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Features What's on your.... AM radio?

Discussion in 'Traditional Customs' started by 1953naegle, Sep 13, 2019.

  1. 1953naegle
    Joined: Nov 18, 2013
    Posts: 178

    1953naegle
    Member

    Anyone else still have an old vacuum tube AM radio in their ride? I have a push button one in my 53' chevy and think it's cool, but it's rare that I can ever find something other than talk radio stations to listen too. Tonight I found a hispanic station. I would love it if someone in the greater Houston area put up an AM oldies station, but I'm probably a few decades too late.....
     
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  2. Yep the 50's and 60's had some good music.Too much garbage today.
     
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  3. Truck64
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 3,283

    Truck64
    Member
    from Ioway

    It probably needs a recap and an alignment for best selectivity & reception. At night the AM band should open up, and pick up stations from all over. Could try tuning a weak but steady station near 1400 and peaking the antenna trimmer screw for maximum volume.
     
  4. Nothing!
    image.jpg
     
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  5. 1953naegle
    Joined: Nov 18, 2013
    Posts: 178

    1953naegle
    Member

    I've been thinking about sending it out to be serviced. It's working off of a voltage reducer but the volume has to be cranked up all the way to hear anything. I've also thought about getting it upgraded to modern AM/FM guts, but I kinda like having to wait for it to warm up, and sometimes you can see a little bit of the glow from the tubes from underneith.
     
  6. blowby
    Joined: Dec 27, 2012
    Posts: 5,858

    blowby
    Member
    from Nicasio Ca

    My ignition system
     
  7. Truck64
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 3,283

    Truck64
    Member
    from Ioway

    If you know what end of a soldering iron to hold it's not difficult to replace the power supply capacitors and a resistor or two. This would help quite a lot. Alignment would be a little more difficult.
     
  8. Flathead Dave
    Joined: Mar 21, 2014
    Posts: 2,167

    Flathead Dave
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from So. Cal.

    KFI 640 on my AM.

    Watch out for those old radios. They play old songs and have old news...
     
  9. TrailerTrashToo
    Joined: Jun 20, 2018
    Posts: 353

    TrailerTrashToo
    Member

    The vacuum tubes gradually wear out (stop producing electrons) - basically, the vacuum tube may glow, but, little amplification is taking place (the lights are on, but, no body is home...). The old tube equipment was a constant maintenance item. Every year or so, the radio or TV would stop working well, and vacuum tubes were replaced.

    Finding vacuum tubes might be a problem. I gave away my tube tested over 40 years ago, so I have zero current knowledge about antique radio parts availability.
     
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  10. 1953naegle
    Joined: Nov 18, 2013
    Posts: 178

    1953naegle
    Member

    All I need is a briefcase in the trunk with an AM transmitter and an MP3 player loaded up with old songs, news, and programs!
     
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  11. Truck64
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 3,283

    Truck64
    Member
    from Ioway

    TVs ran tubes hard, and hot, esp. color televisions. Vertical sweep tubes and stuff like that. Radios, not so much. They last a long time. Maybe not at 100% but most people don't listen to them constantly either, and a weak tube won't usually cause issues except maybe an oscillator.

    About 20 years ago as an experiment I left a restored radio from 1942 running 24/7 for over two years and gave up seeing how long they would last. I used it fairly often since that time and the tubes finally gave up the ghost this year after another extended run.

    Tubes are plentiful and cheap for car radios. The real culprit in unreliability is the power supply, coupling, and bypass capacitors.
     
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  12. s55mercury66
    Joined: Jul 6, 2009
    Posts: 3,554

    s55mercury66
    Member
    from SW Wyoming

    It used to be Oldies 940 KMER, but they sold out a year ago in June, and came back on the air this summer as a copycat country station, playing the same thing as their FM counterpart. Bummer. There used to be another oldies station in Rock Springs, but it went talk radio several years ago, which is enough to make me slit my wrists. There are only two types of music here as a general rule, country, and western. Things are fortunately a little better down in the Salt Lake valley, but I sure miss my old AM station.
     
  13. The Shift Wizard
    Joined: Jan 10, 2017
    Posts: 1,326

    The Shift Wizard
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I recall that the radio DJs were really entertaining characters back in the late 50s, early 60s. (the 45 record days) The equipment was a lot more manual and they had to have a real gift of gab to fill the in-betweens so there was never any dead air.
    I've seen some NOS vac tubes being sold on fleaBay lately by eastern Europe and Russian sellers. I have no idea if they would be the right stuff for the old car radios, though.
     
  14. wheeltramp brian
    Joined: Jun 11, 2010
    Posts: 748

    wheeltramp brian
    Member

    I get k-mozart.a classical station .itspretty good .can only listen when the 29 isn't running as it's too loud.
     
  15. Loved AM radio back in the 60's, but then that's all I had and stations were plentiful. WCAO in Baltimore, WEAM in Alexandria, Va., WPGC in Prince Georges County, Maryland, WOOK and WOL in Washington, D.C. It's a romantic notion to try to relive those days. Technology has improved so much with the FM stations of today. Then again, an AM radio hooked up to a reverb unit, some mood lighting, parked with your favorite girl and, well, it does bring back some special memories.:D;)
     
  16. Deuces
    Joined: Nov 3, 2009
    Posts: 17,457

    Deuces
    Member
    from Michigan

    The BiG 8 many many years ago... CKLW AM800... I miss those days..... :(
     
  17. slowmotion
    Joined: Nov 21, 2011
    Posts: 3,024

    slowmotion
    Member

    WCFL out of Chicago in the wee hours was the ticket...
     
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  18. Truck64
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 3,283

    Truck64
    Member
    from Ioway

    Those are actually new production vacuum tubes. Audio outputs of the type used in guitar amplifiers and stereo hi-fi. Those always wore out relatively quickly and unfortunately are easily roasted in defective equipment. NOS audio tubes from the big US and European makers from the 30s through the end of the vacuum tube era have dried up and command very high prices, so they tooled up to re-issue them. They sound fine but they don't last anything like the real thing.

    Radio and Television tubes aren't usually expensive and can't give them away, $2 or $3. Replacing tubes in a radio is usually a waste of money, they need a fresh DC power supply to get back in business. Capacitor technology then wasn't very good, and the waxed paper & foil design are shorted out by now.
     
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  19. tubman
    Joined: May 16, 2007
    Posts: 4,213

    tubman
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    There was a good "Oldies" station out of Aitken, MN up until a few years ago, and then they changed their format. I gave up and installed a CD player so I can listen to what I want to hear. It was kinda tricky on a 6 volt positive ground system, but we did it.
     
  20. Mike51Merc
    Joined: Dec 5, 2008
    Posts: 3,782

    Mike51Merc
    Member

    ….a 3.5mm audio jack plugged into an iPod.
     
  21. ffr1222k
    Joined: Nov 5, 2009
    Posts: 1,036

    ffr1222k
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I still have the Town and Country radio that was in my 56 Ford 55 years ago. I also had a parts radio I picked up laying in the mud at a junkyard 50 years ago. My best friend growing up just repaired the original radio. He replaced the vibrator and all the capacitors and a few resistors. I had enough good tubes between the 2 radios.

    This radio is going in the 56 Victoria I bought back in March but first I either have to swap the dash or get the hole filed in where someone cut it to put in a DIN radio.
     
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  22. Elcohaulic
    Joined: Dec 27, 2017
    Posts: 427

    Elcohaulic
    Member

    We have a couple decent doo wop radio channels here in Pittsburgh.
    WEDO 810 and WKFB 770..
     
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  23. Hot Rods Ta Hell
    Joined: Apr 20, 2008
    Posts: 3,833

    Hot Rods Ta Hell
    Member

    Second on KFI 640. Listen to it a lot when driving. Tim Conway Jr. is great. Love how John and Ken publicly call out the crooked politicians and policies.

    When I was a kid, late at night in the early 70's, my Brother and I used to see how distant a signal we could grab off AM. From Socal, we used to be able to tune to an Iowa station as well as a Navajo nation powerhouse in New Mexico. We'd catch station call letters, but they would seldom state the city so we would have to listen for clues in commercials such as car dealerships where they'd mention their city. Sometimes a map was utilized-all pre internet days so research was more work.
    Caught some Canadian stations too. West coast was strong, probably because of the skip up the Pacific. I understand in the early days, folks in NY and London, etc. listened to each others stations across the pond.
     
  24. v8flat44
    Joined: Nov 13, 2017
    Posts: 138

    v8flat44

    WLEC Sandusky Ohio; mostly 50s 60s & some 70s. Ohio sports also.
    Can sometimes get an "oldies" station in the 900 range & a country station too.
    1370 in Toledo for unbiased news. All sounds good with the FLATTY rumbling in the background.
     
  25. stuart in mn
    Joined: Nov 22, 2007
    Posts: 1,648

    stuart in mn
    Member

    I like the sound of old tube car radios, but as mentioned there's not a lot on the AM band worth listening to these days. You can search at swap meets for one of those old FM converters they used to sell in the 1970s, or for a modern solution get a Redirad and plug your choice of music source into the radio: https://redirad.com
     
  26. The Shift Wizard
    Joined: Jan 10, 2017
    Posts: 1,326

    The Shift Wizard
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    My town has a station that broadcasts in both AM and FM. The venue is Americana* music and it's what on in my home and shop from morning 'til night and it's button #1 in all my cars. I usually listen to the FM band but I'll sometimes switch over to AM if I'm traveling any distance. I don't have anything with a survivor AM radio at the moment, but if I did I would make sure it was in good shape since I have access to an AM station I like.

    *"Americana is an amalgam of American music formed by the confluence of the shared and varied traditions that make up the musical ethos of the United States, specifically those sounds that are merged from folk, country, blues, rhythm and blues, rock and roll, gospel, and other external influences."
     
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  27. I have heard of radios but I don't have one. :D HRP
     
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  28. Los_Control
    Joined: Oct 7, 2016
    Posts: 580

    Los_Control
    Member
    from TX

    Here in a small west Texas town, we have a local AM station, they also play on fm, And I stream them through my pc in the shop. They play old country, 50's on up to some newer stuff. George Jones, Johnny Cash, Merle ... I'm ok with it. Our yearly cruise in, they play old 50's 60's rock & roll.
    More important I like to hear local news/weather, what the city council is up to, whats on sale at the grocery store this week.
    I found a stock AM radio for my truck and jumped on it, but installing it is a bit down the road yet.

    I listen to all types of music and have a large collection on the pc, but the am radio is my go to.
     
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  29. Dennis D
    Joined: May 2, 2009
    Posts: 539

    Dennis D
    Member

    1430 in the St. Louis area for oldies
     
  30. quick85
    Joined: Feb 23, 2014
    Posts: 1,537

    quick85
    Member

    After getting knocked on the head I'm hearing WCFL (Chicago) with
    Joel Sebastian ("Put it in the groove and let it wail."), and WLS ("50,000 watts!")
    with Art Roberts and Jim Dunbar.

    A Thousand Stars -- Kathy Young and the Innocents
    Long Lonely Nights -- Lee Andrews and the Hearts
    You Can't Sit Down -- The Dovells
    Sherry -- The Four Seasons
    Money -- Barrett Strong
    Ruby Baby -- Dion

    And too many more.
     
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