Category Archives: Vintage Radio

Circa 1924 Parisian radio stockings

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Jarno de Haan (PA3DMI), who shares the following in reference to our recent post about radio hats of yore:

Radio hats are fun but I found radio stockings!

In 1924 French ladies in Paris used their stockings and umbrella to receive the radio transmissions from the Eiffel-tower.

The movie is part of a movietheatres newsreel in Holland so the text is in Dutch but the pictures says it all 🙂

A bit NSFW but hey 1924:

Click here to view on YouTube.

Thanks, Jarno!  I had never seen this video before!

I love the fact that her umbrella serves as an antenna. With this in mind, I hope our buddy, London Shortwave, can sort out a way to make a vertical HF loop for a little umbrella DXing in his local London parks!

eBay: Dan discovers a Furuno RV-103SR marine receiver

The Furuno RV-103SR

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dan Robinson, who shares the following regarding a Furuno RV-103SR marine receiver he discovered on eBay:

Recently, I came upon two great rarities in the world of receivers.

Furuno is a Japanese company known for maritime equipment, and is featured on one or two pages of the Osterman receiver directory. Two of these rare receivers came up on eBay, both located in an Asian location.

The Furuno RV-103SR and RV-128 are beautiful animals, and both receivers appear(ed) to be in good condition, obviously taken from ships, likely as part of tear downs in a shipyard.

There is very little information online about Furuno. One Japanese blogger did a review of the RV-128. And a guy in Republic of Srpska got to use the RV-128 which was installed on a giant oil tanker, during a trip he made as a navigator way back in 2002 (see the story at http://www.qsl.net/e78cb/mmstory.htm).

Here’s the link for the Japanese blogger (use Google translation to read it) http://blog.livedoor.jp/kerokeronyororo/archives/60986163.html).

In my correspondence with him, Fred Osterman notes that the RV-103SR variant was not known to him, and likely stands for rack mount. And Fred says he never saw these receivers in the flesh, and never saw one offered on the used market, “a rare bird” indeed. For those interested, Furuno equipment is on page 216 of Fred’s massive and excellent receiver book.

The appearance of these beautiful radios, and similar ones, again demonstrates the kind of equipment that is popping up in Ebay and other locations. We have seen numerous JRC marine receivers become available, many of them also former ship receivers. Anyone interested in these should ask the usual questions about condition, ask for photos and videos, to try to ensure that what eventually arrives is not DOA or suffering from various issues.

Click here to view on eBay.

More about Furuno

Furuno, it turns out, and as noted in the Osterman book, was behind the first fish finder ever produced. And the company had a range of transceivers for maritime use.

See the following links on YouTube:

Click here to view on YouTube.

Click here to view on YouTube.

Click here to view on YouTube.

Click here to view on YouTube.

Click here to view on YouTube.

Post Readers: this is what I love about Dan Robinson’s discoveries on eBay: he finds these rare treasures, then provides a little history about their origins, use and current availability. Thank you so much, Dan, for sharing!

DK’s Barn Find: A GE Super Radio II

My good friend, David Korchin (K2WNW), has a knack for finding diamonds in the rough.

He’s been known to find a radio that needs TLC, take it home and restore a bit of its former glory. He’s had some amazing luck in the past.

Recently, DK sent a video of of his recent acquisition: a beat-up GE Super Radio II he purchased for two dollars. This radio will win no beauty contests, but it still plays well.

Check out DK’s video:

Click here to view on YouTube.

Many thanks, DK, for allowing me to post this video. It goes to show you that you should never pass up an opportunity to adopt a Super Radio. Even if the telescopic antenna is all but missing, the internal ferrite bar is where the money is!

Play on!

The R-902 (XE-2)/PRD: Ed’s flea market mystery radio

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Edward Ganshirt, who writes:

This radio followed me home from a flea market and I am trying to find out what it’s mission was.

I think it is a surveillance radio from the Vietnam era because of it’s low serial number #7 R-902 (XE-2)/PRD.

I can’t seem to find anything on it. It tunes from 96 to 404 MHz FM AM CW is battery powered and is totally waterproof (this would be the radio to take white water rafting) .

I would like a schematic or manual for it.

Does anyone in SWL world know anything about it?

Wow! I’m afraid I would have taken that heavy metal home with me too, Edward! And it’s waterproof? What a bonus! 🙂 Actually, I imagine since it’s waterproof, the internals are likely well-preserved.

Post readers: If you can shed some light on this model R-902, please comment. If you have a service manual or schematic, I’m sure Ed would appreciate a link/copy!

Soviet Era Radio: Dennis reviews the Shoroh R-326 receiver

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dennis Kalinichenko, who shares the following review:

The Shoroh R-326 military radio

by Dennis Kalinichenko

I believe the piece of Soviet military equipment I recently bought to my collection would be interesting to all readers and contributors.

This is the R-326 “Shoroh” (“Rustle”) general coverage military tube shortwave radio receiver. These were produced decades ago, back in 1963. These portable receivers were in active military use in the Soviet Army until the early 2000s, when the R-326 was finally discontinued . Today, this set is no more a spy secret, but a great collector’s item and also a good receiver for home use.

My set cost me about $150 US, which is rather expensive for this radio. The R-326 was plentiful in the local market in 90-s, right after the fall of the Soviet Union, very cheap and popular between radio amateurs, but nowadays this radio has become more and more rare, so the price rises up.

My R-326 arrived from Khabarovsk city, the Russian Far East, where, I believe, for many years it was on duty in some of the Soviet radio intelligence and defense forces division.
The set includes the radio itself, original military 100 ohm headphones, original rectifier box for 2,5 V output, 12 meter long wire antenna on a reel, the 1,5 meter famous “Kulikov” mini-whip antenna, the isolator for placing it on top of the radio and some minor accessories.

Originally, the R-326 radio came with two batteries–1,25 V each–for field use, but mine are totally drained and need to be serviced, so I haven’t used them so far.

The radio is a light-weight, only 33 lbs, which is a real minimum for Soviet military equipment–the famous R-250 radio’s weight is up to 220 lbs–so, in comparison, this unit is really portable. You can easily put it in your car using the attached leather handle and take it with you on a weekend trip. No other military radio can be so “travel-friendly”; this is one of the reasons it was so popular in the ham radio and SWL communities.

The case is made out of steel and looks so solid you may want to use it as a nutcracker. And you can! In no way could you harm the box constructed to resist nuclear attacks. It is waterproof and sealed–so I can be confident that no previous owner has ever tried to solder something in the guts.

The radio is a super heterodyne containing 19 (!) special mini tubes and covering 6 SW bands, from 1 to 20 MHz. It works in both AM and SSB (CW) modes, having an on-board adjustable bandwidth control from 300 Hz to 6 kHz.

On the front panel, there are two scales: one is rough/coarse, and above is the precise one, a so-called photoscale, which may be adjusted to match real radio-frequency using the four screws near the sun protection visor. With this scale, you don’t actually need a digital readout. It also has a BFO control with a zero setting, adjustable AGC levels for AM and CW, and adjusting screw for matching the antenna input, as marked for 12 m long wire, 1,5 m and 4 m whip.

The radio has no built-in speaker. Instead, there are two output sockets on the front panel, for 100 ohm headphones and 600 ohm line-out.

The power consumption is very low for s tube radio, the rig needs only 1,4 A at 2.5 volts DC (including the lightscale). I use the original power transformer (transistor rectifier) and therefore switch the unit into the 220 AC outlet.

The sensitivity of the radio is extremely high and equals some modern transceivers. The selectivity is also impressive. No doubt it was really great for 1960s. But there’s negative side as well: the radio easily overloads even from the outdoor long wire antennas. The best fit is the “Kulikov” mini-whip that you can see in the photos.

When you switch on the radio, you hear noise, the level of which seems high, so you lower the volume down. Yes, the radio is sensitive and a bit noisy. But thanks to the tubes it sounds really amazing in the headphones. The SSB ham operator’s voice is warm and very clear.
The tuning is very smooth, being actually 2-speed: outer wheel is for fast tuning, inner wheel for precise tune.

It’s absolutely obvious that nowadays a simple Degen or Tecsun may be more useful than this old and heavy unit with big and tough knobs and switches. But what a pleasure sitting in front of this perfect tube radio at night, with the headphones on, turning the huge tuning wheels, looking into the moving dim scale, listening into distant voices and rustles, feeling yourself a Cold War times operator near the rig.

Isn’t this experience priceless?

Indeed the experience is priceless, Dennis! Better yet, your R-326 now has an owner that will keep it in working order and enjoy it on a regular basis. I personally believe keeping these vintage rigs on the air is one way to preserve, and experience first hand, a little of our collective radio history.

Thank you so much for sharing your review and excellent photos of the R-326!

Post readers: If, like Dennis, you have a vintage radio you would like to showcase/review here on the SWLing Post, please consider submitting your story and photos. Being a huge fan of vintage radio, I truly enjoy reading through and publishing your reviews.  I know many other readers feel the same!