The R-390A Frequently Asked Questions Page


This page contains links to or other information about reference information for the R-390 series of receivers.
This document is a compilation of the wisdom shared by members of the online community of R-390A enthusiasts.

As such, it is advice to those who endeavor to maintain and restore the R-390A family of receivers.
The information is shared without warranty, expressed or implied.

Appropriate attribution is appreciated.


Click on an entry to go to that section.

Collins Documents

U.S. Navy Manuals



Repair Tutorials


U.S. Army Manuals



Other Tutorials

R-390A Y2K Manual

U.S. Air Force


Web Pages

The Pearls


The Final Engineering Report on Radio Receivers R-389( )/URR and R-390( )/URR 1953-Sep-15, Collins Radio Company (Courtesy of Bill Hawkins)

.PDF 1.5 MB

Cost Reduction Program for Radio Receivers, R390/391( )/URR Final Progress Report, Collins Radio Company (Courtesy of Bill Hawkins)

.PDF, 76KB


Military Specification, MIL-R-13947B - Receiver, Radio (Radio Receiver R-390( )/URR) 1960-Oct-26 (Courtesy of Tom Marcotte, N5OFF)

.PDF, 168KB

MilSpec MIL-R-13947B, Amendment 7 1966-Jun-02 (Courtesy of Craig McCartney)

.PDF, 392KB

MilSpec MIL-R-13947B, Notice 1 1986-May-28 (Courtesy of Craig McCartney)

.PDF, 17KB

MilSpec MIL-R-13947B, Notice 2 1996-Mar-29 (Courtesy of Craig McCartney)

.PDF, 30KB


Military Specification, MIL-PRF-3098/9F, MIL-PRF-3098/16G, MIL-PRF-3098/24D, and MIL-PRF-3098/26F Military Performance Specification Sheets for the crystals used in the R-390A (Courtesy of Nolan Lee)

.PDF, 137KB

U.S. Navy

NAVSHIPS 0967-063-2010, Radio Receiver R-390A/URR Operation, Maintenance and Installation, 1966-Nov (Courtesy of Ed Alves, KD6EU) This is not the tech ref.

.PDF, 45 MB

NAVSHIPS 0967-063-2010 Temporary Change T2 (Courtesy of Ed Alves, KD6EU)

.PDF, 504 KB

NAVSHIPS 0967-063-2010 Temporary Change T3 (Courtesy of Ed Alves, KD6EU)

.PDF, 521 KB

NAVSHIPS 0967-063-2011, Radio Receiver R-390A/URR Manual Supplement, “Temporary Change 1 to Field Change 6”, 1969-Jun (Courtesy of Ed Alves, KD6EU)

.PDF, 2 MB

NAVSHIPS 93053 Temporary Change T2 (Courtesy of Ed Alves, KD6EU and Miguel Bravo)

.PDF, 880 KB

NAVSHIPS 0967-063-2012, Radio Receiver R-390A/URR Manual Supplement, 1974-Aug-01

NAVSHIPS 0967-063-2013, Radio Receiver R-390A/URR Manual Supplement, 1974-Aug-01

NAVSHIPS 0967-063-2014, Radio Receiver R-390A/URR Manual Supplement T-4, 1966-Nov (Courtesy of Ed Alves, KD6EU)

.PDF, 6.2 MB

NAVSHIPS 0967-063-2031, Radio Receiver R-390A/URR Manual Supplement T1A, 1964-Nov-30 (Courtesy of Ed Alves, KD6EU and Muguel Bravo)

.PDF, 80 KB

NAVSHIPS 0967-063-2032, Temporary Change T2 to Technical Manual Navships 0967-063-2030 (17 August 1967) (Courtesy of Muguel Bravo)

.PDF, 69 KB

NAVSHIPS 0967-063-2040, Radio Receiver R-390A/URR Technical Performance Standards, 1961-Sep-19

.PDF, 159KB

NAVSHIPS 0967-063-2050, Maintenance Standards Book for R-390A/URR (Also known as 93053.42A), Includes changes T1 (8/7/63) and T1A (11/30/64), 1963-Aug-07

.PDF, 3.2 MB

NAVSHIPS 0967-063-2060, Radio Receiver R-390A/URR Eliminating Spurious Radiation (Field Change l), 1960-Jan-11

.PDF, 196KB

NAVSHIPS 0967-063-2070, Radio Receiver R-390A/URR Line Output Terminals Modification (Field Change 2), 1960-Oct

.PDF, 150K

Temporary Correction T-1 to NAVSHIPS 93053, (Field Change 3), 1963-Aug-07 (Courtesy of Ed Alves, KD6EU, and Miguel Bravo)

.PDF, 84 KB

NAVSHIPS 0967-063-2080, Radio Receiver R-390A/URR Changing Terminals to "AN" Type (Field Change 3), 1964-Nov-30

NAVSHIPS 0967-063-2110, Radio Receiver R-390A/URR (Field Change 6), 1966 (Courtesy of Ed Alves, KD6EU and Miguel Bravo)

.PDF, 425 KB

NAVSHIPS 0967-063-2111, Radio Receiver R-390A/URR Temporary Change T-1 to Field Change 6, 1969-Jun

.PDF, 45KB

NAVSHIPS 0967-063-2112, Radio Receiver >R-390A/URR Temporary Change T-2 to Field Change 6, 1969-Aug

.PDF, 76KB

NAVSHIPS 0967-063-2120, Radio Receiver R-390A/URR Reduction of Internal Interference (Field Change 7), 1967-Aug-17

.PDF, 530KB

NAVSHIPS 0967-063-2140, Radio Receiver R-390A/URR Installation of Diode Load Jack (Field Change 4) and Modification of Antenna Input Connection (Field Change 5), 1966-Nov

.PDF, 341KB

EIB 836 regarding a hint to simplify the alignment of the 1st IF (Courtesy of Pete Wokoun, KH6GRT)

.PDF, 605KB

EIB 895 regarding adding a dropping resistor to the audio output B+ circuit to reduce the plate voltage after the radio has been converted to solid state rectifiers under Field Change Number 6 (Courtesy of Pete Wokoun, KH6GRT)

.PDF, 523KB

EE125-AB-OMI-010/P610 - R390A/URR (SPAWAR 0913-LP-063-2010) of 15 May 1985 (Supersedes the Navy 0967-LP-063-2010 manual of 15 April 1970).  Not available.

R-390A Digital Frequency Readout Unit Development Report (DSD R-253) - July 1969 - Office of Naval Research

.PDF, 11MB

Link to NAVSHIPS 0967-063-2010-7004, R-390A/URR Navy Tech Ref, 1970-Apr (Courtesy of Nick England)

.PDF, 30 MB

Link to NAVSHIPS 0967-063-2010-7004, R-390A/URR corrected wide Schematics and Gear Train only, (Courtesy of Larry Haney)

.PDF, 4.4 MB

U.S. Army

TM 856 Radio Receiver R-390/URR tech ref, 1953-Oct-23 (Courtesy of Jacques Fortin).  NOTE: this is a link to an automatic download of a copyrighted enhanced copy of the original manual.  Very nice and very LARGE!  This is the predecessor to TM 11-856.

.PDF, 138 MB

TM 11-856A Radio Receiver R-390A/URR tech ref, 1956-Jan-20 (Courtesy of Tom Norris)

.PDF, 42MB

TM 11-5820-358-10 Radio Receiver R-390A/URR Operator's Manual, 1961-Jan-16 (Courtesy of Ed Alves, KD6EU)

.PDF, 43MB

TM 11-5820-358-10 Change C2 to Radio Receiver R-390A/URR Operator's Manual, 1965 Jan 15 (Courtesy of Ed Alves, KD6EU)

.PDF, 4.9 MB

TM 11-5820-358-20 Radio Receiver R-390A/URR Organizational Maintenance Manual, 1961-Feb-10 (Courtesy of Bill Wray)

Eagle-eyed Stefano Frigeri, IU2DIA discovered that chapter 3, pages 19 and 20 are missing from Bill Wray's copy. They are included here.

      .PDF, 897 KB                                                                               .PDF, 923 KB  

TM 11-5820-358-20P Organizational Maintenance Repair Parts and Special Tools Lists Radio Receiver R-390A/URR, 1972-Jan-25 (Courtesy of Ed Alves, KD6EU)

.PDF, 18.2 MB

TM 11-5820-358-34P DS, GS Maintenance Repair parts for Radio Receiver R-390A/URR, 1972-Feb (Courtesy of Norman Ryan and Roger Ruszkowski)

.PDF, 54 MB

TM 11-5820-358-35 Radio Receiver R-390A/URR Field Depot and Maintenance Manual, 1961-Dec-08 tech ref (Courtesy of Bill Wray)

.PDF, 4.74MB

Army Security Agency Training Center Manual ST-32-151,"Visual Alignment of Radio Receivers R-390/URR and R-390A/URR" (Available on the Radio Era Archives CD)

Army Security Agency, Intelligence School, Fort Devens, Massachusetts ST 32-152, "Visual Alignment of Radio Receivers R-390/URR and R-390A/URR" (Courtesy of Rich McClung)

.PDF, 9.1MB

Army Security Agency Training Center Student Workbook (Courtesy of Jeff Adams and Nelson Dionne)

.PDF, 1.6MB

Army Security Agency Ft Devens Training Center Handbook, (Available on the Radio Era Archives CD)

Army MARS "R-390 Cookbook” Critique by L. Haney, et al. It was written for the R-390.

.PDF, 29 KB

Army TB SIG 319, MK-288 Impedance Matching Kit for R-390 family. This contains the DA-121 adapter and others for the R390x connection to an AN/URM-25. David Hallam and Manfred Antar.

U.S. Air Force

TO 31R1-2URR-286-WC-1 Preventive Maintenance Work Cards 1975-Jun-16 (Courtesy of Jeff Adams and J C Stott)

.PDF, 379KB

TO 31R1-2URR-442C Radio Receiver R-390A/URR Organization Maintenance Manual Supplement, 1967-Nov-30


Drawings by Number (Courtesy of Craig McCartney)

.PDF, 112KB

Drawings by Name (Courtesy of Craig McCartney)

.PDF, 112KB

Meter faces (Visio) Download only (Courtesy of David Goncalves) Carrier and Line Level meters

.VSD, 1.4MB

Meter faces (PDF) (Courtesy of David Goncalves) PDF for above Visio file 

.PDF, 107KB

Vu meter face (TIF) Download only (Courtesy of Buzz at the Military Vehicle and Radio Pages)

.TIF, 11KB

Meter faces (PDF) (Courtesy of Larry Haney) PDF for above TIF file 

.PDF, 5.5KB

Meter faces (Visio) Download only (Courtesy of Don Heywood) White faced Simpson Carrier and Line Level meters

.VSD, 277KB

Meter faces (PDF) (Courtesy of Don Heywood) PDF for above Visio file 

.PDF, 110KB

R-390A PTO Dial Calibration Label (PDF) 1 Page (Courtesy of John Harvie)  

.PDF, 12KB

R-390A Y2K

The R390A-Y2K Manual The "Re-created" 1985 Navy manual

Larry Haney's R-390A Y2K R3 Schematics - 8.5 x 11 Updated and corrected.

.PDF, 11 MB

The Pearls

Wei-Li's Pearls of Wisdom - a valuable collection of postings from the R-390A mailing list.

Repair Tutorials

Roger Ruszkowski's R-390A Checklists - Valuable wisdom from the R-390 mailing list and others.  Includes: 'list of mods' to look for, 'do's', 'don'ts', 'tube optimizing' procedures and more. This is very worthwhile to look at.

Perry Sandeen's edited version of "R-390/R-390A AGC - Ending The Moment Of Silence - The Way They Should Have Done It" - by David Wise

Perry Sandeen's List of resistors in the R-390A and SP-600 (including 5 1-watt).

Perry Sandeen's procedure for Replacing FL101 in the R-390A

Scott Seickel's excellent R-390A Gear Train Rebuild Tutorial

.PDF, 3.4 MB

Graham Baxter's R-390A Mechanical Filter Repair Tutorial - An outstanding pictorial journey through the repair of R-390A mechanical filters.

2.7 MB

Graham Baxter's R-390A Audio Transformer Repair Tutorial - An enlightening pictorial treatise on the repair of R-390A audio transformer.

.PDF, 716 KB

Jacques Fortin's R-390A Z503 Specifications - The detailed specifications of the R-390A (and R-390) Z503 tuned tank.

.TXT, 3 KB

Jim Miller's A JOURNEY THROUGH THE COSMOS (PTO) - An excellent write up on the repair of the R-390A Cosmos PTO. The links to other docs at the front of his doc are broken. 

Tom Marcotte's R-390A COSMOS PTO Calibration - A look at the operation and calibration of a Cosmos PTO.

.PDF, 188 KB

Larry Haney's R-390A COSMOS PTO Observations - A look at the internals of a Cosmos PTO.

.PDF, 3.3 MB

Larry Haney's R-390A AGC Diagnostics, Part 2 - In depth diagnostics on the AGC system.

.PDF, 300 KB

Larry Haney's "R-390 Cookbook” Critique, et al. - It was written for the R-390.

.PDF, 29 KB

Larry Haney's R-390A 2nd Crystal Oscillator Repair - The internals of the 2nd Crystal Oscillator.

.PDF, 802 KB

Larry Haney's R-390A Antenna Relay Repair Tutorial - An introduction to the internals of R-390A antenna relays.

.PDF, 667 KB

Larry Haney's R-390A Collins PTO Observations - A look at the internals of a Collins PTO.

.PDF, 1.8 MB

Larry Haney's R-390A Power-on and 0A2 Regulator Observations - A look at the Power-On operation and the 0A2 Regulator Tube.

.PDF, 790 KB

Larry Haney's R-390A - Improved BFO Neutralization - A different method.

.PDF, 8.2 KB

Larry Haney's R-390A DB Meter and S-Signal relationships - A comparative look.

.PDF, 30.2 KB

Larry Haney's R-390A AGC Moment of Silence (MOS) - Improving it. Help from Dave Wise and Charles Steinmetz.

.PDF, 1.35 MB

Larry Haney's R390A Oscillator Output Level Effects

.PDF, 82.7 KB

Larry Haney's R390A Antenna Trimmer Cap Repair

.PDF, 1.4 MB

Larry Haney's AGC Fix for the Lankford SSB Mod

.PDF, 389 KB

Larry Haney's Improving Lee Product Detector and Lankford SSB AGC. Adding DPDT relay.

.PDF, 105 KB

Larry Haney's R-390A Fix Non-Linear and Low Reading Carrier Level Meter 

.PDF, 55 KB

Larry Haney's R-390A Limiter Filament Dropping Resistor

.PDF, 147 KB

Larry Haney's R-390A Oven Frequency Stability Report

.PDF, 50 KB

Larry Haney's R-390A Measuring Signal to Noise Ratio Report, Why the Navy did Field Change 5.

.PDF, 42 KB

Larry Haney's R-390A Ballast Tube RT510/3TF7 Report, Including my summary at the end.

.PDF, 116 KB

Numerous contributors about Paint. Very good information, including different application techniques and alternatives.

.PDF, 3 KB

Numerous contributors about Tubes (Valves) and Ionic Emitters. Very good information, especially about the Ballast tube 3TF7 and its alternatives.

.PDF, 3 KB

Roy Morgan's and Jerry Johnson's Compensating for high line voltage. A Bucking transformer.

.PDF, 2 KB

Nolan Lee's Reconditioning the Veeder Root Counter Mechanism.

.PDF, 4 KB

Nolan Lee's R-390A Overhaul Report.  Lots of good diagnostic and repair information.

.PDF, 4 KB

Charles Steinmetz wrote a procedure for R-390A AGC TroubleshootingIt's very good.

.PDF, 21 KB

I replaced the failing Collins mechanical filters in one of my R-390A's with Dave Curry's Longwave Products replacement filters.
Here is my report of the results. Al Tirevold.

.PDF, 117 KB

Other Tutorials

Michael Crestohl and Bill Coss provided a collection of handouts from the US Navy Technical Training Center in Pensacola FL. - It is the 'A' School R-390A training handout for the Cryptological Technician Class 'A' Cryptologic Maintenance Course (A-102-109). The document is not classified and is in the public domain

.PDF, 3.4 MB

Larry Haney's contribution of an EAC Ad in 73 Magazine for an R-390A on 12-1968 on p70.  This quality is much better.

.PDF, 445KB

Perry Sandeen's contribution of a Hammarlund 1970 R390A Sales Brochure

.PDF, 202KB

Perry Sandeen's contribution of Professor Johannes Fischer's article "The R-390A/URR and its Squelch Facility"

.PDF, 1.2 MB

Perry Sandeen's R-390A Reflector - Redux - a compilation of postings from the R-390A mailing list.

Perry Sandeen's procedure for improving the B+ regulator in the R-390A. This adds some Solid State circuitry.

.PDF, 20KB

Perry Sandeen's almost ultimate R-390A Upgrade Schematic - Part 1. Many schematic updates.

.PDF, 20KB

Perry Sandeen's almost ultimate R-390A Upgrade Schematic - Part 2. Many schematic updates.

.PDF, 20KB

Perry Sandeen's Method of "Adding Fuses F102 and F103 to the R-390A". This is similar to the actual change done to all later models.

.PDF, 40KB

Perry Sandeen's repaginated and edited version of "Receiver noise figure sensitivity and dynamic range - what the numbers mean" - the classic Jim Fisk article from Ham Radio Magazine of October 1975

.PDF, 369KB

R-390A Article in Short Wave Magazine from May 2002, about how good it is, by John Wilson. Courtesy of Terry Harvey

.PDF, 3.8 MB

Larry Haney's R-390 Newbie Support - Information about Documentation available and location, Part names, Other important information to know.

.PDF, 71 KB


R-390/URR - R-390A/URR Handbook by Paolo Viappiani, 1996, ISBN Number 9-789705-648898, published by Editrice Il Rostro, Milan, Italy (The book is written in Italian)


Short Wave Magazine PDF's on World Radio History.  Go to the year and month of interest and click.

73 Magazine PDF's on World Radio History.  Go to the year and month of interest and click.

Hollow State Newsletter PDF's including an Excel index file, on Navy-Radio.  There is also a Compendium containing most of the R390 and R390A articles.

Ham Radio Magazine PDF's from 1968 through 1990 are available online: Here - One entry per year. Click on year to go to 'month' list.  These are all the issues and nice quality.

CQ Magazine PDF's on  The most recent 24 issues are NOT included.  ONLY the first eight pages of each month are available for FREE.  The rest are for paid subscription.

Electric Radio Magazine can be obtained from Ray Osterwald, NØDMS, ER's editor at:

     Electric Radio Magazine, 14643 County Road G, Cortez, CO 81321-9575

     Link to a complete index to Electric Radio Magazine is here.

Web Pages

Royal Signal web site in UK - Military Radio and Radar Related Restored Documentation.  Site is copyrighted and files are password protected (for very good reason). Includes a large list of 'US Technical Manuals'.  Jacques Fortin.

Radio Nerds - US Military Radio Related Documentation in Public Domain (at least 20 years old). An item of interest to us is the doc for the MK–288/URM (TB SIG 319).  Site is searchable.

Nick England - US Navy Radio Communications Pictures, Publications & Manuals - R-390A, R-390 Information. Click on Receiver Manuals at page bottom.

Henry Rogers - Radio Boulevard, Western Historic Radio Museum - Receivers R-390A, R-390 Information and tutorials. Select: "Part Two" at bottom, then search on "R-390".

Andy Moorer - Receivers R-390A, R-390 documentation and more. Select: "Boat Anchors".

Dave Medley, "The R-390 (EXCEPT the R-390A) Page"

Jan Skirrow, VE7DJX, "BoatAnchor Dreams".  Unfortunately, most of the links are broken.


Barry Ornitz, WA4VZQ

Bill Hawkins

Bill Neill

Chuck Rippel, WA4HHG

Craig McCartney

Dallas Lankford

Ed Alves, KD6EU

J C Stott

Jan Skirrow, VE7DJX

Jeff Adams, KG4RZM

Jose Gavila, EB5AGV

Josh Rovero, KK1D

Michael Crestohl, W1RC

Nelson Dionne

Nolan Lee

Pete Wokoun, KH6GRT

Reid Wheeler

Rich McClung

Roy Morgan

Scott Seickel

Tom Marcotte, N5OFF

Tom Norris, NU4G

David Goncalves, N1XZB

Graham Baxter, G8OAD

Miguel Bravo

Larry Haney

Bill Coss, WA6SW

Stefano Frigeri, IU2DIA

Charles Steinmetz

Al Tirevold, WA0HQQ

David Wise

Perry Sandeen, WM6FQV

Jacques Fortin, VE2JFE

Send Comments to the FAQ-Meister: (root[at]r-390a[dot]net)

Version: 94 - - Last revision: 2024-Mar-18