Jay Miller KK5IM did the incredible restoration of this BC 669. Jimmy Don and Jake Holmes had their powder coat shop bead-blast all the cabinet panels and then powder coat with a wrinkle finish powder.
Jay drew new lettering based on what precious little was left on the original panels and several pictures on the Internet.
These are NOT typefaces! They are drawn as one once did with a Leroy Pen in the drafting room. Jay printed them on clear acetate with a laser printer to be sure he had the correct letter size and spacing as well as location and orientation. Jay found a company in the Dallas area that still makes the custom rub-on transfers. He rubbed them down and oversprayed with clear satin to seal the letters.
Butch and Jay did this to hundreds of radios back in the 1990s! ALL the hardware and dials went into the vibratory case cleaner with first walnut shells and then corn cob media. Because of the anti-fungus treatment he wound up polishing every one of them with a fine wire wheel on a bench grinder.The knobs and meter cases were cleaned and polished with three coats of black show wax and buffed.
The speaker covering is wood and was simply sprayed with Rustoleum Satin Black (as were the meter screws). The large KC dial was really covered with the ant-fungus so he had to fine brush and steel-wool polish it. He then carefully rubbed some shoe wax over the front to bring out the lettering. After it dried, he buffed off the excess.
A light coat of satin clear sealed the wax. John's rig did not have the crystal frequency chart. Jay did the best he could from very low-res internet images. It is not powder coated, just sprayed black. He reattached it with pop rivets.
Cabinet restored with wrinkle paint. All resistors and capacitors have been replaced. Repainted the transformers to original silver. Repaired the meter that was sticking. Works fine now.
This National NC300 was a basket case and needed lots of tender loving care. So I stripped it, bead blasted the chassis and started rewiring.
Rebuilt RF deck. It took about 20 hours of intense work.
Beginning of wiring rebuild. Very tedious work. I don't recommend unless you have a lot of patience and can remember what you did last!
Rebuilding the gear mechanism was a real challenge.
Another gear angle.
Wires everywhere but it is hearing Southcars on 40 meters. Now on to the face.
One of the most difficult receivers to restring is undoubtably the NC 300 and NC 303. National must have paid the workers who did this job well, otherwise they would not have lasted very long. I have worked on seven or eight of them and learned a little bit about this troublesome process. So, here are a few tips.
Be prepared to be frustrated. Measure your dial cord carefully as per the diagram in the manual. Sit the receiver and front panel on a flat surface. First, and foremost, do the band switching mechanism FIRST. It is not too difficult if you do a few things. Take the little keeper thingy off so you can thread the chain and make sure no wires from pots and switches will interfere with it. Pay attention to the way the string crosses over on the drum. Set it for 20 meters and restring it. Then test it to see if the bands line up. You can adjust the band by slipping the chain a bit, but be careful not to break it. Be sure to put the little keeper thingy back on.
Once you have that done, proceed to the dial. Go ahead and take a nerve pill if you have one.
Take the dial pointer off of the string. You will position it at the end of your work.
Position the front panel as close as you can to the receiver front. Work with the receiver facing left. Put a long screw in the upper front panel just to keep the panel from falling over. Use a fiber washer to not scar the face of the panel. A two inch screw works fine because it will allow you the opportunity to pivot the panel.
Make double sure that the IF selector switch is set all the way counter clockwise. It meshes with the gear on the left lower section of the receiver.
Begin the process of wrapping the dial string around the pulley. If you are a Baptist, consider becoming a Presbyterian since they are the frozen chosen, and cussin ain’t no big thing to them. Since Baptists are not supposed to cuss, it will be easier on you in the hereafter. Get ready because you will soon have your patience tested and your vocabulary will be strained.
And as you let the frustrations out, carefully choose what you say. Nothing your mama would be embarrassed by. “Dadburn it. Doggone it. Damn it.” These are all acceptable……as long as you have become a Presbyterian. None of that low class cussin, cause remember, hams are a cultivated bunch!
Pay attention to the way the cord wraps around the pulley. The manual shows a picture.
Now, when you start wrapping the string just be ready because it will fly off the pulley. So, if you can, grow two more hands. If not, you will need some tape. Once you get the cord wrapped, put a small piece of scotch tape, not electrical, across the pulley at the top string toward you to hold the string on the pulley. That will hold one side and you will need to do the same to hold the other side of the string. You will take it off later. If you did it right the round hole in the pulley will be at twelve o’clock and the tape pieces will be at 10 o’clock and 1 o’clock. By the way, fold the ends of the tape back on itself on either end of the piece of tape so it will be easier to remove.
Go to Harbor Freight and get some long tweezers, a package of dental picks, a flashlight, some hemostats, and anything else that will make you happy. You will use all of this to maneuver the string as you go through the process.
Go ahead and feed the pots on the left side of the panel through the holes. Loosely put the keeper nuts on them. Slowly inch the front panel toward the receiver and guide the shafts into the feed-through brass grommets.
The area you are working in should be getting narrow. Put the dial cord on the far side on the front panel first. Then as you work toward you with the string, keep pushing the panel toward the receiver. Thread the dial cord on the pulleys close to you last. With any luck by the fifth try, you will have it.
Now, this is very important! On the string coming from the pulley toward you, BE SURE to position it BEHIND the mode switch escutcheon. This is a MUST! Use your picks from Harbor Freight to guide the string on the last pulleys. Your fingers are too large to get the string on the last pulley, so don't even try. Use the dental pick with a good hook on it.
Then finish putting the send-receive switch through and the other shafts and pots.
Once you get the panel back on, put only a couple of screws in it to hold it tight. You may have to take it off again. Put the receiver on its side and take your new flashlight and peer through the bottom toward the pulley. You should see the scotch tape. Carefully remove both pieces. Don’t let it yank the string off the pulley!
Put a signal into the receiver on 3800 k.c. and re-attach the dial pointer at zero beat.
Once you are satisfied that all is working as designed, put the rest of the screws in and vow to never take that panel off again. Go get an ice cream. You deserve it. And ask the Lord to forgive your choice expletives. He will understand. He probably even has an NC 300.
This is the 32V2 that I have been working on for quite a while. Thanks to John, K4VZS for providing a junker that helped me fix some missing pieces. Here is an example of a rig that would have ended up in the recycle bin, but deserved to be brought back to life.
Robert, W0VMC provided some answers that I had about this beast. Thanks Robert for your encouragement. Ron WB4GWA
Ever seen a Custom Engineers rig?
John never met a boat anchor that he didn't like!
Nice B&W coils!
Nice and clean home-brew modulator.
If a mouse got into this BC 669 boy would he get a big surprise!
Nice looking. Just what you want on a cold winter night to warm you up...
This is the frequency the angels listen to.
This is going to be a nice Winter time project.