Tag Archives: Vintage Radio

The Yaesu FRG-7700 in TV series iZombie

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Mark Hirst, who adds the following to our growing archive of radios in film.

Mark writes:

Another radio spotted in a TV show, this time in the Netflix show iZombie.

Having been gifted a Yaesu FRG-7700 recently, it was an easy spot.

Click to enlarge

This FRG-7700 appears to be a ‘special’ model however, with a microphone plugged into the headphone socket and able to act as a transceiver!!

You have sharp eyes, Mark! Yes, indeed, it looks like they’ve turned that ‘7700 into a transceiver by plugging a mic into the headphone jack.  Now why didn’t we think of that?!? 🙂

Thanks again for sharing!

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!

More radios in the movies: James Bond “Dr. No” (1962)

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Bruce Fisher, who adds the following to our growing archive of radios in film. Bruce writes:

Here are three shots from the first few minutes of the 1962 James Bond
film “Dr. No”:

The second shot is a close up of the radio in the first shot. (These appear at about 4:30)

I suppose the last shot is from the BBC Monitoring Station? (about 5:30).

Thanks for sharing these screen shots, Bruce!

That looks like a K.W. Vanguard amateur transmitter in the first two photos, of course, but I can’t determine what the receiver is on the right. Can someone identify?

One vintage radio in two classic films

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dan Hawkins, who writes:

This evening I watched the excellent Undercover: How to Operate Behind Enemy Lines on Netflix streaming. This is a 1943 training film for Office of Strategic Services personnel learning how be secret agents. The film was directed by the legendary John Ford who also took an acting role in the film. In this scene, Al is receiving his forged papers from an OSS agent before leaving for Germany. A radio may seen on a shelf in the background.

Undercover: How to Operate Behind Enemy Lines is also available on YouTube:

Click here to view on YouTube.

The next film is much better known. The same model radio makes a foreground appearance in Some Like it Hot. Osgood Fielding III has one of these on his yacht.

Maybe Osgood is laughing because the film takes place in 1929 and the company that made the radio was founded several years later.

I won’t spoil the secret of this radio’s maker and model. It will probably not take long for SWLing Post readers to come up with an answer.

Post readers: are you up for the challenge? 🙂 What model of radio do we see here? I’ll keep quiet, because it’s one of my favorite manufacturers.

And, Dan, many thanks. I really do owe you one because I was not familiar with Undercover: How to Operate Behind Enemy Lines. I can’t believe there was a WWII era Ford film I had missed. I, too, have Netflix but the YouTube copy you suggested is actually a better restored version in terms of audio.  Thanks again!

New radio museum in Derby, UK

(Source: Southgate ARC)

Radio Communication Museum of Great Britain

This is a brand-new museum which, as the name suggests, is focussed on all aspects of Radio Communication. It is located in the city of Derby in Central England.

This web site is under construction and will be expanded as the museum itself is built.  It will grow to become both an overview of the museum, as well as an information resource for people with an interest in radio communication.

The current status of the museum is that the building is complete and was handed over to the museum’s team of volunteers in mid-February 2016.  That is when the real work began in earnest; laying out the display galleries, creating the mechanical workshop and the ESD laboratory / workshop; creating the Operations Room where radios and transmitters will be live and connected to antennas.

Read more at:
http://radiocommunicationmuseum.org/