Dodgy Hotel, Beer And A WWII Era Tube Receiver

bc-22e ww2 reciever operating in a hotel

In the luxurious accommodations provided by Motel 8 and armed only with a few tools and a six pack – a pair of amateur radio enthusiasts attempted the repair of an old WWII era BC-224E receiver. They picked up the boat anchor antique receiver, which was in unknown condition, from a flea market while in town for the Dayton Hamvention, brought it back to their hotel and got to work.

The BC-224E came in two parts – the receiver and the power supply. The speaker for the system, which is actually located in the power supply, is driven by a large inductor.  Apparently when the receiver was constructed, the permanent magnets of the day were not powerful enough to drive a speaker.

Fortunately, the receiver also came with some schematics, allowing [Gregory] and his fellow radio enthusiast to reverse engineer the power supply. After a few tweaks and cap swaps, they crossed their fingers and plugged it in. Stay tuned to see what happened next.



21 thoughts on “Dodgy Hotel, Beer And A WWII Era Tube Receiver

  1. They can’t even wait til they get home lol. Way to go guys! Got an old radio I need to fix still, and yeah it can kill me if plugged in…RE it will be a pain as it’s a lot of “air-board” and old components. It’s on the backburner but you hate to have a broken radio laying around.

    1. Next time you are in Dayton and its not Hamvention time you should check out Mendlesons in downtown Dayton
      the first floor is restaurant equipment and practically a department store while the third floor has everything from motors (even some 100hp+ beasts), stepper motors, pumps, utility power transformers, Neon sign transformers, Pc fans, squirrel cage fans, florescent fixtures, variacs, hydraulic pumps / filters /cylinders etc, end mills on and on and on and on and a mind boggling amount of discreet components resistors caps transistors ICs LEDs relays humidity sensors gauges connectors wire pc parts ALL KINDS of stuff… The IC’s are generally older..

      This place is pretty much the size of a city block so you can imagine just how much is packed into the place but you must see to believe!! :P They do offer a small amount of mail order stuff on their site for those that haven’t the means to travel to Dayton but don’t consider their website to be indicative of the vast selection you will see in person!!


      340 East First Street

      Dayton OH 45402


      Retail – Monday – Saturday 8:30-5:00 EST

      Customer Service – Monday – Friday 8:30-5:00 EST

      No I’m not affiliated with Mendlesons any way shape or form, but Ive loved the place since I was old enough to go wander the aisles.

  2. The loudspeaker magnet coil normally serves as the power supply smoothing choke.


    P.S. I would love to be able to visit the Dayton Hamvention. It is well known even here in the UK.

    1. Yep. Permanent Magnet speakers were certainly around before the war, but electro-magnets were far more powerful and you also got to use it as a choke. A nice 2-for-1.

  3. This has happened at Dayton Hamvention every day for the past 20 years, This is not that special in any way.

    One year my friends and I built a 2 meter repeater from separate parts we bought during the day in a tent at the KOA campground, something a lot harder than repairing a older radio. we then used that 2 meter repeater for the rest of the event. yes we even erected a 40′ tower on the campsite.

    I saw a guy one year completely assemble an Altair 8080 on a picnic table over the course of 3 days as he bought the random parts, he found the stripped altair on the first day. he was even doing component level stuff on the picnic table.

    This is NORMAL for the Dayton Hamvention, although it’s a shadow of what it was back in the 90’s. the event used to be large enough that you could not see all of it in 3 days.

    1. Just because it’s “normal” for the Dayton Hamvention does not preclude from it being remarkable anwhere/anytime else. Normal or not, it’s interesting, especially to hams like me that can’t get to Dayton.

  4. I’m the guy on camera as the video opens, giving the crappy intro. We got the old signal corps radio working in the hotel that night, and I fixed the Hallicrafters rig a few months later. It currently sits atop my desk, next to my Icom IC-7410. Newer radios are feature-rich, but the tube rigs from this era have a sound and feel to them that you just can’t buy any more. There’s nothing like picking up Radio Havana on a radio that pre-dates the embargo, and knowing that you brought the old thing back to life.

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