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Author Topic: AN/FRR-22, FRR-23, etc.  (Read 8422 times)

Offline Andrew Yoder

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AN/FRR-22, FRR-23, etc.
« on: August 22, 2011, 2125 UTC »
I bought a Hammarlund SP-600-JX26 yesterday at a hamfest. While searching around a little for variations between the different versions, lot numbers, etc., I found some info on other military receivers that are interesting.

Specifically, the SP-600, R-388, R-390, R-390A, & R-392 are hugely popular receivers. But, I never see anything about the AN/FRR-22 & An/FRR-23. These are general-coverage receivers (but no AM or 160m) made by RCA with 29 tubes (!) from the early '50s. They seem to have some interesting features (6 filter positions, dimmer control on the front-panel lights, 2 headphone jacks, separate volume control for headphones, etc.)

I found a pic at: http://www.navy-radio.com/rcvrs/images/frr22-01.JPG

Anyone have one of these receivers or know why they don't seem to be for sale? Were they much more expensive than the R-390As and SP-600s of the day? Did they have a design flaw?

Thanks & have a great day!
Andrew
Please QSL to: POB 109, BRS, PA 17214
Hobby Broadcasting Blog: http://hobbybroadcasting.blogspot.com/
Kenwood R-5000, Drake R8, R-390A, Philco 44 + some others

Offline Sealord

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Re: AN/FRR-22, FRR-23, etc.
« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2011, 2227 UTC »
I've never owned or seen one of these Andrew, but my 'Shortwave Receivers Past & Present' book mentions that the FRR-21/22/23 are the fixed versions of the SRR-11/12/13 and the tubes used throughout the receiver are the subminiature type soldered in place.  I wonder if the tube type & connection makes them difficult to maintain?
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Offline Osborne White

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Re: AN/FRR-22, FRR-23, etc.
« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2011, 2305 UTC »
Hiya:

First off, Andrew, congratulations on the SP-600!  That is my main HF receiver, it is much easier to "cruise" the bands with than the R-390A, which I prefer for sitting on a specific frequency.  At my main listening post, those two are in service almost continuously, at least while I am present at the dials! 

Meanwhile, I also have a SRR-21 & a SRR-23.  The SRR-23 has never worked, but seems to be complete & intact, but the SRR-21 worked well for years, that is, until something (transformer) smoked while the radio was plugged in but turned OFF!  Grrrrrrr!  They are VERY difficult to work on, especially without the extender boards etc. and yes, they contain subminiature tubes soldered into plug-in boards.  Another cool feature that they have is a "projected dial display" on the ground glass directly above the visible dial.   They are fairly rare anymore, but not impossible to find.  Fair Radio Sales sells a copy of the manual for them for somewhere around $60, I have a copy myself including the schematics etc.  Basically, they were replaced by the R-390 / R-390A radios.  Eventually, perhaps I'll get around to trying to service mine, but....In any event, the SP-600 & the R-390A are entirely better receivers anyhow, IMHO, and the R-390A has marvelous audio via the (adjustable & metered) line level output into a stereo amp & speakers.  Best wishes etc. & good DX!


Offline Andrew Yoder

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Re: AN/FRR-22, FRR-23, etc.
« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2011, 0138 UTC »
Hi OW,
Thanks much for the info! I had no idea that I'd get an experienced answer right away! Yeah, the SP-600 is much easier to scan quickly through the bands than the R-390A. But I like SSB reception with the BFO in the R-390A MUCH better! I could get about zilch with the BFO on the SP-600 when I was messing around in the ham bands with it yesterday. This SP-600 is in fair condition. Dents & scratches, no cabinet, no dial lock, and the crystal control has been electronically disconnected. On the plus side, it seems to work really well: signals are strong, audio is loud, no problems with scratchy controls or "crunching" when changing bands, works fine on all filters and all bands. Also, it seems that all of the black beauty caps have been replaced (at least the ones in the underside of the chassis have been), but I haven't opened up the decks or cans to see if those have been replaced. One cosmetically weird thing about this one is that the apparently original paint on this is all medium gray--including the dial escutcheons.

Thanks for the info on the SRR-21. Really interesting stuff. Funny that it's not nearly as good as an SP-600 or R-390A. It looks like lab-grade equipment...and then 29 tubes? You'd think this would be a monster receiver. Now the soldered-in tubes? Just idiotic design for maintenance compared to the other two. I don't think I'll go out of my way to get one of those receivers!

Thanks again for the info!
Andrew
Please QSL to: POB 109, BRS, PA 17214
Hobby Broadcasting Blog: http://hobbybroadcasting.blogspot.com/
Kenwood R-5000, Drake R8, R-390A, Philco 44 + some others

Offline Osborne White

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Re: AN/FRR-22, FRR-23, etc.
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2011, 2028 UTC »
Hiya Andrew:

Yup, the SSB /BFO works much better on the R390A, also the filter widths are much more useful, etc.  The trick with the SP-600 BFO is to put the AVC on 'manual' and back the RF Gain down to minimum, then the BFO will seem much stronger and will actually do the job!  On mine, although the radio is mucho stable in terms of frequency, the BFO is a bit drifty; after a half hour or so, though, it seems to stabilize pretty well.  As I mentioned, I mostly 'cruise around' with the SP-600, but then I 'go parking' with the R390A!  The R390A is darned near as fine performance-wise as the TS-850 and it has FAR better audio through the stereo amp & EV PA speakers, best audio on HF that I have ever heard! 

Since the SRR-21 is a LF receiver (it's range tops out at 600 kcs. as I recall) it proved a bit difficult
to put to 'the test' and to compare with the R390A, and the SRR-23 (HF coverage) has never worked since I got it, my comparison is based on somewhat limited experience, but the military users seemed to prefer the R390A etc.  While I have heard anecdotally of R390A's being reinstalled in shipboard radio rooms due to their relative immunity to overloading in high-rf environments (the Racal R-6790 was apparently the replacement for the R390A) I have not heard of SRR-23's being reinstalled; again, this is based on anecdotal info only!  Regardless, the SRR is a very cool beast, and I am kicking myself for not at least TRYING to get mine up & running!  It's on the back burner, and I have a whole 'kitchen fulla back burners!'


Osborne White