Bringing another TCS back to life

An old, filthy, TCS-14 transmitter followed me home from the Belton (Texas) swapmeet and one thing led to another (as they usually do). After looking at the specifications, the TCS series of US Navy equipment which is WWII vintage, transportable, and AM/CW, appeared to be a great way to try out some of the military AM/CW equipment which was popular in the 50s ham community. The first order of business was to locate enough parts to reverse some of the "modifications" and bring at least one set as close to original as possible. It took about 6 weeks (and a couple of connectors from David Stinson and a visit to Robert Downs) before I was the owner of 1 "original" TCS receiver/transmitter and 1 "modified" TCS receiver/transmitter, 3 Dual Dynamotor power supplies (one for making an AC power supply), and various other parts. Sound familiar ?

The Navy nomenclature consists of a prefix which defines the manufacturer followed by a number defining the product. For example, COL-46159-A, defines a TCS Receiver (version A) made by Collins Radio. CIH-46159-A is a TCS Receiver made by Hamilton Radio. All the TCS units are compatible with each other and were used for many years by the military, even into the early 60s I'm told. The most obvious difference, I've noticed, is that the earlier units (TCS-5 for example) don't have handles like the later units. These units use two 1625s for 40 Watts of CW or two 1625s modulating a single 1625 for 20 Watts of AM. The TCS units tune 1.5 MHz to 12.0 Mhz in three bands, good enough for 160m, 80m, 40m, and 30m. Receiver capability is like that of a BC-348.

The units use modular construction and are easy to work on. Sensitivity is on the order of 1 microvolt which is good enough. Selectivity is a little broad and it could certainly use a Q-Multiplier or some other filtering. The IF is 455KHz so adding a crystal or mechanical filter should not be a problem. AF volume is quite adequate for headphone or speaker use (with a 600 ohm matching transformer).The tuning rate is fast relative to other ham band only receivers or a BC-348, but fine for shortwave listening and band cruising. Might have to add a reduction drive for CW but we don't have to use it in a bouncing PT boat or LST. There is a Noise Limiter available for installation. The NL works well, but does clip the signal levels substantially. There is apparently also a fit problem between the NL plate and the receiver ID plate requiring you to move the ID plate over 3/8" (or trim the NL plate ...2nd choice and looks bad).

Collins ad indicating widespread US Navy use of the TCS Units

TCS cover ID plate

TCS-14 Receiver Unit

TCS-14 Transmitter Unit

TCS-12 12V Dual Dynamotor Power Supply Unit

Remote Control and Antenna Load Coil

Nice looking system.