Tag Archives: Vintage Radio

Bob Colegrove on “The Joys and Challenges of Tuning Analog Radios”

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Bob Colegrove, who recently shared this excellent article and has kindly allowed me to share it here in the the Post. Bob prefaced it by saying, “Being a retired technical writer, I started the attached article some time ago for my own amusement, but it quickly got out of hand.

“Got out of hand” in a very good way, Bob!

An excerpt from Bob’s article.

I love how this piece takes us through receiver history and explains, in detail, the mechanics and innovations. It’s also a very accessible piece that both the beginner and seasoned radio enthusiast can appreciate.

But don’t take my word for it, download it and enjoy!

Click here to download The Joys and Challenges of Tuning Analog Radios as a PDF.

Thank you again, Bob. This is a most enjoyable and informative read! This was obviously a labor of love. Thanks for sharing it with our radio community!

Spread the radio love

Marwan discovers this Philco console at a family home

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

Hello Thomas,

I hope this email finds you and yours well and in good health.

Before our trip to Turkey next Sunday, my wife and I went to see our three month and only grand kid we have. In her play room I noticed that our son in law has an antique radio that his father gave it to him. Upon close look up, I noticed it has shortwave and police bands on line-up. I thought I’d take a few photos and share them with you all. The radio was working but recently some of the tubes inside went out and they need to be replaced.

Below are the pictures I took. Oh, and I decided to take with me my Tecsun PL-880. I so want to take either my Sony SW-2010 or the ICF-SW77, but I don’t want to risk not seeing them in case they get confiscated. The next top model that I have and that I can alway replace is the 880 and I figured it is the one that’s going to accompany me on out trip.

Cheers and I hope the photos are of interest.

Marwan

Thank you for sharing this, Marwan! Those Philco console radios are simply stunning–I love the craftsmanship of the body. I’m not familiar enough with Philcos of this era to identify it, but perhaps someone here in the SWLing Post community can! I certainly hope your son-in-law can have it repaired–this radio would have amazing audio.

And, yes! I think the PL-880 would make for a great travel companion on your upcoming trip!

Spread the radio love

Caveat Emptor: A quick note about buying vintage solid state radios

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!

Spread the radio love

Behold the epic Sony CRF-320!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Phil Ewing, who highlights this tweet from @Ea4Hng:

“Testing the good old Sony CRF-320 after many years not in use. It works flawlessly in all bands”

EA4HGN’s photo, above, reminds me that the Sony CRF-320 sports one of the best designs I’ve ever seen in a portable radio. A proper Apollo era aesthetic!

Spread the radio love

Radio Waves: CC Solar Review, National Amateur Radio Operators Day Proposed, Converting Vintage into WiFi, Bletchley Park Remembers WWII Op, and Turkey Celebrates 94 Years of Radio

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!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors Paul, Richard Langley, Troy Riedel, and the Southgate ARC for the following tips:


New Solar Radio Is an Emergency Kit too (Radio World)

Solar-powered portable radios that put audio quality second are nothing new. But a solar-powered portable radio that sounds as good as a non-solar high-fidelity radio: This is worth talking about.

The new CCRadio Solar from C.Crane fits this double-barreled description. With its generous top-mounted solar panel (3.75 by 1.5 inches) plus back-mounted generator crank for recharging its Lithium-Ion battery pack, this is a radio for blackouts and other emergency situations.

After an initial conditioning charge-up of the Lithium-Ion battery from a 5V DC adaptor, just leave it in a sunny window, and the radio is always ready to go.

In non-emergency situations, the CCRadio Solar can be powered with three AA batteries or a 5V DC charger plugged into its micro-USB port.[]

(Also, click here to read our review of the pre-production CC Solar.)

Congress Seeks to Designate National Amateur Radio Operators Day (In Compliance)

The U.S. Congress is reportedly taking steps to officially recognize the important contributions made by amateur radio operators.

According to an article on the website of the ARRL, Congresswoman Debbie Lesko (AZ) has introduced a bipartisan resolution to designate April 18, 2022 as National Amateur Radio Operators Day. April 18th is the anniversary of the founding of the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) which was established in 1925.[]

An Inside Job (IEEE Spectrum)

YOUR GRANDPARENTS’ ancient transistor radio might still turn on and tune in to stations broadcasting conventional AM or FM signals. But in this Internet age, a blizzard of content is available from sources accessible only via the Web. What’s more, instead of speakers that flood a room with sound, we’ve grown accustomed to personal listening using earbuds and headphones. Now engineers like Guillaume Alday, founder of Les Doyens in Bordeaux, France, have come to the radio’s rescue. Alday keeps old-school radios from slipping into obsolescence by retrofitting their innards with components that transform them into Wi-Fi- and Bluetooth- enabled devices.[…]

Bletchley Park: WW2 secret agent’s messages remembered (Southgate ARC)

The BBC reports the first message sent back to Britain by a ‘trailblazing’ special agent in World War Two has been commemorated, 80 years on, by radio amateurs using GB1SOE

Georges Begue, of the Special Operations Executive, was parachuted into occupied France in 1941 to set up wireless communications with the UK.

Amateur radio enthusiasts have marked his achievement by sending and receiving messages at Bletchley Park.

On Thursday and Friday May 6-7, Milton Keynes Amateur Radio Society is using replica equipment to transmit Morse code messages from the National Museum of Computing at Bletchley to fellow radio enthusiasts in central France, stationed less than a mile from where Begue landed.

Read the full BBC story at
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-57008943

Milton Keynes Amateur Radio Society GB1SOE
https://www.mkars.org.uk/index.php/2021/05/06/mkars-members-run-gb1soe-6th-and-7th-may-on-7-035mhz/

The National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park
https://www.tnmoc.org/events/https/wwweventbritecouk/e/152664127515

Turkey marks 94th anniversary of its first radio broadcasting (Hurriyet Daily News)

Turkey celebrated Radio Day on the 94th anniversary of the start of radio broadcasting in the country.

“Radio broadcasting in Turkey started 94 years ago today with the first announcement,” Turkey’s Presidential Communication Director Fahrettin Altun wrote on Twitter.

“Our radios, which have been working devotedly to bring our beloved nation together with the truth for years, have become one of the most important parts of our lives,” he added.

Altun also congratulated all radio workers on Radio Day too.

Türkiye Radyolar? (Radios of Turkey) has started first radio test broadcasts in 1926, with a studio built in Istanbul. The first radio broadcast in the country, however, began on May 6, 1927.[]


Do you enjoy the SWLing Post?

Please consider supporting us via Patreon or our Coffee Fund!

Your support makes articles like this one possible. Thank you!

Spread the radio love

New Zealand auction includes collection of 400 vintage radios

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Jason Walker, who writes:

Dear Thomas,

I noticed a New Zealand news article that may be of interest to SWLing Post readers.

Approximately 400 vintage radios are to be auctioned in Nelson, New Zealand. Whilst I use more modern Tecsun radios, the article will be of interest for vintage collectors. Many of the Radios are New Zealand made and rare.

Links below include a video and news article.

https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/124587912/collectors-go-gaga-over-vintage-radio-auction

Radio and Collectables Auction
17 Hereford Street (off Songer St)
Stoke, Nelson
Saturday 10 April, 2021

AUCTION STARTS AT 11am
Viewing from 9am day of auction
and, Friday 11am – 3pm

More information: https://jwauctions.co.nz/upcomingauctions.html

Thank you, Jason. Even though this auction has been widely publicized in New Zealand, the collection is so massive, I imagine bidders will be walking away with some excellent bargains. If I lived in NZ, I would certainly be a part of the bidding. I’d love to have an NZ-made receiver.

I really like the following quote from the Stuff.co.nz article:

The widower of the man who stockpiled the radios told Walker her husband had collected the stash from all over the country.

“His wife was a wee bit disappointed she didn’t know he had half the radios because he used to keep hiding them.[“]

How many of us can relate to that last statement? Let’s face it: par for course, right!? 🙂

Spread the radio love

1940: When Sears Roebuck sold a wide array of radio gear

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Charlie (W4MEC), who shares a PDF of the 1940 Sears Roebuck Co. catalog section featuring a wide array of radio gear and test equipment.

This file is hosted on the Pro Audio Design forum and can be downloaded as a PDF (15.8 MB) by clicking here.

It’s a real nostalgia trip reading through the fine Hallicrafters, Hammarlund and National HRO descriptions. Thanks so much for sharing this, Charlie!

Spread the radio love