Website of W0YBS
E.F. Johnson Viking Valiant Restoration Project
I purchased this Valiant in May of 2015. The previous owner had done a little work on it by replacing about 90% of the capacitors. He also replaced the 866 Mercury Vapor rectifiers with 3B28 tubes. When I purchased it he had rebuilt the vfo coupler and had put it all back together but apparently hadn't checked it out completely because it would get hung up when you tried to turn it. After getting it home I needed to get the vfo working again so I took it apart to see what was going on. I discovered that the machine screw heads used when it was rebuilt would hit somewhere in the vfo compartment and would not let the knob turn. I reversed the screws and put it all back together to discover it would do the same thing as soon as I would tighten up the faceplate. I found that the faceplate was pulling the vfo shaft enough to make the screws bind so a small shim behind the coupler took care of the problem and now I had a good working vfo dial again.
What started the whole process before I could fire it up was the need for a plug on the power cord. It had the original 2 wire cord but not the original plug which has 2 fuses. I put a question out on the Johnson reflector as to whether or not I should just replace the cord with a 3 wire and there was a unanimous yes in answer to my question. I did so and was very glad I did. I took out the SSB adaptor SO239 and installed the fuse holder in its place since I knew I was never going to use the radio for SSB operation. A simple fix if one were to decide to put it back. After fixing the vfo and changing out the power cord, I decided to fire it up and put it on the air. It seemed to work just fine for about 2 hours and then it all went down hill from there. Kept blowing fuses and I could see an occasional flash of light from under the chassis just as the fuse would blow.
Here is what I found to be the culprit for my fuse blowing and flash of light from under the chassis. This terminal strip which has the 2 high voltage transformer wires hooked to it was just plain worn out and shorting to the chassis when I would flip the switch into transmit.
I mounted a new terminal strip but raised it away from the chassis on standoffs a bit so as to eliminate any shorting again in the future. I fired up the radio again and the fuse blowing and flashing was now a thing of the past.
My problems weren't over yet. I decided to tune the radio up on all bands to be sure I was getting full power output on all bands. When I tried to tune it up on 80 meters I was unable to get a dip and it was over loading and I wasnt able to get it tuned. After numerous emails and discussions it was decided to look into this "button" capacitor which is actually 3 caps in one. After some testing, it turned out that one of them was shorted or weak under a load. I decided to replace all of them since I felt that even though it might have just been one, the rest of them couldn't be too far behind.
The cap needing replacement has 3 values, 1200pf, 900pf, and 600pf. The original style capacitor is impossible to find so I was hoping to get all doorknob caps but was only able to find one in the value I needed. So, I ended up finding these large transmitting mica caps and had to put them in parallel to come up with the values needed. After replacing these the radio was now good on all bands and getting full output without any fireworks. If I can find the 2 other doorknob caps that I need I will replace the large micas just to get a less crowded setup under the chassis.
TIME FOR A NEW LOOK
Yes, it was a bit rough when I got it. The faceplate had some scratches with rust and the rest of the case was scratched up quite a bit. I decided to do a complete refurbish of the cabinet to get it looking good once again.
Started out by stripping the faceplate and giving it a new coat of basecoat grey. It was ready to send out to get new silkscreen lettering and logo design.
I sanded the cabinet down and repainted it the distinctive very dark brownish maroon color while waiting for the faceplate to come back from the silkscreener.
VFO escutcheon plate ready to be sprayed the brownish maroon color.
Letting it dry for a good amount of time before spraying the final clear coats.
The inside of the radio wasnt bad as can be seen in this "before" picture but I cleaned it up a bit just to get some of the age old dust off and have a new metal look again.
Repainted the transformers and took steel wool to the coils to get them to shine. Now the rf will flow smoothly!
Here is the finished radio all ready to put on the air. The silk screen turned out great. I sprayed the whole face with a clear coat, sanded and buffed it out by hand. Turned out awesome. I just had to have a Valiant again. It was my first radio as a Novice back in 1969. Loved playing with it then, and still love it now. I will have to admit,my radio in 1969 wasnt nearly this nice either. But then, it was a Christmas present so who is going to argue about that! I'm sure this radio is ready to last another 50 years,no doubt.