Tag Archives: Mystery radio

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.
Spread the radio love

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!

Spread the radio love

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!

Spread the radio love

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!

Spread the radio love

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!

Spread the radio love

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!

Spread the radio love

Help Ed identify this mystery radio in “The Last Man on Earth”

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

Recently I’ve been watching some pandemic-themed movies and found “The Last Man on Earth”, a pretty good 1964 post-apocalyptic science fiction horror film (which was remade in 1971 and 2007 with different titles.) In this film, the main character (well played by Vincent
Price) uses an HF transceiver in a fruitless effort to find other survivors of a global plague. It was shot in Italy, and the transceiver doesn’t look like any American radio I’ve ever seen. Perhaps some of your SWLing Post readers can identify it?

BTW: SWLing Post readers might also be interested in knowing this film can be downloaded for free from The Internet Archive.  https://archive.org/details/lastmanonearth-1964

What do you say, SWLing Post Community? Is this radio a fabricated stage prop, or a real model?  Please comment!

In the meantime, I’ll add this post to our ever growing archive of radios in film!

Spread the radio love