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These hugely heavy and incredibly sensitive sets were, rumour has it, produced for Lend-Lease agreements with England for service in World War II. They are quite common in the UK but scarce in the US. There appear to be two 'flavours' of AR88 - the 'D' version has a frequency coverage as per above whilst the 'LF' version goes down all the way to 75kHz.

The receiver consists of two RF stages, a mixer, local oscillator, three IF stages, a detector, noise limiter, BFO, AF amplifier, output stage and power supply system. The IF amplifiers incorporate variable selectivity and a crystal filter. The sets are normally housed in steel cases but can be rack mounted.

The receivers are designed for coupling to a 200 ohm transmission line, except on low frequency general broadcast bands. For these and general use a single wire 25 to 50 ft. long can be used.

The Reception set AR88D was originally manufactured as the Reception set AR88. It still bears this name on the front panel. The change in designation occurred between the serial numbers 003000 and 010000 and coincides with a change in the design of the output transformer to provide a 600 ohm balanced line output and a 20,000 ohm headphone output. The original AR88 featured a 20 ohm headphone output.

General characteristics

HAM bands
Frequency stability
Tuning steps


0.535-32 MHz in six bands
AM   CW  
For 20dB S/N: 8µV at 1MHz, 4.5µV at 4.3MHz, 7µV at 16MHz, 7µV at 28MHz
5 Settings: -3dB bandwidths 15kHz, 9kHz, 3.4kHz, 1.6kHz, 400Hz
Receiver system
Single conversion, 14 valves
455 kHz
Image rejection
120dB at 1MHz 60dB at 16MHz 46dB at 28MHz
Audio output
2.5 W (2.5 ohm external speaker or 600 ohm headphone)




Power requirements
100-260 VAC mains or 6V DC vibrator pack
Current drain RX


Dimensions (w×h×d)
488 × 280 × 488 mm (19.21 × 11.02 × 19.21 in)
45.00 kg (99.3 lbs)
Form factor
Base Station
Between 1940 and 1945 in USA

Other features

Amateur / Ham radio operators
Features + options
Optional S-meter
RigReference ID

Manuals, diagrams and brochures

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Reviews & stories

Rating Title Submitted
G3RAQ in the early 1960's 1 month ago by Harry

New and second-hand prices

Estimating the value of a rig can be challenging. We collect prices paid by real hams over the years to help you estimate the value of a used RCA AR88D. Just bought or sold this model? Let us know what you traded it for and help other ham operators!

Based on historic data, today's second-hand price of the RCA AR88D is around:

  • USD 955.00 ~ USD 98.00
  • GBP 0.00

Price History Chart

These estimates are based on the following prices:

Year Historic price Condition Submitted by
2018 USD 100.00 Used / Good Tony
2017 USD 1000.00 Used / Good Tony
1963 GBP 45.00 New / Good Harry

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