Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Mark Hirst, who writes:
Going to a local UK charity shop will usually turn up a grim selection of romance novels, old DVD box sets and children’s toys. They do a brisk trade in clothing, shoes and bags, but technology often consists of dire examples of cheap DVD players, phone cases, and small TVs.
It’s those very occasional gems that keep me going back.
Last Sunday a Panasonic radio turned up, and being a canny eBay savvy charity, they put a proper price tag on it! Aside from a scratchy volume control which was easily sorted, it seems to work fine. Spanning the whole of shortwave on a single band selection makes for tricky use of the big tuning knob, but back in the eighties I suspect this wasn’t a problem.
Finger marks and general grime have cleaned up fine, but the handle is strangely marked, and after fruitless cleaning with cotton pads and a little water I’m wondering if this is some kind of oxidation below the shiny surface.
I’m wondering if other readers are familiar with this kind of problem?
What a great score at the thrift store, Mark! I have several receivers of the same era that have the same issue on their chrome/metal parts. It’s almost as if the chrome/metallic finish is pitted in some way.
Readers: Do you know how Mark could safely clean the marks off of the chrome finish on the handle of his RF-1405?
FYI, here’s a video of Mark’s RF-1405 tuned to CRI:
Mark, you certainly snagged a great radio at the thrift store!
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Edward Ganshirt, who shares the following: I found this critter [a Realistic DX-440–see photo above] at a flea market. At first I pondered as to when I had my last tetanus shot before handling it, then again it had something that I see rarely in these portable radios … a BFO..!
I always said that a shortwave radio without a BFO is like a Harley-Davidson with a top speed of 25 mph, so I bought it. On the way home I could smell a barnyard aroma. I ruled out chicken and hog but I think it could have been sheep or goat. So I decided to see how well it works. It took a little bumping around with loose connections to get it working. But first since it was going to be taken apart to service the case and knobs would get a nice hot bath in a sudsy ammonia citrus cleaner with a bristle brush. Also the PCB’s would get brushed down with a mixture of denatured alcohol and acetone.
Now for the hard part: finding the rickety connections. This turned out to be simple, just inspect each wire at attachment point. I found 3 broken wires that were re soldered. Now it is together I am looking for a 9 inch antenna. The one here is not original it extends 66 inches.
As to it’s performance, This Hogg can go up to 75mph now that I have the plug wires on. The user interface speaks to me as a lab instrument more than a daily listener which I think will become its role.
Absolutely amazing transformation, Ed!
I’m especially pleased to see you’ve given this level of TLC to a Realistic DX-440. I regret having ever sold mine as it accompanied me across the ocean when I studied in Grenoble, France, for a year just after high school.
The DX-440 and I did a lot of travel and a lot DXing together! I hope your DX-440 takes you across the globe, Ed!
Here in the Houston area we are getting in to the heart of hurricane season. I have a little Eton FR-300 radio that has am, fm, tv and weather bands, a flashing red light, a white light, and a siren. I hadn’t picked it up in some time, and, while doing a “emergency inventory” today, I picked it up and it was so STICKY!!!
The first thing tried was rubbing alcohol, but the type suitable for first aid which is only 50% which just spread the stickiness around.
I did a “sticky radio” search and up came your blog, which I am already familiar with (no stickiness issues on my trusty Sony ICF-SW/7600GR) .
When I browsed the suggested solutions, “citrus-based” came up. Turns out I had the solution under my sink: “Veggie Wash” is a citrus-based product used to clean fruits and vegetables, and now, radios!
Squirted some on a paper towel and it does the job nicely.
Thanks for the suggestion! Like you, I imagine many others will have Veggie Wash on hand.
Sean at Universal Radio in Reynoldsburg, OH put me on to another terrific product that does the job fabulously and quite easily. It’s called MaxPro Ink/Adhesive Remover and is a citrus-based cleaner/solvent that won’t harm the radio’s plastic casing. You can get it on eBay for around $11 with free shipping:
It took me a total of less than 3 hours to clean both my E1s. I used a lot of paper towels, working a section of the radio at a time, spraying the solvent onto the towels and then rubbing the surface free of the degraded and sticky rubberized coating. After removing the coating, I simply wiped down the radio with a wet paper towel to remove any residual solvent. They are now clean and smooth and look like new with all the white print intact. And my hands didn’t suffer any from contact with the solvent.
A reminder if you do this: It’s important to seek out citrus-based solvents and avoid petroleum based solvents. It was so easy with this product that I wished I had done this a long time ago and wasn’t so nervous about taking it on.
After the display on my Eton E-1 receiver died, the good folks at Universal Radio swapped my broken but lightly used radio for a factory reconditioned unit. Fred Osterman warned me that the plastic case was sticky and somewhat gross and he wasn’t kidding, but I was still grateful that he had a replacement radio.
After searching around the Internet (including your blog) and trying various cleaners and solutions that didn’t remove the dirt and grime from the radio (such as rubbing alcohol, Gunk and dishwasher detergent), I went to my local O’Reilly Auto Parts store and asked if they had a recommendation. Their solution was a product called Purple Power ($4.49) and a microfiber shammy mitt ($4.50). In less time than it took me to watch an episode of “Dr. Phil,” my Eton cleaned up beautifully, with no damage to the unit — it looks and feels brand new. The plastic retained that nice tacky feel without all of the stickiness that attracts gunk like dust, hair and other crud.
Purple Power is made by Aiken Chemical. You’ll want to have a clean bucket of water to remove the gunk that Purple Power removes from the plastic — it really was disgusting but I won’t hesitate to give the radio a Purple Power bath the next time it starts getting gross. And, no, I’m not affiliated with Purple Power, Eton or anyone else, including the microfiber shammy!
Many shortwave radios, such as those manufactured by Grundig/Eton, have been produced with a rubberized coating that makes the radio easier to hold in the hand. I like this coating because it gives me a sure grip on the radio.
However, over time (say, two to three years) the coating can break down and begin to produce a sticky residue. All of a sudden your “grippy” coating feels more like tacky paint–even leaving a bit of residue on anything it touches.
Many models have this coating: The Grudig G5 and G3, The Eton E1, E1-XM, FR350, FR400, FR500 and FR600, to name a few.
Michael Kitchen (KD5PXH) recently wrote with his solution for sticky radios:
After experementing with cotton balls/pads, and using window cleaner and other liquid agents, I managed to decently remove the gummy coating from an Eton FR-400.
Best to use 91% Isopropyl Alcohol, and a clean but disposable (dry) wash cloth or something similar.
The stronger percentage alcohol makes for easier breaking down of the sticky, and the wash cloth to remove, without damaging the surface or removing lettering. The trick is to always use clean spot on wash cloth, keep from just smearing the stickyness around. The wash cloth will lift and absorb sticky, so keep using a clean spot on cloth. The cloth needs only be damp with alcohol, not dripping wet. Use dry spot on cloth to wipe clean the surface.
There may be a hazy white patina, but much of this can be wiped away.
It takes a little bit of effort, but the results are worth while.
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