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 Post subject: Regency ATC-1 transistor Amateur Radio converter project !
PostPosted: Sep Wed 01, 2021 6:59 pm 
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Joined: Oct Mon 26, 2009 10:02 pm
Posts: 7094
Location: Indianapolis, IN
Hello All,

This is a historic Regency Division of I.D.E.A., Inc. product, the ATC-1 transistorized Amateur Radio converter. It was the very first device of this type which came out in 1956. Very neat, super-compact, and well-made unit that covers the 80, 40, 20, 15, & 10 meter Ham bands and includes a BFO for CW/SSB & "Q"-multiplier circuit as well as a push-button dial-light activated by tuning knob ! Two transistor circuit (one Philco surface-barrier type). Uses three "AA" pen-light batteries for power. It was designed primarily for mobile operation, but the manual also instructs how to use it with home or portable receivers. It uses the same basic cabinet as the Regency TR-8A (the nearly identical TCR-2 was designed as a "companion" unit for the ATC-1 and came with an installed automotive antenna jack and matching network).

Remember reading about these in old electronics magazines as a kid, but had never seen one in person or even imagined ever owning one ! Two of these appeared on Ebay a few days ago for very reasonable "Buy It Now" prices which included free shipping, so "jumped" on one of them and told another vintage Ham equipment enthusiast friend of mine about the other.

This one just arrived and gave it a quick, careful wipe-down with water-dampened, then dry soft cotton rags. A few dings, dents, scratches, and scrapes, but looks like it will clean up well. Can't wait to try it out with one of my Delco car radios of same time-frame as well as with the TR-8A !

"As arrived" pic below along with ad for the Regency "Tiny Team"...


Attachments:
ARF ATC1 ARRIVAL 9-1-21.jpg
ARF ATC1 ARRIVAL 9-1-21.jpg [ 729.58 KiB | Viewed 1076 times ]
Regency Tiny-Team 58 Allied catalog p272 7-4-21.jpg
Regency Tiny-Team 58 Allied catalog p272 7-4-21.jpg [ 562.17 KiB | Viewed 1076 times ]
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 Post subject: Re: Regency ATC-1 transistor Amateur Radio converter project
PostPosted: Sep Thu 02, 2021 5:35 am 
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Joined: Jun Sun 15, 2014 5:37 pm
Posts: 1394
Location: Montreal, Quebec
$79.50, double the price of the whole transistor radio. I wonder how many were sold at that price?

I think I read about the converter sometime before I saw the schematic. Two transistors, so one is a combined mixer and oscillator, the other the BFO. I have no idea how well it works, but that's pretty primitive.


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 Post subject: Re: Regency ATC-1 transistor Amateur Radio converter project
PostPosted: Sep Thu 02, 2021 5:49 am 
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Location: SoCal, 91387
mblack wrote:
Two transistors, so one is a combined mixer and oscillator, the other the BFO. I have no idea how well it works, but that's pretty primitive.

What do you expect for 1956 electronics? Tubes were still the prominent active elements in most gear.

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 Post subject: Re: Regency ATC-1 transistor Amateur Radio converter project
PostPosted: Sep Fri 03, 2021 5:44 am 
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Joined: Oct Mon 26, 2009 10:02 pm
Posts: 7094
Location: Indianapolis, IN
Tried it tonight before performing any service. Connected to a 1958 Olds radio on garage workbench. A previous owner had scratched "1430" on lower right corner of battery tray and that is exactly where output was received---unfortunately, there is a strong local at that frequency which came in with it, so will need readjusted. Tuned in several adjacent CW signals on the 40-meter band and sensitivity/selectivity seemed excellent using a few feet of wire as antenna. The power/mode switch is a bit erratic and the pot shaft is very difficult to rotate, but all will be "treated" as needed during refurb. The dial-light even works well and the translucent dial drum looks great when lit !

Definitely an expensive unit for it's time, but is well-made with quality components and was a "ground-breaking" product.

Stay tuned !

John


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 Post subject: Re: Regency ATC-1 transistor Amateur Radio converter project
PostPosted: Sep Fri 03, 2021 10:45 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 16, 2020 12:29 am
Posts: 1572
That is a very nice piece indeed. Well done on identifying the unique nature of it and doing what you can to preserve it and make it run again.

There are a number of interesting things like this, from just after the dawn of the transistor revolution. Not everybody notices them and sadly some get lost to the sands of time.


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 Post subject: Re: Regency ATC-1 transistor Amateur Radio converter project
PostPosted: Sep Sat 04, 2021 8:36 pm 
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Joined: Oct Mon 26, 2009 10:02 pm
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Location: Indianapolis, IN
Thanks !

Hope to get back to project early next week and post more detail pictures...

John


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 Post subject: Re: Regency ATC-1 transistor Amateur Radio converter project
PostPosted: Sep Sun 05, 2021 1:00 am 
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Joined: Aug Sat 16, 2014 2:19 am
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Location: Palos Verdes, CA
John - With Regency using the same case for their ATC-1 as the TR-8A reminds me of someone using the Sylvania Thunderbird transistor radio case for intercoms. - Mark


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 Post subject: Re: Regency ATC-1 transistor Amateur Radio converter project
PostPosted: Sep Sun 05, 2021 1:16 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
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Location: S. Dartmouth MA 02748-1225 USA
This very interesting...

Though not for Ham I have a at least one of those "Police" converters that converted the local HF police signals to BC band. The converter was keeps next to the transistor radio for reception of the police calls.

Now police have moved to VHF and gone scramble so it is a useless device. None the less When I am on the prowl I will look for some of this kind of general coverage converter.

Thanks Chas

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 Post subject: Re: Regency ATC-1 transistor Amateur Radio converter project
PostPosted: Sep Sun 05, 2021 4:34 am 
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Joined: Oct Mon 26, 2009 10:02 pm
Posts: 7094
Location: Indianapolis, IN
Just for fun, took a picture of the ATC-1 in front of an NC300 of same vintage that I detail cleaned exterior yesterday to sell to a friend of mine...


Attachments:
NC300 ATC-1 9-4-21.jpg
NC300 ATC-1 9-4-21.jpg [ 681.35 KiB | Viewed 926 times ]
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 Post subject: Re: Regency ATC-1 transistor Amateur Radio converter project
PostPosted: Sep Sun 05, 2021 4:48 am 
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Joined: Jun Sun 15, 2014 5:37 pm
Posts: 1394
Location: Montreal, Quebec
There were those Tomkins Tuneaverters. A small company, I don't think they sold much else. But in business for maybe a decade, advertising in multiple magazines. I guess they weren't more than a combined mixer/oscillator, either. All.meant to feed into a car radio, there were models for shortwave, police band, CB. Some came with a BFO, others had the option of a crystal controlled channel.

I remember pictures in the magazines where people used them at home.


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 Post subject: Re: Regency ATC-1 transistor Amateur Radio converter project
PostPosted: Sep Tue 07, 2021 11:43 am 
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Location: Monroe GA 30656 (from Coventry, UK)
Very interesting find.


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 Post subject: Re: Regency ATC-1 transistor Amateur Radio converter project
PostPosted: Sep Sat 11, 2021 12:50 am 
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Joined: Oct Mon 26, 2009 10:02 pm
Posts: 7094
Location: Indianapolis, IN
Thanks Guys...

Completed this great little unit today !

Disassembled and detail cleaned inside & out. Used Q-tips and cold dish-soap solution on front panel being very careful and gentle around the silk-screened graphics---took some time to get clean. Polished the dial window inside and out carefully with Novus-2 after cleaning. Pressed out what I could of the dent on top left from inside with flat tip of screwdriver. The knobs required a lot of scrubbing with "stubby" toothbrush being very careful around the white painted indicator line---used Mothers California Gold carnauba wax with Q-tips on the "brights".

Applied a tiny amount of synthetic oil to base of BFO/Q-MULT pot shaft which was binding---after working it back & forth several times, it now rotates smoothly as it should. Very carefully applied DeOxit Gold liquid with "trusty hatpin" to all switch contacts---entered the 3-position "mode" switch through the small openings around circumference.

Loosened setscrew slightly on band-switch pulley to adjust position of dial drum in "window" as recommended in manual. Pointer was rubbing drum, so carefully bent it into proper position. Cleaned drum very gently with water-dampened followed by dry soft pieces of paper towel. Reseated transistors. Carefully blew out with compressed air before reassembly.

Made a "proper" J3 jumper plug out of RCA connector. Also made a patch cable long enough to connect to car radio from an old Delco car antenna line. Followed the manual to reset the output frequency to 1290 using my "built-in" Delco ETR in garage as receiver. Followed the set-up alignment procedure and it now seems to work very well on all bands although there was very little to hear...

Was thinking how close Regency was to building a compact transistor multi-band receiver ! Wonder if they ever considered it ??? If they'd expanded the frequency coverages, added an RF-amp as well as the the AM broadcast band, and coupled this in a slightly larger cabinet with the TR-8A IF & audio stages, think they would have had a "winner" !

Project pics below in two "installments"---please "click" on images for larger views ! Converted last picture to monochrome to show the "new Tiny-Team"... Unit definitely has wear & "character" from use, but did clean up pretty well...

John


Attachments:
01ARF ATC-1 CAB CLN 9-10-21.jpg
01ARF ATC-1 CAB CLN 9-10-21.jpg [ 784.56 KiB | Viewed 752 times ]
02ARF ATC-1 CHS FRT PNL IN HRDWR CLN 9-10-21.jpg
02ARF ATC-1 CHS FRT PNL IN HRDWR CLN 9-10-21.jpg [ 661 KiB | Viewed 752 times ]
03ARF ATC-1 CHS FRT PNL CLN 9-10-21.jpg
03ARF ATC-1 CHS FRT PNL CLN 9-10-21.jpg [ 589 KiB | Viewed 752 times ]
04ARF ATC-1 CHS FRT CLN 9-10-21.jpg
04ARF ATC-1 CHS FRT CLN 9-10-21.jpg [ 785.74 KiB | Viewed 752 times ]
05ARF ATC-1 CHS TOP CLN 9-10-21.jpg
05ARF ATC-1 CHS TOP CLN 9-10-21.jpg [ 951.71 KiB | Viewed 752 times ]
06ARF ATC-1 CHS BOT CLN 9-10-21.jpg
06ARF ATC-1 CHS BOT CLN 9-10-21.jpg [ 959.66 KiB | Viewed 752 times ]
07ARF ATC-1 CHS RT CLN 9-10-21.jpg
07ARF ATC-1 CHS RT CLN 9-10-21.jpg [ 940.29 KiB | Viewed 752 times ]
08ARF ATC-1 CHS LFT CLN 9-10-21.jpg
08ARF ATC-1 CHS LFT CLN 9-10-21.jpg [ 878.47 KiB | Viewed 752 times ]
09ARF ATC-1 CHS TRANS CLN 9-10-21.jpg
09ARF ATC-1 CHS TRANS CLN 9-10-21.jpg [ 1.02 MiB | Viewed 752 times ]
10ARF ATC-1 ALMOST TGHTR  CLN 9-10-21.jpg
10ARF ATC-1 ALMOST TGHTR CLN 9-10-21.jpg [ 837.38 KiB | Viewed 752 times ]
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 Post subject: Re: Regency ATC-1 transistor Amateur Radio converter project
PostPosted: Sep Sat 11, 2021 12:52 am 
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Joined: Oct Mon 26, 2009 10:02 pm
Posts: 7094
Location: Indianapolis, IN
Here are the remainder of pics---please see previous post for first installment...


Attachments:
11ARF ATC-1 CMPLT BK 9-10-21.jpg
11ARF ATC-1 CMPLT BK 9-10-21.jpg [ 873.07 KiB | Viewed 752 times ]
12ARF ATC-1 CMPLT BOT 9-10-21.jpg
12ARF ATC-1 CMPLT BOT 9-10-21.jpg [ 1.05 MiB | Viewed 752 times ]
13ARF ATC-1 CMPLT FRT 9-10-21.jpg
13ARF ATC-1 CMPLT FRT 9-10-21.jpg [ 715.1 KiB | Viewed 752 times ]
14ARF TINY-TEAM VERT 9-10-21.jpg
14ARF TINY-TEAM VERT 9-10-21.jpg [ 673.59 KiB | Viewed 752 times ]
15 ARF TINY-TEAM HOR MONOCHROME 9-10-21.jpg
15 ARF TINY-TEAM HOR MONOCHROME 9-10-21.jpg [ 418.51 KiB | Viewed 752 times ]
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 Post subject: Re: Regency ATC-1 transistor Amateur Radio converter project
PostPosted: Sep Sat 18, 2021 1:50 am 
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Joined: Feb Tue 10, 2009 3:16 pm
Posts: 943
Location: zipcode 46235
I own the hand built prototype ATC-1, made by Tex Toler


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 Post subject: Re: Regency ATC-1 transistor Amateur Radio converter project
PostPosted: Sep Sat 18, 2021 3:38 am 
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Joined: Oct Mon 26, 2009 10:02 pm
Posts: 7094
Location: Indianapolis, IN
That’s great, Bill—-would sure love to see some pictures !!!

John


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 Post subject: Re: Regency ATC-1 transistor Amateur Radio converter project
PostPosted: Sep Sat 18, 2021 9:16 pm 
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Bill, I'd love to see that prototype as well!

Nice work on restoring your ATC-1, John! It seems you got a great deal on it too. Did you have to make any adjustments to the alignment?
I have two of these converters, but neither of them pulled in any stations last time I tried them (years ago). I'll have to take another crack at getting at least one of them working at some point.
It's possible I just wasn't checking the right bands at the right time, or my wire antenna was insufficient. It does at least look cool on display at least.


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 Post subject: Re: Regency ATC-1 transistor Amateur Radio converter project
PostPosted: Sep Sat 18, 2021 9:40 pm 
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Joined: Oct Mon 26, 2009 10:02 pm
Posts: 7094
Location: Indianapolis, IN
Thanks much, Matt !

I performed the output frequency adjustment to a quiet spot within recommended range on AM BCB and did the "set-up" alignment as described in the manual (which was a free download) and it did appear to work on all bands, but very little received even with a good antenna. You could hear a peak in the background noise level using the antenna trim adjustment, but only heard a couple stronger signals. There is no RF-amp stage, so really wasn't surprised as tuning the ranges on my GE P-4990 (which was handiest multi-band receiver at the time) also yielded few signals. After reading through the manual, am thinking I'll have to realign all bands after shifting the output frequency, but think I'll wait until I get a better RF signal generator...

Hope Bill posts pics of his prototype soon !

John


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 Post subject: Re: Regency ATC-1 transistor Amateur Radio converter project
PostPosted: Oct Sun 10, 2021 1:13 am 
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Location: zipcode 46235
Here's the prototype made by Tex Toler, compared side by side to a production model.


Attachments:
prodproto.jpg
prodproto.jpg [ 186.71 KiB | Viewed 291 times ]
protoback.jpg
protoback.jpg [ 247.34 KiB | Viewed 291 times ]
protofront.jpg
protofront.jpg [ 183.25 KiB | Viewed 291 times ]
protoprod.jpg
protoprod.jpg [ 206.96 KiB | Viewed 291 times ]
protoprodbacks.jpg
protoprodbacks.jpg [ 231.78 KiB | Viewed 291 times ]
scoremarks2.jpg
scoremarks2.jpg [ 248.27 KiB | Viewed 291 times ]
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 Post subject: Re: Regency ATC-1 transistor Amateur Radio converter project
PostPosted: Oct Sun 10, 2021 1:15 am 
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Location: zipcode 46235
And here's the tiny team package, made by Toler as well, perfect for a field day outing. Complete with ARRL log book and antenna switchbox.


Attachments:
tinyteamcover.jpg
tinyteamcover.jpg [ 260.92 KiB | Viewed 291 times ]
tinyteamfront.jpg
tinyteamfront.jpg [ 260.54 KiB | Viewed 291 times ]
tinytwinback.jpg
tinytwinback.jpg [ 273.25 KiB | Viewed 291 times ]
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 Post subject: Re: Regency ATC-1 transistor Amateur Radio converter project
PostPosted: Oct Sun 10, 2021 5:03 pm 
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Joined: Oct Mon 26, 2009 10:02 pm
Posts: 7094
Location: Indianapolis, IN
Thanks very much, Bill—-can’t wait to see pics on large screen when able !!! Very neat story yesterday at meet.

John


Last edited by xrhonda91 on Oct Fri 15, 2021 8:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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