Chapter 3
By Michael Stevenson
During 1973 I was outgrowing the Sony portable and kept seeing advertisements for "Communications Receivers", I had just started my working career and still living from home I was able to save some money which I was hoping to buy a new proper radio, unfortunately at the time, I still could not afford to buy a really decent radio such as an Eddystone, Hallicrafters, Drake etc.

So, the next best radio I could find came from a brand called Lafayette which was made in Japan, unfortunately, I cannot remember the model number of this receiver or an awful lot about what made it tick inside except to say it was transistor and was called a "Communications Receiver", I do not even recall if it was dual conversion or not.

I remember it being a largish gray metal cabinet with a huge analogue dial with bandspreading taking up two thirds of the front face with a row of aluminium knobs along the bottom, quite an impressive looking radio.

I can remember that the Lafayette did work very well indeed, of course the analogue dial was not all that accurate in indicating the exact frequency you were tuned to even using the bandspreading.

The Lafayette had a continuous RF gain control, a wide/narrow bandwidth switch which was always too wide in either position, a noise limiter switch (which did not really seem to do anything) and a switch for SSB with a separate BFO knob..

Its performance on SSB was always a little drifty but you could understand what was being said at least. Performance on the shortwave bands was pretty good, much better than the Sony portable, the Lafayette was a fairly sensitive set and I could hear a lot more stations then ever before and the narrow selectivity did at least separate most of the stations apart except when trying to pick up a weak one 5 or even 10 kHz away from a strong one.

The Lafayette was not the world's best performer but it did allow me to log plenty of stations which I was thankful for and I was beginning to collect quite a few QSLs by this time, especially the many different one's being given out by Radio Prague, Radio Budapest, Radio Bucharest etc.

After a year or so I was able to start saving some really serious money (for those days!) and this time around I had my sights set on a true top performing real "Communications Receiver", that will be my next installment.

Bandspreading was a separate tuning dial and knob that was rather like a scaled fine tuning control only it would tune almost an entire band and if you lined up the main dial in a certain position then used the bandspreading dial you would be accurate in knowing which frequency you were on to within 5 or 10 kHz, it did become more difficult in crowded conditions though

Chapter 1| Chapter 2| Chapter 3| Chapter 4| Chapter 5|
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