic flaws. Lloyd, found a nice crystal that put it on our favorite frequency of 29.005 MHz, plus an additional frequency above that. Once again, the microphone was not up to the task, having physically survived nearly 50 years. This radio had nearly twice the circuits to tune, but it was worthwhile, having terrific performance and sound, both transmit and receive, post conversion. Converted by WA3NFV, with assistance from W3LMR.
CB Type: RCA CO-Pilot 14T303
This RCA CO-Pilot 14T303 was an eBay find and when it arrived at the QTH of W3LMR it looked like it did when it went into the box 40 plus years before. Flawless, and a working original microphone to boot! More time was spent trying to decide if it should be touched, than was spent on the conversion. The conversion was no different than the other RCA Co-pilot versions seen on these pages. Just a change to the arithmetic, in the frequency synthesizer accomplished by a couple of cut traces and some added jumpers. Also amazing was that this radio produced nearly 6 Watts output, post conversion! Converted by WA3NFV, with assistance from W3LMR.
CB Type: RCA CO-Pilot 14T260
Like the other RCA 14T260 seen on these pages, this example was an interesting conversion. Oddly, it produced RF output on all channels, where the others “ran out of steam” on the higher frequencies. One would normally expect these radios to act very similarly, at least within models or brands. Because of the synthesizer arrangement, common to these radios, Channel 10 ends up being the lowest frequency channel. The receivers seem to always cover the converted channels, which makes for interesting listening in the FM portion of the band. Converted by WA3NFV with assistance by owner WA3YLQ.
CB Type: RCA CO-Pilot 14T260
The RCA Co-Pilot, 14T260 was the first of the contemporary conversions by WA3NFV and the first contact with this radio was to South Wales in the British Isles, from PA. This radio is very similar to the other 40 channel units and requires no additional parts, just a change in the math of the divider in the frequency synthesizer to change the frequency and of course a re-tune of several circuits. Assuming the radio has a microphone when obtained, it’s unfortunately often not in operating condition.
CB Type: RCA Co-Pilot 14T200
CB Type: Precor Walkie Talkie
Much like the Archer, found elsewhere on these pages, it’s another kids walkie-talkie that operated in the CB band and probably of similar vintage. It was an eBay find, purchased for the 10 Meter conversion project and selected amongst others because of its good cosmetics. Finding a suitable 10 Meter crystal takes far longer than the conversion! Once found, just swap out and retune using a field strength or “S” Meter. Converted and owned by WA3NFV.
CB Type: Archer Space Patrol
The Archer (Radio Shack) Space Patrol was a series of kids walkie-talkies that operated in the CB band, often on channel 14 and over the years they came in many shapes and sizes. The one pictured here (circa 1970) was purchased specifically for conversion to 6 Meters. The receiver is a regen and the transmitter is crystal controlled on one channel. Once the oscillator coil is rewound and the 6 Meter crystal kicks off the receiver naturally follows. Converted and owned by WA3NFV.
CB Type: Midland 77-882
The Midland radio pictured here is very representative of those of the era. This 77-882 was manufactured in 1977 and purchased from an eBay auction, the condition is very good considering its age and is amongst the best receivers and certainly the best sounding of the mobile types shown on these pages. Like many of the others, this has a synthesized design which makes for an easy conversion and produced just over 3.5 Watts on Ten meters. The rig has a great set of features including Noise Blanker, Antenna Warning Indicator (high VSWR) and “Delta Tuning”. Converted by WA3NFV, assisted by KC3HHK and the owner W3RKL.
CB Type: Cobra 29A
The Cobra 29A, pictured here is one of many in a family produced for decades. This particular radio, like the Pace CB-144, and the Smokey is a 23 Channel version and represents a simple and quick conversion, utilizing a readily available crystal installed or soldered into one of the crystal positions. Like the others, 29.005 MHz is one of four frequencies available post conversions. Converted by WA3NFV and owned by KC3HEQ.