Robert Ross va3sw at ROGERS.COM
Sat Feb 9 23:38:24 EST 2002

Hello Folks:

   This Story starts a Long Time ago, when I first Started Collecting 
BoatAnchor Radios around 1977. A friend of mine had a obtained a Real Neat 
Boatanchor Radio from "Buckland's",  the local Surplus Store here in 
London, Ontario CANADA. When he invited me over to see it, I decided I just 
had to have it!! I had never even heard of the Manufacturer, let alone ever 
seen one, but it was just too cool to pass up! After a  lot of Haggling we 
decided on a Trade. I would give him 2 RCA AR88's in working condition, and 
he would give me the Mystery Boatanchor!! I really hated to part with the 2 
AR88's....but I knew I could find another 88 with a little looking......The 
new Receiver was probably a Once in a Lifetime Find, at least that was what 
I thought!

       I was now the proud owner of a STODDART NMA-5A, Made in Hollywood, 
California in 1949!! I really didn't know exactly what it was back then, 
but the Original Manual said it was a "Radio Interference and Field 
Intensity Meter".....But it operated as a Receiver. It was Big, Weighed a 
Ton, Had a Pile of Knobs and Controls, and was Basically like new.  I was 
lucky to also obtain the Original Manual, which helped me to understand 
that this was a "Labratory Grade" Instrument made for Commercial and 
Military Use as a "Noise Source Detector".  To quote the manual..." The 
NMA-5A Radio Interference-Field Intensity Meter is a High Sensitivity HF 
and VHF Radio Receiver used to locate and measure RF Interference (Noise) 
and includes accessories to make Field Strength measurements in the 15 to 
400 megacycle portion of the radio spectrum".

The manual showed that there were a Lot of Accessories that went with the 
Receiver, but all I had was the HF Expandable Dipole, and the VHF Plug in 
Head. This Receiver covers 15 to 400 Mcs in 4 Frequency Ranges, 15-31 Mcs, 
29-64 Mcs, and 60-125 Mcs with the LF Head, and 88-400 Mcs with the VHF 
Head. The Receiver is a SuperHetrodyne type. The Total weight of all the 
equipment including accessories is 159 Pounds!!

I have had the Receiver now for 25 Years, and have used it off and on for 
FM Listening on the Commercial FM Band, and for DX'ing the VHF  Bands 
during High Sunspot Years, but mostly it has just adorned the shack as a 
Conversation Piece always attracts a "What the Heck is That??" 
whenever another Boatanchor Enthusiast comes over!

I have tried to obtain more Info on the Receiver, but in the past 25 years, 
I have never found another person who has owned one of these...or even saw 
one for that matter. I have found a few other Stoddart Owners, but not of 
this model. Stoddart made 7 or 8 other Models of Various descriptions, but 
most were smaller than the NMA-5A.  There have been a few Tidbits of Info 
written on this Company over the Years, but for the Most Part, this is a 
seldom heard of Manufacturer!

Remember I obtained this receiver 25 years ago, and figured it was the Only 
one I would ever see??? Well.....Late last year, I got a Phonecall from 
another Boatanchor Friend of Mine, Dave "VE3ZZY", advising that another 
friend of ours Dave "VA3DN" had been asked to dispose of an Estate...and 
Guess what he found?? Yep...another Stoddart NMA-5A.....Just like mine, in 
like condition. Not only did he have the Radio, he also had all of the 
Accessories that I was missing!! The Loop Antenna, the UHF Dipole, The 
Measuring Stick for the Dipoles, and the Rotary Converter Box for Battery 
Operation! Now I figured what were the Chances of these 2 Receivers ending 
up in the same Place so far from Hollywood?? Turns out the Owner of this 
Radio also purchased his NMA-5A at Buckland's...back in these 
were Twin Brothers!! As it turns out, the Serial Number of my Receiver is 
166-37, and the other Receiver is 166-38, so these came off the Line one 
after another...and somehow ended up in our Local Surplus Store some 30 
Years Later!! shorten the Story, I am now the Proud Owner of the 2nd Receiver, 
and 2 Lost Brothers have now found a New Home here at VA3SW Land! I'm 
afraid to say that there are probably no more of these around, as I don't 
think I have room for another should it surface sometime in the future! The 
Only Accessory I am missing is the Collapsable Wooden Tripod for the 
Antennas, and believe it or not, I have Located that too!! Right here in 
London in the Hands of another Local Ham who Purchased it back in the Late 
70's from ....Yep you guessed it..."Buckland's Electronics Surplus!!".  I 
haven't been able to convince him to part with the Tripod yet, but 
hopefully someday it too will be Re-United with the Twins!

If there are any other Stoddart Owners out there, especially NMA-5A 
Owners....I would be most happy to hear from you. Anyone with any 
information on these Receivers, or Knowledge of them, please contact me as 
well. I don't know what the Original Price of these Receivers was...But 
I'll bet it was BIG $$$ especially back in 1949 Dollars!

Below I have included a selection of Photos of the Receivers and the 
Accessories so you can enjoy them too!! Just click on the URL's below..and 
they will take you directly to my Webpage where the Photos are Stored!

Photos are in PART 2 of this Article.......

Hope this short Article has Spurred some Interest in this seldom seen 

73...ROB VA3SW

Robert S. Ross VA3SW
Box 1003, Stn. B.
London, Ontario

Antique/Vintage Radio Enthusiast
Amateur Radio Stations VA3SW/VE3JFC

Defy Physics.....Play Table Tennis!! (Ping Pong with an Attitude)

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