Tag Archives: Vintage Radio

A carpenter “who carves vintage radio sets”

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Kim Elliott, who shares the following story from the Odisha Sun Times:

Bhubaneswar: Only a lucky few get to live and breathe their passion and Rajendra Sahu, a carpenter, is one of them.

From Odisha’s capital city of Bhubaneswar, Sahu steals time to give shape to his imagination. He has been carving radios of varied shapes and sizes since past decade-and-half.

“I make radios just because it makes me happy. I return from work by 7 pm and start with the daily ritual of making radio,” said Rajendra. He prepares the cabinet with plywood, sunmica and cane whereas the circuit board is affixed from discarded ones.

“It takes around five days to assemble a radio. I browse through online sites looking for designs,” said Rajendra, who also collects antique radio sets from various parts of Odisha.

“I grew up listening to the radio. There’s a charm to it that the gadgets today fail to deliver. My father too was very fond of them. He would make radios, but I learnt to make them by myself,” he added.[…]

Continue reading the full story at the Odisha Sun Times.

Doctor Vlado repairs the Panasonic RF-2200 (Part 1)

Panasonic RF-2200 at Hamvention

Last year, at Hamvention, I picked up a Panasonic RF-2200 for $70. It came with the original box, manual and was in superb cosmetic condition.

The seller told me that over the years he exclusively used the radio to listen to a local FM station.

At that price, I didn’t hesitate to make the purchase even if this would have simply been a non-functioning parts radio for my other RF-2200.

After I brought the radio home, I unpacked it and gave it a quick test.

FM worked brilliantly. Mediumwave and shortwave, however, were essentially deaf. I made the assumption that the ‘2200’s switches and pots likely needed cleaning with DeoxIT. The next day, I was leaving for a two month trip to Canada though, so I packed the RF-2200 back into its box and set it to the side of my shack table.

Fast-forward to yesterday…

While digging around my shack, I re-discovered the boxed RF-2200. Since I was planning to visit my buddy Vlado (the best radio repair guy in the world) yesterday evening, I thought I’d take the RF-2200 and do a proper contact cleaning. Several of the RF-2200’s switches and pots cannot be easily cleaned without removing the chassis.

(Click photos to enlarge.)

Vlado is familiar with the RF-2200 and since it’s not the easiest radio to work on, I asked for his expert hands on the job. Within seconds of handing him the radio, he plugged it in, tested the switches and pots, then removed the back cover (disconnecting the battery compartment leads) and then the front cover (disconnecting the speaker leads).

The magic behind the RF-2200’s classic analog dial:
Vlado offered a word of caution to anyone operating on their RF-2200: as you can see in the photo below, the dial string snakes around the front of the radio and is very close to some key components. You must exercise caution when having a soldering iron tip near the string, or using lubricants nearby.I didn’t realize this, but by the time Vlado started taking apart the RF-2200, he had already determined that even though the contacts needed cleaning, this wasn’t the source of the audio problem for the MW and SW bands.Vlado expertly pulled out the pot for the FM/AM/SW selection–not an easy task–began cleaning it, testing it and re-soldering contacts.

Vlado determined the pot was actually in good shape, thus started testing the rest of the circuit.

After a few minutes of performing tests and getting intermittent performance, he determined that at least one, if not more, of the RF-2200’s caps need to be replaced. Of course, neither one of us was terribly surprised. At this point though, it was getting late and I had an early wake up time in the morning, so I left my RF-2200 with Vlado.

Am I worried about this prognosis?  No, not in the slightest…

Doctor Vlado is on the job!

Vlado will have the RF-2200 back on the air in no time, working as well as it did when it was new. He’s actually performed a similar RF-2200 repair for an SWLing Post reader and I’m willing to bet this repair job is relatively simple compared to most he encounters (including the Icom IC-7200 he recently repaired after it was hit by lightening!).

I’ll try to post a “Part 2” update with photos of the RF-2200 repair.  Follow the tag: Panasonic RF-2200 Repair

Can you ID this radio in “Diamonds Are Forever”–?

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

Last weekend, I watched a few old James Bond movies and this caught my attention when Blofeld was listening to a shortwave broadcast:

Can anyone identify this radio?

Post readers: Please comment if you can ID this radio model!

Dan spots shortwave radios in the film “Operation Chromite”

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dan Hawkins, who writes:

Operation Chromite (2016) is a South Korean film about the invasion of Inchon by UN forces in September, 1950. This film began streaming on Netflix in the USA on January 15, 2018 and is in the Korean and English languages. The English language subtitles run automatically. This story is inspired by actual events during the Korean War. Under the command of General Douglas MacArthur UN Forces, CIA, the South Korean military and the covert Korean Liaison Office infiltrate Inchon a week before the invasion. Their mission is intel, reconnaissance and disruption. They will operate behind enemy lines in North Korean uniforms.

I gave this movie a try for several reasons. I enjoy Korean movies. The role of General MacArthur is played by Liam Neeson (of all people) and this looked like a good bet for spotting some vintage military radios. I was right about the radios.

Captain Jang Hak-Soo and his seven infiltrators arrive for their first night in Inchon. Remember, they are posing as North Koreans. The radio they have packed along is a Russian RBM. This transceiver has distinctive dual magnifying lenses over the dials.

Click to enlarge.

General MacArthur is in the radio room at his Tokyo headquarters. He issues orders for the KLO to locate any naval mines placed in Inchon harbor. The radio in this scene is a complete AN/GRC-3. I am surprised to see this as it is a 24VDC vehicular radio set (a 115VAC power supply was available). I expected to see some brand spanking-new Collins R-390s or Hammarlund SP-600s for the General. Maybe he has another radio room at HQ. I could be wrong about this.

Click to enlarge.

The final radio is seen behind enemy lines and is the same AN/GRC-3 seen in Tokyo. This time a KLO operative is using it.

Click to enlarge.

Operation Chromite held my attention for the reasons given above. The historical accuracy is more dramatic than documentary but is not too far off the mark.

Being a fan of military receivers, I really appreciate these screen grabs from Operation Chromite, Dan! Thanks for sharing! I’ll add this find to our growing archive of radios in film.

Dan spots an Icom IC-R71A in Narcos

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dan Robinson, who writes:

I like to note appearances by shortwave receivers in TV programs…here’s the latest…at the 14 minute mark of the new season of NARCOS (one of the best TV series there is by the way) a ICOM IC-R71A makes an appearance. At the point in the show, a key character is listening to reel-to-reel tapes, so it’s not quite clear why they stuck in a 71A tuning to a shortwave frequency….ah, the drama! Another show, The Americans, features numerous shots of various receivers, including Zenith Transoceanics and Hallicrafters…

Great catch, Dan–thank you for sharing! I’ll add this find to our growing archive of radios in film.