Revisiting Airband | Vintage-Style
The Signal Communications Receivers
The R-532 and R-535: Still Working After All These Years
I am in a looking-back, nostalgic. mood this week, and I have been up to the attic to see what lies hidden up there. My top-finds were these two stalwarts of the airband, the Signal Communications R-532, with its lovely red LEDs, and its successor model, the R-535. Well, I admit, both have seen better days, as the more eagle-eyed of you may detect from the pictures.
However, I do love them, and, rather than leaving them to gather dust, I got them down and gave them a good in-shack clean. A 12V PSU was quickly found, and ELAD SP-1 doubles up as an external speaker for the 532 model.
Armed with Rick King's 2021 UK Airband Frequency Guide, I was soon up and running. True, traffic is, currently, but a shadow of its former self, but at my location here, Warton, Liverpool, Manchester are within easy reach. The two front-mounted BNC jacks still work a treat, leading to my roof-mounted Moonraker DBAB VHF/UHF Civil & Military antenna.
A scanning aerial will do, of course, and I have found an indoor aerial also produces good results. My go-to-aerial in this case is the venerable Diamond RHS1000, which comes as a flexible kit and can be put together for various frequency bands. If you can find one of those second-hand, I'd definitely recommend that you do.
Anyway, I was up and running in no time and I am impressed at the sensitivity of those old radios. The R-535, in particular, is amazing, on both civil and military airband, and I think I will use the R-532 as a 'one-frequency- receiver on 133.800MHz for Scottish Control.
I have more modern scanners, of course, but it is just fun to have a go with these vintage scanners and to see that there is still plenty of life in them.
Our monthly column, Airband News, is undergoing changes at the moment, and David Smith, its author has some exciting new subjects up in his pilot's bag. So don't forget to keep listening to the birds and to read RadioUser on a regular basis.
If you do have a Signal Communications R-532 or R-535 model, let me know how you are getting on, and please share your listening and monitoring experiences with me.