Tag Archives: Vintage Radio

Mark seeks a vintage radio repair technician in the DC metro area

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.

Thank you,

Mark Irish

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.

Also, you might reach out to the National Capital Radio & TV Museum in Bowie, MD. They offer classes in radio repair and I imagine they would be the best source to find a technician in the DC Metro area.

Post readers: Please comment if you know of other resources for Mark!

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WU2D and “Dream” SW Receivers of the 1960s and 70s

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Bill Meara, who shares this most recent post from his excellent SolderSmoke Podcast blog:

Mike WU2D Looks at the “Dream” SW Receivers of the 1960s and 70s (Video)

Wow, I really liked Mike’s walk down memory lane. I saw several of my own dream receivers:

S-38E. Indeed, this little monster did add some danger to your life. AKA “The Widow Maker,” I gave one to my cousin’s husband so he could listen to what the commies on Radio Moscow were saying. He later told me that the receiver had given him a shock. I now have TWO S-38Es in my shack (two more than I really need). I have installed isolation transformers in both of them, so they have lost the one element (danger!) that made them attractive.

HA-600A. I got this one for Christmas in 1972. The A model is MUCH better than the plain vanilla HA-600. I recently got another HA-600A and found serious deficiencies in the Product Detector. Has anyone else noticed these problems? BACKGROUND INFO AND A PLEA FOR MORE INFO HERE: https://soldersmoke.blogspot.com/search?q=HA-600A+Product+Detector

HQ-100. Got one in the Dominican Republic. Fixed it up, repairing damages caused by radio life in the tropics. Disabled the goofy audio amplifier circuitry. I now wonder if this receiver might benefit from the insertion of a 455 kc ceramic filter.

NC190. Wow “Cosmic Blue” Perhaps this was an early influence that led to “Juliano Blue?”

HQ-180. “18 tubes and almost as many knobs!” FB!

HRO-500. Love the dial.

Transoceanic. Never had one, but built a BFO for the Transoceanic that W8NSA took with him to SE Asia during the war.

R-390A. I don’t have a crane for the workbench.

Thanks Mike — that was a lot of fun.

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Radio Waves: RTUK Demands License, Finding MH370 via Signal Disturbances, Massive Collection of Antique Radios, and Free Tech License Class

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’s Radio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!


Turkey demands Deutsche Welle, VOA and Euronews apply for a licence (Broadband TV News)

Turkish media regulator RTÜK has given three international broadcasters 72 hours to apply for a licence or have their online content blocked.

Voice of America (VOA), Deutsche Welle (DW) and Euronews are including video on their websites and are seen as among the few independent news sources still available in Turkey.

RTÜK published a statement on its website Monday, signalling the start of the 72 hour period.

If the procedure for applying for a licence is underway, a broadcaster can continue on-air for another three months, providing the anticipated licence fee is paid to the regulator in advance. [Continue reading…]

Finding MH370: New breakthrough could finally solve missing flight mystery (60 Minutes Australia via YouTube)

Is the biggest aviation mystery of all time, the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, about to be solved? Yes, if you believe the man you’re about to meet. Richard Godfrey is no crackpot; he’s a respected British aerospace engineer and physicist who says he’s found the doomed airliner. If he’s right, he’ll provide desperately needed answers for the families of the 239 passengers and crew who were aboard the Boeing triple-seven when it vanished eight years ago. But knowing where it is isn’t the end of the story – Richard also has to convince authorities to resume the search that’s already cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

Click here to view on YouTube.

Retired electrical engineer, 85, has £15,000 collection of 200 antique radios that he has been building up for 50 years – including one of the oldest sets in the UK (The Daily Mail)

A grandfather-of-five has revealed his impressive antique radio and test instrument collection worth up to £15,000.

Richard Allan, a retired electrical engineer, has spent the last fifty years collecting antique transistor, valve and crystal sets and has now shown off his impressive collection of more than 200 pieces.

The 85-year-old from Norfolk, first fell in love with radios because of his father, Alexander William, who built his own transmitter and spoke to people all over the world through the airwaves.

In fact, Richard’s first – and favourite radio within his collection – is the one his father, a HAM, or amateur radio lover, played non-stop during World War II after purchasing in 1938.

Another notable piece within his collection is an E52b German military radio, captured in a vehicle at Foxhill, Bath, which was where his father worked in the Admiralty. [Continue reading…]

Free online amateur radio Technician license class (Southgate ARC)

The Montgomery Amateur Radio Club in Maryland is offering a free online Zoom amateur radio Technician license class on seven Saturdays from March 19, 2022 through April 30, 2022 from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM with an outdoor free test session on Sunday, May 1, 2022 8:30 AM to 11:00 AM.

More information about this Zoom class is at
https://www.marcclub.org/mweb/education/classes/technician.html

This is a great opportunity for you to get your amateur radio license. To learn more about amateur radio, also known as ham radio, go to http://www.arrl.org/what-is-ham-radio

To register for this free class, send an email to education@marcclub.org .

Also, please distribute this announcement to anyone who expresses an interest in getting their ham license and to any newly licensed hams.

Thank you,

David Bern, W2LNX
MARC education committee


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Guest Post: Control of Electromagnetic Radiation (CONELRAD)

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Bob Colegrove, who shares the following guest post:


Control of Electromagnetic Radiation (CONELRAD)

As recalled by Bob Colegrove

In his comment on my recent posting, Tinkering with History, Mario noted the dial on the featured radio, the General Electric P755A, sported two small triangles, one between 6 and 7, and the other between 11 and 14.  He noted that these were civil defense markers intended to show the frequencies of 640 kHz and 1240 kHz, respectively, and that these were characteristic of AM radios produce in the US roughly between 1953 and 1963.  Since two full generations have been born and raised to adulthood since that time, and I can’t find any related posting here, I thought it might be useful to bring this subject to light.

In spite of otherwise economic prosperity and general wellbeing, these years were nevertheless filled with anxiety about the prospects of all-out war.  Children of the time (myself included) were being shown how to hide under their school desks, and some of their parents were going so far as to construct air-raid shelters in their basements, and stock them with enough provisions to supposedly outlast any catastrophe.  So it was that CONELRAD came into being in 1951.  The idea was, that in case of a National emergency, all radio and TV stations would go off the air, and only certain medium wave radio stations would stay on either 640 kHz or 1240 kHz.  They would remain on for a few minutes and then other stations would take over in a round robin arrangement – this to deter homing by hostile bombers.  Needless to say, quickly changing over transmitters and antennas to one of these two frequencies did not bode well for the equipment and there were many failures in subsequent tests.  Note that, as originally conceived, the system did not provide for local weather emergencies or other situations.

The banner photo at the top of this posting shows a portion of the Hallicrafters S-38E receiver which conformed to Government law of the time required for marking all AM dials.  An S-38E just like it was my first genuine multi-band radio in 1959.  Assuming good alignment, the dots next to the CD triangles indicated the 640 kHz and 1240 kHz frequencies.  When a test came on, you didn’t have to fish for it, since CONELRAD was the only service transmitting.

Going back to the radios described in Tinkering with History, GE took this one step further.  The figure below shows a portion of the dial on a GE P806A.  Note the nub on the outer edge of the dial under the triangle at 1240 kHz.  There is another nub on the edge at 640 kHz.  Together with the raised triangular dial pointer molded on the cabinet, they provided a braille system, so that someone visually impaired could easily tune to a CONELRAD frequency.

As technology improved, CONELRAD transitioned to the Emergency Broadcast System (EBS) in 1963, and subsequently the Emergency Alert System in 1997.  A more thorough description of CONELRAD can be found on Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CONELRAD.  Reprint of an April 1955 Radio & Television News article describing the construction of a transistor CONELRAD receiver is at https://www.rfcafe.com/references/radio-news/conelrad-radio-television-news-april-1955.htm.

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Carlos buys a vintage Wahda transistor radio

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Carlos Latuff, who writes:

Hey Thomas, check this radio set I just bought.

Portable, MW only, working with 4 AA batteries. It’s working perfectly.

This piece was made in Japan, I don’t know the year, but the curious thing is the Arabic name on it.

Maybe a model directed to Middle East markets?

Who knows, your readers may come with some information about this model.

All the best,

Carlos Latuff

What a cool little transistor radio! Thanks for sharing the photos, Carlos.

Post Readers: Please comment if you’re familiar with this particular radio model–or the Wahda brand–and have any insight to share with Carlos.

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Guest Post: “Tinkering with History”

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Bob Colegrove, who shares the following guest post:


Tinkering with History

By Bob Colegrove

One of the attractive aspects of radio as a hobby is that it has so many specialties to channel our time.  Just for the sake of classification, I would group these into two categories, listening and tinkering.  I think the meaning of each category is fairly intuitive.  Probably few of us approach our interest in radio in the same way.  Most of us have dabbled in more than one listening or tinkering specialty.  Perhaps we have been drawn to one particular area of interest, or we may have bounced around from one to another over a period of time.  I know the latter has been my case.

Tinkering might start with a simple curiosity about what makes the radio play, or hum, or buzz, and progress to an obsessive, compulsive disorder in making it play, hum or buzz better.  Unfortunately, over the past 30 years or so, the use of proprietary integrated circuits, as well as robotically-installed, surface-mounted components have greatly short-circuited what the average radio tinker can do.  For example, I have noticed a lot more interest in antennas over that period, and I think the reason is simple.  The antenna is one remaining area where a committed tinker can still cobble up a length of wire and supporting structure and draw some satisfaction.  But the complexity and lack of adequate documentation have largely kept newer radio cabinets intact and soldering irons cold.  Bill Halligan knew you were going to tinker with his radios, so he told you how they were put together.  The fun began when you took your radio out of warranty.  If you did get in over your head, there was usually somebody’s cousin not far away who could help you out.  The following is a sample of how one resolute tinker managed to overcome the problem of locked-down radios in the modern age. Continue reading

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Marwan admires his cousin’s Crosley receiver/phonograph console

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

Happy Holidays Thomas And To All Subscribers To SWLing Post Website!

Last October I visited a relative in California. My cousin Imad is into collecting various antiques items. One of the items that welcomed us at front door and that caught my eyes is this old radio turntable combo system. With his permission I took a few photos and I told him I liked to share it with other SWLing Post subscribers. It looks like it is a shortwave radio made by Crosley. It had various European and Asian cities preset on the dial as well as Police.

 

I hope someone has owned one of these in the past and can share memories of it.

Cheers, And Happy Holidays!!

Marwan

Happy Holidays to you too, Marwan! What a beautiful console radio! I’m willing to best some here int he SWLing Post community know this very model! Thank you for sharing!

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