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 Post subject: WesKit Radio
PostPosted: Apr Wed 10, 2013 12:52 pm 
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Location: Marquette MI
Hi Gang

I have been building a one tube transmitter/receiver, modeled after the 1950 s WesKit BN-1. It is a piece of junk, but is a lot of fun and is keeping me off the streets (and mostly out of trouble). Last night a friend mentioned that he thought the company (Western Radio?) also produced a simple one tube receiver.

Does anyone know anything about this receiver? I can not find any references to the receiver on line, so thought maybe the collective wisdom here might offer a clue.

Thanks

Dave

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 Post subject: Re: WesKit Radio
PostPosted: Apr Wed 10, 2013 4:42 pm 
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Location: Somers, CT
Western Radio also produced a very crude two tube CW rig back in the day!!! I always wanted to find one, but they are rare.

As I recall, they used a one tube regen RX, and a one tube crystal controlled transmitter. It was pretty flimsy, and cheaply made. I think it was battery operated.

Pete

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 Post subject: Re: WesKit Radio
PostPosted: Apr Thu 11, 2013 1:16 am 
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Location: Marquette MI
Thanks for the info Pete.

Looks like no one else knows much about the receiver (if in fact it ever existed) either.

The BN-1 (transmitter/receiver) that I am duplicating used a single 3A5 twin triode tube. It used one half as a crystal controlled oscillator, and the other half as a regen receiver. They switched the appropiate half of the filament on and off to go from transmit to receive. It was little more than a toy, but I am going to duplicate it and then try to modify it to overcome some of its problems. It was designed to have the absolute minimum parts count. I may be wasting time, but it looks like fun.

I read that one of these went on EBay for over $400.00, but I did not see the item. I think that it sold for $9.99 when new. Good luck in finding one.

Dave

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 Post subject: Re: WesKit Radio
PostPosted: Apr Sun 14, 2013 7:55 pm 
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Joined: Jan Sun 18, 2009 5:13 am
Posts: 148
Location: Eatonton, GA
Dave,
I always wanted one too. I remember the ads stated that you could talk "all over the world" or words to that effect. The closest I ever came was owning a Springfield walkie talkie that used three 3A5 tubes. It worked quite well and I wish I still had it. I do have several 3A5s and always thought they were a neat tube. Air-Champ used them in their 1950s kits. I'll try to add a Weskit article that I have here. When you get it built, let us know how well it works. Perhaps we could have a QRP QSO. Imagine ! Take care, Craig, K3NQO

Weskit BN-1


The Weskit transmitter-receiver was made by Western Radio (a.k.a. Western Electronics) of Kearney, Nebraska, around the 1956/1957 time period. It is an extremely simple rig, using only a single 7 pin miniature type 3A5 tube. This dual triode tube, which typically serves as a push-pull audio output tube in battery powered portable receivers, performs the transmit function with one triode, and the receive functions with the other. The front panel as shown above, is made of thin sheet metal, with a rather attractive gray paint job with red screen printed markings. The sides, top, and bottom of the box are made of a plastic impregnated cardboard, while the back of the unit remains open.

The transmitter is a modified Pierce crystal controlled oscillator on the 80 or 40 meter amateur bands. The L-C tuned plate tank circuit is link coupled to the antenna, and a type 1843 incandescent lamp in the antenna circuit is used as a tuning indicator. After tuning, the lamp is to be replaced with a type 41 lamp to reduce resistive losses. Power input can be as much as 5 watts with 180 volt supply, however the instructions suggest plate supply voltages as low as 45 volts, with "nominal" operation at 90 volts, with about 1 to 1.5 watts input. Snap on clips are provided for connection to dry cell batteries for high voltage, and a single D-cell battery holder is provided for the filament supply. Switching from transmit to receive applies filament power to only the half of the tube which is in operation.

The receiver is a regenerative type. Regeneration is controlled by a potentiometer across the feedback winding of the tuning coil. Frequency coverage is claimed to be 3400 kc to 8000 kc in the manual, however dial calibration does not go below 3500 kc. Audio output is intended to be fed to high impedance headphones. An optional stage of audio amplification using a type 3V4 tube can be added for operation of a small speaker. A pre-punched hole in the chassis can be utilized for the purpose of mounting the additional tube.

The unit in my collection was purchased in August of 1989, from Antique Electronic Supply. It was featured in a sale flyer that was sent out, and I don't believe it was ever offered in regular catalogs. Some other "Western Radio" items that were also available at that time, were some simple receivers with a couple of tubes, and a trap dipole. I suspect that their inventory of Western Radio items has long since been exhausted.

I have played with the rig on one occasion, and found the receiver to be quite tricky to operate, yet quite sensitive when "tweaked-in" as would be expected with a "regen". Switching the receiver filament off for transmitter operation didn't help with "re-acquiring" weak CW signals upon switching back to receive mode. The transmitter was quite simple to operate, and emitted a clean sounding CW note with 1 watt of DC input power. I worked a station about 600 miles away with the transmitter, but was forced to use a more "friendly" receiver.

Here is a GIF image of the schematic for the BN-1.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

(25-Oct-1999) In response to several requests, and the apparent interest in reproducing this circuit, I'm providing some more info:
Construction information for the coils used in the BN-1:

Coil number # of turns coil length form dia. Notes
L1 13 0.18 0.50 on same form as L2
L2 55 0.85 0.50 on same form as L1
L3 15 0.31 0.56 slides over L4
L4 67 1.03 0.50


All dimensions are in inches.
All coil forms are thin wall cardboard tubing.
L1 and L2 are separated by about 0.06 inch.
All windings appear to be 32 AWG varnish coated magnet wire.


Attachments:
weskit photo 2.jpg
weskit photo 2.jpg [ 34.85 KiB | Viewed 6247 times ]
bn1rx.jpg
bn1rx.jpg [ 41.42 KiB | Viewed 6247 times ]
bn1tx.jpg
bn1tx.jpg [ 44.62 KiB | Viewed 6247 times ]

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"The Best Music Ever Made"
WKVQ AM WYTH AM WLRR FM
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 Post subject: Re: WesKit Radio
PostPosted: Apr Sun 14, 2013 8:08 pm 
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Joined: Jan Sun 18, 2009 5:13 am
Posts: 148
Location: Eatonton, GA
Some additional Weskit BN-1 information.


Attachments:
Weskit BN-1   ad.jpg
Weskit BN-1 ad.jpg [ 73.68 KiB | Viewed 6245 times ]
WESKIT BN-1   circuit.gif
WESKIT BN-1 circuit.gif [ 16.18 KiB | Viewed 6245 times ]

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"The Best Music Ever Made"
WKVQ AM WYTH AM WLRR FM
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 Post subject: Re: WesKit Radio
PostPosted: Apr Thu 18, 2013 3:16 am 
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Joined: Mar Sun 14, 2010 2:51 am
Posts: 259
Location: Newport, Oregon, 97365 U.S.A.
It's funny the ad seems to show a "built-in" antenna. This was not offered by the company and there's
really no handy way to mount it to the case. There was a metal cabinet offered as an option, as well as the
second audio tube. I suppose you could mount a short, light whip antenna on the metal case.
The other "communications" products offered were the regenerative all-band receiver and the one-tube
( 1625 ) ham transmitter. I'd sure like to find the transmitter. I think it was advertised as multi-band although
there's no bandswitch and you would have to open the cabinet to change the wired-in coil. I bought the
BN-1 unbuilt but i will have to wait until retirement to see if i can really work coast to coast with it. I think a
good idea might be to series-parallel caps around the tuning cap to limit the tuning range. 5 MHz or so per
knob turn is a little fast for ham radio.


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 Post subject: Re: WesKit Radio
PostPosted: Apr Tue 23, 2013 3:54 pm 
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Joined: Apr Tue 23, 2013 3:33 pm
Posts: 42
This I like very much finally found several circuit diagram provided in the '60 s


Attachments:
2331170k48f4cl141z4kho.jpg
2331170k48f4cl141z4kho.jpg [ 35.93 KiB | Viewed 6006 times ]
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 Post subject: Re: WesKit Radio
PostPosted: Apr Tue 23, 2013 3:56 pm 
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Joined: Apr Tue 23, 2013 3:33 pm
Posts: 42
This is the url

http://www.elecfans.com/tongxin/rf/2009102097963.html


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 Post subject: Re: WesKit Radio
PostPosted: Feb Thu 23, 2017 9:33 pm 
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Joined: Feb Thu 23, 2017 8:34 pm
Posts: 1
I see it has been about 4-Years, since the last post about Western Radio in Kearny, Nebraska and/or the BN-1 Transceiver.

I noticed that several of the posts were related to different WESKIT radio products. Someplace in the basement, I have a copy of the Western Radio "catalog" which was a couple pages "letter" size. They had quite a range of products, but few are ever seen or discussed beyond the WESKIT BN-1 Novice Transceiver. They made several different transceivers and receivers. The XCVR line included rigs for HF, CB and some VHF. One of the receivers was multiband. They also produced some antennas and other "gadget" type products. To the best of my knowledge, all of the radios were in the same size, shape and form-fractor. Most probably used the same chassis, as I know my BN-1 had more holes than I needed for the one-tube XCVR. They sold most of their products as either KIT or assembled.

Decades ago, they disappeared. Some time after that (Late 70s or Early 80s perhaps), there was an AD in the "World Radio" magazine that someone had purchased the last of the WESKIT inventory and was selling it off. Regretably, for some reason I did not follow-up.

I owned one of the BN-1 XCVRs which I built in 1959-60, or so. I even sprung for the metal cabinet, rather than no cabinet, or the fiberboard cabinet. (Price with Metal Cabinet was $19.95.) I dragged it around for years in a cardboard box and finally traded it in at the local radio store for about $50 worth of radio books.

Periodically, I looked for a replacement. I now have one in fair shape, with no cabinet. It is missing one of the variable capacitors, so have not done too much with it yet.

One of the other posts mentioned the little whip antenna shown in the magazine ads. There was little info about it with the BN-1 although my instructions had a small drawing with the schematic. Six inch wooden dowel. 250 Turns of #24 AWG enamelled wired. Slider or taps for 80 and 40 Meters. Whip is 3-Foot, 1/8-Inch AL Rod. The implied option is to drill a small hole in the top of the case to mount it. I used a small "angle bracket" on the antenna terminal.

Hope that is of some interest.

73, Dave

Dave Williams - K7HMP/4
Stafford, Virginia


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 Post subject: Re: WesKit Radio
PostPosted: Feb Sat 25, 2017 6:38 am 
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Joined: Feb Thu 02, 2017 3:13 pm
Posts: 49
http://www.myhamshack.com/thumbnail.aspx?PicID=10592
I too have been playing in this vein. Started with a BN-1 schematic but redesigned it to suit me. I used an ECL832 dual triode (dis-similar) and added a 6aq5 to the rx so I could run a speaker if I wished. I never do so I wouldn't do that again. I have been using it the past couple of days and was surprised to see it on a thread here. Nice radio and fun to use for low power. RX works very well. I only used the BN-1 concept. the circuit is my own. Both RX and Tx are similar and Hartley based. I switched the B plus and the antenna using a DPDT switch. I like it and sometimes have to pinch myself when I am enjoying it.
donVe3LYX


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 Post subject: Re: WesKit Radio
PostPosted: Feb Sun 26, 2017 2:20 pm 
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Joined: Dec Sun 14, 2008 3:33 pm
Posts: 699
Location: Tokyo
I love minimalist radios: the fewer the parts, the greater the excitement and satisfaction. The Weskit concept takes it about as far as it can go: the one tube ham station. Easy enough to homebrew. Maybe this could start something: a reaction against the modern super transceiver. Informally claim a sliver of 80 and 40 meters, add /W after your callsign to show you're in 'Weskit' mode. The only negative is the cost of transmitting crystals these days.

Rob


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 Post subject: Re: WesKit Radio
PostPosted: Feb Sun 26, 2017 3:01 pm 
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Joined: Feb Thu 02, 2017 3:13 pm
Posts: 49
You don't have to start it Rob , it is already alive and well. Crystals are a pain and expensive not to mention not easy to get although Bry C has a good supply for one that I often use. However I built mine (and several others rigs) with a VFO. I was using it just about an hour ago. Still as fun as the day it barked to life.
"fewer the parts the higher the fun" has a lot of truth in it. Who ever designed that little radio was not stupid. Despite what some may think. There was some very clever things done there.
donVE3LYX


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 Post subject: Re: WesKit Radio
PostPosted: Jun Fri 16, 2017 3:32 pm 
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Joined: Oct Sun 20, 2013 9:12 pm
Posts: 12
Hi Dave,
thanks for share the useful informations you wrote about the whip antenna!
Nice stuff!

Best regards

Realistic


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 Post subject: Re: WesKit Radio
PostPosted: Jan Wed 10, 2018 12:36 am 
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Joined: Jan Tue 09, 2018 11:50 pm
Posts: 1
Does anyone have a schematic and/or other documentation for the later BN-1-A? I have one here in good cosmetic condition, but it was pretty poorly wired–cold solder joints, sloppy wiring layout, etc, plus a number of highly suspect circuit connections. The “A” model was said to have had “improved circuitry.” Mine has several connections that do not agree at all with the published BN-1 circuit and it works extremely poorly–barely at all. I am wondering what the A-model circuit “improvements” were and whether mine incorporates said improvements or is just incorrectly wired. I’m also wondering if a copy of the assembly/operation manual exists out there–I’ve only seen the original BN-1 circuit published, but no assembly or operating instructions. Before I re-wire this BN-1-A model back to BN-1 circuitry, I’d love to know if any of the different wiring in mine is accidental mis-wiring, a deliberate but ineffective performance "hack", or intended as an “improvement” to the original BN-1 circuit by the manufacturer.

I am assuming there must be other BN-1-A owners out there. Any information on the A model would be very helpful, but especially the A-model schematic.

Thanks and 73,

Terry Thompson K7MPP


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 Post subject: Re: WesKit Radio
PostPosted: Jan Thu 25, 2018 11:17 pm 
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Joined: Mar Sun 14, 2010 2:51 am
Posts: 259
Location: Newport, Oregon, 97365 U.S.A.
duplicate.


Last edited by Hue Miller on May Tue 01, 2018 11:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: WesKit Radio
PostPosted: Jan Thu 25, 2018 11:17 pm 
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Joined: Mar Sun 14, 2010 2:51 am
Posts: 259
Location: Newport, Oregon, 97365 U.S.A.
duplicate


Last edited by Hue Miller on May Tue 01, 2018 11:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: WesKit Radio
PostPosted: Jan Thu 25, 2018 11:17 pm 
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Joined: Mar Sun 14, 2010 2:51 am
Posts: 259
Location: Newport, Oregon, 97365 U.S.A.
I have unbuilt BN-1 and BR-1 receiver. I will eventually scan in the front panels for replica builders.
There were actually two versions of the Novice Transceiver; I believe the latest was the "BA-80-40" but I have never actually seen an example. The BR-1 receiver was updated with more modern front panel graphics also; i'd guess this was an attempt to boost sales by getting a "modern look", altho to me it looks more "junked up".
Weskit did not manufacture other receivers. They did manufacture a series of simple SW and VHF converters.
And of course, several models of crystal radios. Oh, and i just recalled, in 1940 one convertible radio - tranmitter for the AM band.


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 Post subject: Re: WesKit Radio
PostPosted: May Tue 01, 2018 9:55 pm 
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Posts: 12
@Hue Miller

Hi,
I think would be nice see the front panel you wrote as well as read any related documentation.
Thanks

@Terry Thompson K7MPP

Hi,
I know little, anyway a few months ago I saw a WESKIT BN-1 Single Tube Transmitter which has an extra knob on the right side of the antenna load lamp.
Actually in FIG.6 on the schematic which can be retrieve here

http://www.af4k.com/ham/WeskitBN1_files/bn1_sch1.gif

it's shown the addittional knob, though neither its position nor its function is indicated.
For what I know no internet resource concerning the WESKIT BN-1 mentions said additional knob or explains its function, however it would seem that it operates a variable capacitor on the antenna tuning circuit.
Please take a look here:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Rare-WESKIT-BN ... 2111421045

The original circuit has the antenna connected only to the transmitter, and it can be assumed that the signal gets to the receiver through the tubes internal capacitance.
Maybe the additional variable capacitor is an attempt to improve the things by attaching the antenna to the plate of the other half of the tube and or also to the top of L1.
Maybe that's one of the improvements to the "A" revision, perhaps, but I don't know for sure.

Best regards

Realistic


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 Post subject: Re: WesKit Radio
PostPosted: May Tue 01, 2018 11:32 pm 
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Joined: Mar Sun 14, 2010 2:51 am
Posts: 259
Location: Newport, Oregon, 97365 U.S.A.
This is the much - dreaded "hammification". A couple clues are, the position of the new knob is kind of unsymmetric,
it's lower than the lamp to the left, and the trimmer capacitor is of a different style than other Weskit components.
I hope the buyer noted and understood this. Better luck next time !
The BA-80-40 image that I saw has exactly the same control positioning as the BN-1, it was just the front panel graphics design that was different.
Like you, i'm guessing that this cap was an "antenna trimmer" to try to get some addtional performance from the
receiver. This cap is in series with the antenna coil link. So with a resonant dipole antenna, there really wouldn't be
any use for a series trimmer.
If i owned this example, i'd be thinking how to remove the mod and gracefull cover up the hole.
Thanks for including the link to the Ebay set. I had completely missed watching that one.
-Hue


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 Post subject: Re: WesKit Radio
PostPosted: May Tue 01, 2018 11:48 pm 
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Joined: Mar Sun 14, 2010 2:51 am
Posts: 259
Location: Newport, Oregon, 97365 U.S.A.
Dunno if it's come up here before, but QST magazine actually had a single tube CW transceiver article. I just now spent a few minutes looking thru my photos archive for the schematic and didn't find it. If anyone is really interested
and bugs me about it, i'll look again later. This circuit I can only nail down to around 1940 - 1947 years. It used a dualtriode 6 volt tube, so it developed more power than the BN-1, AND, get this, as I recall, coil information was supplied for up to 20 meters. I looked in my archive for things like "Tom Thumb" and "Mighty Mite" and such, but no luck. I know I saved it somewhere ! With a couple watts on 40 or 20 meters you could really get some DX and maybe
amaze some people with a real minimalist rig.
-Hue


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