Radiomarine Corporation of America
Miniature of RMCA sign
In 1919 the government assisted by GE engineered the formation of RCA to take over the American interests of the Marconi Company. At its inception GE owned at least 80% of the stock in the new company with the Marconi owning the remainder. The new RCA was initially a communications company, though broadcasting and the manufacturing of tubes and broadcast equipment soon over-shadowed the communications operations. According to George C. Oslin's book The Story of Telecommunications RCA's Radiomarine Corporation of America was formed in 1927.
Radio Broadcasting Magazine - May 1928 states: RADIOMARINE CORPORATION ORGANIZED - The ship-to-shore marine radio communications of the Radio Corporation of America were transferred to a new subsidiary, the Radiomarine Corporation with which was combined the Independent Wireless Company. Charles J. Pannill, former president of the Independent, is now vice-president and general manager of Radiomarine and J. P. Duffy, for years superintendent of the New York division of RCA marine, has been appointed superintendent of operations.
RMCA was one of the prime providers of marine communications equipment and services for more than 40 years. It appears that on the lakes both RMCA and Lorain Electronics gear were the most popular with Lorain having the top position. On the rivers one ex-serviceman indicated that most of the AM gear that he serviced was RMCA brand. However, some of the early AM gear was Western Electric and Dennis Widdows, who did service work for Lorain from a Chicago base, stated that in addition to working on the "lakers" he went down the Illinois River servicing boat gear - probably Lorain.
Great Lakes Cruise ships the SS South American, SS North American and
the SS Alabama each had a RMCA ET-8031 system to support multichannel
AM transmission and receiving. The system had 6 receivers, a
motor-generator power supply, and a coil switching transmitter housed
in a large cabinet. The system was operated from a control panel that
could be located anywhere on the ship. Tom
Drake who served as radio op on these vessels provided these 3
images from the manual for this system.
Here's a link to the manual for the RMCA ET 8023 Radio-Telegraph Transmitter.
Here are three pages from a 1939-40 brochure promoting several RMCA Radiotelephone units:
Don't have a photo of it, but here's a 1946 ad for the RMCA ET-8027 .
LA8AK's RMCA AR 8503 VLF receiver page is
now only available via the Wayback Machine.
Above: RMCA ET-8044 rig with a tunable receiver. Likely intended more for pleasure boat use than for commercial service.
ET-8044 Ad # 1 ET-8044 Ad # 2
Left: Alex Holden, VA3AEX supplied this photo of the RCA ET-8037. It's a 6 channel unit rated at 30W (from a pair of 1624's modulated
by 1624s) and is a hefty 93 lbs. ET-8037 Advertisement
The RMCA AR 8510 is a 5 tube regenerative Rx, covers
15-650 KHz in 4 bands and operates from 120 V DC.
Top View of 8510
RMCA 10 tube Superhetrodyne RX Model 8506 - ca. 1940s.
Covered from 85KHz to 550KHz & 1.9 to 25 MHz
Larger Views: Front Back Top Bottom
Doran Platt, K3HVG supplied this additional AR-8506 photo.
Above is a RCMA Model 8059 1950s vintage 6 channel AM
unit which included a BC band receiver.
To the right is a somewhat later but still 1950s RCMA
8 channel rig.
Here's an early version RCA AC powered SSB station for use
on larger craft. Mid-1960s?
This 1951 ad by RCMA shows one of their shipboard AM units as well as information on their communications services for the Mississippi River system.
Doran Platt, K3HVG supplied this instruction manual view of the 3U/4U series of shipboard rigs. They were intended for high-seas operation & were far more complex than required for the rivers or lakes.
The Maritime Radio Historical Society in San Francisco has done a wonderful job of restoring a RMCA 4U radio console as a part of recreating the radio room of a WW2 Liberty Ship at the San Francisco Maritime Museum. In the first picture of the series note the rig on the floor in the foreground. It is very similar to the ET-8012-HF AM rig shown in the 1951 RMCA ad above.
Jerry Proc, VE3FAB has some pictures of a RMCA 3U radio console on his web site which also has other marine radio gear images and information.
Ken Goodhue, WD6AOB, supplied the photo of the unit on the left. According to ex-coastie, W8SU, these were used everywhere, light houses, surf boats, 40 foot motor boats for CG inter communications. A carbon mike was used for AM, and power was from a 6V. battery via a dynamotor in the power supply, or by normal 115V AC.
The brass plate on the front panel has the following information on it: U.S. Coastguard Radio Transmitter Receiver Model TRP-141, Power output 5/10 Watts emission A3/A1, Frequency range 2000-9000KC. Serial No. 25. Cont. TCG-37524. Date 12/30/47. Order No. CC 8657-C. Manufactured by Radio Marine Corporation of America, New York, New York
Bob Ballantine, W8SU, supplied this photo of the 1932 version of this type of unit. Nomenclature unknown.
Here's a 1952 article with four photos of RMCA's equipment offerings at that years National Motor Boat Show. Thanks to Charles Eckard for this.
Thanks to Bartley Cardon, KD1KG here's a nice image of the RMCA radio operator's console on the SS John W. Brown Liberty Ship. This gear was intended for high seas ships and is more elaborate than was used on the Great Lakes.
Needed: Much more information about RCMA. I have so far been unable to contact anyone connected with this company. Looking for photos of the 1950s RCA ET-8037 AM Radiotelephone unit and the RCA CRM-P22A Single Sideband unit (Is this the unit pictured immediately above?). Help please.
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