Tubs of Tubes


by Dan Romanchik, KB6NU'


The other day I got a call from a guy whose website I'm working on.  He says he's calling from the Ann Arbor Reuse Center and that they have two tubs full of vacuum tubes there. He asked, "Do you know anyone who might want them"? 

"How much are they asking for them"? I reply. 

"Ten cents a piece." 

"How many are there"? 

"I'd guess about two hundred." 

"Well, tell them I'll give him 20 bucks for all of them."


He tells them that I'll give them $20 for the lot. I hear some

mumbling. He comes back on the line and says they're negotiating.

After a minute or two, he says, "OK. You got them. How do I get to

your house"?


I gave him directions, and in about 15 minutes, he pulls up to my

house, gets out, opens the hatch, and pulls out two plastic tubs and a cardboard box with vacuum tubes in them. I can tell he was way off in his estimate. There must be at least 400 tubes in all.


There's nothing really exotic--most of them seem to have been taken out of old TV sets--but I did find a couple of 6J6s. These are the tubes used for the single-tube transmitter I have been thinking about building -

(see http://wv7g.home.mindspring.com/jones_6j6.html for more

info). In one of the tubs, there was even a socket for the 6J6.  

There are also a bunch of 6KS7s. According to the RCA tube manual,

these tubes were often used as RF or IF amplifiers. That sounds like the beginning of a receiver project, doesn't it? In fact, 6SK7s were used in the receiver section of the ParaSet

(http://www.mines.uidaho.edu/~glowbugs/paraset.htm), a "spy radio"

used during WWII. 

And, of course, there are a bunch of rectifiers to make a power

supply. Now, all I have to find some cheap transformers. Anyone know a good source for them?


When he's not wondering what he's going to do with more than 400

vacuum tubes, KB6NU works CW and PSK on the HF bands and blogs about

ham radio at www.kb6nu.com. You can reach him by e-mail at



[[NOTE: A photo of one of the tubs can be had off my website at

http://kb6nu.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/12/tuboftubes.jpg ]]