Viking Valiant – How to pack a classic beast for shipment

The basement clean-out continues, and today I bid farewell to a Viking Valiant, a 160M – 10M AM transmitter good for 200ish Watts.  It’s big, heavy, and full of tubes.  I picked it up at a ham-fest over 20 years ago.  It was a fixer-upper then, and nothing has changed.  The face-panels is a little rough around the edges, but the logo, meter, knobs, and most of the markings are intact.  The coils, tubes, and variable-capacitors are in good shape, and there aren’t any signs of oozing goo from any of the transformers.  This baby is ripe for a restoration, and it’s about to get it’s chance.   DSC_0750

These were available from the mid 50’s through the early 60’s and could be purchased as a kit, or fully assembled.  A very nice gentleman in Texas won this auction, and I do hope he posts some pics & notes of his restoration process.  I can say in my limited dealings with people on eBay that folks who are technically knowledgeable and really understand what they’re buying are generally a joy to deal with.  I stipulated that anyone contact me before bidding so we could discuss the shipping logistics, which I think helps ensure a smoother sale for items like this.  Someone contacted me and asked if the transmitter supported SSB; I’m glad he didn’t bid.

What follows are the pics I took for the eBay sale, as well as pics I took while packing, to give an idea of what’s involved in packing an 80 pound transmitter full of rare vacuum tubes.

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High power RF is a beautiful, black art to me.  DSC_0763 DSC_0765 DSC_0768 DSC_0769

This  mechanism is kind of cool: at certain points in the front panel knob’s rotation, the pins in attached plate mate with an angled groove in the block attached to perpendicularly mounted rotary switch.  DSC_0770 DSC_0771

First, take out all the tubes and individually wrap each one in bubble-wrap.  I didn’t mark the location of individual tubes – he’s doing a full restoration, he can figure it out.  I did however make sure to group the 6146 tubes as they were installed, just in case they were matched somehow.

The tubes get packed in a separate box, lined with bubble-wrap:

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layers of bubble-wrap between each layer of tubes, keeping the tubes away from the edges of the box. IMG_5760.JPG

Then the transmitter gets wrapped:


Then boxed:


I slipped another box over this (not shown).  In the background:

– Tek Plugins, 1A1 & 1A4
– A  Hickok rip-off of a Tek plug-in (subject of a future post) sitting on top of a…
– Supreme model 589 tube tester (my first tube tester)
– HP 606A .5 – 30MHz oscillator (Free to a good home)
– Eico tube-tester, hitting eBay tomorrow (my… 3rd tube tester?)
– HP Counter, which I’m totally keeping
– My very first ‘scope, the venerable Tektronix 545A


Then brought to the packing store where they put it in another box, with a rigid foam base, and surrounded by peanuts.  The resulting box is gigantic, heavy, and unwieldily…but safe.  There’s at least 2 layers of cardboard and 6″ of packing between the transmitter and the outside world.


I used about 200 feet in bubble-wrap when all was said and done, plus god knows how many gallons of peanuts in the double-boxing.  It cost $190 to get both boxes from NY to TX, including the $25 he charged me for the double-box.  This is a close approximation of what you may go through to ship an old Tek 500 series scope, although I don’t know if I’d feel the need to pull the tubes.. maybe just the bigger ones.  In retrospect, I probably could have just left the 7 pin & 9-pin miniature tubes in place.

Fingers crossed for a safe voyage!