However, those who operated the little Trio or Lafayette quickly discovered that, in actual fact, there was little similarity beyond the front panel appearance, and that the 9R4J was a much better performer for the beginning ham or SWL operator than the venerable S-38. It was sensitive and stable, had an S-meter (unheard of in a "cheap" receiver) and a bandspread tuning rate which made copying CW signals easy. Moreover, it had a power transformer whereas the S-38 series were AC/DC types.
In Canada the 9R4J was direct-branded by Trio/Kenwood
and marketed in kit form through electronics parts wholesale outlets such
as Alpha-Aracon in Toronto and Johnson Electric Supply in North Bay as
well as others across Canada carrying ham radio equipment. However,
in the United States it was marketed as the KT-200 (kit form) and the HE-10
(factory built) by the electronics giant Lafayette Radio. The two radios
were outwardly identical except for the logo and the S-meter; the Trio
had the meter mounted inside the panel while in the Lafayette radio it
was mounted outside the panel. Some 9R4J receivers employed a 5CG4
rectifier instead of the 5Y3 and a 6AQ5 audio amplifier instead of the
6AR5, but this tube change did not affect performance in any way.
This ad appeared in the December 1960 issue of QST The KT-200/HE-10 appeared in many novice stations such as this one shown in a 1961
magazine. The "WX" suffix on the model number issue of Popular Electronics
disappeared later the following year.
the excitement when this box arrived at your door!
In 2005 I obtained this Trio 9R4J from my good friend
It was a "communications" receiver and not a "short wave" VE3CSJ who had built one in 1959. He had purchased
receiver and YOU were going to build it!! it to restore as a memento of his early days in ham radio.
Above is the restored receiver. The pilot
light may be a mod; however,
At the time I refurbished the 9R4J, I also did the HE-10 above. It
I have seen pictures of two other 9R4J radios with the same pilot light. almost perfect example of this Lafayette classic. This receiver required
So, factory mod in later kits? Three budies who all installed the same no cosmetic work; some part replacement and alignment returned it
pilot light??? to like-new factory condition.
Here are the" fraternal twins" (the Trio now has the
main tuning knob
installed!). Note the differences in the S-meter mounting and the paint
colour. I matched as closely as possible the paint colour on an untouched
part of the 9R4J cabinet inside but it still came out more blue than gray.
In some pictures I have seen of the 9R4J the colour actually appears
A "TRIO STORY"
By John Dicker VE3CSJ
It was the summer of 1959 and the budding newbie ham radio operator VE3CSJ of some three whole months experience, high school student and part-time messenger boy for the CN Telegraphs in North Bay Ontario, had finally saved-up enough money to buy that very first commercial ham receiver. After teething for some two years on a very old, heavily modified surplus aircraft receiver, the R1155, whatever the new receiver was to be, the improvement over its predecessor would likely be vast indeed. What to buy with the very limited funds available was the big question.
As luck would have it, Johnson's Electric in North Bay, Ontario, the area's premier electronic supply store and ham haven, was about to retail a new receiver, namely, the Trio Model 9R-4J. The specs on the receiver were good, albeit a little shy on band spread (a perceived problem that was made to disappear by the addition, later on, of an RME 10-20 HF converter that was acquired, second-hand, shortly after the 9R-4J). The receiver was purchased in June 1959, in kit form, for approximately $90.00-a lot of money in those days to a fledgling, young ham-and assembled successfully within a week of receipt. This particular kit required the addition of an external speaker and audio output transformer, both of which were easily obtained and mounted in a Hammond 4" speaker cabinet. The receiver operated perfectly from the first switch-on, so well in fact that no alignment was felt to be necessary and, as a result, none was ever done (rightly or wrongly!).
The 9R-4J performed superbly for the next 16 months as the primary station receiver in VE3CSJ's QTH. In September, 1960 I graduated from high school, joined the Canadian Army and left home for good, necessitating closing-down the station in North Bay forever. The Trio went with me to Kingston and eventually to Ottawa until a posting to Germany came along in 1970. During the period 1960-1970, the receiver saw little, if any use, as most hamming that took place during this period was done using the facilities normally available at military installations. Because of severe weight limitations on personal effects on an overseas posting, I decided to sell the 9R-4J. My landlord in Ottawa at the time, Mr. Helmut Strober, expressed an interest in purchasing a shortwave receiver, so I sold mine to him for $35.00. It was a sad day for me when the receiver changed hands; however, I somehow sensed that it had found a good home.
Many years passed and many military postings followed, with ham radio activity being carried on using the facilities normally provided at one's base or station. Retirement from the military in 1993 saw VE3CSJ settle in the Ottawa area and drive-in the ground stake for the final time. I was finally active again from a home QTH, albeit with vastly different gear from those heady days as a teenager in North Bay back in the late 1950s.
One day in September 2004 I happened to be reading the obituary column in the Ottawa Citizen newspaper and a familiar name leapt-out at me....Strober! Mrs. Strober had recently passed-away. I made note of the particulars and concluded that it could only be the wife of my former landlord Helmut Strober. I decided that, even after all the years, it would be appropriate to send a sympathy card. Not being sure if Mr. Strober would even remember my wife and me, I decided to include a short letter with the card, reminding him of our past acquaintance and more or less filling-in the blanks between 1970 and 2004 as far as my travels were concerned. As an after-thought, I asked him, light-heartedly, if he still had the old receiver that I had sold him in 1970 and, if so, would he consider parting with it and selling it back to me, as it meant a lot to me sentimentally.
Several days went by and one night during supper the phone rang. It was Mr. Strober! He had been delighted to hear from us and very-much appreciated our expression of sympathy on his wife's passing........and YES, he still had the old receiver!! When I asked him if he would consider parting with it (I had no idea what condition it might be in after all these years), and for what price, he said yes and it was mine only for the asking. I couldn't believe my ears, or luck firstly for locating the receiver once again and secondly, having it offered back to me just for the asking and pick-up. Needless to say, supper was left unfinished while I hastily drove to his house some ten miles away.
On entering his kitchen, I immediately spotted the Trio sitting proud and pretty on the kitchen counter, in apparently pristine condition after all these years. I was beside myself when I saw my old Trio 9R-4J once again. After spending an hour or so reminiscing with Mr.Strober, I thanked him profusely for his generosity, loaded the receiver gently into the back seat of the car, and headed home with my treasure.
The receiver was, in fact, in A1 condition considering its age, save for the accumulation of years of dust. From the look of it, I don't think he ever used it. Even the original assembly instructions were inside the cabinet, with the information handwritten by me on the cover in the space entitled SOLD BY: Johnson's Electric to John Dicker, 1959". After the usual pre-operation testing of tubes, cleaning etc., the receiver was powered-up on a variac to ensure that all capacitors were indeed in operating condition. Finally, the tubes were re-installed, speaker and audio transformer attached and the power turned-on. Just as in June 1959, the little receiver performed perfectly, with one exception-this time I had it aligned by my oldest friend and fellow ham, Bill McHugh, VE3CSK.
Today the Trio is operated on a regular basis and will soon, with luck, be mated again with another RME 10-20 HF converter similar to the original one in North Bay (which went missing- in other words chucked-out- after I left home!). At that time, my nostalgia station (on the receiver side anyway) will be completely re-equipped and back on the air again after some 48 years from its initial activation in North Bay in 1959.
Who said that Ham Radio can't be exciting?!!!!