Tag Archives: Crosley

Radio Waves: AM/FM in Teslas, Odd Crosleys, CW Club Membership on the Rise, and 2020 Contest University is Free

Radio Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio

Because I keep my ear to the waves, as well as receive many tips from others who do the same, I find myself privy to radio-related stories that might interest SWLing Post readers.  To that end: Welcome to the SWLing Post’s Radio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors Kim Elliott, Dave Anderson, and Paul Evans for the following tips:


“Infotainment Systems” In Cars Portend Safety, Privacy, And Competition Issues (Forbes)

Almost all new cars include so-called “infotainment systems,” which provide navigation and various sources for music and news. Most companies have begun to outsource these systems to the Silicon Valley mainstays such as Apple, Amazon, and Google. The electric car manufacturer Tesla, however, has developed its own infotainment system that is far more integrated with the car itself.

Tesla recently announced an “upgrade,” which would allow users to watch Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube (when the car is parked). This innovation has a flip side: it removes AM / FM radio capabilities. Tesla and other electric car manufacturers claim they have removed AM radio in many of their models due to concerns over interference. But Tesla’s announcement is peculiar because electric engines do not interfere with FM radio reception.

Former FEMA director Brock Long worries that Tesla’s decision could prevent the government from transmitting crucial information in emergencies. Long’s concerns are valid, particularly in a crisis like the ongoing pandemic, when broad communication with the public is necessary to protect national security. AM/FM radio reach places that television and broadband do not, and that is why the government has invested tens of millions of dollars to ensure radio stations can remain on the air during periods of widespread threat to the public – including the current one. As the coronavirus reminds us, our nation still has public safety needs that no amount of technical wizardry can obviate.

The public safety concerns are real, but Tesla decision to remove AM/FM radio also raise the perennial tech issues of privacy and competition.

Tesla has contracts with tech companies such as Spotify and Pandora, many of which are pay services. These tech companies are no doubt pleased that Tesla is contemplating taking out AM/FM radio, which is still the most listened to audio platform—and constitutes meaningful competition. However, these conflicting interests creates mismatched incentives for Tesla.

Because Tesla’s market share is small, and the upgrade is optional, this conduct likely does not rise to anything close to an antitrust violation. However, the vertically integrated model which Tesla is following raises the same type of concerns as when Big Tech firms pick and choose what apps and services customers can favor. If Google, Apple, and Amazon, which have their own podcast and streaming audio services, begin to demand that auto manufacturers carry their services exclusively, then more serious competition problems will arise.[]

Odd Crosley Radios from the 1920s (Hackaday)

You may sometimes see the Crosley name today on cheap record players, but from what we can tell that company isn’t connected with the Crosley Radio company that was a powerhouse in the field from 1921 to 1956. [Uniservo] looks at two of the very early entries from Crosley: the model VIII and the XJ. You can see the video of both radios, below.

The company started by making car parts but grew rapidly and entered the radio business very successfully in 1921. We can only imagine what a non-technical person thought of these radios with all the knobs and switches, for some it must have been very intimidating.

The model VIII had two large knobs, three small knobs, and a switch. Oddly enough there were very few markings on the knobs, as you were expected to know how to use a tuned RF radio. The large knobs were for tuning capacitors and the switch was for coil taps, while the three small knobs controlled the tube filament supplies.[]

Increase in CW Club membership (G4BKI.com)

The rate at which amateurs are joining CW clubs has gone through the roof with ‘lockdown’.

The fastest growing club (SKCC) has tripled its daily new members rate and is now increasing by 14-15 per day. Information and files can be found at: http://www.g4bki.com/club_call_history.htm

Contest University 2020 will be held online free via Zoom (Contest University)

Contest University 2020 will be held online free via Zoom (Link will be available on May 7th)

Thursday, May 14th 9:00 am EDT

CTU 2020 outline is available on the 2020 Course Outline Page

Click here to read more information.


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Crosley is bringing back the radio cassette portable

The Crosley CT100A

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors Mike Hangen and Kim Elliott who share the following item from The Verge:

Crosley, the company best known for making those junky $100 turntables you can find at Target or Best Buy, is expanding into a different era of musical nostalgia: cassette decks, via TechCrunch.

The company is selling two tape decks. Both have the same basic specs for cheap hardware: there’s a single mono speaker, an AM/FM radio, an integrated mic, and a single-direction deck (so you’ll have to flip the tape yourself, just like the good old days). Odds are that you won’t get the best-sounding speaker, but that’s not really the point.

The $60 CT100 model can also get shortwave radio, and it adds some rather anachronistic support for playing music off SD cards and USB drives. The $70 CT200 skips those features but adds treble and bass dials and a VU meter, which looks cooler and thus commands a higher price.

Again, neither of these players are likely going to give you an audiophile-level experience. But if you’re looking for somewhere to play your retro Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack cassette, they should work just fine.

Click here to read the full article at The Verge.

Amazon has both the Crosley CT100A and the CT200A–both are $52.77 shipped. I also see that Target has them online for $49.00 shipped. I find it interesting that Target doesn’t mention the shortwave bands in the basic item description–they simply list it as an AM/FM radio.

While I imagine these Crosley sets will have only mediocre shortwave reception, I bet they’ll sell a lot of them. Being so widely distributed, they’ll make for a unique gift or impulse buy.

What’s really ironic is that those of us familiar with a little radio history know that Crosley was a giant in the radio business and produced some amazing sets (including this masterpiece).

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New Crosley Exhibit at VOA Museum

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dave, who shares this article by John Kieswetter at WVXU:

Maybe you have one of those refrigerators with a TV screen built into the door… Or you like reading news stories from TV/radio stations on your tablet or phone…

Well, WLW-AM founder and Cincinnati industrialist Powel Crosley Jr. was way ahead of you. W-A-Y ahead of you.

Just look around at the new Powel Crosley Jr. exhibit some weekend at the National Voice of America Museum of Broadcasting on Tylersville Road in West Chester Township. (For the first time, the museum is open 1-4 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday, instead of just once a month.)

In the late 1930s – 80 years ago, before the advent of television – Crosley manufactured Shelvador refrigerators with an AM radio in the door. His Shelvador was unique too – he bought the patent to have the only refrigerator with shelves on the door for years. The VOA has a Model No. 1 Shelvador which needs to be restored before put in the display.

In 1939, Crosley marketed the “Reado,” essentially a home facsimile machine that printed out news, weather and sports on a scroll about the width of toilet paper.[…]

Continue reading the full article at WVXU.

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Crosley biographer to speak at National VOA Museum of Broadcasting

(Source: Southgate ARC)

Best-selling Crosley biographer to speak at National VOA Museum of Broadcasting Nov. 10

Rusty McClure, author of the New York Times bestseller, Crosley: Two Brothers and a Business Empire that Transformed a Nation, will speak Friday, Nov. 10 at the National Voice of America Museum of Broadcasting in West Chester.

Cost to attend is $25, which includes a copy of McClure’s book, a $15 value. Attendees can also view the ongoing Crosley exhibit at the museum, which displays some of Crosley’s most engaging inventions and products. Doors open at 7 p.m., with the lecture beginning at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are payable at the door.

To reserve a place at the Nov. 10 lecture, call (513) 777-0027 or email admin@voamuseum.org .

McClure will also be on hand at the museum on Saturday, Nov. 11 at 1 p.m. to discuss Powel and Lewis Crosley’s extraordinary lives and work and sign books, said museum director Jack Dominic.

Powel Crosley, Jr., inventor, industrialist, entrepreneur and founder of the Crosley Corporation, is considered the Henry Ford of radio. When his son wanted a radio in the early 1920s, he thought they were too expensive, so built one with him instead.

Blast from the past: The Shelvador refrigerator, which featured shelves and a built-in AM radio in the door, is one of the fun and innovative Crosley products on display at the National Voice of America Museum of Broadcasting. (John Kiesewetter Photo)
The Crosley Radio Corporation that resulted from that innovation quickly became the largest radio manufacturer in the world.

Crosley and his brother Lewis built a business empire that included WLW radio station, the concept of radio advertising, ownership of the Cincinnati Reds, the creation of many household products, and an economy automobile known as the Crosley car. Crosley Corporation engineers built the rhombic antennas at the VOA-Bethany Station and operated it during World War II and part of the Cold War.

An exhibit featuring Crosley products such as the Shelvador refrigerator; a “Reado,” home Fax machine; and Xervac hair-growing machine is free with regular museum admission.

The VOA museum is now open each Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults and $1 for children.

The museum, located at 8070 Tylersville Road, just commemorated the Sept. 23, 1944 dedication of the VOA-Bethany Station with a successful fundraising gala. This year also marks the 75th anniversary of the Voice of America.

For 50 years, the VOA-Bethany Station transmitted Voice of America broadcasts to countries worldwide that lacked a free press, first in Europe during World War II and to South America during the Cold War. The station was decommissioned by the federal government in 1994.

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Video: 1936 Crosley WLW Model Super-Power Radio Receiver

WLW Model  Super-Power Radio Receiver-2

In response to our recent thread of posts about the Crosley WLW Model Super-Power Radio Receiver, I’d like to thank both Jonathan Marks and Mike Barraclough for sharing the following video by TNT Amusements on YouTube:

Click here to view on YouTube.

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A.P. Richards’ 1939 thesis on the Crosley WLW Model Super-Power Radio Receiver

Crosley

In response to our recent post about the Crosley WLW Super-Power receiver, SWLing Post contributor, Larry Hagood, writes:

A photo of Dr Richards from the class of 1927.

A photo of Dr Richards from the class of 1927.

I am an EE student at Oklahoma State (Formerly Oklahoma A&M)–the school where the designer of the WLW [Super Power receiver], Amyle Richards, got his BSEE in 1927.

[Richards] wrote and submitted a masters thesis on the design of this radio, which earned him a PhD!).

I found a picture of him in the Engineering South building and found him in the 1927 yearbook in the library.

Anyway, the archive department located his paper on the WLW and is scanning it for me.

Many thanks to Larry for doing the research and sharing a scanned copy of Dr. Richards’ thesis about this Crosley benchmark receiver!

Click here to download A.P. Richards’ thesis as a PDF.

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A Photo Tour of the National Capital Radio and Television Museum

On Tuesday afternoon, I made a pilgrimage the to the National Capital Radio and Television Museum in Bowie, Maryland, USA.  The museum is located in a modest and beautiful historic house on the corner of Mt. Oak and Mitchellville Roads in Bowie.

RadioMeseumExterior

RadioMuseum-Exterior-FrontDoor

Museum Curator and volunteer, Brian Belanger, kindly gave me a private tour of the museum collections (the museum is closed on Tuesdays). Brian

Many thanks to Brian for taking time out of his day for the tour, and for allowing me to take some photos for the SWLing Post!

The museum has a number of display rooms with radios broadly grouped by style and decade. The first room offers examples of some of the earliest radios produced–including the venerable crystal radio (below).

[Click photos to enlarge.]

Miracle

Radio4

Like Brian, numerous volunteers work to keep the collections in working order. This isn’t a place where vintage radios come to die; they actually come to life here.

Volton-Battery

1920sRadioEven examples of some of their earliest radios are on the air and can be tuned to local and international stations.  Radio5

RCA-Radiola-60 RCA-Radiola-60Dial

This RCA “portable” (below), housed two batteries on either side of the center faceplate. Note the ad on the wall above–a couple enjoy the RCA as they recline on a beach.

RCA-Portable RCA-Portable-Dial Radiola-X-RCA Radio10 Atwater-Kent-Black Atwater-Kent-Black-Interior

Speakers of the day were pretty amazing, too–check out this hand-painted 1927 Air Chrome Double Cone Speaker, below.

Air-Chrome-Double-Cone-Speaker

The museum also has an extensive collection of studio and off-air recordings that can be played over an AM carrier throughout the building.

Atwater-Kent-Dial

By the late 1920s and early 1930s, radio manufactures built gorgeous console radios, features in the living rooms and parlors of many lucky homes.

Atwater-Kent

Crosley-Dial

Scott-ConsoleRadio

This E.H. Scott All-Wave 23 console (above and below) sported not only twenty-threee vacuum tubes, but a large, robust internal speaker. Radio collectors consider the All-Wave 23 to be one of the finest performing radios of the vacuum-tube era. Scott-Console-Radio-Dial

Zenith-Shuttle

The museum also features the Zenith 12-S-232 tabletop radio with working shuttle dial–a futuristic band-switching mechanical wonder with a stunning dial.

Zenith-Shuttle-Dial ClintonModel-445X

A number of tabletop and portable radios that span the decades have found their homes in this museum.  No doubt many SWLing Post readers cut their teeth on these classics!

Zenith-Trans-Oceanic-6500 Zenith-Portable American-Radio-AssociatesRealistic-Model-12-173 Garod-Model-582

I love the design of the Garod Model 5A2–wow! And I’m sure many kids of the fifties wished they had an official Hopalong Cassidy AM radio (below).HopAlongCassidy-Radio

The museum, of course, also houses a large number of classic televisions.

Pilot-Model-TVHallicrafters-TV Philco-TV Philco-TV-ControlsRadio stations and benefactors have also donated many items used in the industry, both in broadcast and retail.

NBC-Chimes PhilcoSign Midwest-Magazine SylvaniaSigns 980KC-MicBrian was also kind enough to take me to the building, next door, where they repair radios and store others for eventual rotation into the collection.

Workshop Repair4 Repair2

Museum volunteers also teach radio repair and restoration classes.Repair1 Repair3

GE-RadioThe number of classic ham radios, home brew receivers and transmitters was simply amazing. Indeed, I felt like a kid in a candy shop!

Radio1 National-NC-46 HalliDial Hallicrafters-SX100 Hallicrafters-SX62A Hallicrafters-SuperSkyrider Hallicrafters-Super-Skyrider CollinsTransmitterBy the end of the tour, I had decided to become a member of the National Capital Radio and Television Museum. Even though I live a few states away, I like knowing that my membership funds not only help preserve vintage radios and televisions, but also provide me members-only access to many of their scanned archives. Click to view a full list of benefits for a modest $25 membership.

Again, many thanks to Brian Belanger for the amazing tour of this wonderful museum!  Brian, I’ll be back next year…

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