This page last revised March 24, 1999.
During World War II, the US developed the BC-224 and BC-348 line of receivers for use in military aircraft (typically bombers). Popular among radio amateurs during the post-war 1940's, the 1950's, and the 1960's, these radios are still usable (and collectible) today. It has been estimated that about 50,000 of these receivers were produced during World War II.
BC-224/348 receivers were produced in a couple of dozen different lettered variations; the differences between versions were sometimes small. I tend to classify all BC-224/348 receivers as either "early" or "late". The "early" receivers were designed to use "double-ended" tubes (typically with a grid cap at the top of the tube); the "late" receivers (the BC-348J, BC-348N, and BC-348Q) used "single-ended" tubes (no grid or plate cap). My receiver is a BC-348Q model.
I was first licensed as a ham in 1965 (or was it 1966?) At that time, I yearned for an ARC-5 receiver to use on the 40 or 80 meter ham band; I settled on a Knight-kit (which functioned poorly; probably due to my limited construction skills.) I remember hearing rumours of the "ultimate" WWII surplus receivers being the BC-348/BC-224 series (or even a distant cousin, the BC-342/BC-312 series), but I don't think I ever saw one "in the flesh". (Or if I did, I did not know what I was looking at). Over the years, my interest in ham radio waxed and waned (and my license lapsed for a while). I got back into ham radio in the early 1980's, but was disappointed with some of my forays into "state of the art" solid state rigs with PLL's. Around 1992 I came across a BC-348Q at a yard sale, shortly after reading Walt Hutchen's ER article (see below). The nostalgia bug bit me and I brought the radio home.
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Need some reference information? Fortunately, you can get some info on the web; check out Bill NJ7P's site for various manuals for the BC-224 and BC-348 receivers (and other equipment, too!).
This receiver was highly prized by hams in the post-WWII years (and still prized nowadays by some collectors). As a result, some good articles have appeared on these receivers; here's a very abbreviated sampling:
And if you're considering building a B+ power supply for one of these radios, I recommend that you read my observations about some peculiarities of B+ requirements for the BC-348.
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