Category Archives: Vintage Radio

Kostas improves the contrast on his FRG-7 digital display

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Kostas (SV3ORA), for sharing the following guest post which originally appeared on his radio website:

FRG-7 digital display contrast improvement

by Kostas (SV3ORA)

The FRG-7 digital by Marcel Jacobs PA8MA, is a very well thought modification KIT for the Yaesu FRG-7 receiver. It really adds to it one of the things it misses (and it misses a lot) to become a more “serious” receiver in the modern era, the digital frequency readout and S-meter. If you are like me and enjoy classic radio gear, but you do not want to compromise much the every-day usability, I recommend you this KIT. I have to say here that, the first thing you would want to do if you use the receiver for SSB, is to perform my SSB-related mods as well.

When I installed this KIT on my FRG-7 The first thing I did not like about it, was the very bright display which blasts your eyes with light especially at night on a low-lit shack. Not only that, but your eye will condinuously focus on the bright display and you loose the magic of the rest of the radio controls and displays. I wanted the digital display to be one of the parts of the radio and not the major thing that my eyes will look all the time. Marcel was smart enough to include 2 brightness levels in software. The low brightness setting does not actually change the backlight of the display, it just changes the graphics in more dim colors. As a result in either setting, the backlight color is very bright and this decreases contrast a lot. The background of the numbers in the display has a blue-ish color and not true black. Not only that, but the edges of the display, are visible too. I have solved all of these problems with a simple modification to the KIT.

The picture above, shows the display after my modification. The picture is taken on a dim-lit shack using my phone, with no further image processing. What you see in this picture, is exactly what it looks in reality, after my modification. Notice how the background of the display, remains pure black and the numbers and graphics of the display do not blind you anymore and are of the same brightness as the rest of the original backlit graphics of the radio. This allows your eye to wander around to the rest of the nice radio backlit things, without focusing all the time on a bright display. This is very relaxing to the eye and the brain as you scan for stations. You actually only look at the digital display when you want more accuracy. Compare this nice display contrast with the one presented on Marcel’s manual and you will notice the difference.

The modification is really simple and it does not need a schematic. It is just a 22k potentiometer, connected as a variable resistor like shown in the picture. I just cut the second cable (from the left), of the ribbon and then soldered the variable resistor there. That’s it. Depended on the light conditions in which you operate the receiver and on your personal preference, you can set the brighness from full to very dim. In the software setting, set the brightness to maximum. Then use this variable resistor to decrease it to your desired level.

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Radio Sighting in “Let’s Get Harry”

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Perry Lusk, who writes:

Guess what kids? Another radio sighting from the 1986 film Let’s Get
Harry! Lots of big names in this one including Mark Harmon, Robert
Duvall, Gary Busey, and former founding member of the Eagles Glenn Frey.

While on a covert rescue mission in Columbia, they found the bad guy’s
hideout with some old Yaesu equipment among other radios.

Hmmm… I wonder how far they could get out with that mag-mount
antenna? And what band is it tuned for?

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Why Schenectady?

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Bill Meara who writes:


SWLing Post readers might like this one.

Ramakrishnan sent me the Smithsonian article. It is very nice, and helps answer — I think — the question about why so many old SW radio dials have “Schenectady” on them. Steinmetz seems like a great guy.

73 Bill

I love these bits of radio history, Bill! Thank you for sharing.

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Haluk spots a Braun T23 on Facebook Marketplace

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Haluk Mesci, who writes:

I recently bought a Braun T1000 in unbelievably good condition.

And today I noticed a Facebook ad for a Braun T23, on sale here in Toronto.
Judging from the photos, it is obvious that there is an ‘Eton E1 – Grundig YB 500’ kind of
similarity between T1000 and T23.

The price is unheard of, but I thought it could be a little post on the SWLing Post.


Thank you for sharing this, Haluk. I do love all of the Braun designs, but it’s true that prices can be a little outrageous. I can see this one has been on the market for a while.

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GE Superadio: Purchasing Used Models for Restoration and a New Discussion

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor and supporter, Chuck Rippel (K8HU), who shared the following comment on this post regarding his excellent Superadio restoration services. I wanted Chuck’s comment to get more visibility, so I am reposting it here (hope you don’t mind, Chuck!).

Chuck comments:

A number of folks have written, asking if I have any radios to sell. Every now and again, there is a model 1 or model 2 (they are electrically identical) that I offer for sale.

However, there is a better approach to obtaining a restored SR-1 or 2. Go up on E-Bay and look for a nice GE SR and have the seller ship it to me after you purchase it. Make SURE the seller encloses a note with your purchase with your name and contact information so I know to whom the radio belongs.

This one caught my eye and would be a worthy candidate for restoration and to add to a collection:

[Note: the eBay Partnership link above supports the SWLing Post at no cost to the buyer]

It’s also an excellent example of a decent SR being sold 2nd hand.

Couple things to watch for:

Shipping charges in excess of $20. Save for coast to coast or a rural area, $20 is about the reasonable limit. Many of the radios are picked up by people wandering through estate sales, thrift shops, garage sales, etc…. who have no idea what they are buying. Many see “GE Super Radio” and put it on E-Bay simply because the radio carries the “Super Radio” label. I would guess that is why there are so many Super Radio model 3’s on E-Bay. Those were made by RCA with a GE label printed on them but their performance is sub-par to the model 1 or 2.

Finally, if you have a SR-1 or 2 you’d like me to work on, drop a note and I’ll send you back a 2 page FAQ. It outlines what will be done, how to ship it and pricing which includes a couple of options from which to choose. Please read and understand the FAQ before shipping. If you decide to send it, please do it promptly and let me know it’s coming. I ask you to include your POC information with the radio and that’s best done on a word processor or note pad then printed. Sometimes, handwritten script is a bit difficult to read.

I’ve gotten radios with no return address or POC sent from a UPS store, (who does that go back to?). There are a few options from which to choose and I strongly recommend 1, having Conformal Coating applied to the solder side of the PCB’s. Solder is hydroscopic and can absorb moisture over time and we won’t get into battery acid. My conformal coating is similar to the “MFP” process used on certain mil-spec electronics save that unlike MFP, I only apply coating to the solder side of the board. A board treated to MFP has both sides coated.

Ok, now a general question:

I created a page where those interested in the 2 GE Super Radios can share their experiences. The initial invitations went out, give it a couple days but if you did not get one and are interested, drop me a note. My e-mail address is in several location on this blog [including in this post].

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Jerome seeks information about a vintage Howard Radio Co. receiver

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Jerome van der Linden, who writes seeking a bit of help:

Hello Thomas,

From time to time I see you’ve tried to ID receivers used in movies etc. I have a slightly different request that I hope you may pass on…

I’m trying to restore an old AM/SW radio for a friend and only know that its brand is a Howard radio who built sets in the US and in Melbourne, Australia. But I don’t know its model number and the tubes (valves here) are not all identifiable.

The chassis has numbers printed on it adjacent to the tubes AZ3 (with a Y2GT tube in its socket); AL3; ABC1 plus a couple of others. The four front control knobs appear to be volume, AM/SW band selector, tuning job (which drives a set of gears connected to the dual gang variable capacitor tuner), and what I assume is the tone control. There does not appear to be a power switch. Apart from tubes, I’m keen to confirm what my physical inspection of the 16 or so capacitors, in fact, are supposed to be so that I can source replacements.

The radio also has a toggle switch on the back, which I think switches the input between radio and an external gramophone. The loud speaker appears to be of the type with 4 conductors, where two are probably powering an electro magnet for the speaker. (I have also emailed the Steven Johnson web site for information, as he seems to store a lot of schematics for download.)

Thanks in advance.

Jerome van der Linden

Readers: If you can help Jerome, please comment!

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