Viking II---Sell as-is or restore first?

Discussion in 'Chat' started by BBurns, Jun 30, 2015.

  1. BBurns

    BBurns Member

    Hello All,

    When I first got back into radio a couple of years ago my urge was to get pieces of equipment that I had lusted after when I was a kid. So, I got a Viking II that was all there, and a Hammarlund HQ-150 that Carl restored for me, that being beyond my skill level. In the end however, I've discovered that what really "tickles my whiskers" is home-brewing my own gear from scratch.

    I've considered saving the Viking for parts, but I can't bring myself to start parting out a unit that hasn't been hacked-up beyond restoration by some previous owner. This one is quite nice and original.

    I figure that I can get the Viking working, but I'm wondering whether investing the time and money, both in short supply, is worth it for the higher price that a working unit will bring. Of course the big question is what all parts would need to be replaced. One possible clue is that the tube sockets are held in place with screws, so it was likely a kit-build, right?

    Advice from anybody that has been there and done that would be most appreciated.


    Brian Burns Ex: W5BRO, K6UCD
  2. KC4VWU

    KC4VWU Member

    From what I have gathered, it really depends on the cosmetics. Guys are willing to spend a little more on a piece of gear that doesn't need paint, re-lettering, search for missing control knobs, etc. The front of the unit being intact and nice is pretty important for bringing the most money. If this holds true, and all you needed to do to get it functioning reliably was maybe replace some tubes, all the electrolytics, and a quick cleaning of the inside, you'd probably be in good shape. If it's not a basket case, I don't believe parting it out would be a viable option.

  3. W5HRO

    W5HRO Administrator

    To be more specific, these are the main issues or weak links.

    1. Check to make sure the HV oil filled cap (C9) is not leaking.

    2. Change the old dual paper cap C10, C11 to new 22uF or 33uF 450V electrolytics.

    3. Change the old dual paper cap C12, C13 to new 22uF or 33uF 450V electrolytics.

    4. Replace C10, the 6AU6 cathode bypass cap to a new 10uF or 22uF cap.

    5. Check the condition of R13, the big tapped 20K bleeder resistor. The resistor is really bad about opening up and it supplies the 807 modulator screen bias. Clean the rust off of the winding with some WD-40 on a soft rag and see what it looks like. If it looks too bad then replace it. Also hang a 33uF or 40uF 450V electrolytic cap to ground where it connects to the 807 screens. Just solder it to either of the 807 tube socket pins. It will help prevent the screen voltage from caving during modulation.

    6. Most of the time the 1-Meg audio gain control pot (R6) is shot and produces a lot of static into the audio when turning it. It's a sealed pot so the only way to fix it is to replace it. It requires removing the front panel to change it though. I have thought about carefully drilling a small hole in the side of the pot and then filling it full of WD-40, but I have never tried it.

    7. Last but not least you can take the audio one step further by shorting across R27, the 22K screen dropping resistor to triode connect that second 6AU6 stage. If you do then be sure to replace the 470-ohm cathode resistor (R31) to a 1 or 2 watt resistor. That will greatly help overcome the loss in that crappy stock driver transformer with it's loose windings.

    Anyway, been there and done that with the Viking II's more than once. Those are really the only important things to look for and replace if preparing to sell.
  4. BBurns

    BBurns Member

    Hello Phil and Brian,

    Thanks very much for sharing your experience and expertise on the Viking II---I really appreciate it!

    Well, that pretty well settles it. I'll do what I can to make it look pretty, and sell it as-is. It just sat for a long time, and needs a good cleanup, but otherwise appears to be un-hacked and all there.

    I suppose that the next question is what's a fair asking price?

    Answering a question is like stepping on a mushroom---you get more questions, and you get more mushrooms (;->)...


  5. KC4VWU

    KC4VWU Member

    Oh! That's sort of a loaded question, but I have an answer which would make a good starting point. Go to the popular online auction site and type in Johnson Viking II. I just went there and checked out the completed auctions and there are several. Do some comparisons. I'm not saying to list it there, but you'll have some idea by looking at the sold prices (in green) and the pictures provided. Several years ago at the Dalton, GA hamfest, I paid $100 for the one I have now which was comparable to most of the ones pictured, but, that was several years ago and the prices on older gear have seemed to really pick up in the last year or so. So much in fact, I had been planning on doing a shack cleanout, but now I feel like if I sell what I have in surplus, I'll probably never be able to afford it again if I so desired a similar piece again. That being said, unless you're really needing the spare cash, you may want to reconsider selling and hang onto it for a project later on. Just a thought... they are one of the best, solid, 100w class rigs IMO.

  6. BBurns

    BBurns Member

    Hello Phil,

    I did have a search on Ebay, and didn't turn up a single Viking 1 or Viking 2. What search terms did you use?

    As for keeping the transmitter for later restoration, I'm well aware of the quality (and qualities) built into those old Vikings. It's just that what I get the most satisfaction from is building things from scratch. I like operating, but it's making things in my shop that provides my "soul food"---have a look at my website:

    When I decided to be a Spanish guitar maker I took the vows of poverty, so the ham budget gets slightly renewed each Christmas, and otherwise is dependent on horse trading. I think that I will do a bit to make the Viking look nice, and offer it for sale on the lists that allow such things.

    Thanks for all the advice (:->)...


  7. W5HRO

    W5HRO Administrator

    The Viking I and the Viking II are not very easy to find. Those are both somewhat rare and have been for about the past 3 decades. They are out there, but not like the Rangers, Valiants, etc. There are a billion of those.

    I would start with $500 and see what happens. I think $400 should be your bottom minimum price though. If it's super clean cosmetically then maybe even a little more than $500.

    P.S. You will find a Viking I more often than a Viking II. The Viking II is the harder one of the two to find.
  8. BBurns

    BBurns Member

    Hello Brian,

    WOW! I had no idea that it might bring that high a price!

    All right, I'll apply some TLC, wind my watch, count my money, and see what happens (;->)...


  9. W5HRO

    W5HRO Administrator

    Well, if you look on eBay Rangers and Valiants are selling for $500 and there are a billion of those. How many Viking II's do you see?

    I'd have to see pics of the cosmetic condition before I could give you a more accurate price, but without seeing it then a blind $500.
  10. KC4VWU

    KC4VWU Member

    When you bring up the Viking II listings, choose "show completed auctions" in the left sidebar. This will show you all Viking II auctions for the last 30 days.

    One thing is for sure, as the years go by, the numbers get smaller on the vintage gear. Selling it as a complete unit will hopefully allow another to get it going and put it on the air.
  11. W5HRO

    W5HRO Administrator

    I would list it with a starting bid of $399. You see some on there that sold for only around $200 to $300, but you can get a lot more than that. If it's clean and fully working someone will pay $500 easy.

    For some reason people really go for the crappy mass produced Rangers and Valiants, but the Viking II's are much more classic and desirable by hams that know what's good and what isn't. It's usually the newbe no-code weenies buying up all of the other garbage.
  12. BBurns

    BBurns Member

    Ok Guys,

    Thanks a lot for the sage advice, I really appreciate it! After I get the unit looking nice I'll post some pictures in the classified section of AM North America, and give the group first dibs on it.


  13. W1VTP

    W1VTP Member

    Got some detailed pictures? That would go a long way as far as 1) Fixing it, 2) Parting it out, or 3) Selling it as is and let someone else worry about the details.

    A pristine looking Viking that isn't working will still fetch a decent price. Many of these units were built from a kit and could just be a hammy hambone disaster.

    GL, Al

    PS: I had always wanted a V1 since I was a kid and finally got one. I bet there are others out there that have that same desire. Bet you could sell it if you don't want to work on it.

    FRONT FULL (compressed gamma).jpg
    FULL TOP REAR (compressed).jpg
  14. W1VTP

    W1VTP Member


    I'm inclined to agree with your pricing. I only paid $150 for my V1 and $175 for the V2. I feel lucky for my finds

  15. W5HRO

    W5HRO Administrator


    Have you ever done anything to the 4D32 screen connection? I don't think it really needs a clamp like the Viking II does, but I've always wondered if it would be worth hanging a couple of zeners in series from the screen to ground just for the hell of it so it could never rise above 280V to 300V.
  16. W1VTP

    W1VTP Member


    No mods on the 4D32 section. The Viking I doesn't use a "goose tube." It relies on cutoff + grid leak bias, which design philosophy I agree with. Never did understand why the EFJ guys implemented the "goose tube" in the V2 unless it's the tendency of the screens to have a melt-down under certain situations.

    I did put a electrolytic cap from the 807 modulator screens to ground to help regulate the SG voltage. All that part of the V1 may become moot 'cause Steve WA1QIX has the unit in his lab for modification in the modulator section. I need to check with Steve sometime on progress. Hate to bother him now 'cause he's now working at Bose and is quite busy. Maybe this fall.


    BOTTOM REVEALED AFTER NEW CAPS (807 screen elect.. detail).jpg
  17. W5HRO

    W5HRO Administrator

    Both the Viking I and II were designed to have +620V on the plates at 230mA for AM phone operation.

    In the Viking I the 4D32 screen voltage runs at +280V during idle and drops down during modulation.

    In the Viking II the 6146 screen voltage runs at +185V during idle and drops down during modulation.

    Johnson always ran the screens up high at idle (carrier only) in both transmitters due to the very poor regulation of the supplies and to get the RF power up because of it. The datasheet for the 4D32 says +600V on the plate and only +200V on the screen for AM phone operation.

    Since the Viking I does not have a screen clamp I was wondering if the 10K dropping resistor was really enough to keep the screen voltage from ever rising above +280V to +300V max. The tube has a max screen voltage of +350V, but it should never be allowed to rise above +300V on AM phone. Even the +280V is really too high.

    Anyway, that was my question.

    I still have my Viking II, but what I found is that if you beef up the 807 modulator for full power like I did the plate transformer isn't big enough to support it and the 6146's both. Mine works ok after I redid the 6146 grid biasing to compensate a bit, but the plate current still drops backwards some during modulation because the transformer just isn't big enough to handle it. The plate supply starts to cave on modulation peaks.
  18. W5HRO

    W5HRO Administrator


    For an example here is a Viking I for sell on eBay right now for $299.99 that's in pretty rough shape. There's no bid yet and the auction is almost over, but I doubt it will sell for that price in the poor shape it's currently in. If it had been cleaned up and reworked and brought into good working condition then the $299.99 would be a good price even with the cosmetic condition problems.

    The front panel is not super bad, but it could be a lot better. The cabinet and underside are horrible. If your V2 can be brought into better condition than this V1 then you could probably get $400 to $500 easy, but it has to be in really good shape and fully working.

    1.JPG 2.JPG
    3.JPG 4.JPG
  19. W5HRO

    W5HRO Administrator


    Did you ever fix up the transmitter or did you sell it?
  20. W5HRO

    W5HRO Administrator

    Has anyone seen Brian post on any of the other boards or forums in a while? He was last seen here back in October 2015 so I wonder if something happened.

    He either didn't like the fact that I made the Resources a paid upgrade or he went SK. His yahoo inbox has been over quota for a long while now.