National Radio Co.




When I first started collecting old Boatanchors, I was enamoured with the Hammarlund monicker.  After doing this for awhile now, National RadioCo. has a place in my heart much as Hammarlund does. James Millen built some awfully nice radios and his designs that made use of removeable coils or sliding “catacombs” transcended decades.


I have refurbished several HRO’s now as well as taken apart and lubricated my share of sliding catacombs. Witness the mechanism used to switch bands, perform main tuning and bandspread all with the same knob as on the NC-200 Anniversary or NC 2-40D, and you’ve got an idea of the engineering that went into the Nationl product line.


Who can forget those pewter looking feet of the NC 2-40D flaring out majesticly in the light of a well lit hamshack or living room.  Looking at the infamous National dial knob and rounded surfaces of the HRO-50’s and 60’s, one might think he was in the cockpit of a Buck Rodgers spaceship. And all those coils … Whatever happened to the coil boxes ?


My National Collection, for your perusal …



          NC-200 Anniversary Model

Before Restoration                                            



After Restoration





This model uses the famous catacomb method of band selection. In a nutshell, instead of using a bandswitch to switch in and out all of the RF and multiple IF section coils, with wire flying everywhere around the bandswitch section, the “catacomb” is an actual cast aluminum housing containing all those RF/IF section coils that moves on a rail system underneath contacts. When the catacomb gets to a certain position on the rail that, lets say where the 5.0 – 15.0 mc band is supposed to be, the appropriate coils are making contact.  Mr. Millen theorized that there was just too much signal loss with all those wires flying around everywhere using a bandswitch. 




This receiver seems to come in two versions. One with an internal

power supply and another with an external “doghouse”. Mine is the latter.


Both these also used the Sliding Catacomb  


     RBH-2 / NC-156 ( one of many NC-100 variants)

Because this receiver has a second rf section attached to the back which is known as the “back porch”, it also has two separate catacombs.



     This is a NC-46 receiver.  It’s a so-so performer most known for its art deco design.



       Here is one of my favorite receivers, the HRO 50T1 with speaker.  This teams up with a Johnson Valinat for the Number one station.



   This is ,of course, the NC-300 ham band only reveiver. It is very nice sounding and does a very respectable job on AM, CW and SSB.  It is the receiver I use for my Vintage Sideband Station.



      This radio is the “last of an era”. This is the National HRO 500 solid state receiver and optional LF preselector. It is the last receiver National Radio Co. put out to the public before “going out of business” and selling the name to Japan.  The radio uses 37 transistors and 21 diodes to replace all of the tubes of a comparable radio.  It uses point to point wiring so service is actually possible by “Joe Blo”. Contrary to popular belief, the glass window above the dial is NOT a digital readout.  This is revolving drum with a mask over it that shows one of sixty bands as the synthesizer knob is turned.  As pictured, I have the preselector but honestly haven’t found a good use for it yet =)


(back to Main Page)