Voice of Victory

Voice of Victory

Jam Handy, 1944 - 27:15

Sponsored by Hallicrafters

Tech Advisor: Cyrus T. Read W9AA



This industrial documentary starts off with a rousing (and undoubtedly stock) shot of a big artillery piece being fired. It quickly segues into the usual WWII rally-the-war-production kind of flick, but with a difference. It begins to describe the US Army Signal Corps SCR-299, a field comm station that fits into a van towing the power generator behind in a little U-Haul. We see a couple of GI grunts about to get killed stringing long phone lines under fire, then the wireless solution, as we heroically dissolve to a low-angle spotlighted shot of Bill Halligan's BIGGASS ham radio, the HT-4B, soon to be converted into the wartime BC-610.

Halligan's Hallicrafters Company started out before the war, and made some pretty awesome equipment. Like some later Collins rigs, the HT-4 was one of those megalithic ham transmitters for the ages, undoubtedly costing the lucky operator more money than he spent on the pickup truck used to get it home. We see a demonstration of how pre-war ham radio was done, by none other than Halligan himself, W9WZE. It's apparently some kind of a simulated flashback, seeing as ham radio was banned for the duration, but it's easy to believe it when Halligan clears out half a faux 20 meter band by picking up the D-104 and crashing in with an AM phone CQ from his 350W 390-pound death ray.

From here on, we know this movie better than Jam Handy ever did. WE know that he's inadvertantly made the boatanchor flick of all time. THIS thing is definitely one for the geeks. It's sex with your radio, and probably illegal in at least 17 states.

We get further evidence that it's engineer fun time when Halligan and Bob Samuelson get up from their business desk on a movie set looking more like a detective office, and promptly start taking their transmitter apart. Settle in for 20 more glorious minutes of close shots of parts in a truly badass tube radio, followed by the usual exhortation to keep our boys fighting by working harder at home. Well, we know that Jam (rhymes with ham) himself put his money where his flicks were, by doing the military stuff for only 1% profit.

The film makers must have done something right. I want a BC-610!


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Your Hallicrafters Goes to War

Hallicrafters was a major military contractor in WWII. Being headquarted just outside Chicago, it was definitely on Jam Handy's Midwestern turf. Maybe they made this one to show its wartime employees the big picture of what they were doing. I'm not sure.

Bill Halligan with his signature gear, in what has to be just about the cleanest and neatest (and certainly the most dramatically lit) ham radio shack in existence. Note the ARRL world map on the wall. Is it me, or are all the meters on the HT-4B resting on zero?

CQ Any 20 Meter Phone!
The Mighty HT-4B

I'll bet THIS movie star never got huffy and went to his trailer. The B version of this classic rig ran 450W CW and 350W AM (with external speech amp) from 160 to 10/11 meters, with bandswitching and plug-in crystal controlled tuning units. Tube lineup: 6V6 oscillator, 6L6 doubler, 2xRK-39 IPA, 2x2A3 audio driver, 2x100TH class B modulator, 2x 866 HV rectifiers, 2x5Z3 LV rectifiers, 3xVR-150 regulators, single 250TH class C final amplifier. It was made, in various forms, from 1938 until 1945.

Bill and Bob spend an afternoon at the office with their transmitter. They've already turned the bolts, and now off comes the cover. The plug-in circuits go up here, so the user had to be able to get in. Note the cool Film Noir lighting style... positively Raymond Chandler...

Let's Disassemble the Transmitter!
RF Deck

One engineering change in the military conversion was to vibration-harden the RF deck and speed up the plug-in process, by adding metal guides. This is shown by the convenient Jam Handy white arrow. The bandswitch selected from a maximum of three crystal-controlled units. Presumably, one observed basic electrical safety when changing them.

Assembling the beefy power supplies - heavy iron, indeed. The top deck is hanging on an industrial hoist with block and tackle out of frame to the top.

Power Supplies
Made In USA!

The Hallicrafters factory in Illinois, proudly flying the Army/Navy Efficiency pennant. Remember manufacturing in the USA?


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