Tag Archives: Radios

1930s refrigerator had built-in radio

Many thanks to Andy Sennitt for sharing this fascinating piece of radio nostalgia:


Gizmodo columnist, Matt Novak, writes:

Jesse Walker, author of the book Rebels on the Air: An Alternative History of Radio in America, pointed me to this rather novel invention from 1937 — the refrigerator-radio combination unit. This may seem like an odd marriage of tech, but it makes perfect sense when you realise that it in the 1930s it was becoming harder to sell new radios and much easier to sell new fridges.

Despite the Great Depression, America saw an explosion of mechanical refrigerator ownership during the 1930s. In 1930, just 8 per cent of American households had a fridge. By the end of the decade, nearly half of American homes had one.

But the market for radios was pretty saturated in the late 1930s. Over 80 per cent of American households had a radio by the end of the decade. So radio set manufacturers tried to insert their products into new places that from the vantage point of the future, we can see didn’t pan out (like refrigerators) and others that did (like cars).

Continue reading on Gizmodo…

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Where to buy shortwave radios in New Zealand?

ElisabethAndPerI received a message this morning from a Norwegian couple, Per and Elisabeth, who are circumnavigating the globe in a sailboat.

They’re currently in Opua, New Zealand, and are looking for a shortwave receiver with SSB mode.

They depart New Zealand on May 6, 2014 so are very much in a hurry to find one.  They plan to use this radio to receive weather fax while on the open sea. Personally, I would hope they could find a good tabletop receiver for the job, but they would be happy with a capable portable radio.

On a side note, I’m well aware that the Digitech Audio AR1945 is readily available in New Zealand, but based on comments from a previous article, I also know that it performs miserably on SSB.

If you can help Per and Elisabeth find a shortwave radio with SSB in New Zealand, before they depart on May 6, please comment!

You can follow Per and Elisabeth’s sailing adventure on their website and blog.

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The Tecsun ICR-110 packs AM/FM and digital recording/playback

Photo: BigBargainsOnline from eBay

In a comment, SWLing Post reader Owl mentions:

“Tecsun has just released ICR-110 which is as BIG as the PL-880 and seems to have the same speaker too.”

The ICR-110 can be found on eBay–click here to search. At $46.00 US shipped, I’m very tempted to purchase it. Though it lacks shortwave, it appears that it can record AM (MW) and FM broadcast stations in either MP3 or WAV formats. While I’ve yet to find a radio that can make a digital recording with acceptable fidelity (the CC Witness Plus being a notable exception) I would like to think the engineers at Tecsun have nailed it.

I have a friend who has recently purchased the ICR-110, and am looking forward to his review! (hint, hint)

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Paul reviews the mystery radio

Many thanks to Paul for providing this review of his mystery radio (see previous posts):

MysteryRadio2This is a basic AM/FM radio with clock and alarm functions. It runs off three AA batteries (for the radio) or a 1.5 V small cell battery (for the clock). There is also the option of powering it with an AC adapter (4.5 V DC, center positive). The speaker is 8 ohm, 0.5 W. As Ulli pointed out the three AA batteries are a very tight fit. Besides radio and alarm, there is also a headphone jack.

The SET and DIS buttons on the radio are for setting the clock and alarm. In absence of a manual it took a little time to figure out how to do this. The clock LCD tilts up as shown in the photos. Needless to say the viewing angles leave much to be desired. This radio is meant to be used laying on a table; it has a curved bottom and cannot stand up on its own.

MysteryRadio1In terms of performance, it’s good for powerhouse AM and FM stations. DXing is very limited or next to impossible due to the stiff tuning knob (you need two fingers to move it around; the dimple is not helpful) and the short circular tuning range. It’s hard to tell whether the radio has below average built-in selectivity with the Sony CXA1191S chip, or are problems zeroing in on stations due to the poorly designed knob. In my unit the volume knob was scratchy; this was easily fixed with a little DeoxIt spray.

MysteryRadio3Among other curious things about this radio is its antenna, which goes out only at a fixed angle – not straight up. It can be moved from left to right at this angle and extended.

Overall this is a basic AM FM clock radio, measuring small (6.25 x 3 x 1.25 inches), and honestly, nothing really special!

Paul, thanks for the review and great photos of your radio. It might not be a performance machine, but it was fun solving the mystery and reading your review of this obscure little radio! -Thomas

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Mystery radio identified

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Wow, that was quick! Many thanks to Ulli who solved the case of the mystery radio we posted yesterday.

Ulli comments with details:

The radio was a giveaway about 1995.
I opened it :
1 IC Sony CXA1191S 314J22V , 5 Transistors , 3 -band filter , 5.5 cm speakers , 8ohm , 0.5 W.
Today’s AA batteries are a bit too long, the 3 AA not quite fit into the battery tray .
The display with the time can be tilted .
On the back is a sticker :
and on housing :
U.K.REG.NO.2013420 .

Thanks, Ulli!

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