## Boat Anchor Beauty Evaluation

What is the most beautiful Boat Anchor? Wow - interesting question. I suspect beauty (of a BA) is in the eye/mind of the beholder. I have an SX-28A sitting above my R-390A. In the right light, that 28 looks pretty sharp - maybe even better than the 390. Tough question. Is there an objective way to determine this beauty factor?

I have several important criteria for evaluating BA's. One is the knob count. The more knobs on the front panel, the better its chances of being in my BA cave. For me, BAing is not a spectator sport. I want to be as busy as an organist at a Bach recital while tuning in that station. Meters are also important as well as a high tube count. Many other factors enter into the evaluation. I offer for peer review the following formula for quantifying the attractiveness of a BA.

If you want to skip all of the technical BS & just find out what your BABE rating is, click HERE.

The formula:

BABE = ((Kn -Ku -2Kb) + .6Tn + .5Ln + 2.5Mn + 1.5Gn + .5Rs + 1.15Wt + 1.2Vr + 5Rd + 2Ps + 2Ed / 10(1/(2Fq)))  /

Where BABE = BA Beauty Evaluation

• Kn = Number of knobs on front panel (toggle & slide switches count as knobs)
• Ku = Number of knobs not generally used
• Kb = Knobs broken, chipped or missing
• Tn = Number of tubes
• Ln = Number of front panel lamps
• Mn = Number of meters
• Gn = Number of devices that actually glow in the dark on their own without electrical power applied
• Rs = Rack space (height) in inches & tenths
• Wt = Total weight (lbs & tenths)
• Vr = Number of voltage regulation devices
• Rd = Number of radioactive devices
• Ps = Number of waves of Power supply rectification (1=half wave, 2=full wave, 3=bridge)
• Ed = Number of exotic or special devices (ballasts, mechanical filters, thyratrons, klystrons, magnatrons, traveling wave tubes, etc.). If they are tubes, they still count in Tn. The only semiconductors that count are tunnel diodes, SCR's & TRIAC's.
• Ra = Percentage of visible rust. If there is no rust, use 1 for Ra or the equation will blow up.
• Fq = Functionality quotient - arbitrary value based on "does everything work?". Use a 1 to 10 scale. If everything works, give it a 10. If nothing works, give it a 1 just for being there. Besides, a zero would mess up the math big time. This is the only part of the equation based on subjective criteria. If you want to factor in grubbiness or scratches, try here. I will be working to refine this component of the equation as soon as I finish all of my alignment projects.

The above formula applies weighting coefficients to the variables. More weight is given to variables that have greater curb appeal. For example, knobs and meters are easily seen and appreciated by anyone in visual proximity to the BA or its image. Weight, however, takes more effort to be appreciated. One obvious exception to this rule is radioactive devices which are a glowing example of BA attractiveness.

I was thinking of factoring in the - uh - semiconductor count. I decided, however, it is just better to ignore them.

Using the above formula, I have calculated the BABE rating for my pitiful few BAs as follows:

 BA My BABE Max BABE Collins R-390A 296.6 (1) 302.6 Hallicrafters SX-28A 172.9 (2) 244.5 Hallicrafters SX-100 173.3 181.3 Hammarlund HQ-180AC 171.7 (3) 180.7 Heathkit SB-100 117.1 118.28 Swan 500 2.57 (4) 114.98 Hammarlund HQ-215 99.6 (5) 99.6 Hallicrafters S-118 67.02 71.88 Zenith TransOceanic Royal 1000 50.15 (6) 52.6 Kenwood TS-830S 178.04 (10) 178.04 Total BABE (7) 1328.98 1544.48

As can be seen above, the R-390A kicked BA booty. I have attempted to quantify the attractiveness of a BA as best as possible. I'm sure there will be some who wish the change the weight factor for Tn and Mn. Missing from the equation is cabinet/paint/chrome condition. Proper placement in an area with subdued light can help mitigate deficiencies in this area. In any case, I am reasonably sure of the accuracy of my equation because I plotted my points after I drew my curves. Absent from the formula is any evaluation of the internal complexity of the BA. For example, compare an R-390 to an R-390A. On the other hand, the IB (8) factor can tend to nullify any advantage in this area so it was eliminated. I'm beginning to think that I'm a little too hard on rust. Work is under way to develop conversions to other related units (9). I solicit comments on the above even if they aren't heaped with praise.

(1)  Max possible BABE is 302.6 but who uses the Line Meter & Line Gain knobs? Note that an R-390 has a max possible BABE of 293.8. It has 8 additional tubes but lacks special devices (mechanical filters).
(2)  There is a little corrosion on the chassis.
(3)  The slot filter isn't all it could be.
(4)  Doesn't work. Max possible BABE is 248.
(5)  Notice how high the rating is considering no tubes!
(6)  More knobs would have helped. The long name is not a factor.
(7)  Meaningless. A marketing ploy but useful for bragging.
(8)  IB = Ignorant Bystander
(9)  To convert to Helens, multiply BABE by .5. Kardashians are in development. More empirical info is needed.
(10) Mine is in perfect condition. Imagine what the score would be with more tubes.

The following are additional factors for future consideration:

• Damage incurred from contact with an enemy in a war (i.e. bullet or shrapnel holes). Bonus if it took a licking and still kept ticking. Not sure about friendly fire.

• No. of functions (does it transmit and receive?).

• Weight: < 20 lbs, 20-50, over 50, over 200 lbs.

• Extra marks for highest voltages.

• If you have radioactive lettering on the panel you score big.

• Rack mount deserves something - MIL spec should count.

• Weird readouts such as projected dials, Nixie tubes, mechanical counters (a la Veeder-Root).

• Give points for the number of relays and the level of noise they make (like an R-390A in QSK mode).

• In the case of transmitters, pounds per watt DC input counts - Flywheel tuning is a demerit. Tuning by levers is a plus.

• Does it have a self-destruct function? Will it work?

• Rack-and-pinion bandswitching, calibration charts and micrometer dials are cool (Vic, K2VCO).

• Somehow factor in the headphone jack and multiple scale windows (Jim VE4AQ).

• Motors. They add a little something, no? Fans are cool but more "serious" motors are better (Kevin VA3SU).

Latest update: 1 Sep. 2014

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