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
"How much are
they asking for them"? I reply.
"Ten cents a
"How many are
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
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"
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