Tag Archives: Vintage Radio

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/

1920s Radio Times magazines now available to public

(Source: BBC Media Centre)

BBC makes 1920s Radio Times magazines available to public

The BBC is making the earliest issues of the complete Radio Times magazines publicly available online for the first time. This release is part of the BBC Genome Project – a digitised searchable database of programme listings – from 1923 to the end of 2009.

BBC programme records have been available to the public via the BBC Genome Project since October 2014. Now, users can access digitised editions of the magazines from 1923-1929. Opening up this archive means researchers will be able to make direct links between the listings in the database and the original published listings.

Early colour front covers, specially commissioned illustrations and letters from the BBC’s first radio audience form part of the content in this fascinating record of early broadcasting.

Radio Times began in 1923, a year after the British Broadcasting Company started regular broadcasts, and thus provides a valuable record of the programmes that have been broadcast over nine decades.

More than five million programme records, scanned from Radio Times magazines, form the backbone of the BBC Genome website. Now, members of the public will be able to view the 1920s listings in facsimile, as well as all the extra material contained in articles and features in the magazine that have previously been unavailable on the site.

Hilary Bishop, Archive Development Editor, says: “We are particularly pleased that it is easy for our users to flick between the listings in the database and the related text in the magazine, as well as to scroll through articles not seen previously on BBC Genome. It is part of our commitment to continually improving BBC Genome and helping to open up the BBC’s archives as much as possible.”

Radio Times in the 1920s featured regular articles by the first Director General of the BBC, Lord Reith, and the BBC’s chief engineer, Peter Eckersley, addressing topics that concerned the BBC audience of the time, such as how to choose the best ‘receiving set’ and how to prevent ‘oscillations’ over the airwaves.

Articles, cartoons and programme listings all provide an insight into the history of broadcasting and the BBC’s first listeners, while adding some context, for a modern audience, to the earliest BBC programme records. The first editions of Radio Times show a nation still enthralled by the technological wonder of the new ‘wireless’ sets.

In each edition for the first few years of publication, cartoons explored the comic possibilities of a public who still didn’t quite understand how radio worked. “Would you kindly remove your hat madam?” asks a man at a ‘wireless village concert’. Yet the performer on stage is a radio set.

As the public wrestled with their new radio antennae, legendary cartoonist W. Heath Robinson illustrated two editions with eccentric designs of aerials.

Other historical snippets include a ‘new experiment’, in 1924, to broadcast a programme from California, to London. The exercise was to be repeated in the opposite direction. “If suitable conditions exist in the atmosphere”, concludes the article, “there is no reason why the experiment should not be successful”.

You can access the digitised 1920s magazines at: http://genome.ch.bbc.co.uk

Click here to read this article at the BBC Media Centre.

Click here to browse the Radio Times archive.

Guest Post: National HRO-500 Unboxing and Initial Tests

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dan Robinson, for the following guest post:


HRO-500 Unboxing and Initial Tests

by Dan Robinson

It is amazing that in these days of waning shortwave broadcast activity, there are still those occasional time capsules — radios that appear on the used market via Ebay or private sales that are new in the box or close to it. Think of it — after 50 or 60 years, these fine examples of radio history can still be found, complete with their original boxes, shipping crates, manuals and accessories.

We have seen a number of these in recent years. Several years ago, a Panasonic RF-9000, one of the Holy Grails of radio collecting, appeared on Ebay, in new opened box condition. As rare as that was, it’s even rarer to find tube or solid state communications receivers from the 1950’s and 1960’s. Such is the case with National HRO-500s, which were considered high level receivers when they came on to the market in the mid-1960’s.

In 2016, a seller in California advertised a great rarity — a HRO-500 that he said he purchased in 1967, complete with its original shipping crate.

It was said to be in new/unopened condition, which of course raises concerns about the unit itself since it has never been used since leaving the factory. While that radio apparently sold (the asking price was $2500), I was astounded to recently see another HRO-500. It was not in New/Unopened condition, but the closest one comes to it. Among a collection purchased by the seller, the radio was in its original crate, inside of which was the original box with the original National Radio Co fabric cover, with original strips of fiberglass insulation. The manual is still in its plastic wrap.

I decided to do a video for SWLing Post readers, and provide some still shots, as this time capsule of radio history was opened (this was likely only the 2nd or 3rd time it was opened since leaving the factory, the last time by the seller for photography for the Ebay ad.

The good news — many HRO-500s on the used market exhibit failure of the PLL lock circuit. While the PLL lock light on this particular radio does not light up, its PLL does operate on every band. This radio arrived with one metal cap for the MODE knob missing, so I’ll be searching for a spare. And the dial calibration clutch knob appears to be frozen, another minor issue that does not impact operation of the radio.

All in all, this was a fantastic find and I hope SWLing Post readers enjoy the video and stills:

Video

Click here to view the video on YouTube.

Photos


Thanks for sharing your notes, photos and video, Dan!

The National HRO-500 is a gorgeous radio and it looks like you’ve got a prime specimen. I’m so impressed it came with the original wooden crate, exterior box and radio box! Amazing.

We’re looking forward to your assessment of the HRO-500 once you’ve have it on the air a while.

SWLing Post readers: In March, I had the good fortune of visiting Dan Robinson’s home and taking a tour of his impressive radio collection. I took a number of photos with Dan’s permission. I’ve been incredibly busy as of late, but as soon as catch my breath after travels, I’ll post the photo tour. I’ll also post photos from our tour of the NSA museum in Fort Meade, MD. Stay tuned!