Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Mark Hirst, who writes:
Going to a local UK charity shop will usually turn up a grim selection of romance novels, old DVD box sets and children’s toys. They do a brisk trade in clothing, shoes and bags, but technology often consists of dire examples of cheap DVD players, phone cases, and small TVs.
It’s those very occasional gems that keep me going back.
Last Sunday a Panasonic radio turned up, and being a canny eBay savvy charity, they put a proper price tag on it! Aside from a scratchy volume control which was easily sorted, it seems to work fine. Spanning the whole of shortwave on a single band selection makes for tricky use of the big tuning knob, but back in the eighties I suspect this wasn’t a problem.
Finger marks and general grime have cleaned up fine, but the handle is strangely marked, and after fruitless cleaning with cotton pads and a little water I’m wondering if this is some kind of oxidation below the shiny surface.
I’m wondering if other readers are familiar with this kind of problem?
What a great score at the thrift store, Mark! I have several receivers of the same era that have the same issue on their chrome/metal parts. It’s almost as if the chrome/metallic finish is pitted in some way.
Readers: Do you know how Mark could safely clean the marks off of the chrome finish on the handle of his RF-1405?
FYI, here’s a video of Mark’s RF-1405 tuned to CRI:
Mark, you certainly snagged a great radio at the thrift store!
A few weeks ago, I stopped by our local Habitat For Humanity ReStore searching for reclaimed building supplies.
This particular ReStore is one of the largest in the area–it has an amazing selection of building supplies, furniture, housewares, books and even music, but has a very small section dedicated to electronics which is primarily stocked with DVD players, VCRs and occasionally the odd component system. The person who sets the prices for electronics always over-inflates them so it seems items sit on the shelf for ages.
In all of the years I’ve visited this store, I’ve never found a portable radio of interest…until a few weeks ago.
As I passed by the shelf, a GE Super Radio II caught my eye. Cosmetically, it was in rough shape (in other words, “well-loved”).
I expected a $50 price tag but instead was surprised when I saw $2.50! I put on my reading glasses just to make sure I was reading it correctly.
I plugged the radio in and tested it on FM. It easily snagged a number of FM stations and the audio sounded amazing although the loudness, treble and bass pots were very scratchy.
The AM broadcast band worked as well, but the RFI/noise inside the retail warehouse was overwhelming.
I opened the back of the radio and found an immaculate battery compartment. Obviously, the previous owner was either diligent with removing cells when not in use, or never used batteries.
The antenna was in great shape and had no bends or breaks.
The speakers were in tact as well.
I took the radio to the counter and the guy who rang up the order said, “Well…she ain’t pretty, but for $2.50 how can you go wrong?”
Fast-forward to yesterday when my father-in-law was in town and stopped by for a visit.
He mentioned in passing that after his favorite public radio station decreased power from one of its translators, he could no longer receive it easily with his small AM/FM portable at home. Of course, I have at least four dozen radios here that could easily receive this station, but few of those include a power cord, are incredibly simple to operate and have room-filling audio.
I took a look at the GE Super Radio II, then a look at my father-in-law, and decided he needed it. I knew the ‘Super II would make him a happy man.
I quickly dusted off the chassis and cleaned the pots with DeOxit–it played like a new one.
I tuned to an FM station playing classical music, turned up the volume and my father-in-law beamed when he heard the rich, clear audio.
No doubt, this time-honored portable will get a lot of use and love in its second life.
If I’m being honest with myself, this might not have been a truly altruistic move. You see, when we do an overnight at my father-in-law’s house, I can now do a little AM DXing without having to lug one of my own receivers!
A win-win in my book.
Post Readers: Have you snagged a good radio deal lately? Please comment/brag with models and prices!