Tag Archives: Edward Ganshirt

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!

Edward reviews this unmarked thrift store radio find

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

I spotted this “keychain” radio [pictured above] at a Savers thrift shop. Savers is a chain of thrift stores in the Northeast that is an outlet for Goodwill and possibly others. What caught my eye is (in addition to price) an 11 band radio: AM, FM and 4.75 to 21.85 Mhz in 9 short-wave bands. It has no brand markings (or FCC id) and of course made in China. I purchased it for less than a latte at Starbucks and brought it home.

It uses 2 AA penlight batteries and has a 14″ telescoping antenna. Turning it on demonstrates its low performance.

It has ample sensitivity on FM but difficult to tune clearly. AM band is better. Shortwave is a different story.

At night I get several shortwave stations, difficult to tune in. Connecting an external antenna demonstrated its weakness. I picked up the entire AM band and every other station below 30 MHz no matter what setting the tuning knob was set to, with varying signal strength , depending what short-wave band setting selected. I live less than 4 miles from a powerhouse radio station on 680 KHz that bleeds through the IF filter. Deconstructing the radio reveals its design shortcomings

It contains 2 chips: A CSC2822 stereo audio 8 pin dip and a 16 pin CSC2003P “jungle” chip. Comparing app notes to the receiver reveals short cuts in the design. Just absolute minimalist component count–only one 455KHz IF filter.

Fortunately, it has a ferrite loopstick antenna. (That explains why it works on AM. There is less IF bleed-through on AM).

Using a signal generator, on shortwave reveals non existent image rejection, beat notes on harmonics of the local oscillator (yes it is a superheterodyne).

This is a radio to take to the beach. If the tide grabs it and washes it into the ocean or a sea gull snatches it, you would not be disappointed.

In my opinion it was a bit steeply priced. You don’t win them all but I will still go to Savers in the future for other buys as they present themselves.

Thank you for your report, Edward. I think what is highlighted here are the shortcomings of inexpensive–truly “cheap”–radios. They have only the most basic components, regardless if they resemble a quality radio aesthetically. Edward listed the hallmarks of a cheap analog receivers: overloading, stiff inaccurate tuning controls, mediocre sensitivity/selectivity, poor audio, and poor shielding.

Thanks for pulling this one apart and taking a look inside, Edward.

Taking it to the beach, Ed? Let us know if it floats or–better yet–if a seagull decides to grab it–! Who knows, they may tune through the FM and find one of their favorite 1980s songs:

(Sorry, couldn’t help the reference–it is Friday after all.)

Edward restores a Star-Lite Town & Country FM-820 portable receiver

Star-Lite TownAndCountry_FM-820_2Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Edward Ganshirt, who writes:

This is a “mystery brand” radio that I picked up at a swapfest for a buck, I never heard of a Star-Lite Town & Country FM-820 by the HOKUYO MUSEN KOGYO CO in Japan. This portable behemoth is not “lite”, It is heavy (13 pounds).

The only thing I came up with is Sam’s photofact that refer to radio. (I am not about to buy a service manual for something that is not broken). There is a Chrysler Town & Country station wagon, which is also a behemoth that swamps out all Google searches. This set appears to be made in the mid sixties. I was told that is was on a fishing boat as evidenced by its condition it was very dirty with a lot of corrosion on the bezel and missing a tuning knob.

Star-Lite TownAndCountry_FM-820_3

I fabricated a tuning knob on a lathe, which was a 2-piece affair. The outer knob is tuning and the inner knob is the fine tune. It cleaned up well and I had to repaint the bezel. The auto parts store said that the Chrysler of that area did not use metal flake paints but they matched a touch-up spray can of a Toyota millennium silver.

Star-Lite TownAndCountry_FM-820_5Star-Lite TownAndCountry_FM-820_4
This radio has 8 push-button bands: long-wave, AM, short-wave 1.6 to 26 MHz, and FM along with tone controls. The sound is surprisingly good it is a 6-cell battery only (no AC). It has reasonably good short-wave drift-free performance. The paint job looks good, there is a rusty chrome bumper next to the push-buttons. I decided to to restore this part. It is ok for your 1960’s Town & Country to have rusty bumpers.

While you would not take your Panasonic RF9000 your Transoceanic or Grundig, This radio is my “beater” to take to the beach.

Star-Lite TownAndCountry_FM-820_1

Does anyone know about the Star-Lite brand?

Thank you, Ed, for sharing this.  I am not at all familiar with this make and model of radio. I must say…I’m most impressed that you were able to fabricate a tuning knob! It would have been a challenge to find a replacement knob otherwise.

I bet she plays well, too–looks like a decent ferrite bar inside and a substantial telescoping antenna.

And you’re right, Edward, it is ok for your 1960’s Town & Country to have rusty bumper! Now take that girl to the beach! 🙂

Post readers: please comment if you’re familiar with the Star-Lite brand!

The Heathkit GR-78: Ed’s “basket case” radio

BasketcaseMany thanks to SWLing Post reader, Edward Ganshirt, who writes:

I picked up this Heathkit GR-78 at a estate/moving sale. It was in a pile of “e-waste” (you know, old vcr’s broken TVs, remote controllers, dead cell phones, etc.).

I found a container and sorted through the stuff to retrieve all what looks like Heathkit parts. The radio was disassembled and scattered about. I was able to collect all the critical components and brought the works to the sales table. The person manning the table said that was stuff they were discarding and I could have it for free but the Easter basket was $0.50.

So far I had put little time into it but was able to mechanically assemble it completely. All the fasteners holding the cabinet were missing. The rest appears to be all there but the primary side of the transformer is open and the NiCads are shorted and stone dead. The manual that I found in their recycle bin is complete and appears to gone through 3 owners by 3 sets of handwriting in the notes and comments through out the manual. If anything this looks like a CSI/forensics troubleshooting process getting into the mind of 3 different owners unsuccessful at making it work.

I will keep you posted on the progress.

WA1-LAI

More power to you, Ed! There are few things as difficult as picking up where someone else left off on a kit build. Your project is exponentially more complicated since there were three people involved and parts are scattered.  Please update us with your progress.

Readers: If you have any experience with the GR-78, I’m sure Ed would welcome your input!