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Antique radio collectors?

Discussion in 'HAM Radio' started by KBCraig, Jan 7, 2017.

  1. KBCraig

    KBCraig NES Member

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    Slightly off-topic since it's not about Ham radio, but... anyone here into collecting old radios?

    I love old tube radios. I don't have any currently, but my lovely bride surprised me by falling in love with a 1948 Bendix 1531 at a local "old stuff sale barn". Sample brochure here.

    It has AM, SW 6-12 MHz, and an LP turntable. Phono needle is missing. The wood and finish are in fine shape. All the knobs are present and work smoothly. We're going back next week to plug it in and see if it works.

    Even if I had to replace every tube in it, I could do that for under a hundred bucks (2x 7B7, 1x 7A8, 1x 7C6, 1x 7Y4).

    Part of our home remodel includes a music room for guitars and my small collection of more modern radios. This will definitely have a place there if we can get it for a reasonable price (and by "reasonable", I mean that I'm 98% Scot, but my wife is cheap!)
     

  2. FreeWillie

    FreeWillie NES Member

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    I had a collection of about 10-12 that I had picked up at estate sales in the Upper Peninsular of MI. Several of them big console units with an amazing number of bands, the rest were table radios. Unfortunately all were lost in a fire and I never got back into collecting them again.
     
  3. JDL

    JDL NES Member

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    I am not an old radio collector however I do operate a set of Drake B twins and a set of Kenwood 599A twins and I am currently in the hunt for a Collins station a 75S and a 32S. I am going to put the kenwood twins up for sale this year.
     
  4. namedpipes

    namedpipes NES Member

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    I've got a huge, furniture piece, rollout radio plus turntable, also a tabletop radio plus turntable, plus a battleship shortwave receiver, all going for a better home in someone's living room or ham shack. WWII era.

    Negotiable.

    sent from my chimney using smoke signals
     
  5. cockpitbob

    cockpitbob NES Member

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    [pics].
     
  6. Orion2k

    Orion2k NES Member

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    There's a collectors club http://www.nearc.net/ you might want to check out. hey have a show coming up in March in Nashua, NH.
     
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  7. namedpipes

    namedpipes NES Member

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    That's a good idea. Will probably find a way to get to it. Thanks.

    sent from my chimney using smoke signals
     
  8. Skysoldier

    Skysoldier Forum Curmudgeon NES Member

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    I would be very careful powering it up for the first time. And the tubes are not the most important thing, the capacitors are. Chances are they definitely need to be replaced
    before applying power.

    Also be advised that a lot of those old tube radios have a "Hot Chassis!"

    If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask.
     
  9. namedpipes

    namedpipes NES Member

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    I powered it up once, somewhere around 1990, and it worked. PM sent with some other info.
     
  10. Chet0729

    Chet0729

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    I recently picked up a 50's vintage Zenith table radio. it plays great but the tuning needs some work. I think the string needs to be cleaned that moves the tuner.
    looks similar to this.
    zenith.jpg
     
  11. Orion2k

    Orion2k NES Member

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    You might want to think about getting a Variac to slowly bring the radios up to operating voltage especially if they haven't been used in quite a while. Wake them up gently. There are a number of web sites and blogs that you can search for that can be helpful on the procedure.
     
  12. Coyote33

    Coyote33

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    I might put a Hallicrafters Skychief up for sale on Craigslist.

    Cord was clipped so kids don't get shocked (see Kim's comment).
     
  13. HorizontalHunter

    HorizontalHunter NES Member

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    Congratulations on your find. Please don't plug it in until someone has looked at it to see if it has been re-capped. Some of the capacitors that were used back then have a high failure rate and could short taking out other hard to find components.

    You may be pleasantly surprised to find that tubes are often fine in these old radios. They often just need to be recapped and need the tuning touched up.


    I am new to restoring these old beauties though I have a very strong electronics background (I used to teach it). I did Lafayette tabletop for a family member last winter and got the bug.

    The Lafayette was a special restore to me as the radio belonged to his mother and when he was a kid they used to listen to the WWII broadcasts on it.

    I have a Crosley 66TC on the bench now for a friend that I am getting ready to order some parts for.

    After that I am doing one for me. I have a Philco 118B Cathedral
    http://www.tuberadioland.com/philco118_main.html

    The Philco will be the biggest restore that I have done as they are notorious for having to blown coils that have to be rewound and it also has a shadow dial which can be tricky to get right. I picked up both the radio and a complete spare chassis for less than $100.00. It's a hobby for me and I only work on them during the winter months.

    You will be amazed by the sound of these radios. There is nothing like it and on the SW I was able to pick up broadcasts from as far away as China. Pretty cool.

    This is a terrific forum and you will find them very helpful:
    http://antiqueradios.com/forums/index.php

    This will give you and idea of what can be found on the SW frequencies:
    http://www.dxing.com/tuning.htm

    If you don't find anything to your liking on the Broadcast band it is very easy to add an IPOD style plug so that you can connect your IPOD to the radio and listen to it through the tube radio.

    Definitely be aware that they have a hot chassis so touching the metal chassis and ground can give you a shock. Even with the radio off. So if there are kids in the house keep it unplugged when not in use.

    Bob
     
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  14. cockpitbob

    cockpitbob NES Member

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    Dayum I wish I had more spare time. I've got a Heathkit HW101 that a friend gave me but I've never fired-up. I conditioned the power supply by bringing up the AC slowly over a day with a Variac, but I haven't taken the lid off the transceiver. It's good to know there are some glow-FET experts here who's brains I can tap[thumbsup]
     
  15. KBCraig

    KBCraig NES Member

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    I used to be into DXing MW and SW. I need to buy a can of Deoxit and go through the pots on my old GE SuperRadio.

    I know about the hot chassis. No kids in the house, and this one has a covered back, so it's protected.
     
  16. KBCraig

    KBCraig NES Member

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    Well, I have myself a radio!

    We went out to take a closer look, and the owner wanted to plug it in. I cautioned him against it until I took a careful look at the chassis -- there were no bulging caps or evidence of leaks, so I warned him of the possibilities, then he plugged it in and powered it on.

    The tubes warmed up, there was some faint audio signal (noise, really), so the amplifier section works. I couldn't get a signal, but we don't have any official AM coverage here, and the weather was crap for SW. Plus, it wasn't grounded, so no real surprise there. The turntable motor works, but the platter doesn't spin (I'm not sure if this is a belt or friction drive system, so I'll have to get into it to see). No needle, but those can be found.

    He had it marked for $150 and immediately dropped it to $100, but wouldn't come off of that because that's what he had in it. We're regular shoppers there, so he told me to take it and get it working and pay him when I'm ready. Hard to beat those terms!

    So my lovely bride has a nice new piece of furniture, and I have a new project. Fortunately for those handy with a soldering iron, this is a relatively cheap hobby. My first task is going to be a micro AM transmitter that I can use for testing and to plug in an external music source. That's less than $20, easily.

    Then I'll string a grounded longwire, and probably also make a square loop antenna. We have a couple of Crokinole boards hanging on the walls as decoration, which would hide a spiral wound loop very nicely! They're even on perpendicular walls, so I can switch between them for N/S or E/W orientation.

    As far as I can tell, this is 100% original and in pristine shape other than a couple of scratches on the cabinet. It needs dial lights (two #44, a pack of ten is three bucks). There's an honest amount of dust for a 70 year old radio, but it wasn't stored in a barn.

    As soon as I get it cleaned up, pics will follow.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2017
  17. HorizontalHunter

    HorizontalHunter NES Member

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    Awesome.

    I can't wait for the pics.

    I only have food for one floor model in my living room so I am holding out for a shutter dial. I have plenty to work on in the meantime.

    Bob
     
  18. Ari Saka

    Ari Saka

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    Just a hint on hearing AM stations...if you don't have locals try it at night....you may need a 6' piece of wire or so to put on the antenna terminal. A ground is fun but not usually necessary to start checking it out. A Tube tester is almost essential if you get too far into the hobby....schematics on www.nostalgiaair.org.
     
  19. KBCraig

    KBCraig NES Member

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    Yes, I DX'd MW and SW for years, just not in the last 15+ years, and never from northern NH.

    I did buy a hundred feet of bell wire. I'll use a ground and run half the wire for a longwire. The other half I'll save for a loop.
     
  20. Gidge

    Gidge

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    Early 1960's, IIRC :

    [​IMG]
     
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  21. Coyote33

    Coyote33

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    So, let's say I wanted to fire this thing up. How does one go about doing that? Cord was probably clipped in the 70's would be my guess.
     
  22. JDL

    JDL NES Member

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    Put a new plug on the cord or replace the entire cord. Before you plug it is bring it up slow with a Variac or build a poor mans variac link listed below.
    www.bot-thoughts.com/2009/06/diy-dim-bulb-aka-poor-mans-variac.htm
    Do not just plug the radio in there is a good chance you will let the smoke out.
     
  23. Coyote33

    Coyote33

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    That is a little more involved than I might like to get. At the worst, I'd just have a box of parts to look at, which is what it is right now. Unless someone here has one of these they'd want to share.
     
  24. Skysoldier

    Skysoldier Forum Curmudgeon NES Member

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    Send it to me in Albuquerque......I will power it up and see if it has a future.
    I ain't afraid of no smoke!
     
  25. HorizontalHunter

    HorizontalHunter NES Member

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    Just be aware that there are some older tube radios that use resistive line cords.

    Bob
     
  26. blindfire

    blindfire NES Member

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    If you want to see some vintage stuff, I'd suggest you come up to Ayer, MA next Thursday for Dan Pedke's Tech Night. The guy who built the building where the meeting is held is quite the collector. Has old TVs and radios in the front lobby. From what I gather, it is only part of his collection.

    TechNight
     

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