Tag Archives: Vintage Radio

Jon’s Sony CRF-160: Should it stay or should it go?

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Jon Helberg, who writes:

Greetings!

During our COVID-19 shutdown I located my old Sony CRF-160 which has been closet bound for some years now, however it has always worked as new.

[…]Other than the broken toggle switch for the light, all knobs and dials work, are present and accounted for. Upon powering up after many years in storage it lights up just fine and appears to be operational, however once powered up the volume control and every knob I turned brought loads of static to the speakers indicating corrosion of contacts, etc., so I just shut it down without testing any further.

The power cord has become a bit sticky as some plastics and rubber do over time, but of course that easily can be cleaned up. The entire radio case and front cover is intact (nothing broken, warped or bent), with the standard wear marks on the outside but otherwise fine. I do not have the box, manual, or any other accessories. The telescoping antenna looks as if it may have been slightly bent at one time (not kinked), and it extends and retracts just fine.

I have owned this radio since new but raised a family who used it as well (kids broke the light switch), so I do know it worked the last time I used it before storage, but I haven’t used it since other than just turning it on as I have mentioned above.

Photos

I don’t do much with radio any longer other than listening to AM, therefore this radio had no value to me other than sentimental (purchased it after an Army tour with ASA as a radio intercept operator), therefore looking for your thoughts on whether it’s worth getting repaired, or just focus on selling on eBay, or somewhere else?

I would have no idea as to its value, who could repair it, or the cost involved.

Tough decision, Jon, so thanks in advance for allowing me to share your inquiry here with the SWLing Post community.

I’m hoping readers can comment with thoughts on the actual value of the radio, the availability of spare parts (toggle switch), and their thoughts on whether you should keep or sell it.

I’m a nostalgic guy, so my inclination would be to keep it unless you really wanted to liquidate it for funds, or you simply have no attachment to it at all.  As custodians of vintage radios, I also feel we should try to keep them in working order.

In terms of repairs, I know my good friend Vlado (at HamRadio.repair) could re-cap it and make it like new. If you could locate a parts radio or simply a similar toggle switch, Vlado could sort that out too I’m sure.

Post readers: What are your thoughts? Should Jon keep the Sony or sell it? Are parts easy to find. Please comment and include any relevant links!

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Radio Waves: WNPV Off Air, Privat-Ear, End of Radio, and China COVID-19 shut-ins tune-in

(Source: JamesButters.com)

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 Ron, Tracy Wood, and Dennis Dura for the following tips:


WNPV Radio preparing to go off air April 30 (The Reporter)

TOWAMENCIN — When April ends, the airwaves above the North Penn valley region will be emptier, and so will a little brick building on Snyder Road in Towamencin.

Sitting below five 165-foot-tall radio antennas and one cell tower, that brick building has been the home for six decades of WNPV, the local radio station found at 1440 AM and 98.5 FM.

“We’ve been at it for 60 years, and our mission and our core values are really no different today than they were in October of 1960. It literally is to serve the community,” said Phil Hunt, the station’s General Manager.

“It’s gotten to the point where it’s not sustainable for us to continue to do that. It takes resources to do it properly; those resources, primarily, are people, and we were having trouble making ends meet,” he said.

Hunt announced Wednesday that WNPV will go off the air on April 30, bringing an end to an era of live, local news that began on Oct. 17, 1960. The station’s coverage of local sports, politics, breaking news, and key issues have earned dozens of awards, a handful of which greet visitors as you walk past an old teletype machine through the station’s front door.[]

Privat-ear Subminiature Tube Pocket Radio (JamesButters.com)

The Privat-ear pocket radio was manufactured in the USA and released onto the market by Electronics Systems Corporation in 1949 (1a, b, c). Although small enough to fit in a shirt pocket this is not a transistor radio; it owes its small size to the use of subminiature tubes developed during WWII and was designed as an earphone only model. It predates the first commercially available transistor radio by five years and was an innovative, but ultimately doomed, attempt at realizing an American cultural objective; the creation of a portable shirt pocket radio with mass appeal.

The Privat-ear was invented by Frank L Stuck, a Minister of Lakeland Florida. Born in Washington, Pennsylvania on October 13 1904 to William and Maise Stuck, he was the second youngest of four children (1d, e). He studied Theology at Bethany College, West Virginia from 1924 – 1927 and received a Doctor of Divinity degree from the American Theological Seminary at Wilmington Delaware (1f). Whilst attending College he was one of the founding members of Alpha Pi Alpha, was a member of the Student Volunteers and met and married Iva Myrtle Driggs.[]

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT – The End Of Radio. Really? (Radio Ink)

(By Mike Bustell) I try to keep my head down and quietly work behind the scenes helping our salespeople make a killing for our advertisers and our company. However, I had to react to Roger Lanctot’s “Technology Tyranny and the End of Radio” LinkedIn article published in last Friday’s Radio Ink headlines.

How Tesla and Silicon Valley (and other tech giants) feel about local radio is not much different than what our salespeople hear when talking with their local garden center or auto dealer group — that local radio is no longer relevant to bother putting it on their 2020 dashboards.

All these objections are happy opportunities to educate, bond, and sway hearts, minds, and advertising budgets. We have to be happy well-armed warriors with targeted customer-specific information every time we ask for a decision-maker’s valuable time. Once we earn an advertiser’s business we can never stop educating, bonding, or working on helping them grow their business.

Below is the most up-to-date look at the audio sources that $100K+HHI purchasers and lessees for new hybrid and electric vehicles are using. Like Mike Bloomberg taking the salt shakers off of New York City restaurants’ tables, Tesla’s removing easy access to local AM/FM radio stations on their new vehicles’ dashboards shows a similar out-of-touch-with-the-people attitude. Ninety-four and a half percent of $100K+ Age 25+ adults who plan to buy or lease a new hybrid or electric vehicle in 2020 listen to Local AM/FM radio every week — nearly three times that of Spotify, the second most-listened-to audio source every week used by these consumers.[]

China COVID-19 shut-in tunes in to the world via radio (Marketplace)

The battle to contain the COVID-19 virus in China has kept most people at home since the end of January.

Life is slowly returning to streets in cities like Shanghai, but face masks are now required in nearly all public spaces, even though they are not recommended for the general public by the Centers for Disease Control or World Health Organization.

Since there is a shortage of masks, most people are still effectively forced to stay home. As Marketplace’s China correspondent, this includes me. My window to the world for a better part of a month has been through radio.[]


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Radio Waves: B&W to Color, Antenna Wins, Hearing Voices in the Walls, and Beached Whales

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 Ron, Paul Walker, and Troy Riedel for the following tips:


Colorizing black and white photos (Antique Radio Forum)

Ron shares this link to a discussion about vintage black and white photos that have been auto-colorized.[]

State law protects ham radio operator, frustrates neighbors in Windsor Twp. (York Dispatch)

A Windsor Township resident whose neighbors are upset over her amateur radio tower is within her rights to have the antenna on her property, township officials confirmed Monday.

An engineer went out to the site in the 400 block of White Rose Lane to inspect the 40-foot tower and ensure it didn’t pose a safety threat to neighbors, township engineer Chris Kraft told the board of supervisors at a meeting Monday.

“Based on that review, we feel the tower is structurally safe,” he said.

Lindsey Fowler is the homeowner who built the tower on her property last September. Fowler is a licensed amateur radio operator, according to Federal Communications Commission records, and her license is valid through December 2021.

[…]Marc McClure, one of the neighbors who lives near Fowler, told the board in October that he and several other neighbors were opposed to the tower and said it should be removed, according to minutes from the Oct. 21 board meeting.

McClure said the tower was an eyesore in the neighborhood and that he and others were concerned about the structural safety of the tower were it to fall, as well as the potential unknown health hazards from exposure to radio frequencies.

The neighbors were also worried about a decrease in their property values, McClure said.

[…]In Pennsylvania, amateur radio operators’ rights are protected by state statute, and municipalities are not allowed to unreasonably restrict the installation of towers fewer than 65-feet high.

And now that the township has confirmed there’s no safety risk to Fowler’s neighbors, township officials said the dispute is outside of their purview.[]

Lockport family says mysterious voices, music come from house’s walls; local radio station may be source (ABC 7)

LOCKPORT, Ill. (WLS) — A family in Lockport said strange sounds, including music and talk radio, has been coming out of their walls and keeping them up at night off and on for about six years.

“There are voices in the wall and I don’t know what it is,” said 9-year-old Brianna Smith.

It may sound like an episode of the popular Netflix show “Stranger Things,” but the mysterious sounds Brianna is hearing are real.

“It has been waking me up at night,” she said.

The sounds are coming from the bedroom walls of her home in the middle of the night.

“It kind of keeps us up at night,” explained Brianna’s father Richard.

Richard said the family doesn’t have any speakers in their walls. He captured some of the late night noise on his phone and sent it to the ABC7 I-Team. The music was faint, but the I-Team could hear it.

“It’s one of our favorite songs, but not at 10 o’clock at night,” Richard said.

Richard Smith called Lockport police, who took two detailed reports about the bizarre problem. In one, the officer noted that he could hear “voices and music” and “talking about Christ.” Then the officer said he heard a commercial for the Christian radio station AM 1160.[]

The Surprising Way Solar Storms Can Beach Whales (Spaceweater.com)

Space weather isn’t just for humans. Whales are experiencing it, too. A new study published this week in the research journal Current Biology shows that solar storms can confuse whales and cause them to strand on beaches–and the mechanism is surprising. Get the full story on Spaceweather.com.[]


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Video: The Bell Telephone 1940s era mobile network

Earlier this week, I stumbled upon this Bell Telephone short film about the beginnings of the mobile phone network:

I don’t know about you, but I love the view inside the trunk of the car! I bet that tube receiver and transmitter both weighed over 100 pounds. Although the system wasn’t full duplex, it must have felt pretty amazing to place phone calls while mobile.

For more vintage films like this one, check out the Periscope Film YouTube channel.

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Phil recommends The Radio Historian website

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Phill (W9IXX), who writes:

Thought might be interested in this if you haven’t already mentioned this site:

http://www.theradiohistorian.org/pubs.html

Check out his calendars!

Thanks for the tip, Phil! I know we’ve linked to article on this site before, but thanks for mentioning it again. This is truly a treasure trove for those of us who love vintage radio.  I especially like the articles page which has a number of fascinating reports. Of course there are a load of photographs and recordings as well.

Click here to check out The Radio Historian website.

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Restoration of a USN version of the ARC-5 command set receiver

(Source: Southgate ARC)

Gregory Charvat N8ZRY writes on Hackaday about an un-modified-since-WW2 surplus CBY-46104 receiver with dynamotor.

He writes:

I’ve been told all my life about old-timey Army/Navy surplus stores where you could buy buckets of FT-243 crystals, radio gear, gas masks, and even a Jeep boxed-up in a big wooden crate. Sadly this is no longer the case.

Today surplus stores only have contemporary Chinese-made boots, camping gear, and flashlights. They are bitterly disappointing except for one surplus store that I found while on vacation in the Adirondacks: Patriot of Lake George.

Read the full story at
https://hackaday.com/2019/12/12/wwii-aircraft-radio-roars-to-life-what-it-takes-to-restore-a-piece-of-history/

Video

Video description: Repair and restoration of a USN version of an ARC-5 command set receiver. This model covers 1.5-3 Mc, runs off its original dynamotor, with no internal circuit modifications. This radio is original with the exception of a small number of caps that tested bad which were re-stuffed. Build date is Feb. 42, who knows where and what this radio may have been involved in?

I’ve always wanted a functioning ARC-5 command set to accompany my BC-348-Q receiver. This article has inspired me.

Post readers: Anyone own a functioning ARC-5 (or any variants)? Please comment!

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A photo tour of the 2019 Shelby Hamfest

My Labor Day weekend was free of travel this year, so I was able to make another pilgrimage to the Shelby (North Carolina) hamfest with my good buddy, Vlado (N3CZ).

The Shelby Hamfest–referred to, locally, as “The Grand-Daddy of them All”–has long been regarded as one of the largest outdoor hamfests in the southeast US. This is the fourth year I’ve made a concerted effort to publish a photo tour of the event.

Weather was ideal for the hamfest–clear skies, sunshine and a dry weekend. No doubt, this was one of the reasons I believe the hamfest was well attended.

Shelby Photo Gallery

Click on the thumbnails below to enlarge or comment on the photos:

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