My first encounter with Signal One occurred in early 1970. The owner of KRIS-TV was T. Frank Smith, Sr., W5VA, and he owned three CX7s. The early boxes frankly didn't work all that well. As an engineer at the television station one of my tasks was to keep these new and exotic radios on the air for "Big Frank". After he passed away in 1972 his widow gave me one of those CX7s. I don't know what ever happened to the other two. I still have CX7 serial number 00234 and I use it frequently.
Mr. Smith purchased the radios from Bob Douglas, W5GEL. Bob owned Douglas Electronics here in Corpus Christi and he and Mr. Smith were close friends. I spent many hours in the shop at Douglas Electronics working on Signal Ones with Bob. He owned one as well and had sold quite a few to amateurs in the Corpus Christi area. We have a Signal/One Collectors Club and I acquired Bob's call sign, W5GEL, as the club station call sign. A fitting tribute.
I got my second CX7 in February 2005 when I bought my second Alpha 77. The person I bought the 77 from said he had a CX7 in the garage and didn't know what he was going to do with it. I asked him to "throw it in" with the amp and he did. It only needed a few repairs and is now on the air.
As with so much of the early equipment we really didn't know how important it was to become years down the road. Today I look back on that era and wish I had tried to learn even more and to have collected a lot more radios than I did.
In the mid 80's I took my antennas down due to a threatening hurricane. I did not put any back up for nearly 15 years. I was not active during that time and did not know about the increasing interest in boatanchors. When I did get back on the air in the late 90's things had really changed. I started acquiring some vintage gear and that included a second CX7. By December 2006 I had seven Signal/Ones. My collection has grown to 33. Not that I ever intended to have that many it just sort of happened over time. The advent of the internet also allowed collectors with similar interested to quickly communicate with each other. If it weren't for the internet I would not have as many Signal Ones as I do nor would I be able to maintain the Registry of Existing Signal Ones.
This is a brief summary of my early experience with Signal/Ones. I find the Signal Ones to be the most intriguing radios ever built. Technically they were years ahead of their time. Some of the features incorporated in these radios are still incredible even by today's standards. The history of Signal/One is truly incredible as well, from the early days in Florida as a subsidiary of NCR to the last days in Arizona.
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June 16, 2017.
Updated: June 16, 2017
Copyright 2017, PakRatz, Corpus Christi, Texas, USA