RME-69 question answered w/ misc ramblings

Sat Aug 6 16:03:57 EDT 2005

The RME-69 is a great receiver and was a further development and refinement  
of the original RME-9 which appeared in December 1933. The RME-9 could  be 
arguably called the father of the modern commercially produced  communications 
receiver which everyone copied and sold as a "me  too" soon afterwards. The 1933 
RME-9 was the first commercially produced  communications receiver to 
incorporate in one unit all of the important  features that make up a good 
communications receiver, features which  eventually became popular with all receiver 
manufacturers. The  RME-9 was the first bandswitching superhet with 1 RF stage of 
 pre-selection, 2 IF amplifiers,  AVC and "R" meter, crystal filter,  
calibrated dial, mechanical bandspread, and self-contained power supply all  built 
into one unit which no one else did at the time. RME gets  credit for being 
first with the best and their circuit which got it right  first and became the 
foundational design that was soon copied by  everyone else. The other 
manufacturers get credit for cabinet restyling perhaps  because that's about all that was 
left for them to do when  they repackaged and sold RME's basic design under 
their name. It is  interesting to note the original RME-9 was hand built in the 
E. Shalkhauser;  W9CI basement with Russ Planck; W9RGH in 1933 and it is 
known the  original planned production run of 100 units was only about half 
completed  before converting over to a revision called the RME-9D which was done  in 
larger facilities after a move to Peoria, IL. The RME-9D which  appeared in 
June, 1934 incorporated an antenna trimmer and electrical  bandspread featuring 
two variable caps or dual ("D") tuners making it  an even better receiver. It 
is not known how many RME-9Ds  were built but each one was still hand 
assembled from start to finish by  individual assemblers. An assembler would charge 
out a complete kit of parts and  do all of the mechanical assembly and point to 
point wiring himself until the  job was finished. Apparently their was a lot 
of pride by each worker in the  plant in those days as each competed to be 
known as the best assembler and each  signed his name under the chassis when 
their receiver passed  inspection. The RME-69 is a slight refinement over the 9D 
featuring a  change to 6.3 volt tubes replacing the old 57s and 58s with more 
modern 6C6s and  6D6s and larger semi-circular tuning dials. Other than that 
the RME-69 is  essentially an RME-9D with restyled tuning dials. There is  an 
interesting side note about the unlabeled front panel  controls which was the 
accepted practice of that day. Apparently  communications receiver manufacturers 
expected their customers to know  what the controls were for and didn't see a 
need for front panel labeling. RME  took it a step further by printing the 
following statement in the RME-9D  owners manual: "You will see we have not 
included alignment instructions here.  If you know how to align superhets you have 
no need for instructions  and if you are looking for instructions you have no 
business inside an RME  receiver." Shalkhauser and Planck had a great sense 
of humor!  It took  until 1946 for a really new receiver to appear and it was 
Collins that  broke new ground with their unconventional fixed oscillator-tuned 
IF  75A which forever changed the approach to communications  receiver 
design. It is interesting to note the dial  mechanisms incorporated in the new 75A 
receivers were originally stolen by  a Collins engineer visiting James Millen 
at a trade show where he had  working prototype DPF receivers with the dial on 
exhibit. James Millen and Art  Collins were good friends but Millen wrote Art 
to  complain about stealing his dial idea but later recanted and  gave the 
dial to Art when he decided not to go ahead with the DPF receivers.  Uncompleted 
DPF-201 prototypes have surfaced in recent years but it is known  Millen had 2 
complete working (1 of each) DPF-201 and DPF-501  receivers that he kept in a 
travel trunk for display at trade shows. It  is known through his 
correspondence to a friend he still had them at  his farmhouse on Tarbox Lane (later 
changed to James Millen Drive) in North  Reading Mass in 1978. Apparently they 
escaped to parts unknown but they must  still be out there somewhere.
Greg Gore; WA1KBQ

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