Tips for Hams

< < < For Hams, CBer’s, Radio Jocks, and RF Experimenters (you know who you are!): > > >

Ok so you’ve got a vintage piece of gear that has low power output from the transmitter or a sick receiver that has low sensitivity, cracks or pops when first turned on or has low audio output. A new tube set would probably help that ole receiver and a new set of final amplifier tubes (and driver tube!) can certainly bring new life to your treasure.

We stock several Complete Premium tube sets for Collins and Heath gear as well as RF Finals and driver tube combinations for 6146, 6HF5, 6JS6C, 6GE5, etc that have been very popular with owners all over the world.

Here’s the Smart Buyer’s Scoop on RF tubes: Get a gain matched set of tubes AND a new driver tube to go with them. We gain match, manufacturer match, and size match all our sets so you will be satisfied every time! You should check you transmitter manual for any neutralization needed and perform the necessary steps for best operation. I have links to many pieces of equipment in the Tech Support section of the website or you can do an internet search and probably find one.

A quick note on 6146’s if you use these tubes. Some old 6146W have a problem neutralizing in older circuits designed for 6146 or 6146A radios. The newer 6146W’s are actually ruggedized 6146B tubes that work well in most Collins gear and many others that were originally designed for 6146B. I have had very good customer response to 646 or 6146A in Collins gear and some people have also used 6146B and W’s – you milage may vary but I generally ship the 6146/A with Collins as indicated in my auctions. For the full 6146 story search for the many articles by K9STH.

Are Chinese and Russian tubes any good? Quick Answer: For audio applications the Russian and Chinese tubes work fine and some are better than others. I sell a lot of Svetlana and Sovtek for preamps and audio amplifiers (6550, 6CA7, 6L6, 6V6/6N6S) with excellent results. I also like the 1940-60’s American 6V6 which has a great sound. Many tubes are ONLY MADE by Russian and Chinese manufacturers today so you have no choice other than tested Vintage tubes that meet new tube minimums (like ours). For RF amplifiers, I usually have better results with US/European made tubes but have had good reports on some Chinese Shuguang tubes for 6146B/W applications. For 6146B applications, use the 6146W or 6293 for longer life. If you want to cheap out and rewire your filaments to 12V you can use the 6883 which was a 12 volt filament 6146B used in mobile two way radio service. Get Matched Premium (see definition below) sets if possible, otherwise match the tubes for gain and plate current even if from different manufacturers. ALWAYS replace the Driver tube when you replace the final tubes. Simplifying the Jargon and Hype of Tube Descriptions

PLEASE READ THE FOLLING CAREFULLY AS IT DESCRIBES SOME OF THE COMMON TERMS USED IN DESCRIBING THE TUBES FOR SALE ON MY WEBSITE.The number in parenthesis (x) after the tube number in the title is the number of tubes in the lot of that type. No parenthesis means only 1 tube of that type. a "/" in the title indicates and equivalent tube designation like 6HQ5 is the same as a 6HA5 or 6HM5. Here is a guide to some of the other terms used in my tube auctions:

NIB means New In original Box. The tube ID number and brand match the box brand, the tube is not used, not tested (unless specified) and is physically new looking. These tubes usually sell at a premium price and may include the newer tubes made in Asia or Russia.

NOS means New Old Stock. The tube is new but may NOT be in the original box or may be in an unlabeled white box with the printed tube number on outside for ease of identification. Tube is NOT tested unless specified. These tubes are usually out of production and are old stock from past manufacturing. They are generally a good value.

Tested means that the tubes have been tested and meet the minimum acceptable requirements for emission and/or gain as determined on my Hickok 539B or 580 tube tester (great tester) roll charts or reference tables. Each tube section is individually tested with separate grid bias setting and plate and screen (if applicable) voltages(if applicable) and plate current (if specified) to ensure that the tube meets minimum NEW standards. I generally do not do LIFE TESTS on the tester and do not warranty the tested tubes to pass a life test on your tube tester or to meet the minimum requirements of your tester. Tested tubes may be new, used, NIB or NOS (see description) and all meet or exceed minimum NEW requirements. These tubes are an excellent value depending on brand, when made, and physical characteristics such as black plates, halo getter, chrome tops, etc. Vintage means USED, probably untested and with or without a box (original or relabeled).

Matched Set means that the tubes in the set (more than one) all match within 10% of transconductance readings or plate current (if measured). This standard ensures that the tubes will be electrically equivalent in the installed circuit and perform as a matched set in a push-pull or parallel application.

Premium Matched Set means that the tubes are matched electrically (see above) AND that they are from the same manufacturer and are physically similar in shape.I try to describe the items accurately using the above guidelines for the key words. However I do not warranty any tube for use in a particular application, or how it sounds in an audio amplifier and I am not responsible for your use of the tube for any purpose or if it causes any direct or consequential damages like burning down your house because it got to hot in your 1960’s amplifier. However I strive to have happy customers and have a return rate of less than one percent of all tubes sold so feel good about buying fromTube Meister.I have a very high satisfaction rate. If you have a major problem, email me and I am sure we can work it out.