1929 TNT Transmitter

built by N1BUG


Click on any of the images on this page for a larger version.

I have always been intrigued by 1920s style ham gear. There is majesty and magic about those early rigs. Every time I encountered pictures of radio in that era, I would stare at them for a good long while (with slightly glazed eyes, I've been told!) I never considered building one until long time friend Ron Barlow, N4GJV mentioned the Bruce Kelley Memorial QSO Party, sponsored by the Antique Wireless Association every December. It is an event specifically for rigs representing 1929 and before. I was somewhat shocked to learn these old beauties were still being used on the air. I knew right away I had to build one of my own!

After some research my project goals were set. I chose to build a rig from December, 1929 QST that has become known as the TNT (or Tuned plate, Not Tuned grid) circuit. I wanted to make it representative of the period, using actual period parts wherever possible. But I did not want to make it an exact replica of the original rig from the pages of QST. Hams of that era didn't always follow a "recipe" exactly; they used whatever parts they had or could get to build a more or less equivalent circuit.

The following photos depict the rig that resulted after months of parts hunting, reading, researching, and being tutored by some very helpful folks. I would like to thank the very supportive and encouraging members of the Yahoo AWA Group, and in particular special thanks to Ron, N4GJV; Lou, VE3AWA; Steve, VE7SL; Steve, KK7UV; Larry, NE1S; and Mike, N4FS.

My first QSO with this rig came on October 17, 2011 when I worked Lou, VA3AWA, in St. Mary's, Ontario, Canada, a distance of 617 miles. Lou was also using his TNT transmitter at the time! This little rig has since worked as far as the west coast (VE7SL) on 160, 80 and 40 meters. It has worked Europe on 160 and 40. I entered the Bruce Kelley Memorial QSO Party twice, taking first place both times. It works!



Last update January 4, 2022