Racal RA17L Government Communications Receiver
  • Power: 110 or 240 volts - 50/60Hz
  • Wavebands: continuously tuneable from >500KHz to 30MHz
  • Sensitivity: quoted for voice as 1V @18dB S/N ratio (incredible!)
  • Valve lineup: triple conversion superhet circuit comprising 24 tubes:
    • EF91;
    • ECC189;
    • E180F;
    • 6F33;
    • 6BE6W;
    • GZ34;
    • EA76;
    • EB91;
    • EF93
  • Released c.1957
  • Original price: many thousands of (but who cared anyway?)

This set is generally considered (along with the Collins R390A) to be the finest, most sensitive general communications receiver ever to enter service from the tube era. Incorporating Dr Trevor Wadley's famous 'Wadley Loop' circuit, this superbly made instrument firmly established Ray Brown and Calder Cunningham in the defence electronics business.

It is a cast aluminium monster with a plethora of controls for finding the right station. Yet the tuning scale is accurate to 5kHz and drift is almost non-existant. My particular example dates from November 1961 and takes a proud place in my collection.

Last updated 9th August 2001

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