If you own a GE Superadio I or Superadio II and you would like an expert to restore and/or replace the capacitors, you’re in luck!
Chuck Rippel (K8HU) has announced that he will start repairing and restoring GE Superadios for anyone interested. In the past, he’s done this on a case-by-case basis when time allowed, but he has stocked up on top-shelf components and cleared off his workbench to bring Superadios back to life.
Chuck asks that you contact him via email if you would like your Superadio recapped or repaired.
You can reach Chuck at:
A note about the Superadio III
As mentioned above, Chuck only works on the SRI and SRII models.
Chuck notes that the issue with repairing SRIIIs is: “[working with] the tuning mechanism and putting it back together so it works and the dial is in reasonable calibration. If the dial cord comes off, it’s terrible to tray and re-install so, I stay away from model III’s.“
The new year was bittersweet for many Bengali radio fans this year, as listeners learned that BBC Bangla Radio would stop airing on December 31, 2022, after an 81-year run. In the years leading up to its closure, two sets of half-hour programs were aired each day on shortwave and FM bands in the morning and evening. The webpage was archived as soon as the night programs finished on the last day, closing the chapter on the iconic British Broadcasting Channel segment.
In an effort to cut spending and follow media trends, BBC World Service will be pivoting toward increased digital offerings, leading them to shut down radio-wave broadcasts in several international languages. BBC Bangla will continue as a digital-only multimedia channel in a limited capacity.
Bangla (Bengali) is the seventh most spoken language by the total number of speakers in the world. Spoken by approximately 261 million worldwide, it is the primary language in the region of Bengal, comprising Bangladesh (61 percent of speakers) and the Indian state of West Bengal (37 percent of speakers). [Continue reading…]
A trove of more than 150 such QSL cards, formerly owned by an operator who went by the call sign W2RP, was obtained by designer Roger Bova. Bova then collaborated with the book imprint Standards Manual (full disclosure: I’ve done some work with the publisher’s parent company, the design firm Order) to collect them into a handsome volume. I’m reprinting some of the images here, with the publisher’s permission.
W2RP, as it turns out, was no ordinary “amateur.” W2RP was the late Charles Hellman, who lived to the age of 106. The cards obtained by Bova are both a visual map and a physical manifestation of the numerous conversations he participated in over what is said to have likely been the longest continuously active ham license, more than 90 years. Hellman first obtained his license at the age of 15. Some historical context: he was born in 1910, one year after the Nobel Prize in Physics went to Guglielmo Marconi and Karl Ferdinand Braun for their pioneering work in radio. Hellman himself taught physics in Manhattan and the Bronx, and two of his students reportedly went on to win the Nobel in physics. (More on his remarkable life at qcwa.org.) [Continue reading…]
‘It would be the understatement of the year to say there were a lot of radios and radio-related paraphernalia’ at Chevy Halladay’s Orillia home
As I crossed the porch toward the side door of Chevy Halladay’s century home near Orillia, I had no idea what to expect. The door opened before I could knock, Chevy extended his arm to shake hands, and welcomed me into his home.
To my right was a small closet where I could hang my coat. I missed the hook, sending the coat to the floor. I was much too distracted to waste another second on hanging it neatly. To my left was a huge, free-standing mid-50s radio and TV tube testing machine stacked high with rare tubes, a six-foot-tall floor clock and radio with a built-in turntable, and a vintage Coca Cola vending machine. Each piece had been carefully restored for appearance and functionality.
A single step further into the room brought Chevy’s, and his wife Maggie’s, kitchen counter into view. Atop it were two partially restored radios, one a jumble of dusty tubes and a speaker early into the process, the other a spectacular and rare wood-cased Stromberg-Carlson, being prepared for final refinishing before being shipped to a friend in Bethesda, Maryland.
Don’t misunderstand. This was no hoarder’s enclave or home transformed into a ramshackle workshop. Their house is immaculate, and Maggie is on-side with Chevy’s mono-themed interior decorating style, yet it would be the understatement of the year to say there were a lot of radios and radio-related paraphernalia everywhere.
There was not an inch of wall that wasn’t shelved to display countless historic radios, or covered with hanging wall clocks that were used as promotional items by radio companies, steel promotional signs, framed advertising posters, or other memorabilia. [Continue reading…]
Between 1970 and 1991 a woman, never named and with a sonorous antipodean accent, could be heard broadcasting some of the most extraordinary communist propaganda ever heard amongst the radio stations of the former socialist countries.
Radio Tirana broadcast from Albania – at one time Europe’s most secretive and closed country.
The transmissions were the source of enormous fascination for one 13 year old boy who listened to the programmes at bath time, with increasing amazement.
53 year old journalist John Escolme was that 13 year old.
We join his journey to track down the mystery broadcaster who not only recalls her life on-air, but her own extraordinary personal story – one that took her from remote New Zealand to an eccentric Stalinist regime rarely visited by anyone from the west. [Click here for original article.]
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Georges Ringotte (F6DFZ), who writes:
Recently my “radio brother” Bruno F6CRN gave me a vintage Hallicrafters SX-130 from the mid seventies. The receiver was extremely nice for a 55 years old rig, had never seen a soldering iron for repair and had original Hallicrafters tubes but was not performing very well.
After some research , I found a solder joint between 2 pins of a tube support, and this solder joint was done during manufacture!
After alignment, the receiver performed relatively well for that kind of somewhat low cost receiver.
These low to mid cost receivers, made by Hallicrafters, Hammarlund and National are single conversion design, with a low frequency IF near 455 kHz or 1.6 MHz. Their frequency calibration is rather poor, they drift, and have poor image rejection, but can perform reasonably well on AM, and also on SSB and CW on the lower bands. Generally, these American receivers are powered on 117 VAC, have no built in speaker, and the crystal calibrator was optional or an outboard accessory.
To use it, I decided to built a small console with an isolation transformer to reduce the European mains from 230 to 117 VAC, a good quality 4 ohms speaker, and a 1 MHz calibrator Manhattan style.
With this console, the receiver looks great, give a taste of the few remaining broadcast stations and warm the shack.
Oh wow! What a beautiful SX-130, Georges! What a great friend you have in Bruno.
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Mark Irish, who writes:
Good afternoon Mr. Witherspoon,
Just wanted to follow up on a contact for fixing several shortwave radios from the primarily the 70s and 80s, preferably someone located in the DC Metropolitan area, Virginia or North Carolina. These would include the Zenith R-7000-2 and General Electric World Monitor P4990A. Is this something that you could post on your blog? If possible, please let me know either way.
Great question, Mark! It’s difficult to find radio repair technicians these days.
I have a couple of suggestions, but perhaps the SWLing Post community can comment with even more options!
You might check with Vlado at HamRadio.repair. He has worked on some vintage solid state radios in the past–he’s located near Asheville, North Carolina.
Even rare NIB (New In Box) finds can have age issues internally
After posting links to a few used radios online yesterday, SWLing Post contributor, Jim Teddford, commented:
The thing to remember when buying solid state mulitiband radios online is that you’re buying “a pig in a poke.” Meaning you are buying a radio at your own risk. Radios from the 70s/80s/90s-(Panasonic Command Series and the Sony classics: ICF-6800, ICF-2021, etc.) are now to the point where components like capacitors, displays, knob/switches etc.are failing due to age. Unless you can repair or restore the radio, don’t buy it. Just admire the photo online.
Jim has a valid point here and it’s one I echo a lot when readers contact me asking if they should, for example, be looking for a used Sony ICF-2010 instead of a new radio like the Tecsun H-501x.
Although I bet 1970s-1990s era solid-state radios have much better longevity than our newer DSP receivers, at this point you must assume components will need to be replaced.
I’ve purchased two Panasonic RF-2200s in the past decade and both needed to have capacitors replaced, an internal cleaning, and DeOxit applied to the switches and pots. I assumed this much when I made the purchases. Mechanically, the radio worked well, but…what…four decades(!?!) of age will take a toll on the internals.
I’m not an expert on re-capping and restoring vintage radios, for that I rely on folks like Vlado and Chuck. Mentally, I set aside a budget to have work done on the radio and I add that to the purchase price.
Most of the time, components like capacitors, resistors, inductors, etc. can be replaced with no issues.
Keep in mind, though, that some items particular to any one model–like digital displays and integrated circuits–may already be obsolete. I’ll be the first to admit that if a digital display doesn’t work on a used solid state radio, I skip it for this very reason.
So when a newcomer to the radio world asks me they should purchase a used Sony ICF-2010 or a modern portable that’s still in production, my tendency is to dissuade them from the vintage set unless they have the skill or funds to give it a little TLC if needed.
With those disclaimers out of the way, I must say that I’ve yet to meet a modern DSP radio that has the audio fidelity of a 1970/80s era solid state radio like the GE Superadio or Panasonic RF-2200. And the Sony ICF-2010 or the Panasonic RF-B65? Both are still benchmark receivers and can wipe the floor with many of our late model radios.
In a nutshell: if you’re willing to put a little time and money into re-capping, repairing and restoring a reputable solid state radio, go for it! Otherwise, stick with a late model receiver that may even be backed by a manufacturer’s warranty.
Me? I’m willing to take the risk and invest to give these vintage portables a new lease on life!
SWLing Post readers: What do you think? Have you ever purchased a solid state radio that failed shortly after purchase? Have you ever restored a solid state radio? Did I miss any important points? Please comment!
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Edward Ganshirt, who shares the following guest post:
A neighbor gave me this radio. It had a story.
It is a Norelco B5X-88A/03 Table radio AM FM SW1 SW2. (You can see it takes up the whole kitchen table…that is why it is called a table radio). Has very good sound.
The speakers are 600 ohms, not 8 ohms, and uses bypass capacitors instead of an audio transformer.
Now about the carnation: I think my neighbor had thoughts that I may be giving it a Funeral and interring it in the backyard. (It has a nice finish you usually see on caskets)
Her Father was a Doctor who had his practice in the house and had this radio always playing low volume in the waiting room. He served in WW2 and brought this back in the late 1940’e. She inherited it and had it serviced a few times by a local repairman who since passed. Taking it apart I noticed several mechanical problems after removing an abandoned yellow jacket’’ nest.
The FM dial string was wound wrong so 88 MHz is where 108 MHz should be and vice versa. I restrung the dial properly but when tuned the string flopped off the pulley, so I fabricated a string restrainer to prevent this.
Also the station selector was scratchy and intermittent. To solve this, I played the garden hose with a forceful stream of water on the switches then dried out the chassis in the hot summer sun. Sprayed volume control restorer on all the switch contacts. After that, it worked perfectly. The remaining issue was the walnut veneer I sanded with 400 grit paper then coated with clear Krylon .
Now what to do with it!
Well I used her same sweet talk charm she used on me to take it off her hands to take it back, this time fully functional and I even demo-ed it. It had the wonderful mellow sound that she remembered and was so pleased.
What a true gentleman you are, Ed! Thank you for sharing the story of this Norelco table radio–what a gorgeous machine! I’m so pleased you were able to surprise Pamela with her father’s radio, fully restored!
Radio Waves: Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio
Because I keep my ear to the waves, as well as receive many tips from others who do the same, I find myself privy to radio-related stories that might interest SWLing Post readers. To that end: Welcome to the SWLing Post’sRadio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors Ed, Paul, Bennett Kobb, and Kanwar Sandhu for the following tips:
Here is the story by Bennett Kobb:
As previously reported here at DRMNA.info, the New York company Turms Tech LLC has applied to the FCC for a license for International Broadcast Station WIPE in New Jersey. The license would cover a station already built under a FCC Construction Permit, and would allow it to begin regular operations.
The FCC announced on August 13, 2020 that this license application was accepted for filing, a routine stage at which the FCC examines the application, and might even visit the station, and if everything is in order it will be licensed.
We’re not sure everything is in order. The application for Construction Permit placed the transmitter site at N 40° 57′ 40.38″, W 73° 55′ 23.97″, the broadcast and communications center surrounding the famous Armstrong Tower at Alpine NJ. Its Application for License, however, specifies N 40° 51′ 40″, W 73° 55′ 23″. (Hat tip to Alex P for noting this discrepancy. More about him below.)
While the substitution of 51 for 57 in the coordinates might seem a simple typo, the FCC typically has no sense of humor about coordinate errors. Commission examiners may wonder why a station intended for a historic radio-TV facility ended up among some Manhattan apartments.
The deeper question with WIPE and another, apparently similar station WPBC, is what these stations are really for and what that means for the FCC Rules. WIPE was extremely vague about its program plans, but told the FCC that it will transmit data obtained from third parties using Digital Radio Mondiale. Putting that tidbit together with exposures in a series of public articles in the media and tech blogs, it would seem that audio programming will not be the central mission of this peculiarly named station, whose principal is a financial executive and forestry entrepreneur without any broadcast experience we could find.
We suspect instead that the WIPE data stream will be used not for broadcasting to the public — the only function permitted to International Broadcast Stations under FCC Rules — but instead will be used for private communication with foreign exchanges for high-speed trading.[…]
Images of tower damage in Lake Charles, LA Bottom photo by KATC-TV of KSWL-TV tower crashed into buildings near 210 Interstate Hwy
After bombarding coastal areas of southern Louisiana with wind gusts up to 130 mph and a storm surge over nine feet as a hurricane, Laura swept north while also spreading over Arkansas Thursday. Laura weakened to a tropical storm early Thursday afternoon, with winds at 70 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center. Laura is predicted to move through the Tennessee Valley and the Mid-Atlantic today into tomorrow.
Power outages from the storms totaled over 900,000 as of Thursday afternoon, according to PowerOutageUS. The site collects data from utilities nationwide. The bulk of the outages were in Louisiana and Texas, according to ABC News. Mississippi reportedly had over 9,400 customers without power as of Thursday morning, reported the Clarion Ledger.
Louisiana and Texas had the most cell site outages as of Thursday mid-day, according to the FCC’s Disaster Information Reporting System. Of the 4,650 cell sites served in Louisiana, 380 were not working. Over 200 of the site outages were due to a lack of power, 141 had a transport issue and 16 were damaged.
Calcasieu and Cameron counties were hit especially hard. 140 sites (75 percent) were not working in Calcasieu County and 20 (69 percent) were out in Cameron County.
Of the 17,621 cell sites served in Texas, 113 were non-operational.
Jefferson County was the hardest hit, with 39 (15.8 percent) out of 247 sites not working. Just over 45 of the non-working sites were out due to a lack of power, 41 for transport reasons and 20 were damaged, according to DIRS.
Cable and wireline companies reported 192,915 subscribers out of service in the affected areas; this may include the loss of telephone, television, and/or Internet services.
Three television stations, five FMs and one AM reported they were off-air.[…]
I’ve heard ham radio is dying since as far back as I can remember. It’s one of those common sayings you always hear. Like, “get off my lawn,” and “kids these days.” But is it true? Is there any evidence to support this? Let’s take a closer look.
Data from the ARRL shows that ham radio licensees are increasing. When you look at the chart above, you see two significant markers that are likely driving this growth.
The removal of the code requirement by the FCC.
The economic collapse of 2008.
The Morse code requirement was always an intimidating part of obtaining your General FCC license. Learning Morse code is like learning a second language. It takes time and effort to learn, and that’s not a bad thing. However, it doesn’t change that it scared many people away from the hobby. When the FCC removed this requirement in 2007, I believe it opened the door for many who spent years on the fence. Then you have the economic downturn of 2008. What does that have to do with ham radio? A lot.
After the economic downturn, the United States watched as survivalism, now commonly calling “prepping,” entered mainstream culture. People were worried as the country was involved in multiple wars and our economy was on the brink of collapse. Citizens stocked up on food storage, water, firearms, and…communications equipment. As our country spiraled into more turmoil ham radio licenses steadily increased to more than 750,000 by the end of 2019.[…]