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Valve Veneration

I am particularly fond of thermionic valves. These are the electronic components that paved the way for broadcast radio, television, radar and many other electronic applications. Many of the methods for analysis and design of electronic circuits developed in the valve era are still valuable for today's electronic circuits. So read on.

Admiring the glow

valves in guitar combo

Orange and purple glow in the dark in a guitar combo...

nice glowing valve

Admiring the glow...

Once upon a time, all electronic devices used thermionic valves. Transistors, ICs and other semiconductors hadn't been invented yet. The charming thing about these thermionic valves is that they glow in the dark. Except for metal valves, the filaments or heaters generally show as a red-hot object in the core of the valve. The equipment usually produces an awesome lot of heat. So even if a piece of valve equipment is faulty, as long as the heaters glow, at least you get a feeling something is going on.

When I started my electronics hobby in the early seventies, I took apart old equipment and salvaged the parts to reuse them. That was a cheap way to find electronic components. Back in that time, friends and relatives gave me a lot of used radios and TV sets that became my main source of electronic components. As a result, I started with somewhat outdated electronics projects. During my study, I left this obsolete stuff behind. But not for good.

At the turn of the century, after more than a decade without electronic tinkering, my interest in electronics revived. Tubes and old display technology have become objects of nostalgia to me. So I keep a small collection of old radios and measurement equipment and from time to time I use old technologies in a project.


Things I built with valves

In the early seventies, I built a number of projects: a 6 W amplifier, an AC voltmeter, a 2*4 W stereo amplifier, a superregenerative VHF receiver, an FM receiver, a universl power supply. Regrettably, most of them have got lost long ago. Only my regulated HV power supply has survived.

guitar combo

Guitar combo.

In 2001, I rebuilt a really nice two valve, two circuit regenerative receiver. In 2014 I took up a bigger project and built a Guitar amplifier combo.


Radio collection

I have a small collection of somewhat historical radios.


Some amplifiers that I own or have fixed.

Scopes and other equipment

So I own a few oscilloscopes, these wonderful instruments that make an electronics engineer or hobbyist feel like he's been a blind man who suddenly can see.

Hey, even a transistorised analogue scope merits a place among valve equipment because it contains at least one valve, the CRT. Scopes that I had the privilege to fix for friends:

Valve measuring equipment

I also have some other measuring equipment with valves: And recently, I added two tube testers to my collection:

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