Boosters!

"Booster" is the common term for television signal preamplifiers, since their primary function was to boost the weak signals received from distant stations, and so improve picture quality. As in so many things, the basic function is simple but the engineering challenges to achieve this were (and still are) complex. Engineers and designers had to balance cost, style and ease of use with gain, bandwidth and signal-to-noise ratio. The results are displayed below. Though there were broadly tuned boosters with no user adjustments, and units designed to be mounted outdoors on or very near the antenna, I have concentrated on the set-top, tunable boosters.

All the units below are currently in my personal collection, with the exception of those marked as "Wanted!" in the comments box. If you have one of those models, or a booster you don't see here, please let me know! In addition, if you're interested in starting or adding to your own collection, I sometimes have duplicates of some models for sale or trade, at my For Sale page.

Click on the thumbnail photo to see a larger picture and more information on any booster.

Manufacturer

Model

Picture

Notes

Alliance

AB-1

Distinctive sloping front panel, bakelite cabinet, one central knob. Two 6J6 tubes, permeability tuning. Circa 1951. The AB series was also called TennaScope.

AB-3

Appears almost identical to models AB-1 and AB-5. Circa 1953.

AB-5

Appears almost identical to models AB-1 and AB-3.

Anchor

101-50

From about 1948; includes channel 1.

101-75

Circa 1950; horizontal "dashboard" styling. Single-stage circuit. Also called Suburbanite.

101-100

Top of the line, 2-stage circuit, "dashboard" styling. The Granger.

Astatic

AT-1

Astatic AT-1 'Channel Chief'

Handsome mahogany wood cabinet with 4 knobs, gain control, no channel markings. Also called Channel Chief.

The relatively rare blonde cabinet version.

BT-1

Metal cabinet, woodgrain finish, continuous tuning. Uses Mallory Inductuner.

BT-2

Plastic case version of BT-1.

CT-1

Also called the Scanafar. Woodgrained metal cabinet, permeability tuning. 1952.

The slightly later "A" version.

CB-1

Combination booster and UHF converter. Metal cabinet, permeability tuning with 6J6 and 6BQ7. Circa 1953.

Blonder-Tongue

UTB-1

"U-Boost"

Rare UHF booster, in a white plastic case. 6DL4 tube. 10dB gain claimed. 1963.

Bogen

BB1

Metal cabinet with single pointer knob; clean and simple. Permeability tuning. Two 6J6 tubes.

BB1A

Lower, sleeker plastic case version of the BB1.

Ivory plastic cabinet version of the model BB1A.

BB2

Wood cabinet version of the model BB1.

Blonde wood cabinet version of the model BB1.

Bud

TAB99

Low band only (channels 1-6). Capacitor tuning. A very early booster; 1948.

TAB81

Separate capacitor tuning for high and low band. Two 6AK5s. 1948.

Decimeter

100A

Also called "Professional." Large solid-wood cabinet with projection channel display. Click-stop tuning, gain control, two 6J6s.

300

Large wood veneer cabinet with projection channel display, click-stop tuning, gain control. 2 6J6s. Also available in blonde wood.

Electro-Voice

3400

Rare UHF booster. Two 6AJ4 tubes.

Inducto

(Electro-Steel Products, Inc.)

???

Metal cabinet with gray crackle finish. Continuous tuning, single 6AK5 tube.

ITI

(Industrial Television Inc.)

UHF AutoBooster

Rare UHF booster. Bakelite cabinet.

Jerrold

TV-FM

Smallish bakelite cabinet, single-knob click-stop tuning, with fine-tuning thumbwheel. Single 6AK5. From about 1948-9. Later Series B models had a tunable "matching" network on the back.

Marconi (Canada)

TVA-107

Metal cabinet. Appears to be a relabeled Regency db-213, probably built under license. Two 6J6s. Circa 1950-2. Not in my collection. Wanted!

TVA-117

Metal cabinet. Appears to be a Regency db-400 inside, probably built under license. Two 6J6s. Circa 1952-3.

MASCO

(Mark Simpson Company)

MTB-13X

A very early unit, in wooden cabinet. Rated "Not Acceptable" by Consumer Reports in 1948!

MB-2

Called the Sky Chief. Metal cabinet, single stage circuit. About 1950.

MB-3

The Super Sky Chief. Metal cabinet, two knobs, dual stage circuit. Essentially two MB-2s in series.

TVB

The Cascadian. Metal cabinet, one knob, 6J6 and 6BK7 tubes. Advertised as 35dB gain.

McMurdo Silver

*unknown*

Wooden cabinet, click-stop tuning, bandwidth control. Single 6AK5.

Millen

(James Millen Mfg. Co.)

92101

Single-channel preamplifier, normally used in Ham Radio rather than TV. No built-in power supply.

National

(National Radio Co.)

TVB-1

From a maker of Ham Radio equipment. Bakelite cabinet, 4 knobs, capacitor tuning, two 6AK5s. Circa 1949.

TVB-2

Metal cabinet, click-stop tuning. 6AK5 tube. Circa 1950.

Oak

100

Like the Philco TB-3, uses a bakelite radio cabinet (in this case, the Truetone D1019). Continuous tuning, bandwidth control.

Philco

TB-2

Metal cabinet, no power supply. Two 6AK5s, capacitor tuning. A very early booster, circa 1948.

TB-3

Built into a small bakelite radio cabinet. Permeability tuning.

"Ivory" version painted bakelite.

Radiart

100

Rare. Single 6J6, permeability tuning, bakelite cabinet.

Regency

(I.D.E.A. Corp.)

DB213

The earliest Regency booster. Handsome silver and gray metal cabinet. Independent high and low band permeability tuning.

DB400

Bakelite cabinet. Permeability tuning, 2 6J6s.
Also available in ivory (
Wanted!)

DB410,
DB410A

Bakelite cabinet with metal front panel. Permeability tuning, single 6J6. The db-410 came out in early 1951.

DB520

Sharply styled bakelite cabinet with ivory plastic tuning knob.

DB550

The Cascade. New circuit (12AT7 tube), old cabinet.

RMS

(Radio Merchandise Sales, Inc.)

SP-2

Very early unit, wooden case. This one is rather beat up.

SP-4

Wooden cabinet with metal front. Single 6AK5. Early versions had friction drive permeability tuning; later ones used rack & pinion.

SP-5

"Industrial" styled gray wrinkle finished metal cabinet. Single 6AK5 tube. About 1951.

SP-6

Plastic and metal cabinet, finally with a little style. Single 6AK5 tube.

SP-6J

Plastic cabinet. Single 6J6 tube.

Silman

unknown

Single 6J6, metal cabinet. Electrically identical to Regency db-410.

Silvertone

(Sears, Roebuck & Co.)

? model
chassis 632.550

A relabeled Regency DB550

6745
chassis 632.213

A relabeled Regency db-213.

6875
chassis 632.400?

A relabeled Regency db-400.

Sonar

Pix-Boost

Painted wooden cabinet, capacitor tuning. About 1948.

Sonic
(McMurdo Silver?)

IT-3

Wanted! Not in my collection. Cloth over wood cabinet, continuous tuning.

IT-4

Plain outside, elegant inside. Cloth over wood cabinet, continuous roller-inductor tuning.

IT-5

Elegant inside and out. Bakelite cabinet, continuous roller-inductor tuning.

107

Almost identical to IT-5, except 2" less deep.

Standard

(Standard Coil Products, Inc.)

B-50

From a major TV-tuner maker. Continuous tuning, with a slide-rule dial in a plain brown metal cabinet. One 6AK5. Made in 1950.

B-51

Thumbwheel click-stop tuning, bakelite cabinet, with an upside down chassis. Printed circuits. Single 6AK5 tube. 1951.

Sutco

(Sutton Electronics Co.)

21A

VHF booster and UHF converter in one brown metal case. Booster uses one 6J6, permeability tuning. Late 1952.

22B

Booster and UHF converter in one brown plastic case.

16B (?)

Metal cabinet with brown finish. Permeability tuning, single 6J6 tube.

SEC (?)

Metal cabinet with brown finish. Permeability tuning, single 6J6 tube.

Techmaster

3375

Wooden cabinet kit. 6AK5, capacitor tuning.

Tel-a-ray

???

Metal cabinet, with switching for 4 antennas.

Teleboost

???

Wooden case. Single 6AK5, capacitor tuning.

TeleKit

???

Wood cabinet with plastic face. Click-stop tuning, with a single 6AK5. Not sold as a kit, despite the name.

TEC

(Television Equipment Corp.)

S-505

A semi-broadband unit, with only 2 clickstops and a gain control. Metal cabinet, 3 tubes.

S-504

Wanted! Not yet in my collection.

Transvision

B-1

Wanted! Not yet in my collection. From 1948.

Turner

TV-1

Odd textured pressedwood cabinet, slide rule dial, continuous tuning.

TV-2

Redish-brown bakelite plastic cabinet, slide rule dial, continuous tuning.

Videon

B-122

Wood cabinet, single 6J6 tube.

B-132
"Tudor"

Wood cabinet with cheesy decal, single 6J6, permeability tuning. Rare.

B-133

Blonde wood cabinet version. Single 6J6, permeability tuning.

Videon Jr.

Metal cabinet, single 6J6, permeability tuning. Rarely seen.

Vision

(Vision Research Labs)

TVL

Low band (channels 1-6) only. Wooden cabinet, black bakelite front panel. Capacitor tuning. One of the earliest boosters, circa 1948.

TVX

Identical to TVL, but covers channels 2-13, in 2 bands. Wooden cabinet, black bakelite front panel. Capacitor tuning.

TVZ

Super DeLuxe. Wooden cabinet, full channel coverage. Projection channel display.

TVA

All wooden cabinet, full channel coverage.

Yamanaka

B-11

Japanese home-market booster. Click-stop tuning, 6BQ7 tube, wooden cabinet. Probably early to mid-1950s.

Updated Jan. 1, 2014