ITT Mackay 8050

These beauties are in use today on US Navy vessels plying the waterways of the world

Mackay Marine has a fine history of building equipment for use on ships -- a tough environment. Over the years, I've used plenty of their gear and always been impressed. I have a particular fondness for the older 3020A receivers but, I gotta tell ya, these newer rigs are rock solid.

The 8050 is just about perfect as a MARS rig. It has a 100 channel memory, or you can directly key in a frequency or you can use the knob. And it's the knob that separates the 8050 from most of the other military / commercial rigs such as the RF-350K.

But, this is no ordinary knob! No Sir.. This knob only rotates plus or minus 90 degrees! Yep, it's true. You rotate the knob to the left and the rig tunes down the band. And, the farther you turn it the faster it goes. Want to go up instead? Just rotate the knob to the right (clockwise) and you go up the band. Turn it a bit further and you go faster. Release the knob and you stop -- right where you are. It's pretty cool..

Mackay thought of everything. The frequency readout automatially dims itself when you dim the lights in your radio shack. Don't want to be without your night vision when you burst forth from the shack in the middle of the night onto the fully darkened bridge with priority traffic!

Enough of this talk. Here's the pics:

MSR-8050 Front View

MSR-8050 Left Side

MSR-8050 Left Rear View

MSR-8050 Right Rear View

MSR-8050 Right Side View

MSR-8050 Top View, all covers in place

MSR-8050 Top View, outer cover off

MSR-8050 Top View, inner cover off

Oh, yeah, there is the full operation and service manual. The manual has full size schematics along with pencil markings here and there.

MSR-8050 Operating and Service manual

Also, some NOS spare boards.

MSR-8050 Spare circuit boards

But wait! There's more! You need an antenna coupler too!

Mackay rates this coupler as 150 watts average which I find hilarious. I wouldn't hesitate to run 500 watts through this thing. It's beautiful inside with a gorgeous roller inductor and a vacuum variable capacitor. If this is a 150 watt coupler then those guys at SGC should be embarrassed to call their couplers capable of 100 watts.

MSR-4020 Coupler Front View


MSR-4020 Coupler Other Front View

MSR-4020 Coupler Name Plate

MSR-4020 Coupler Inside

MSR-4020 Inside, again

MSR-4020 Manual

So, to summarize; here's the whole enchilada:

The whole enchilada

It's truly a great rig. My only complaints about it are that the fans are noisy and the power meter doesn't read anything unless you have the external coupler attached. (The power sampling takes place in the coupler not at the output of the rig. And, if you think about it, that makes a lot of sense.)

Oh, one more thing. Unlike earlier Mackay rigs this one is not very CW friendly. The narrow CW filter option is NOT installed and is probably unobtanium at this point. This rig is from the post CW era so it's great for SSB and PACTOR it's not so hot for CW..

And, yes, it is on my list of things to sell as I downsize the shack. But, hold on to your hats! Being of recent vintage this thing is expensive by normal ham radio standards. Well, maybe not. I see top line ham gear selling for upwards of 8 or 10 thousand these days. And, given what this unit sold for new I'm just about giving it away..

It's a cool rig but I sold it in 2010.