Welcome to our little 'Rant and Rave' corner. We'll be writing about some of the assorted 'Browning Myths, Legends and Fallacies' that have become prevalent over the years as well as observations we feel deserve mention.
AFTER-MARKET PARTS AND PIECES: We advise extreme caution in today's marketplace (in particular online auction listings that offer items and repair services) where you may find misleading information and after-market items available for sale, claimed to be 'original'. You may unwittingly find yourself with inferior and unauthorized items (such as service manuals that may contain 3rd-party repair information which may not be reliable).
PINGER BOXES: Browning did not manufacture or offer such an animal! These are home-brew boxes designed for extended or 'custom' key-up pings (or, if you prefer, a screaming racket). Please be aware that excessive capacitor value will, in time, have a negative effect on your transmitter relay as well as the audio circuit in the receiver, and will do nothing to improve the performance of your radio. Original relays for the Mark III and earlier models are no longer available but we do stock replacements for the Mark III, Mark II & SSB-15, along with Mark IV/IVA direct replacement relays.
PING NOISE TOYS: These things have been around for years in a wide variety of both commercial and home-brew versions. While imitation may be the most sincere form of flattery, none of these modules will accurately duplicate an authentic Browning ping, which is never exactly the same from one key-up to the next.
MODIFICATIONS or 'ENHANCEMENTS': While we realize that what owners do withor to their own equipment is their business, our position is that modifications diminish and/or destroy the historical and market value of these classic rigs. We do not endorse, recommend or provide information regarding illegal and/or defacing modifications. Nor are we willing to provide links to sites that do provide that type of (mis)information. We know of qualified and experienced Browning technicians who will no longer attempt repairs on extensively modified rigs. As more and more serious collectors become interested in building a classic radio collection, they're finding it increasingly difficult to locate well-kept and properly maintained equipment. Restoration to original condition can be a time-consuming and expensive process. Some cosmetic parts such as faceplates and covers can be extremely difficult to locate. Modifications simply do not add anything to these radios, but do subtract in many ways.
MINT and RARE: Two words that have been misused and abused extensively - especially at places such as Ebay.
GOLD MARK III COVERS: These covers were not made by Browning. In fact, there was no connection whatsoever between whoever built them and Browning Laboratories, Inc. The gold covers are a very poor design which inhibits air circulation inside the radio, resulting in excessive heat buildup. We do not recomment that they be used on a rig normally used in your shack. Eventually the excessive heat buildup will create problems. These covers were designed and marketed as an optional item for the Golden Eagle Mark III - a short-lived fad.
BANANA MICS: These mics are getting quite old now. A great many of them no longer work because the elements are DOA. Replacement elements are not available - even from the original manufacturer. Elements from some other name-branded banana mics may work, but do be aware that there are differences in the elements and even though a given element worked well on another brand of equipment it may or may not perform well when used on a Browning radio. We have heard reports that replacement with a Heil element does work well, but some 'engineering' is required.
MARK IV PROBLEMS: This is a good one. There has been so much misinformation floating around for so long that the damage from the urban rumor may never be put to rest. True, there was an engineering defect in the earlier Mark IV's, but Browning very quickly was able to resolve the problem and the radios which had been sold were, in fact, recalled for a factory upgrade. The radios still out there that do have the infamous 'blown chip' problem (that's NOT the root problem - it's the result of the problem) are the units the original purchasers did not bother to return for upgrade. The majority of Mark IV's which have passed through here have not had this over-stated problem. Can Mark IV's be repaired? Yes, of course they can! And if your technician is experienced and knowledgeable, it does not have to be done with some 'kit' or other defacing modification. The Mark IV and resulting Mark IVA are, without a doubt, very fine radios, and are Browning's best base SSB performers, thanks to the 'hybrid' design of the transmitters, but they should never be worked on by inexperienced technicians.
ASTATIC GOLDEN EAGLE MICROPHONES: While these mics do look wonderful sitting in front of a Browning base radio, there is no truth to the story that they were made for Browning. Astatic merely 'borrowed' the name. The only Astatic microphones that were offered as an optional Browning item were available only from Browning. The Browning-issued D-104's (G-Stand) had a 'BL' logo attached to the back of the head and were first offered as a Mark II accessory.
WHO BUILT THE BROWNING MOBILES: The very first Browning mobile, the MobilAire, was built by Vocaline. The Raven and Browning-Drake mobiles were actually built by Browning. The Eaglette, Eaglette II and Eaglette III were manufactured by Pace. All the other solid-state Browing mobiles were built through an exclusive arrangement with Toshiba to Browning specifications. Browning then inspected each one of those mobiles before shipping them to their distributors. The Browning mobiles are heavier and better built than other mobiles of the same era.
PRICING: From time to time we receive requests for pricing information from folks who are considering selling their Browning equipment. We realize there are some pretty wide price ranges on Browning equipment and much of that has to do with the cosmetic and working condition of the units. In the end, only the seller truly knows what he must have for a particular item, based on original investment plus the time, effort and expense of repairs/restoration. It all comes down to what can be worked out between a willing seller and a willing buyer. Value is a relative term and each set of circumstances is unique.
BROWNING CB GALLERY: We hope our new BROWNING CB GALLERY images will be helpful to anyone considering buying used equipment. At least now you can see how many knobs and switches are really supposed to be on Browning radios. (Sometimes you'll see equipment that might look original, but actually has some added controls/mods that have been camouflaged with an original knob).