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Some old radios

Discussion in 'The Antiquated' started by Birdnose, Jul 6, 2020.

  1. Birdnose
    Joined: Jul 6, 2020
    Posts: 15

    Birdnose

    One of my on-again, off-again hobbies is restoring old radios. I thought I'd post a few of them. Here the first:

    2449990059_811bae05c6_k.jpg

    This is a 1949 Bendix 55P3. Bendix manufactured truck parts, mostly brakes, up until WWII. During the war they made radio and navigation equipment for aircraft; after the war ended, they leveraged their reputation to get into consumer products, but it was a short-lived attempt.

    The circuit is what radio collectors term an "All-American Five" -- it uses five US-made tubes, just about the minimum you can have and still have a radio that performs decently well. This was by far the most common circuit for tube radios because it was by far the cheapest. ;) There is no transformer. The tube filaments are wired in series to add up to 120 volts (including the dial lamp), and 120V AC power from the line is rectified and filtered for the plates. These radios were sometimes called "AC/DC sets" because they would also work on 120V DC. (New York still had some areas with DC power, on the old Edison system, at the time.)

    One downside of this design is there's no isolation, and on some radios the chassis can be "hot" -- potential widowmakers. They can be rewired to be safer (as this one has been.)

    Below is the label on the bottom plate, showing the specifications and the tube line-up. Notice the RCA license notice (they had a patent on superheterodyne receivers) and the "Bendix Aviation Corporation" logo at the bottom. The frequency coverage doesn't include the 1620 to 1710 kHz range that modern radios cover -- at the time this was made, that was a police band.

    2450034963_4ef47985d8_k.jpg
     
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  2. Birdnose
    Joined: Jul 6, 2020
    Posts: 15

    Birdnose

    This one is my favorite. A 1936 Philco 610F.
    6968638311_63579b08c3_k.jpg
    As was common at the time, the Model 610 was sold in a number of different cases. This was the console version; there was also a fancier console with a phonograph, and a couple of tabletop versions. This version sold for $49.95 at the time, equivalent to over $900 in today's money. No doubt this was the centerpiece of someone's living room, the way a big-screen TV would be now.
    It has three bands -- the standard AM broadcast band, a police radio band (now an expanded part of the broadcast band), and a shortwave band. The tuning knob is two concentric knobs, one fast and one slow, for fine tuning.
    Electronically this is another five-tube set, but this one has a transformer and is generally constructed more carefully than the All-American Fives that would come later.
    The dial is quite lovely, translucent with a shadow mask pointer:
    IMG_1206.jpg
    On Halloween I have a tradition of setting up a short-range radio transmitter and playing Orson Welles' 1938 broadcast of "War of the Worlds" on this radio.
     
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  3. 1930artdeco
    Joined: Oct 25, 2011
    Posts: 51

    1930artdeco
    Member

    That is one hobby that I would like to learn and I am sloooowwwwwwlly learning. I have a 50/51 Magnavox AM/FM that I need to work on so I can use again. I also have a 36 Silvertone that I enjoy occasionally.

    Mike
     
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  4. Truck64
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 4,142

    Truck64
    Member
    from Ioway

    It's a good hobby. Especially for wintertime months. I guess that doesn't register to a Californian, but when it's super cold outside (and and any sane person stays indoors if they can help it) it's enjoyable and relaxing. Or it used to be. When I was growing up the short wave bands were still very crowded and lots of English language broadcasts from dozens of nations were still common. Not anymore. Kind of sad, but time moves on and short wave is no longer necessary. Not too many AM (or FM) stations worth listening to. Some, just not anything like it was. RFI is worse too.

    The Police band is kind of interesting. Initially, patrol cars didn't have transmitters, but they could listen to dispatch. I remember my dad explaining his philosophy when he was growing up - "We found out, you might have a fast car - but, you can't outrun the radio!".
     
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  5. 210superair
    Joined: Jun 23, 2020
    Posts: 183

    210superair
    Member

    Man, really cool hobby. I love any hobbies that revolve around old stuff. One of my addictions is pte 1960 outboard motors, generally 10 hp or under.

    I'd love something like this, but I already have too many hobbies! Love your stuff tho!
     
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  6. Birdnose
    Joined: Jul 6, 2020
    Posts: 15

    Birdnose

    antiqueradio.org has a wealth of information for anyone getting started. Also the guy's meticulously-documented repairs and restorations are fun reading. I don't know him, just love his site. ;)
    The main thing I listen to on AM is baseball, but sadly there's not going to be much of that this year.
     
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  7. Birdnose
    Joined: Jul 6, 2020
    Posts: 15

    Birdnose

    Here's an interesting one -- a Crosley JM-8GNa portable, in the shape of a book. This is what collectors call a "novelty radio."
    6860202157_066829acd4_k.jpg
    Battery-powered tube portables were nothing new by this time -- miniature tubes made them possible, but they were still fairly bulky and power-hungry. This one, though, used a new device called a "transistor..."
    6860201051_32cd84fc3d_k.jpg
    This radio was a hybrid, using two transistors in the audio amplifier stage while the balance of the radio still used tubes. Partly this was due to a lack of expertise using transistors in RF stages, but it was also because these transistors were still very expensive. When this radio was introduced in 1956, each 2N109 transistor cost the equivalent of $20 in today's money. One thing to note here is that, like the tubes, the transistors are socketed. I don't know if they were unsure if they'd be reliable, or if this was just what people expected after years of swapping out dead tubes. We hadn't quite gotten to the era of "no user-serviceable parts inside."
    This is the only radio that I've shown so far that I haven't restored to working condition. 45-volt snap-top batteries are a bit hard to come by now, as are 4-volt mercury cells. ;) But it came from my grandfather's estate (along with the Philco console) so it has sentimental value, plus it's a nice conversation piece.
    6860201711_1abf2e8aa7_k.jpg
    This gives you an idea of how compact this radio was -- I've placed it next to a typical tabletop radio of the era (a Montgomery-Ward Airline 25GSL-1814A.)
     
  8. Truck64
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 4,142

    Truck64
    Member
    from Ioway

    Unobtanium type batteries aren't too much trouble. The "B" or plate voltages are low current for example. Snap together 9 volt types in series to get what is needed.
     
  9. Chebby belair
    Joined: Apr 17, 2006
    Posts: 829

    Chebby belair
    Member
    from Australia

    @Birdnose Some beautiful work there buddy!
     
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  11. Truck64
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 4,142

    Truck64
    Member
    from Ioway

    That's a Radio, Ron.
     
  12. 41 GMC K-18
    Joined: Jun 27, 2019
    Posts: 1,223

    41 GMC K-18
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    My Zenith long distance console radio,
    IMG_3025 (2).JPG IMG_3026 (2).JPG
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2020
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  13. Truck64
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 4,142

    Truck64
    Member
    from Ioway

    That console has a green tuning eye. Always thought those were cool. Tuning eyes don't last very long in use, and some have gotten spendy.
     
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  14. FRANK GRELLE
    Joined: Oct 15, 2018
    Posts: 56

    FRANK GRELLE
    Member

    I am a licensed amateur radio operate, N1WXD,is my call i love old radio i am the proud owner of a Gonsat g-43 short wave long ago in my young days i would be out driving back roads alone sometimes , and would tune thru the AM bands of the car radio and would catch the distant stations from the other end of the country! and even Canada! Good stuff.
     
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  15. ya got me. lol I'm not a collector. Here's another one I don't know much about either. I do like the cool looking ones.
    20200722_153357.jpeg

    Sent from my SM-G920P using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
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  16. 41 GMC K-18
    Joined: Jun 27, 2019
    Posts: 1,223

    41 GMC K-18
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    This radio is a very cool model, the dial splits in half twice, and the green tuning eye still works on this radio.

     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2020
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  17. Some of my collection.....all work great....
     

    Attached Files:

  18. Birdnose
    Joined: Jul 6, 2020
    Posts: 15

    Birdnose

    I've always loved those european-style tabletop radios with the pushbuttons. Very cool.

    I suspect it might be a Farnsworth GT-051. The one in the picture is black, but that's only because the original ivory paint has been stripped off.
     
  19. Here is an old Zenith and an old Firestone car radio in pretty much relic condition. The Zenith works for about 30 minutes and then dies. ZenithRadio 001.jpg ZenithRadio 002.jpg ZenithRadio 003.jpg ZenithRadio 004.jpg ZenithRadio 005.jpg ZenithRadio 006.jpg ZenithRadio 007.jpg FirestoneAirChief1.JPG FirestoneAirChief2.JPG FirestoneAirChief3.JPG FirestoneAirChief4.JPG
     
  20. Truck64
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 4,142

    Truck64
    Member
    from Ioway

    That Zenith portable used a selenium rectifier if I remember right, prone to problems by now. A 1N4007 diode should get you back in business.

    In higher current versions like used in TVs, everybody knew when a selenium rectifier failed, they would stink up the whole house pretty bad.
     
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  21. Chebby belair
    Joined: Apr 17, 2006
    Posts: 829

    Chebby belair
    Member
    from Australia

    Hell, that excites me in ways I don't understand.
     
  22. 41 GMC K-18
    Joined: Jun 27, 2019
    Posts: 1,223

    41 GMC K-18
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Clear evidence that there was a time in this country, when innovation and pride in craftsmanship, gave the customer, good value for their money!
    Zenith's sales and advertising slogan was " The quality goes in, before the name goes on"
     
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  23. dana barlow
    Joined: May 30, 2006
    Posts: 4,044

    dana barlow
    Member
    from Miami Fla.
    1. Y-blocks

    A way back story;
    In the mid 1950s,us 6 kids from all around the block in Coconut Grove Fla. had a Radio Club* in between building some very odd ball go cart's ,an we invented skateboard's the summer before<but that's another story.
    One of us see, had a Dad willing to head the club up,beside being a goodguy Dad,Mr Norman Bean, he was also the head Engineer for WTVJ Miami Fla.{first to invented remoto cameras for on the spot coverage} an had also worked for RCA before.
    What we'd do is hunt trash piles for old radio or TVs any time we saw one an bring home the broken radio or TV. At our meeting one time month,we would find out how to fix, if it could be,or save parts for another to fix. Called our self"Zapmen*" LOL
    We also played TV Station ,made fake shows{same as some kids did puppet shows or stage plays kind of} here is our homemade cardboard box TV camera<state of the art as you can see !!!.
    That's Buster at the controls,one of our 6 kid crew,of Rob,Bob,Buster,Tim,Pet an me. Some times we'd get one of our sisters to be a actress.
    I think our shows may of been better then you get now.
    BusterAtRobsWith TVShow fun.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2020
  24. 2 more in my collection......a Philco and a Zenith.......both are original, not restored cabinets, but restored electronics.....the Zenith has amazing sound quality.

    DSCN0644.JPG DSCN0646.JPG
     
  25. 6inarow
    Joined: Jan 24, 2007
    Posts: 2,259

    6inarow
    Member

    Great info!! Thank you. I am just getting started. I'll check it out
     
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  26. Thank you for the info;I'll check it out. When it's playing it has a pretty decent sound for a portable.There was a battery that went into it at one time but it was missing when I got it.Found it when I was,"sidewalk treasure hunting " once.
     
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  27. Truck64
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 4,142

    Truck64
    Member
    from Ioway

    I think that one uses the 1L6 pentagrid converter tube, these were a high speed miniature tube at the time. It's easy to blow battery tubes messing around with line voltage. They had only a nominal 1.4 volt DC filament.
     
  28. FRANK GRELLE
    Joined: Oct 15, 2018
    Posts: 56

    FRANK GRELLE
    Member

    upload_2020-7-31_16-0-1.jpeg My Gonsat G-43 Shes as old as my Chevy!
     
  29. The Magic Ratchet
    Joined: Apr 8, 2019
    Posts: 60

    The Magic Ratchet
    Member

    That's a beauty but don't you mean Gonset?
     

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