St. Julians Massacre. Located at the St. Julien's Creek Annex, Portsmouth, Virgina. 1997
Thousands of Collins Radio designed R-390's, R-390A's, and other radios in that series rot, rust,
and corrode by being stored outdoors, unprotected in the Virgina weather for probably 2 years
or more waiting for our Government to make a decision about what to do with them... The photo
was taken by Jim Thompson, W4THU.
Collins Radio designed the R-390 in the early 1950's, and the redesigned R-390A (and other variants)
were built in the thousands by the late 1950's and were manufactured by Collins, Motorola, Capehart,
EAC, Stewart-Warner, Teledyne, and others through the early 1980's.
The following are exerpts from a note posted on the Boatanchors Reflector by Jim Thompson, W4THU,
in April 1997.
A Stripe of Cheap Yellow or Blue Paint had been sprayed on each receiver!
There they were, thousands of R-390A's, stacked under the bright Virginia sun. I looked at them with
great dismay. You have to imagine what it looked like. The pile was perhaps a 50 ft. square and more
than 6 fteet high. It was an incredible sight. In that one spot was the answer to the dreams of hundreds
of hams and radio enthusiasts who hold the R-390A in the highest esteem, but are unable to have one of
To many of us, here stood, row upon row, of perhaps the finest receiver ever engineered. In the eyes of
anyone who loves the R-390A, it is a masterpiece of electronics and mechanical systems designed into a
functioning radio receiver that even today rivals the sensitivity and selectivity of receivers made in the
Of course, that was before the ravages of a year or more sitting in the Virginia rain, snow, sleet and hail
which took their inevitable destructive toll. As unforgiveable as that neglect is, these agents of
mistreatment had defaced each of the noble R-390A's by marking them with a crooked stripe of cheap
yellow or blue paint across the receiver's face. Unbelievable.... What a sad end to an extraordinary