Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Neil Goldstein, who writes:
I added a sub-page to radiokitguide.com with a list of the remaining electronics and radio surplus outlets I was able to find and verify. The list is evolving, but is complete enough to publish at this point. Enjoy!
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Neil Goldstein, who shares the following guest post which originally appeared on his blog, Fofio:
Radios I Have Known #2 The old, the new, and the Select-A-Tenna
by Neil Goldstein
L-R: Select-A-Tenna, Tivdio V-115, Sony ICF-5500W
After promising this series a year and a half ago, I finally have started digging through the collection, and will start posting about once a week. The radios, and accessories may not have anything in common (as seen in this post), but were all acquired because they were in some way interesting, or sentimental to me. Here’s the first three:
One of the original air-core tunable AM antennas. You just put this near the radio and peak it for reception. I was watching for one of these in good shape, and not overpriced, and they have been in and out of production over the years. This one is from a later production run as can be seen by the extended AM range (1700). Jay Allen reviewed the S.A.T by comparing the the TERK Air Core antenna not long ago here: https://radiojayallen.com/select-a-tenna-vs-terk-am-advantage/ The TERK reviewed well, and looks more modern, but I wanted the classic cheesy art-deco looking S.A.T.
I won’t post a long, boring review here. Many have already reviewed this radio. All I can say is that if you like small, decent-sounding transistor radios, you will not be disappointed. If you are expecting top-shelf performance, and perfect ergonomics, then you you may not be happy, but for around $19 you really should be happy with this little gem. A great little radio at a great price and the most impressive thing here is the sound. The radio has a small passive radiator like the Meloson M8, and M7, and really surprises me. It can also be used as an amplified speaker, and has a micro SD slot for using it as a standalone MP3 player. Grab one!
Most transistor radio collectors know this radio. It’s a classic for sure, but I have to give a little background on why I wanted one. When I was about 12 years old, I had a few analog SW portables, but nothing with direct frequency readout. Panasonic had introduced it’s series of direct-readout radios, the RF-2200, 2800, and 4800, and Sony was competing with the ICF-5900W. Dad acknowledged the quality and technology of these radios, and told me that if I saved most of the money by working for him, he may help me get one. The 2800, and 4800 were way out of reach, but one Sunday in the local paper, a department store in Kingston (Britt’s, which was Newberry’s answer to Macy’s) had the 2200 advertised for $138.88. I had been flip-flopping between the Sony and the Panasonic for weeks, but that was the clincher.
The radio is still in use. My sister in law has it. I had given it to my late brother Paul at some point and she still uses it as her main radio.
Why this Sony though? I still want a 5900W. When I saw this one come up at an auction, I recognized the shape it was in. The ICF-5500W was the companion radio to the 5900W. AM/FM and VHF Hi (with a basic, but functional squelch control). The 5500 and 5900 are a monument to Sony design at the time. The pop-up antenna (which still works flawlessly), The separate Bass, Treble, and Loudness controls, The overall quality of sound and function, all of this is an example of what Sony was producing at the time. I think their modern small electronics are a shadow of what they were capable of years ago. This thing still sounds great and performs well next to my modern DSP radios. I still would love to get a pristine 5900W but they usually fetch premium dollars. Maybe someday.
Bravo Sony, but where did you go?
More to come!!
Thanks for sharing, Neil! I, too, have the Tivdio V-115 and the Sony ICF-5900W.
The ‘5900W is a gem of a solid state receiver. It has brilliant AM broadcast band reception and rich audio. I need to open my ‘5900W and clean all of the contacts since some of the sliders are scratchy. It’ll make for a nice rainy day project!
We look forward to your next installment! Post Readers: be sure to check out Neil’s blog, Fofio!
Neil Goldstein, W2NDG, has just informed me that he’s updated his comprehensive radio kit guide which can be found at RadioKitGuide.com. Many thanks, Neil!
The next kit I have on the table is the Sawdust Regenerative Receiver by BreadBoard Radio. Should be a lot of fun and a nice weekend project (once I have a free weekend to complete it). Still, I think I’ll check out Neil’s list to see if there are any new kits I’ve overlooked–after all, fall and winter kit-building seasons are just around the corner!
In the meantime, many thanks to Neil for sharing his personal radio history:
I developed a love for electronic things in general at a very young age. My folks had a huge problem with me taking phonographs apart to try to figure out how they worked. I remember my older brother Lee, starting a log of AM radio stations that he could receive, and getting a Wards Airline multiband radio that received Shortwave. It was right about then (early 70’s) that I was given my first Shortwave radio. We had a family friend who lived nearby that had traveled the world. She referred to herself as The Baroness Charlotte Serneaux Gregori. She owned an import/export company in New York, and was an accomplished painter of abstract art. Her house was filled with things she had collected in her travels, and she found out that I was curious about Shortwave radio. She gave me a small National Panasonic AM/SW transistor radio. That hooked me.
My second radio also came from her. Another National Panasonic. I still have this one, but it is not functional anymore. I went through a series of radios, including some of the classics (Panasonic RF-2200, Sony 6500, Sony 2010, Sangean 803a). I owned some Ham Radio equipment for a time, hoping to get my license, but that didn’t happen till about 2 years ago.
Charlotte passed away when I was a teenager. I have a couple of her paintings in my possession, as well as that radio. I recently purchased a Bulova AM-SW transistor radio that reminded me of the original one she gave me. I am having it restored to its original glory, which I hope to also have done to the second one. That might be a bit more of a job though.
I think one of the most valuable things I got from radio listening was to get more than one view on world events. When something happened in the world, I would listen to the BBC, Radio Australia, Radio Canada, Radio Tirana (for comic relief mostly), and many others.
Neil’s Nissequogue River State Park QRP expedition
These days I’m a licensed Ham. I love experimenting, and playing with low-power equipment, and I’m thrilled with the way Ham radio has embraced my career in computers now with digital modes, SDR, and so much more. I have gotten back into building things. I have to think that being a SWL for 40 years before getting my Ham license gives me a different perspective on the world of Ham radio. With everything going on in that world for me, I still listen. I’m a little disappointed in the direction that Shortwave radio is heading, but there’s still something to hear, and multiple views and opinions to absorb. I miss the good old days, and wish I had some of todays technology back when there was more to hear. Can you imagine having a SDR in the early 80’s?