Knight  OCEAN HOPPER
   

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Knight-Kit Ocean Hopper
 
Knight-Kit Ocean Hopper
 
The second attempt involved obtaining the approximate diameter plastic tube, sawing it into lengths in a miter box, sanding the edges, and inserting the new capacitors. The ends were then sealed with a yellow tinted hot glue. I had tried to cut the tubes with a PEX cutter, but the plastic isn't PEX, it's PVC. All it did was crush the end of the tube, so don't try it. The tube was listed on ebay as having 12mm outside diameter, which is just about 1/2 inch.
 
Knight-Kit Ocean Hopper
After the glue had cooled, labels were made with waterslide decal paper and the decals were applied. They turned out very nice. Good thing, too. I was out of .05 capacitors. Also, none of this is as easy as it sounds.

I can find no information whatsoever on United Condenser Corp. There is no brand name on the .05 capacitors.
 

Making a Filter Capacitor

 
Knight-Kit Ocean Hopper
How big was the original filter capacitor? There is a cool site on the Internet where you can measure objects in a photo if you know one of the dimensions. To get the size of the filter capacitor I just used a photo of an Ocean Hopper chassis. The line at the top was drawn and assigned the length of 9.5 inches. A second line was drawn down the length of the capacitor and was automatically determined to be 3 inches. The third line shows it's an inch across. Here's a link to the site.

Ocean Hopper fans will spot some modifications to this chassis. The orange wires going through the hole on the lower right are attached to a speaker the owner built into the cabinet.
 
Knight-Kit Ocean Hopper
The tube used was from an Estes model rocket kit and is size BT-50. It was cut to three inches in length and three capacitors were inserted into it. The capacitor leads had been shortened and insulated wires were soldered to them. Cardboard disks were glued onto each end to hold everything in place.
 
Knight-Kit Ocean Hopper
The label, based on an actual Ocean Hopper filter capacitor, was created in a graphics program. It was printed on a manila envelope. Notice there is no brand name on the capacitor. One would be inclined to think that Allied used bottom of the barrel components in these kits, but nah, that couldn't be, could it?
 
Knight-Kit Ocean Hopper
Each end had disks made from an empty box of CheeZ-It crackers. I was going to use the red color, but flipped them around so they were brown (or whatever you call the color of recycled paper cracker boxes). Each end got three puddles of Elmer's Glue-All, allowing each layer to dry before the next was applied. It dried clear.

Cheez-Its don't taste the same as they used to. Years ago they were good, but not so much now. I didn't taste the box, but the box probably tastes like a Cheez-It with no salt.
 
Knight-Kit Ocean Hopper
Success! It was given a coat of satin lacquer because the original had a sheen to it.
Das kapacitor ist nicht mit hum und buzzen.

 
 
Knight-Kit Ocean Hopper
 
Knight-Kit Ocean Hopper
 

 
Why is everything in this radio crammed to one side? In the directions, it shows the filter capacitor ON TOP of the tube socket. The rectangular 200Ω resistor gets hot enough to burn you if you touch it, so why is the filter capacitor allowed to touch it? When the chassis is in the cabinet, there is NO air circulation under it. The filter capacitor won't last long while being baked to death by the resistor.
 

  The Cabinet  

 
 
Knight-Kit Ocean Hopper
The cabinet from the back. It was in fairly nice shape, except for a hole drilled in the top. The hole was about the size of a BB. The Allied catalogs state that the cabinet is (was) gray, and it is covered with pyroxylin. Pyroxylin is a form of nitrocellulose used to make artificial leather and other products. This probably accounts for the current tan color, as nitrocellulose degrades over time.
 

 
 
Knight-Kit Ocean Hopper
 
Knight-Kit Ocean Hopper
 
The hole didn't go all the way through and seemed to be an accident. It had been coated with glue, probably to keep the covering from fraying. Up close it looked like a meteor crater. I resisted the urge to tap the edges down with a ball peen hammer. It may have been that way for half a century and I didn't want to make it worse.
 
 
Knight-Kit Ocean Hopper
 
Knight-Kit Ocean Hopper
 
The high points were carved off with a utility knife, then the hole was filled with a little dab of Bondo. After the Bondo had set, a pattern was sanded into it to match the pattern on the covering. The photo on the right was taken by shining a flashlight across the cabinet to bring out the texture.
 
Knight-Kit Ocean Hopper
The spot was painted with acrylic craft paint after matching the base color. It looked great till I started to paint on the gray-blue fabric pattern, at which I wasn't that successful. I don't understand it; I watched a guy restore a 500 year old painting on YouTube at lunch time, and I did not become a master art restorer. Anyway, I had to stop messing with it before I ruined it.
 
Knight-Kit Ocean Hopper
You can plainly see there is some kind of mark on top of the cabinet, but nobody would ever suspect it had once been a hole. I was, however, disappointed with the result.

When the "repair" was done, the sheen on the cabinet didn't match up with the paint if the light struck it a certain way. I cut a small hole in a paper plate, held it over the spot, and gave it a shot of gloss clear coat. When it was dry, I very gently went over it with a Scotch-Brite type of sanding pad till the shine matched the rest of the cabinet top.
 

 
Knight-Kit Ocean Hopper
This was another problem. The tab on the door you open to change the coils was so worn, I was convinced that if I used it once more I'd pull it right off. I wanted to remove it and reinforce it, but there is no way to remove the rivet without damaging the door.

The "fix" was to just glue it down with some white glue. If someone wants to mess with it in the future, it will loosen up with a hair dryer.
 
Knight-Kit Ocean Hopper
Knight-Kit Ocean Hopper
After fixing a few other odds and ends on the cabinet, it was (almost) as good as new.

 
Ocean Hopper cabinet
This color of the cabinet should be similar to this. Photo is from ebay, January 2023.
 

COILS

 
Knight-Kit Ocean Hopper
The coils were purchased from Mrs. Eppel, the same person who sold the Ocean Hopper.
Das ist ein artsy-fartsy Foto!
 
Knight-Kit Ocean Hopper
Each coil was sealed in plastic, and the bubble of air protected them. Unfortunately, it must have been humid air, because the pins were covered in a white fluffy powder caused by oxidation of the plating. It was easily sanded off. The coils were a great deal. Everything in this picture was $38. Not all the coils are for an Ocean Hopper and some are blank 5 pin coil forms, but later Mrs. Eppel was selling individual coils for almost as much as this whole set. In 1958, the coils were 65¢ each, or $6.70 in 2022 money.
 
Knight-Kit Ocean Hopper
The antenna tune capacitor can be driven right into the low frequency coil, and there is a warning about it in the manual. If Allied had just moved the tube and coil sockets over 1/2 of an inch this wouldn't be a problem, and that big, hot resistor would not be in contact with the filter capacitor.
 

 
 
1962 Ocean Hopper
 
1962 Space Spanner
 
In 1962, you could buy a Space Spanner (minus the cabinet) for the same price as an Ocean Hopper. The Space Spanner only had two bands, while the Ocean Hopper had far greater coverage with its plug-in coils. However, the Space Spanner was a superior receiver which employed a 12AT7 as a dual triode detector/amplifier, and had a built in speaker and volume control. People back then must have been pulling their hair out deciding which one to get. To torture them even more, you had to buy a set of headphones for the Ocean Hopper, as well as a set of coils. The complete set of coils was $2.95

To put things in perspective, in 2022 an Ocean Hopper with headphones and coils would cost about $216.00, and a Space Spanner with a cabinet would cost $188.00.

 
1962 Span Master
This was the answer - a SPAN MASTER! The Span Master outperforms both the Ocean Hopper and the Space Spanner. It would have gone down in history as the best regen radio kit ever made, except for the knobs. The knobs have a cheap look and feel to them, and the main tuning knob has half the dial scale on the bottom, so you can't see it when your hand is on it. Apparently, nobody at Allied Radio ever noticed this. The 2022 price is $256.00.
 

 
How does an Ocean Hopper sound? See the video below.
 
 

 
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