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 Help Deciding On First Tube Radio!
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 Return to top of page · Post #: 1 · Written at 2:40:47 AM on 4 June 2011.
Crankit's Gravatar
 Location: Townsville, QLD
 Member since 4 June 2011
 Member #: 917
 Postcount: 5

I'm a 25 year old electrical apprentice that’s been itching to start this new hobby for a while now.
Can someone point out a few models for me for my first radio?

The attributes I’m most interested in for this radio are that it be:
1. Mantel size or slightly larger to fit on a bench
2.1940S - 1950S
3. Good Sound Quality!!
4. Preferably Wood but Bakelite is ok
5. Less than $100

I would like to use it quite often as I regularly listen to 630 ABC local radio here in Townsville.


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 2 · Written at 7:39:49 AM on 4 June 2011.
GTC's avatar
 GTC
 Location: Sydney, NSW
 Member since 28 January 2011
 Member #: 823
 Postcount: 5309

Welcome Crankit!

It's great to see a young guy getting interested in "steam radio" Smile

I won't try to steer you towards one model or another; there are so many to choose from. Like most machines, some radios are better designed than others and some are easier to restore than others -- if restoration is your aim. There are guys here with lots of experience and I'm sure they will chime in with good advice.

In my case, I have been collecting the particular sets of my childhood -- that is those that my parents and grandparents owned -- so I have a range of them from the early 1950s to the mid 1960s.


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 3 · Written at 8:39:46 AM on 4 June 2011.
STC830's Gravatar
 Location: NSW
 Member since 10 June 2010
 Member #: 681
 Postcount: 835

Here is a classic that you might consider.

http://cgi.ebay.com.au/ANTIQUE-KRIESLER-BEEHIVE-VALVE-RADIO-CIRCA-1949-/350448461616.

http://www.antiquesplus.com.au/index.cfm/item/43449-vintage-kriesler-beehive-bakelite-radio/.

Should cost less than $100 if in need of restoration, but you could strike it lucky on Ebay.


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 4 · Written at 10:37:20 AM on 4 June 2011.
Marcc's avatar
 Location: Wangaratta, VIC
 Member since 21 February 2009
 Member #: 438
 Postcount: 3814

Last beehive I fixed, was bought for a lot more than that. They are popular.

Some plastics are cheap like HMV "LIttle Nipper" mainly as they are as common as Grey Fergys. If you just want something to initially "play with".

Do not fall into the trap of buying something sight unseen at an Auction and then plugging it in to see if it goes.

I have one of those on the bench. Chassis is immaculate. Cabinet is good speaker. no paint off it cone good.

Capacitors are shot, It has been rewired, in the power supply wrongly; There is a short circuit in the speaker cable: The cable is history and one valve is short circuit.

I am sure there will be some resistors to add to that as well.

Marc


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 5 · Written at 1:15:42 PM on 4 June 2011.
Wa2ise's avatar
 Location: Oradell, US
 Member since 2 April 2010
 Member #: 643
 Postcount: 729

The wax paper and electrolytic caps in radios this old are sure to be bad, and replaced on sight. Vacuum tubes are very likely to be good (they last forever sitting not used, in a box or in an unused radio set). Caps go bad used or not. Old electrolytic filter caps in the radio's power supply can fail shorted, which then can burn out the power transformer, which is why you don't want to plug the radio in as soon as you get it from the ebay seller. Even if he said that "it works", which usually means that the dial light lit up.

More at my web page http://www.wa2ise.com/radios/repair.htm.


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 6 · Written at 8:04:17 PM on 4 June 2011.
GTC's avatar
 GTC
 Location: Sydney, NSW
 Member since 28 January 2011
 Member #: 823
 Postcount: 5309

.marcc:

Do not fall into the trap of buying something sight unseen at an Auction and then plugging it in to see if it goes.

Very good point. I was at a radio auction this morning and there were some bargains to be had, but those were the ones which needed cosmetic work quite apart from any electrical issues, and there is an art to the cosmetic restoration process be that with a wood or plastic case. It's very easy to make things worse unless you know what to address and what to leave as is. Then there's the business of finding the right parts (such as knobs and dials) to complete the job to an acceptable standard.

From my observations, beehives will fetch more than $100 on the open market, although you can still get them at bargain prices at club auctions, but I believe there is almost no such thing as an uncracked beehive due to over-tightening of the long bolt arrangement that pulls it all together.

It's not clear from your original post if you want to do hands on restoration or not.

I'm not sure what local support is available up in Townsville, but you could consider contacting the QLD branch of the Historical Radio Society of Australia (HRSA) and asking if a group is active in your region. If so, you may find members who will sell you a good restored set, or they may hold occasional auctions where the bargains can be had.




 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 7 · Written at 8:21:30 PM on 4 June 2011.
Crankit's Gravatar
 Location: Townsville, QLD
 Member since 4 June 2011
 Member #: 917
 Postcount: 5

Thanks everyone who replied for the kind advice. I'm realy impressed by the knowledge on this site.

I'm going to keep my eye on eBay and the classifieds for a while and try and get a feel for the market plus more research on the ins and outs of valve radios.
There seems to be a lot out there after having a search and makes it a little hard to sort out which is worth buying. I don't wanto rush in and risk disapointment.






 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 8 · Written at 8:53:55 PM on 4 June 2011.
Marcc's avatar
 Location: Wangaratta, VIC
 Member since 21 February 2009
 Member #: 438
 Postcount: 3814

GTC,

The last Kriesler Beehive that I attacked, had no broken louvres.

What I did note was that there were washers like blotting paper between the layers of louvres. The rods had 3/16" nuts on them, so it was similar size. The holes in the "blotter" inside were 1/4": Pure genius.

That meant that they had no issues in falling out & causing "bass" rattles. The normal "I can fix that meddler" would have tightened the rods, placing imense pressure on the bakelite. Which rarely mated properly.

There were very few anti vibration washers left in this one. I replaced all of them with 3/16" fibre washers.
Several originals, had dissapeared down the rod, into the possibly 3/8" hole that the rods were in.

My concern was vibration of the rod onto the washer and the fibre washer being too hard. That would have forced me to use rubberised cork or an automotive gasket paper, on failure: Fortunately it did not fail.

It is suicide to over tighten those rods


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 9 · Written at 9:26:00 PM on 4 June 2011.
GTC's avatar
 GTC
 Location: Sydney, NSW
 Member since 28 January 2011
 Member #: 823
 Postcount: 5309

.crankit: "I'm going to keep my eye on eBay and the classifieds for a while and try and get a feel for the market plus more research on the ins and outs of valve radios."

That sounds like a good idea from a financial viewpoint.

If you see something that you like the look of, you can post the link here with your own thoughts and/or any questions, and and we can respond as appropriate. (Many of us watch the eBay listings on a regular basis.)

As a general point, be wary of listings by antique dealers. You can usually pick those by their very high feedback count and the comparatively high starting price or buy it now price. Their descriptions often say something like "I have no idea if it works, but the valves light up" or "it will probably work with a good aerial". For your situation, these are units to avoid.


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 10 · Written at 9:35:12 PM on 4 June 2011.
Brad's avatar
 Administrator
 Location: Greenwich, NSW
 Member since 15 November 2005
 Member #: 1
 Postcount: 5579

In addition to what GTC just said, when I buy a radio I always assume it will need a full restoration unless the seller says words to the effect of, "it's just been restored by a technician experienced in appliances containing valves and it works".

This way there will be no explosions when you get it home and no disappointment.


‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾
A valve a day keeps the transistor away...

 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 11 · Written at 7:34:07 PM on 5 June 2011.
Marcc's avatar
 Location: Wangaratta, VIC
 Member since 21 February 2009
 Member #: 438
 Postcount: 3814

Note my A.G.E post in wanted. Good reinforcement for "do not operate" without looking to see if its safe

Marc


 
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