Tag Archives: Mystery radio

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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The mystery radio that wasn’t…

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Julian Stargardt, who shares the following in response to our recent mystery radio post:

Deciphering Dan Robinson’s mystery photo from the Marvellous Mrs Maizel


  1. The object at the right background below the painting and behind the cravat wearing adult male’s raised hand is a chair with 4 or 5 old leather bound books stacked on it. Thanks to Bill Hemphill WD9EQD for suggesting chair(s)! It was a big hint.
  2. The object with a white frame that’s almost flush with the wall at the extreme lefthand side – to the left of the book case – maybe a mirror or an alcove, difficult to say. It is above a shallow built in cupboard that looks like a book cabinet to me.
  3. Slightly toward the foreground visually in front of the low level cupboard is a corner of a brown wood table.
  4. There is a ledge or mantelpiece beneath and in front of the mirror/alcove(?) and bookcase. On this shelf at the lefthand side there is another stack of 3 leather bound books with a glass paperweight(?) on top of the top volume. Behind the stack of books, either a reflection in the mirror, if it is a mirror, or in the alcove, if it is an alcove, are some other indistinct objects. From Dan’s photo, I don’t think it’s a painting, but it might be.

Steps to solution

Key items in the photo:

  1. Child and adult (“pianists”) at the piano
  2. Piano
  3. Wall and features of the wall behind the pianists
  4. Gilt framed painting at the righthand side of the photo
  5. Below the painting is a difficult to interpret composite object. To resolve the identity of the composite object, I copied and pasted the image to a word document, then pasted the image again and cropped it to focus in on the composite object. Looking at the image of the composite object several components become apparent: (i) a slightly curved and tilted vertical brown frame surrounding with a gap on either side (ii) an unornamented white panel, (iii) an object or stack of objects in front of the vertical white panel, (iv) at the extreme bottom right hand side of the frame an angle, a close to a right angle that transitions the rear slightly curved and tilted vertical brown frame to a horizontal frame containing a padded off white insert that matches the vertical off white insert surrounded by the vertical brown frame, ergo a chair, (v) so what is or are the object(s) on the chair? They are objects, i.e. there are more than one. These objects are 4 or 5 leather bound books, see 2 below.
  6. Book case with diagonal wire lattice security doors containing mostly leather bound books on 3 shelves that are visible or implied
  7. Shelf below bookcase
  8. Small stack of 3 leatherbound books and glass paperweight(?) at lefthand side
  9. Alcove/mirror/painting behind the stack of 3 books and glass object at the lefthand side – how do I know it’s glass and likely a paperweight? (i) Glass: Because the frame behind it can be seen indistinctly through it, (ii) Paperweight: because of its shape and size and apparent mass, seems likely to be a solid or near solid object
  10. Right angled brown object at left hand side – looks most likely to be a table

  1. Just to throw the viewer off the mark, many of the books in the image have broken or damaged spines revealing the underlying binding, this makes it difficult from this photo to confirm if there are 4 or 5 books in the stack on the chair. It’s possible that there is a bottom-most thin dark bound book at the bottom, an alternative interpretation is that this bottom-most object is the bottom cover of the book resting on the chair.
  2. (a) The books in the photo seem to be at most quarto or small folio in size, with most being octavo or smaller. (b) From the usual size of a chair my guess is that the 4 or books on the chair are all quarto or small folio sized. (c) From the bindings and the state of the bindings, I’d guess that they are mostly mid to late 19th century books, possibly early 20th century.
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Can you identify the radio Bruce spotted in the new SILO series?

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Bruce, who writes:

Hi Thomas,

Here’s a screenshot (below) of a transceiver on a new sci-fi series “Silo”.

This is from episode 3. Here’s a brief description of the show:

In a ruined and toxic future, a community exists in a giant
underground silo that plunges hundreds of stories deep; there, people
live in a society full of regulations they believe are meant to
protect them.

Does anybody recognize this radio? [click to enlarge image]

– Bruce

Oh wow, Bruce. I’m a massive fan of the SILO series by Hugh Howey–indeed, the Wool Omnibus was the very first eBook I ever purchased! I’ve decided to re-read this series before watching it on Apple TV. 

If you can help Bruce identify this radio, please comment!

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Can you identify John Lennon’s mystery radio?

Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Robert Yowell, who writes:

Hi Thomas – you might recall several years ago I found a photo of a Sony ICF-2001 in the New York studio where John Lennon was recording his final album “Double Fantasy.”

Well I just recently found this photo of John Lennon which I believe is dated to the late 1970’s [correction: the photo was actually taken in November, 1980, just a few days before his death] tuning an unknown brand of portable radio. Do you think your readers might be able to identify it?

All the best,


Thanks for sharing this, Robert! No doubt, this will be a difficult radio to ID since we can’t see the front of it. Then again, we’ve some savvy radio enthusiasts here in the SWLing Post community! If you think you can ID this radio, please comment!

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Mystery radio in “Orphan Black”

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Alan Lurie, who writes:

Hey, I’ve known your site for quite a while, ever since someone gave me Sony’s last portable world band radio, the ICF-SW7600 many years ago. Was wondering if maybe you or someone else who peruses your blog would recognize this set in the background of an episode of Orphan Black.

Hard to tell, but it appears to be a more conventional radio. Regardless, it is positively fierce! And since the imrdb seems to have died, I thought I’d ask you. Hope it’s not a bother. I’m still learning so please keep up the good work!


It’s not a bother at all, Alan! Indeed, many here in the SWLing Post community love solving our radio mysteries. Sadly, I can’t get enough detail from the image to determine the model, but I’m willing to bet someone else can! There are a couple good clues in there.

Readers: Please comment if you can ID this radio. Good luck!

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Can you ID James Stewart’s receiver?

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Kim Elliott, who shares the image above which was originally posted by the Museum of Portable Sound on Twitter.

Kim is curious if anyone can ID the receiver model in this photo. I think I recognize this model, but I know there are better experts in our SWLing Post community to make a positive ID!

Please comment!

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Can you ID the radio in this pharmaceutical ad?

Many thank to SWLing Post contributor, Paul Evans (W4/VP9KF), who writes:

I was watching a TV advert (well, no I wasn’t), but then this one
comes on with a drug for COPD.

On the kitchen table, along with the inhaler thing there just happens
to be a radio 🙂

Let’s see who can find out what it is! Thanksgiving Quiz!

Oooh…good challenge. The resolution is pretty poor int he photo, but I’m almost certain I can ID the radio. Can you?  Please comment!

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