Here I am sitting at the desk with my late 30's station. This photo appeared in the March 2000 issue of QST in the "Old Radio" column edited by John Dilks K2TQN.
The main part of the column was about the transmiter sitting on the right side of the desk. It is a model 4581 and was built by Clough-Brengle Co. in 1934.
I have done a lot of research and the best conclusion I can come to is that there are of only two examples of this transmitter known.
I now know that Clough-Brengle built at least 2 models of transmitters that were used by the Civilian Conservation Corps "C.C.C." in the late 1930's.
At the start of World War 2 the C.C.C. was disbanded and the radio equipment they used was turned over to the U.S. military.
It is interesting that the 2 only known examples of the model 4581 are twin brothers, they have consective serial numbers. They were both bought as war surplus at the same store in Greensboro
NC. in the late 40's.
For more details on the Clough-Brengle transmitters, "click" here;
For more information on C.C.C. Radio stations, "click" here;
Since the article appeared in QST, I have been contacted by Dr. Tom Mclees W5FV the ham operator that purchased this transmitter surplus in August of 1945 for $9.50 from Johannsen Electric Co. in Greensboro NC where his uncle Weldon Fields W4AJT worked. When he bought it he was told it was built as a prototype for the US Coast Guard to be used in the lifesaving stations.
At the time he bought it, Tom had not yet gotten his amateur ticket. He finally was licensed in October 1952 as W4YBN. He used the transmitter on and off until the late 50's when he built a high power rig and retired the Clough-Brengle. Tom had worked Bob Van Sleen W4AGO with the C-B several times and when Bob heard about his new high power transmitter he asked to borrow the C-B so he could help a local novice get on the air. Tom and Bob lost track of each other and it wasn't until 30 years later that Tom saw the C-B in the article in QST.
I first saw the C-B when I visited Bob in 1977. In 1978 we were asked to do a display of vintage radio equipment at the Shelby hamfest in Shelby NC. At the time Bob was the only one around that had any vintage amateur gear, he contributed several pieces to the display including the C-B. I fell in love with it that weekend and every time I visited Bob after that I always drooled over the C-B. In about 1990 we got the sad call from Bob's wife saying that he had passed away. She asked our group if we would help her with selling Bob's radio collection. I instantly knew just what I wanted to buy from the collection, the C-B of course. After getting it home I desided that I would build a vintage station around it. I bought a first generation 1934 National HRO. My wife found a mission style desk for me for my birthday. I've been adding more and more pieces over the years.
At the time I didn't know just how rare the C-B really was. It wasn't until I started doing research looking for information on it that I found out that there wasn't any information on it. Everyone I talked to said they'd never heard of a transmitter built by Clough-Brengle. I searched all the amateur magazines of the 30's, there is lots of stuff about Clough-Brengle test equipment, but no transmitters.
In 1999 I decided to enter it in the Equipment Contest at the AWA conference in Rochester NY. I figured that maybe someone there would know something about it, nothing... For reasons unknown to me it only got a third place ribbon in the contest. I don't really think the judges knew what they were looking at. Oh well.
A couple of months after Rochester John Dilks got in touch with me and asked if I would be interested in doing the writeup for QST. I hoped that maybe someone reading the story in QST would know something about it. I was right.
Here's a scan of Tom McLees'
original 1952 QSL card. If you look closely you'll see the Clough-Brengle transmitter sitting on top of the SX-28A
This is an enlargement of the photo in the QSL card.
Here's a closeup of the C-B with a National 110 sitting on top and a 1923 Vibroplex to the left.
Here I am with the display that I entered in the Old Equipment contest at the AWA Rochester meet in Sept. 1999.
I know now that the judges didn't really know what they were looking at, so it only took a third place.
With all the newly aquired information about it's history it did a little better in the Equipment Contest at the CC-AWA's
2001 "Spring Meet in the Carolinas".
Here I am with it and the Blue Ribbon it took in the Amateur Equipment Category and the Gold Ribbon I won for Best Presentation.
Click on the photo above to see a schematic of the Clough-Brengle