TV Signal Booster
Astatic BT-1

Based in the Lake Erie resort town of Conneaut Ohio, the Astatic Corporation was a microphone and phonograph-cartridge maker founded in the late '30s by two Ham Radio operators. No doubt because their town was too far away from TV stations in Cleveland or Buffalo, their engineers came up with a series of TV signal boosters. The BT-series was the 2nd of those, and significantly different from the earlier AT-1. It was introduced around 1950.

The BT-1 used a single 6AK5 low-noise pentode tube and tuned continuously from channel 2 through channel 13. Because of the FCC's frequency assignments this range also included the FM radio band, police and taxi dispatchers and the 2-meter Ham radio allocation. This wide frequency range was accomplished with a Mallory Inductuner, a multiple-section precision variable inductor that tuned the grid and plate circuit of the 6AK5. Construction was typically robust, with a copper-plated chassis and a large reduction gear tuning drive. The usual power transformer and selenium rectifier provided necessary voltages.

The styling is rather simple, but not unattractive, with the 360-degree "airplane dial" tuning indicator dominating the face. The woodgrain pattern is part of the paint job on the metal cabinet. While the continuous tuning meant that there was no need for a high band - low band switch, it took many turns of the knob to tune from channel 2 to 13!

Updated July 23, 2010