While interestingly not mentioning the name, 80 years ago this month, the January 1936 issue of Popular Mechanics contains a glowing review of the National HRO receiver. It stressed the set’s sensitivity and selectivity, and pointed out that the unique tuning dial represented a dial scale twelve feet long. Without revealing the manufacturer or model name, the review simply describes the set as a “Short-Wave Receiver DeLuxe.”
The set was reportedly designed by Herbert Hoover, Jr., W6ZH, and Howard Morgan of Western Electric, with the design work done in Hoover’s garage. The set first hit the marked in 1935, with a price tag of $233, not including the speaker and power supply. Band switching was accomplished by changing the coil module below the tuning dial. Each coil came with an individually prepared calibration chart to show frequency, since the dial was simply calibrated between 0 and 500.