Because of numerous visits to see Joe, N3IBX, this webpage is a consolidation of visits from 2017 back to 2002. Everyone calls Joe "VORTEX JOE" because any radio equipment within 200 miles of Washington's Crossing, PA gets sucked into his collection never to see the light of day again.
CHECK HERE to see the latest 2017 visit to Joe's museum.
April 21, 2012. Every time I travel near New Hope, PA, I give Joe a call on the phone to say hello. Today, Joe invited me over and I had some free time so I paid Joe a visit. On the phone, I asked Joe if he had any new acquisitions and he said he had a new one. I discovered that the new ONE acquisition was a Radio Super Barn. The Super Barn dwarfs Joe's original pink garage and is 70 feet from the main house. Once inside, you realize that Joe has almost doubled the size of his collection with all new stuff. (As you can observe, a 14mm lens distorts things a bit).
The first thing Joe showed me was a six foot rack with a big two holer amp, vacuum variables, B&W tank, big power supply etc.
Then I got a look at a stack of Collins receivers and a couple of Collins transmitters. Yes, Joe is a happy camper.
Over on the work bench, Joe pointed to a modified band switch that allowed a Heath general coverage receiver to cover a missing amateur radio band.
The Radio Super Barn is a very comfortable, sturdy, custom made building with 100 amp electrical service, air conditioning and built in shelves and work tables. If there ever was a remote, quiet, man cave, this is it !
We departed the Super Barn and entered the original museum in Joe's basement. At Joe's #1 operating position, I noticed a new stack of Kenwood transceivers. There were other new acquisitions, but too voluminous to mention.
At yet another operating position, I marveled at the amount of equipment Joe was able to put into a given space. Joe solved the riddle of putting "two pounds of stuff into a one pound bag".
As I was leaving, Joe pointed to a rare vintage receiver with push buttons, that his friend Gordon's father designed.
It was a very bright day as I thanked Joe for inviting me over and told him I was looking forward to the next visit.
June 29, 2009. Cleaning my garage, there were some goodies I felt Joe would like, so I made another road trip to Pennsylvania. (Joe is a very funny and most entertaining guy, but when you take his photo, he purposely puts on an uncharacteristic stern face).
Joe couldn't wait to show me his recent acquisition of the rare 1936 Collins 32G transmitter. It has four 6L6's in the final and was used in both amateur radio service and commercial service. Joe's 32G was part of a remote broadcast system for radio station WDAE in Tampa, Florida, and was configured for 2.7 Mhz. According to specs, this 40 watt transmitter will cover 1500 to 30,000 kHz with proper coils.
I asked Joe which of his collection is the most rare. Joe showed me two receivers. The first was a 1938 Breting 14AX and the second was an RCA Shortwave Receiver AR-1145.
One of Joe's favorites is a Collins 75-A4A receiver, which is a 75-A4 with special product detector modifications.
Always the story teller, Joe described how he plugged a microphone into the phone jack of a homebrew transmitter only to find that the builder wired in 120 VAC where anyone else would expect a microphone input. Of course the microphone went up in smoke.
Joe was proud to show one of his several SX-28 receivers and another receiver which was homebrew but looked commercial. (Ha, notice I caught Joe smiling !)
Joe's station ground always cracks me up.
Nearing the end of my visit, Joe told me I should take a look at his house pussy. I not only looked, but I took her photo. She looked at me with a serious expression that said: "this photo better be a good".
August 2, 2008. Paddy and I decided to pay Joe a visit and give him some radio goodies. Joe always likes to receive radio goodies. After the usual hello protocol, Joe opened the trunk of one of his 5 cars and showed us this:
Then the front seat. Then the garage (there are 2 cars hiding behind the radio stuff).
I delivered my radio goodies to Joe, in white buckets. One of the buckets contained W2VJZ (IRB) logbooks, both the 8 1/2 x 11 size and the small mobile booklets.
A recently acquired Collings 32-V2, waiting for a proud place in the basement museum.
Moving into the "sunroom" part of the house is the vintage "parlor" radios.
A Tuned Radio Frequency (TRF) receiver with no less than 5 RF amp stages. It was said to have 10 kHz selectivity !
A recent acquisition that is one of Joe's favorites.
Heading downstairs to the main part of the museum, Joe displayed his copy of the "Rush Limbaugh" Caravelle. Rush said his Caravelle toy, which could send a radio signal about 100 feet to any AM radio, was the start of his inspiration to become a radio broadcaster.
This microphone (or one like it) was used by FDR for those famous "Fireside Chats". Joe has several people checking into RCA history to validate its place on the microphone list.
This is a rare Hallicrafter's receiver. It was made my Bill Halligan in his garage lab, prior to his opening his Hallicrafter's factory.
Just before heading back to NJ, Joe showed me this 12AX7 microphone pre-amp that he bought new for $30 (actually $20, he had a coupon). Well built, VU meter, phase inverter etc.... what a bargin.
October 21, 2007. After the Sellersville Hamfest, I stopped by Joe's place to drop off a Marconi LCR meter. Joe then showed me some recent commercial acquisitions from England and a homebrew transmitter from Canada.
September 30, 2007. After setting up a "Virtual Hamfest" on the cellphone with Joe, who couldn't make the Packrats fester, I mentioned that I couldn't find a needed filament transformer. Joe told me to stop by his place because he had one for me. It was 4 months since my last visit and true to form, Joe picked up some more gear:
May 26, 2007 Brent W1IA and Keith WA1HZK made a road trip to pick up big iron in three land and bring it back to New England. On the way back they stopped at Vortex Joes. (Keith the driver, Brent the passenger). Among the iron was a 600+ pound, 5000+ watt modulation transformer !
Shortly after Brent and Keith's arrival, other visitors showed up in time for a group photo: Left to right: Terry N3GTE, Keith WA1HZK, Joe N3IBX, Tom WA3KLR, Steve WA2DTW and Brent W1IA.
A few mug shots of Joe's visitors checking out the equipment in the garage staging area, the antique radio room, the main collection in the basement and the annex in a building out in the back yard.
May 26, 2007. A small portion of Joe's collection. (yes, a very small portion). Every time I visit, there is more stuff added to the collection !
November 2005. A nice homebrew 4CX1000 linear and a mint condition
Hallicrafters HT-2 transmitter.
July 2004. The famous "COCA COLA KILOWATT" : several homebrew KW amps built into a Coca Cola machine. The recently restored Hallicrafters HT-4 transmitter. The Western Electric 250 watt broadcast transmitter. This is Joe's second broadcast rig!
July 2004. Joe's new acquisition of a 1930's homebrew transmitter and receiver built by WA8HVE.
March 2003. Installation of the Gates BC1T at the Vortex Joe Museum. (last photo): A job well done by the crew, standing L-R: Fred K2DX, Joe N3IBX, Chuck K3XU and down in front L-R: Ray WD2AFJ and Manny W2MF. I think Fred's sweat shirt says it all: CHAMPIONS !
May 2002. I'm checking out the fabulous audio on Joe's SX-28. Jim, KN3DZY on his first ever trip to see Vortex Joe