Category Archives: Vintage Radio

Mike’s impressive collection of early production transistor radios

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Mike Thomas, who shares the following reply to our recently post highlighting a number of novelty radios. Mike writes:

That is a nice collection of novelty radios. I have a few of them but tend to focus on early production transistors.

[Here is a] picture of my collection:

This is a large photo–click to open and zoom in.

Wow! What a remarkable collection, Mike! Thank you for sharing!

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Contribute equipment to restore an authentic WWII B-17F heavy

SSGT Roland Downs adjusts the radio mast on Heaven’s Above (42-97328, 388BG) [Photo source: Hangar Thirteen]

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Charlie Liberto (W4MEC), who shares the following:

Perhaps you could post somewhere a general call for anything WW II related that went into a B17F.

This website: under the ‘Parts Drive‘ menu, lists the many things that will be sought after for the next few years. There might be those who monitor your site that have some of this just stored away, not knowing what to do with it or what will happen to it.

Ray is basically taking what was remaining, inspected, and approved as air worthy from this ditched plane, and building the aircraft to hook all the pieces together.

WOW! What an amazing project, Charlie!

I must say, Lucky Thirteen is in good hands.

Hangar Thirteen has chosen the best vintage radio restoration expert for the job! I’ve known Charlie for many years and not only is he an expert at restoring vintage gear, but he’s passionate about WWII era Signal Corps equipment. He brought my BC-348Q to life and patiently showed me how to align it. He also restored my Minerva Tropic Master and helped me fix the 3rd band selection on my beloved Scott Marine SLRM.

Charlie, I’ll certainly keep an eye out for the these components when I visit hamfests and will contribute anything I find or might have tucked away.

Post readers: If you happen to have any items needed in their list, please consider contributing it to the project and help this B-17F eventually have a fully-functional radio position. Of course, Hangar Thirteen is also in need of other aircraft parts–click here to check out that list.

I’ve copied and pasted (below) the list of needed radio components at time of posting. Please check out the Hangar Thirteen website for the most up-to-date list:

BC-347 Amplifier
BC-366 Jack Box x8-10
PE-86 Dynamotor

FT-161 Beacon Mount

BG-81 Bag

BC-433 Radio Compass
BC-434 Compass Control Box x2
BK-22 Relay
I-81 Pilot’s Compass Indicator

BC-442 Relay
BC-451 Transmitter Control Box
BC-456 Modulator (with DM-33 Dynamotor)
FT-220 Receiver Rack Mount
FT-221 Receiver Shock Mount
FT-222 Receiver Control Box Mount
FT-225 Modulator Mount
FT-226 Transmitter Rack Mount
FT-227 Transmitter Shock Mount
FT-228 Transmitter Control Box Mount
FT-229 Relay Mount

BC-306 Antenna Tuning Unit
BC-461 Trailing Antenna Control
F-10 Trailing Antenna
FT-107 Dynamotor Mount
FT-115 Liaison Transmitter Mount
FT-151 Liaison Transmitter Mount
FT-142 Antenna Tuning Unit Mount
FT-154 Liaison Receiver Mount
J-37 Tuning Key
PE-73 Liaison Dynamotor
RL-42 Antenna Reel
TU-5 Tuning Unit (1500-3000)
TU-6 Tuning Unit (3000-4500)
TU-9 Tuning Unit (7700-10000)
TU-22 Tuning Unit (350-650)
TU-26 Tuning Unit (200-500)

BC-778 Transmitter
BG-155 Bag
M-278 Balloon x2
M-308 Signal Lamp
M-315 Generator Canisters x2
M-357 Kite
M-390 Parachute
W-147 Wire

Please contact Hangar Thirteen if you can help.

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Ian Keyser’s collection of vintage spy radios

(Source: Southgate ARC)

Daring spies who broadcast from behind enemy lines

An ITV News report says: Owning just one of them in World War Two carried the death penalty, but Ian Keyser, G3ROO has more than a dozen – ensuring a piece of secret history is brought out into the open. So what are they?

They are, of course, spy radios – used to send messages back to base from behind enemy lines. And decades later, much of the collection is still in use. Tony Green has this special report.

Watch this ITV News video:

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The gorgeous Zenith Model R-7000-2 Trans-Oceanic

Tuesday night, I attended a local radio club meeting with buddy Vlado (N3CZ).

Neither of us had ever attended this particular club, although we both knew a number of the members.

What was the first thing I spotted when I entered the meeting room? A pristine Zenith Model R-7000-2 Trans-Oceanic! Talk about a good omen!

Turns out there are no less than two Trans-Oceanic collectors in this group of about two dozen ham radio operators. The owner of this Model R-7000-2 told me that he has every Trans-Oceanic including the coveted Clipper and Bomber models.

I’m not sure I had ever seen the Model R-7000-2 in person. It’s a striking radio and the last in the line of the Trans-Oceanic sets–this model was produced in 1981.

Of course, I had to snap a few photos of this beauty.

Speaking of beauties, this Zenith enthusiast also brought his copy of the John H. Bryant and Harold N. Cones seminal volume: The Zenith Trans-Oceanic, the Royalty of Radios. (A book I highly recommend.) On one of the pages I rediscovered an image of my favorite 1930s/40s actress, Myrna Loy:

I first fell in love with Myrna Loy watching the classic film series: The Thin Man. I’m a massive fan of Loy/Powell films. Here’s the trailer from the first of the Thin Man series:

Any Post readers own the Trans-Oceanic Model R-7000-2?  Any one else in love with Myrna Loy? Please comment!

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Should I let go of the CoCo 2?

[Click here to read the follow-up to this post.]

We radio enthusiasts are a nostalgic bunch. Let’s just admit that and get it out of the way.

I’ve always found it difficult to let go of vintage radios, but over the past three years I have. I used to have well over a dozen boat anchors (heavy metal tube/valve radios) here at SWLing Post HQ. Today, I have three: my Scott Marine Model SLR-M, Signal Corps BC-348Q and Minerva Tropic Master (the Minerva being the lightweight of the bunch).

I found solace in donating some of my radios to museums and selling or giving them to friends who appreciate and will maintain them.

This radio played no small part in my life.

Outside of vintage radios, I have much less trouble selling or giving away my stuff; especially consumer electronics. I have very little attachment to those. I’ve never fallen in love with a phone, laptop, desktop or desktop PC.

Save my first personal computer, the TRS-80 Tandy Color Computer 2 (a.k.a. Coco 2).

I always tell people the two things from my childhood that had the most impact on my life were my Zenith Transoceanic shortwave radio and my Tandy Color Computer 2.

The shortwave radio kindled my interest in world news, languages, culture, music and traveling. And…well, it eventually lead to a lifelong passion in radio and, consequently, the SWLing Post.

Incidentally, The CoCo 2 taught me a skill that would also change my life.

Without knowing it at the time, the CoCo 2 taught me programming.

I couldn’t afford game cartridges as a kid, so I programmed my own simple CoCo 2 games with Family Computing magazine (remember them–?).

Each month, Family Computing featured a number of programs and games  you could input yourself. It was brilliant! My best friend, Junior, had a subscription to the magazine and would bring each issue over to the house and we’d type in lines and lines of code with the ultimate goal of playing a game or making our computers do something new.

Of course, 11 year old kids aren’t the best typists, so we’d always had to debug the code, following the error trail before the program would work. We’d also modify the code afterwards to see how it would change the program–it was amazing fun!


Keep in mind my CoCo 2 only had a whopping 16K of memory and all of it was volatile. Each time I’d turn the unit off, I’d lose everything I’d typed in. That is, until I could afford a tape recorder to save and load my programs (I still have it around here somewhere…).

Fast forward a dozen or so years…

In my first “real” job out of college, my manager noticed quickly that I could program and modify local copies of company databases so that my applications were more efficient and tailored to my job. The database system used a formula language that followed the same logic as the CoCo2’s Basic, so was pretty simple to pick up once I sorted out the commands and syntax. To be clear, I wasn’t hired for programming or IT skills, in fact it never came up in the interview as I was being hired for my French language skills.


Other than the Coco 2, I had no IT or computer studies in any formal setting–not in high school and not in college. Within three years at the company, I was promoted and sent to Europe to tie together and develop a number of database systems for the company’s various international sites. It was an dynamic, fun and rewarding career.

None of that would have ever happened had it not been for the CoCo 2.

So why am I considering selling the Coco 2?

Frankly, I never use it and don’t even have the adapter to plug it into any of my modern monitors. I’ve only been keeping it for sentimental reasons. I’ve been trying to let go of things I don’t use and this would certainly fall into this category.  I doubt it’s worth a lot…perhaps $20-$40? I’m not really sure.

Then again, I almost gave my Zenith Transoceanic away once and am very thankful now that I didn’t.

As I was about to put the CoCo 2 on eBay, I pressed pause and wrote this post instead.

What do you think?  Should I sell it or keep it? What would you do? 

Also, are there any other early PC enthusiasts out there? Please share your thoughts! While this isn’t a PC blog, I image this might be a common thread among us radio enthusiasts. Please comment!

And for fun, here’s a little poll to help sway me:

Do you enjoy the SWLing Post?

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