The Quest for a Wireless Set 19 MK II

By Dana Warburton K1BOT


The year was 1957, the interest was a simple ham rig for a young man. I was 13 that year and had tested for a novice ham license, KN1BOT. I looked for a radio that could meet my budget, (lawn mowing was not that good a profession).

I found a Wireless Set 19 MK II at John Meshna surplus in Lynn, Mass. I had to build a power supply and I was on the air. Light bulb for tune up and a 80 meter dipole. I also could listen to foreign broadcasts at night and spent many an hour listening.


Last summer I was thinking about all this and decided to look for a 19 set as soon as I could. It started out as just a casual hunt. Then, in October, I saw one posted. I put it on the back burner, waiting for funds. I contacted the owner and he still had the radio. He sent photos and it looked very nice.

The bug bit me. I am in Phoenix, Arizona and he's in San Jose, California. The 19 set was on its mounting plate and had a dynamotor power supply. There are no interconnecting cables for the power supply to the set. Another quest! I did not want to take the chance of shipping damage, so I made arrangements to drive over and pick it up.

Now here is the interesting twist. My car is a 1989 Mustang, it had over 128,500 miles prior to the trip. This has been a good car but some items are starting to fail.  I put on two new front tires and got it aligned. An oil change and I was set, or so I thought. I knew I may hit rain by L.A.

No problem, I would simply drive around any snow! My car was equiped with a scanner for national weather, a 2-meter rig, a 220 rig, a CB radio, and a low band radio on 40 meters.  I was to be in touch with my friend Scott here in Phoenix. I left at 5 a.m. Friday, January 9, 1998.

I had planned to drive to San Jose, get the 19 set and return at once. Well, it started raining in L.A. and continued for the entire trip. That's no problem, just turn on the wipers and go. The wiper motor quit 150 miles south of San Jose. I limped into the town, found the house and made the deal.

The 19 is in very good case shape. I am happy. I left for Phoenix at 5:15 p.m. local time, 6:15 Phoenix time. Rain, heavy at times, followed me all the way back to Phoenix. I hooked up with Scott on 40 meters. The freq. was 7213. I was only putting out a couple of watts because along the way I had knocked the tip off my antenna. We had to change to 7263 kc then the contact was good. Scott would stay with me until I stopped for the night at 10:30 p.m. local time.

On Route 152, between Gilroy Ca. and Interstate 5, there was a bad accident in the mountains. This was the first of three bad accidents I came upon. I lost an hour in that jam and found that the sensor for the electric fan had quit on my car. No radiator fan and idle in the jam caused a near boil over. It was ok as long as I was moving. Now I had two failures to fix. I stopped at 10:30 local time, Scott stayed with me until then.

Up and gone by 6 a.m., I hit dense fog after Bakersfield. I was going into the desert to try and out run the rain. No such luck. It rained most of the remaining trip, but mostly light. Near Four Corners Ca. there was a train stopping traffic at a grade crossing. This on state Route 58!

Fog was dense, I stopped behind an 18-wheel truck. I was going east, I heard on the CB that a truck was stopped at the track going west and had been hit by another 18-wheel truck behind it. Truck #2 had tried to go around #1, but his trailer had hit the back of truck #1, spilling some of the loads onto the roadway. If truck #2 had made it around #1, he would have hit the train!

Another 30 minutes wait, and people behind me were getting angry. When underway a Thunderbird raced past into the fog. Two miles up the road he had run into the back of another 18-wheel truck! The dreaded airbags had deployed, the driver dazed. The truck unhurt, the Thunderbird hood at the windshield. I drove out of the fog about 50 miles later.

The rest of the run was good, returning to Phoenix at 2:00 p.m. local time. I had driven 1,474 miles under interesting weather conditions for the desert. Now to look over the set.

Wireless Set No. 19 MK II- The Unit

The condition of serial number 3010 is excellent. All parts appear to be inside the o.d. case. The dynamotor shows little wear. Next step is to get a schematic, some power cables and info on an a.c. power supply, hope the paper caps don't blow up :-). A control box and manual will be sought.

Any help from the group will be great :-). The power supply serial number is 3010 also, there is no manufacturer's name on the dataplate. The unit has a tag on the inside that says it was fungus protected in May, 1944. The data plate says the following:

Signal Corps
Serial # 3010 CZR p.c. 92040C

I assume the 44 is the year of manufacture.

Well, that's the report on the 19 Set quest. Nothing to it :-).

Copyright 1997 R. D. (Bob) Cooke, VE3BDB (Orillia, ON. CANADA). All Rights Reserved. Nothing on this page may be copied or distributed without written permission. Thanks for honouring this request.

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