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 American valve radios for use in Australia
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 Return to top of page · Post #: 1 · Written at 10:27:47 AM on 9 August 2017.
Claudbev's Gravatar
 Location: Melbourne, VIC
 Member since 9 August 2017
 Member #: 2147
 Postcount: 7

I am thinking of buying an American 1940 valve radio. Can I ask will they work in Australia, albeit I will change the power cord.

If possible could some one please assist and state what I may need to change internally or can I have it done by a local professional and possible cost.

I have no intentions to bring them in other than to buy one or two as I love the look of them, but want to make sure it will work for listening

Thanks

Claudio


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 2 · Written at 10:37:11 AM on 9 August 2017.
GTC's avatar
 GTC
 Location: Sydney, NSW
 Member since 28 January 2011
 Member #: 823
 Postcount: 6010

What is the make and model of the set? What operational condition is it in?

American mains-powered radios of that era typically require 110 to 115 volts 60Hz AC. Our mains voltage is 240 volts 50 Hz, so a step-down transformer is required.

Also, such American sets were often designed to run on 110 to 115 volts DC, and if that's the case then they have what we term a "live chassis", a potentially lethal situation if the requisite insulation is not in good condition.

Apart from those safety things, any radio of that age requires a good technical inspection before power is applied to it so that the usual suspect components can be attended to lest they cause unnecessary damage.


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 3 · Written at 10:37:15 AM on 9 August 2017.
Ian Robertson's Gravatar
 Location: Belrose, NSW
 Member since 31 December 2015
 Member #: 1844
 Postcount: 1904

Whoa!

Mains power in US is 110V, here it is 240V. If you change the power cord and plug it in, you will almost instantly destroy it in spectacular fashion.

Your best bet is to use a 240V to 110V mains transformer. These are readily available at electrical wholesalers and Jaycar, for example.

Unless it has been in regular and recent use, you should NEVER plug an old piece of electronic equipment into the power, even via a transformer. Get it checked by an expert. There are safe ways of "bringing up" old gear so no irrepairable damage is done, for example, the "dim bulb" method is covered in these forums.

There are people on this forum in Melbourne who can help you.


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 4 · Written at 10:42:14 AM on 9 August 2017.
Claudbev's Gravatar
 Location: Melbourne, VIC
 Member since 9 August 2017
 Member #: 2147
 Postcount: 7

Dear Ian and GTC

You are both gentleman for such a quick reply. I sincerely thank you. I would love find a person in Melbourne who could inspect it and if possible to make the necessary adjustments.

The make is 1940s FARNSWORTH BULLET ART DECO.

Again thank you both for your kind consideration.

Claudio


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 5 · Written at 10:47:55 AM on 9 August 2017.
Ian Robertson's Gravatar
 Location: Belrose, NSW
 Member since 31 December 2015
 Member #: 1844
 Postcount: 1904

You're welcome!

Have a look in the Services Directory on this site for someone close to you who can help.


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 6 · Written at 10:50:19 AM on 9 August 2017.
Claudbev's Gravatar
 Location: Melbourne, VIC
 Member since 9 August 2017
 Member #: 2147
 Postcount: 7

Dear Ian

Again thanks for your considered advice. Will do

regards

Claudio


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 7 · Written at 11:04:32 AM on 9 August 2017.
GTC's avatar
 GTC
 Location: Sydney, NSW
 Member since 28 January 2011
 Member #: 823
 Postcount: 6010

A very good looking radio.

If it's going to travel from the USA, make sure the seller packs it extremely well. Bakelite/Catalin is quite fragile, and packages in transit get tossed around like footballs.


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 8 · Written at 11:18:28 AM on 9 August 2017.
Claudbev's Gravatar
 Location: Melbourne, VIC
 Member since 9 August 2017
 Member #: 2147
 Postcount: 7

Dear GTC

Thank you

Kindly


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 9 · Written at 12:32:15 PM on 9 August 2017.
Ian Robertson's Gravatar
 Location: Belrose, NSW
 Member since 31 December 2015
 Member #: 1844
 Postcount: 1904

GTC is right. Most of us collectors have had bad packing experiences.

Here is a post I made on this forum about this very subject. It contains recommendations that are based on many years of experience.
If you have to bribe your seller to go the extra mile on the packaging it will be worth it. These radios are FRAGILE, big time! One crack can halve the value of a collectable model.

https://vintage-radio.com.au/default.asp?f=1&th=1194

I guess you can see by now that we all love our vintage radios here!


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 10 · Written at 2:24:34 PM on 9 August 2017.
Claudbev's Gravatar
 Location: Melbourne, VIC
 Member since 9 August 2017
 Member #: 2147
 Postcount: 7

Dear Ian & GTC

Your comments are absolutely great

ONE QUESTION. CAN I PICK UP AM CHANNELS IN AUSTRALIA WITH A USA 1940S TUBE RADIO

Hope I can return the favour. I am an auditor by profession and economist, specialising in financial markets.

I know your both probably shaking your head!!!!

Hope I can help

Claude


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 11 · Written at 2:41:58 PM on 9 August 2017.
GTC's avatar
 GTC
 Location: Sydney, NSW
 Member since 28 January 2011
 Member #: 823
 Postcount: 6010

The AM broadcast band covers 535 -1605 kHz, and any AM broadcast receiver covering that range will work here.

I know your both probably shaking your head!!!!

Not really. What does make me shake my head is people powering up newfound old radios without a second thought.


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 12 · Written at 3:06:44 PM on 9 August 2017.
Claudbev's Gravatar
 Location: Melbourne, VIC
 Member since 9 August 2017
 Member #: 2147
 Postcount: 7

HI GTC

Thanks for that. I just love old items as they are to me a piece of history not just a mechanical item. Also I find them to be true beauty.

again many thanks

claude


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 13 · Written at 3:14:37 PM on 9 August 2017.
Ian Robertson's Gravatar
 Location: Belrose, NSW
 Member since 31 December 2015
 Member #: 1844
 Postcount: 1904

GTC I wholeheartedly agree.

The only issue with US radios on the AM band is with newer ones that use synthesiser tuning. Our AM band channel spacing was changed to 9kHz (in the 80's I think) to squeeze in a few more channels but the US still uses 10kHz spacing. That means the only stations you'll tune properly here with a US radio are those with a 0 at the end, e.g in Sydney, ABC Newsradio on 630kHz.

Not a problem at all for analogue-tuned radios.

My Zenith Transoceanic from 1946 works just fine.


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 14 · Written at 4:21:01 PM on 9 August 2017.
Brad's avatar
 Administrator
 Location: Greenwich, NSW
 Member since 15 November 2005
 Member #: 1
 Postcount: 6347

The spacing here changed shortly after AM stereo was introduced. I remember 2UE having the pre-ident "Stereo 95" which later changed to "Stereo 954". I am sure the early adopters of AM Stereo radios with PLL tuning wouldn't have been too impressed with things being done in that order but that is the Dept. of Communications (now called ACMA) all over.


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

 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 15 · Written at 4:22:08 PM on 9 August 2017.
Claudbev's Gravatar
 Location: Melbourne, VIC
 Member since 9 August 2017
 Member #: 2147
 Postcount: 7

HI GTC & Ian

Thank you again for great info. Love to buy you a meal.

Regards

Claude


 
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