The R-1051 (plain vanilla and suffixes A through H) are digitally tuned triple-conversion superheterodyne receivers designed for SSB, ISB, FSK, AM and CW modes of operation. The basic receivers cover 2.0 to 30.0 MHZ, there are some accessory converters that add LF and MF coverage. The R-1051 is noted for excellent stability (1 part in 10**8 per day) and accuracy (0.5 Hertz). For the boatanchor fan, the RF amplifier stages are TUBES, and the radio weighs seventy pounds. First introduced in the late 1960's, the current G and H models are still used in ship and submarine radio rooms. There aren't many other military radios that have spent 30-plus years on the front lines.
Unfortunately for radio enthusiasts, it appears that most R-1051s and other military radios are being de-militarized before going to surplus. "Demilling" is shredding and crushing. Your tax dollars at work.......
"R-390 wrist" is nothing compared to the repetitive stress injuries induced by bandscanning with a R-1051. In addition to the satisfying clunk as each knob is turned a single digit, changes of the MHz digits also result in the whirring of motors and clunking of chain drive switches.
The R-1051 can be operated alone or in conjunction with the matching transmitter in the WRC-1 Radio Set.
Early model R-1051s are readily available and fetch prices ranging from $125 (no suffix, unchecked) to $225-$300 in working condition.
NAVELEX 0967-LP-427-4010, Technical Manual for R-1051B Radio Receivers
NAVELEX 0967-LP-878-3020, Technical Manual for R-1051D Radio Receivers
NAVELEX 0967-LP-428-2010, Technical Manual for R-1051E Radio Receivers
NAVELEX 0967-LP-617-7010, Technical Manual for R-1051F Radio Receivers
NAVELEX 0913-LP-000-0800, Combined Operator/Maintenance/Parts Manual for R-1051G Radio Receivers
0967-LP-427-4030, Maintenance Standards Book for R-1051B/URR Radio Receivers
0967-LP-878-3050, Maintenance Standards Book for R-1051D/URR Radio Receivers
0967-LP-428-2050, Maintenance Standards Book for R-1051E/URR Radio Receivers
0967-LP-617-7020, Maintenance Standards Book for R-1051F/URR Radio Receivers
EE125-AF-MSB-010/E110-R1051H, Maintenance Standards Book for R-1051H/URR Radio Receivers
"Shortwave Receivers Past & Present", 3rd Edition, by Fred Osterman
R-1051B (Photo from Nolan Lee via Steve Johnson)
Nolan Lee's R-1051B Page Great info on homebrewing replacement dial lights. The original mil/aviation spec'd lamps cost (as of today, Dec 7 1998) $49 each!
More recent R-1051G model. Note differences from original/early R-1051 and R-1051B such as:
Single switchable multipurpose meter vice two line audio meters.
100 Hz detents on vernier, vice continuous tuning.
Francesco Ledda has an unusual USAF R-1051C which has a black front panel. On his web site along with photos of R-1051 B and G models.
Murphy's Surplus, with pallets of R-1051 receivers
Murphy's used to have piles of R-1051s, but not anymore. They do have lots of neat stuff of the solid-state BA variety. (Not an endorsement, just amazement).