Lafayette KT-135 EXPLOR-AIR radio kit

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Welcome to the Lafayette KT-135 pages. If you found this because you Googled "KT-135" then you are a probably a fellow fan of this radio and likely built one as a teenager. Below you will find a restored KT-135 and in the following pages some information, pictures, and repair tips.

When properly constructed and used with a decent longwire antenna, the KT-135 is capable of surprising performance.
The Lafayette KT-135 Explor-Air Regenerative Radio.
This kit was originally built around 1968 by persons unknown. It was purchased on ebay in February of 2015, but it wasn't sold by the original owner, so there is no history on it.

Lafayette sold the Explor-Air kit from 1958 to 1970. The copyright to Lafayette for "Explor-Air 4 band receiver kit" was granted on January 6, 1961. In 1968 the kit sold for $22.95. This one was purchased in 2015 for $90.91.
This is how it looked after it was restored.
Above is yours truly in my "ham shack" in 1971. To the left of the KT-135 is a 40 meter transmitter. It was built into a wooden box that my dad's "Old Spice" aftershave came in. Believe it or not, I actually made a few contacts with this setup.

My first contact was made on April 28, 1971 with Emil B. Walker, WN8GBT in Columbus, Ohio.

The "ham shack" was a storage room in the basement that my parents let me use. On the outer door was a clasp that had a clothespin in it, but I put a padlock in its place so my brother Rob wouldn't mess with my stuff. This only made him want to break in to see what was in there.

I had a novice class license. My call letters were WN3QQE, which I hated. When I sent my call sign, the end of it sounded like "Dah-Dah-Dit-Dah, Dah-Dah-Dit-Dah, DIT". I didn't like that DIT at the end because it sounded so dumb. I wondered why I had been cursed with this by the FCC. C'mon man, FUNK DAT!

Notice the little desk I'm using. That was once in my bedroom, and it came from my Uncle Jim via my grandmother. I built my first crystal radio on that desk in 1966. I didn't know what happened to it after we moved in 1974.

Before and After.
Before and After.
This is how it looked when I got it in the mail. It was in very good condition cosmetically and when I turned it on, IT WORKED! Sort of. It didn't work very well, and the antenna tuning control (on the bottom-left) gave a horrible static when you adjusted it. The vinyl clad wooden case is in excellent shape.
In addition to causing static, the antenna tuning knob wobbled. There was some kind of gunk on the faceplate that I initially thought was rust. It came off for the most part, but it took the letter "U" in "ANT. TUNING" with it. There was also a scratch near the BANDSWITCH control.
After the letter "U" was rebuilt. It's not perfect but it's hard to see when you're using the radio. To the right is a broken and glued knob. I don't know what kind of glue that was but I got most of it off. ALL of the knobs had issues. One was glued on to the shaft!
The wiring was another story. I have no idea how this radio was working. Several of the joints didn't even have any solder on them. One of the resistors BROKE when I touched it.
I don't want to be too critical of the soldering job. It's not an easy kit to build and it may have been somebody's first attempt at soldering. It worked when I turned it on, so I can't complain. The best thing for this radio was to take it apart, turn it back into a kit and put it back together.

By the way, if you're reading this and this kit once belonged to you, please email me. Email address is on the main page.