Hamvention find: the Arvin 68R58 AM transistor radio

ARVIN-68r58-DSC_1390Though I believe I spent more money at the Dayton Hamvention this year than I have in all previous years, I only purchased one radio: the Arvin 68R58 eight-transistor.

I spent a whopping $5 on the little Arvin in the Hamvention fleamarket. To be fair, the seller sold it for this modest price because he was not sure if the radio worked.  But when I unsnapped the back leather cover, peered inside, and found the works remarkably clean, I suspected it might…

ARVIN-68r58-DSC_1373No original power supply was included, of course, and I was a bit concerned when I saw the somewhat out-of-character plastic battery holder. In the filtered fleamarket light, it appeared to me as if it required proprietary batteries–the holder appeared too small for C cells, and too large for AAs. There was no indication of the type of batteries it used, but since the spec read “6 volts,” I knew I could build a small AA battery holder, if need be.

So, at $5 (I bargained him down from $10, based on the doubt of operation) it was a very low risk purchase, and a potentially a fun project.

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Back at home, I popped open the battery holder and looked inside…And I discovered the Arvin did, indeed, take four C cells. Simple enough! After inserting fresh batteries, I turned on the radio via the tone pot, and instantly heard beautiful, rich audio.

What I thought would be a project radio ended up being fully functional, and was, moreover, in tip-top shape.

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So far, I’ve been very impressed with the Arvin’s AM sensitivity and audio fidelity. No doubt the generous ferrite rod antenna is doing the trick on medium wave.

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Last night, as I tuned through the AM broadcast band, I was able to null out unwanted stations and noise amazingly well. There is something to be said of transistor radios from this era–let’s just say, they’re classics.

ARVIN-68r58-DSC_1376The Arvin has a simple set of controls: tone, tuning, and volume. There are no filter selections, of course, but I can tell that it’s quite wide; perhaps 8 or 9 kHz.

ARVIN-68r58All in all, I’m very pleased with my little purchase, and the Arvin has become my new (vintage) bedside radio. Last night, I tuned in one of my favorite AM stations on 740 kHz, CFZM in Toronto, Canada.  CFZM (a.k.a. “Zoomer Radio”) is not only a benchmark, but a right of passage for any worthy AM radio in my household. The Arvin passed the Zoomer test with colors flying.

And, yes, it even soothed me to sleep.

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Now I only need to properly clean and restore the Arvin’s leather chassis and perhaps build a 6V-regulated linear power supply.

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Next time you pass by a 1960s/70s vintage transistor, grab it! I’m certainly happy I did.

Now, I think I’ll turn on the Arvin, sip some dark beans, and put up my feet in the Pawley’s Island hammock…Cheers! Summer’s on the way.

ARVIN-68r58-DSC_1381Want one of your own? A quick search reveals that the Arvin 68R58 can be found on eBay for quite reasonable prices. Click here to search eBay for an Arvin.

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8 thoughts on “Hamvention find: the Arvin 68R58 AM transistor radio

  1. Shawn

    I had an Arvin once that was very similar to this, but AM only and without the tone knob. Found it at a thrift store for two or three bucks back in the early 90s with the hope that it would work. Not only did it work but it became my go-to portable radio around the house and in my van. This was mainly because my little Wyoming town still had an oldies station that only played AM pop tunes from before 1975, and they sounded great coming out of this receiver! I gave it to a friend during one of the many moves of my young adult years, and have remembered it fondly more than once since. Nice radio, and glad to see a connoisseur enjoying it!

    Reply
    1. Shawn

      Well, I’ll be darned! Here it is, my long lost Arvin! I’d forgotten the simple tone switch incorporated into the on/off switch. Ah, nostalgia!

      Reply
  2. Pingback: Jame’s vintage transistor radio collection | The SWLing Post

  3. James Patterson

    Lovely old Transistor radio,a collector’s item no dout!.I love them oldies,I have two early Murphy transistor 7’s.One has a large round tuning scale dial,the other has the long tuning scale across the top,but the shape and size are exactly the same.Both in as new working order.I think they were both made in the UK and exported out to New Zealand,cause they were bought brand new.I have others as well.How do I put a photo of them on this page? I would like to show them.Maybe Thomas you can reply on that thanks.

    Reply
  4. Rob Wagner VK3BVW

    Nice little article there Thomas. Great photos, too. It reminded me of my first transistor radio, an AWA (Aussie made) that had around 11 transistors (if I remember correctly!), a fabulous tone and a good sized ferrite rod. Thanks for the memories! 🙂

    Reply

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