San Francisco Maritime Museum 4U Radio Console

An early restoration project taken on before the MRHS was organized was the recreation of the radio room of a WWII Victory ship.  Richard Dillman and Tom Horsfall, later to be MRHS co-founders, took on the task.  A complete Radiomarine 4U radio console was obtained from SS RIDER VICTORY in the "mothball fleet" near San Francisco.  After a year's work the console was operating - running on the original motor generator set.

Meanwhile the museum's skilled staff were recreating the ship's radio room in a disused men's room.  Their work was startingly accurate, down to the brush marks on the painted walls and the dirt around the door knobs.  They even poured a concrete floor as on the original ship, into which the mountings for the 4U console were set.  The floow was painted in a new coat of the correct color paint.  Tom and Richard were surprised to return after admiring the new paint job to find dirt and discoloration had been added, even including an accurate reproduction of the area where the RO had gotten a little seasick!

Tom, Richard and QSL Misress Denice Stoops manned the console every weekend until the museum closed for renovation.  We hope it and the exhibit will open again soon.


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One section of the restored console is hoisted to the recreated radio room.  It was a tense moment when the console was lowered into the mounts in the cement floor of the room, which had been constructed according to original Radiomarine blueprints.  It fit perfectly.

The main (MF) transmitter and receiver undergoing restoration in the basement of the museum.

Richard and Tom stand proudly before the restored console after installation in the radio room.

One of the many paper artifacts recovered with the console was this note from the RO going off duty to his sucessor describing all the details and ins and outs of the electronics aboard the ship - and how to get the best ventilation in the radio room!

Tom carefully tunes for signals while Denice gets ready to ply her bug during an exhibit day at the museum.