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 Post subject: Re: Should we "Restore" ALL Radios?
PostPosted: Feb Fri 02, 2018 8:46 pm 
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Repair whatever you feel like doing. There's millions of radios scattered around the world and history is what you make of it. Radios or any other old items don't have a DNA so does it really matter in everyday life unless its all about a personal family possession. JMO


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 Post subject: Re: Should we "Restore" ALL Radios?
PostPosted: Feb Fri 02, 2018 9:55 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
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Location: Lafayette, CO
Fix them all? Naw....some aren't fixable. Next generation (our kids) have seen plenty already and show little interest. Now, the NEXT generation just may need some sets to learn on.... as we did. Craig


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 Post subject: Re: Should we "Restore" ALL Radios?
PostPosted: Feb Fri 02, 2018 10:19 pm 
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Joined: Sep Sat 19, 2015 6:15 pm
Posts: 28
analog, you just made my point "my kids have seen plenty already and have shown little interest." And does everyone here believe that that lessening of interest will turn around in a generation or two - when the parts, knowledge and vintage repair equipment is almost non-existant? Due to.....what? When those on this Forum are all gone, who will train that next generation on how to use a soldering iron? Or read an analog scale? Or understand the function of parts no longer made? This is a gradual thing that depends on interest. And those that are radio enthusiasts now should find someone of the next generation to pass the knowledge along to - if you care to do so. The Amateur Radio folks in my area are actively doing this.

Do some people still collect Model Ts? Of course. But do you see a lot of them at Barrett Jackson? Somebody out there, I'm sure, collects rubber erasers! Of course most things historical will continue a limited following - but not in the numbers to support making new and repair parts, like they did in the 1960s for the old Fords.

Generations come and go - and their interests change. That which you never had a use for requires that something kindle your interest to jump into a full blown hobby - which Antique Radio is. Perhaps we need some classy "Radio Shows" in the Malls to grab some youngsters attention! Of course, they would want to hear them work...... :)

I intend to restuff the capacitors in my early Zenith "Sailboat" Transoceanic - because I want original appearance (although who will take it out of it's case ever again?), but it will function 100% - and that may help keep it interesting to those who touch it in the future. I've also collected the original magazine ads, and original Zenith factory Service Bulletins for it and it's 5G401 shelf mate - which hopefully will make them even more interesting to the "next owner". If AM and Shortwave should go completely away (God forbid), and there is nothing more to hear, anywhere, then a dead shelf queen would make more sense. But I am looking forward to listening to my local AM stations - on a 1941 Zenith!
Cheers, all,
CC

But all of us have limited resources, time and money - so we do have to triage our interests (or I do, anyway).


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 Post subject: Re: Should we "Restore" ALL Radios?
PostPosted: Feb Fri 02, 2018 10:37 pm 
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Location: Highland, MI
This is a question museum curators mull over on a regular basis. On example is at Willow Run Airport Yankee Air Museum, where they have WW2 bombers that still fly and undergo restoration. Though they do classic restoration on some parts, but sometimes they leave things original, like leather arm rests that show wear and sweat stains from pilots who saw war duty.

I've been in the Henry Ford Museum and seen pieces that could be restored, but it's obvious that they are keeping the relics in as-found condition.

I've heard some people say that an antique can be restored many times, but it is original only once.

This makes me question whether I should restore my Philco 90 console. When I looked at the chassis, it appears to be never touched after it left the factory 85 years ago.


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 Post subject: Re: Should we "Restore" ALL Radios?
PostPosted: Feb Fri 02, 2018 11:49 pm 
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hoffies2 wrote:
Repair whatever you feel like doing. There's millions of radios scattered around the world and history is what you make of it. Radios or any other old items don't have a DNA so does it really matter in everyday life unless its all about a personal family possession. JMO
Words of wisdom.

Me? Pick one that is significant to you for what ever the reason and fix it up.... :D

Shame on me for not, yet, fixing the kitchen radio from my family home in the early '60's, not fixing my wifes childhood family Silvertone consolette from the 50's, shame again for not putting together the 6-S-152 I gave to my wife in 1963. :( :( :(

Chas


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 Post subject: Re: Should we "Restore" ALL Radios?
PostPosted: Feb Sat 03, 2018 12:00 am 
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I vote No.

I have a crosley playboy cathedral that the previous owner refurbished - the chassis that is. It plays great and the cabinet is moderately damaged, and it looks cool to have a complete working radio that's a bit beat up. It looks it's age, and I decided against repair.

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 Post subject: Re: Should we "Restore" ALL Radios?
PostPosted: Feb Sat 03, 2018 12:22 am 
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It all boils down to what each individual prefers to do with his own radios. Nobody can proclaim or decree an unenforceable edict that they all have to be either restored or left virgin.

Consider also that radios were routinely repaired during their lifetimes; once that occurred, the set was no longer "factory", although the work then became part of that particular set's history.

I restore everything. I have a 1928 TRF console that I got from my granddad, displayed in the living room. Cosmetically I had to do some refinishing work on the cabinet, and repair the three knobs that were missing their inserts. Does that mean that it can't be considered "original"? I also changed out the capacitors, had to rebuild two of the RF coils, did some work on the audio output transformer, and had to change an audio balloon tube for a like-kind.

In addition I have a six Transistor portable given to me in 1958 from my uncle, which in recent years started to decline in volume. I recapped it under the PCB, so it's above board appearance is original, even though technically it's restored.

Both of these sets play very well now, and I'm sure that the spirits of my departed relatives are or would be pleased that I can continue using them as they were intended to function.

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 Post subject: Re: Should we "Restore" ALL Radios?
PostPosted: Feb Sat 03, 2018 1:21 am 
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It is all personal preference.

Same way with the approach to restoration.
Personally, I prefer to keep things as original as possible.

Lately, I've been wrestling with whether I want to restore a Zenith 6-R-687R I recently picked up. I pulled the chassis and found it is 100% original.
No repairs have ever been done! :shock:

I'm tempted to just let it be. But… but… I want to make it play! I'm in a quandary… :|

-Steve


Attachments:
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 Post subject: Re: Should we "Restore" ALL Radios?
PostPosted: Feb Sat 03, 2018 2:21 am 
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Joined: Jul Fri 18, 2014 2:03 am
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Location: Springdale, Arkansas
Well, what I've heard several times in this post is the sentiment that mirrors my own thoughts, "It's only original once".

I've been messing with this old stuff for over 30 years. What I have seen is a dramatic INCREASE in the hobby and the volume of people collecting and restoring. There's only just so many of these radios left out there and, speaking strictly from experience, finding them in the original family's basement or attic is pretty much a thing of the past. They just don't turn up that way like they did years ago.

Whenever I buy a set I ALWAYS ask and try to learn whatever I can about its past. 9 times out of 10 (if not more) I am told that the radio came from a collector or a collector's estate. We aren't finding "virgin examples" out there all that much anymore, we are just passing them around from collector to collector. And, every step of the way, someone has "worked" on it (with varying degrees of skill and attention to detail).

So what do we have. We have a specific number of radios floating around out there that will never be manufactured again and haven't BEEN manufactured for 60, 70 or more years. We have more and more collectors buying them up on ebay, from swap meets and flea markets. The number of radios we find going forward that have been "restored", to SOME degree and probably by more than one "restorer", will continue to climb. "Just Radios" and the other organizations that serve the hobby will keep selling little yellow Chinese capacitors. And for every one of THOSE radios, the ones that have been "restored" or otherwise messed with, there will be one LESS all original example. It's just simple, grade school mathematics. Eventually that cycle WILL end.

Now if you've got a set that has already been worked on at some point, say within the last 20 years or so, you've already got a radio that has crossed over the threshold. Have at it. Work on it until your heart's content. If you've got one where there's only been a tube or two replaced in the radio's whole existence, it just came from the same family bought it new and took it out of its carton and it has a known history, I think it should be saved and left as is, out of respect to the radio AND its history. Regardless of the production numbers, that radio, with its KNOWN past, is one of a kind.

As to other people's questions, how about this?

"Does it work?"
"No."
"Can you fix it?"
"Yes. BUT, I choose not to. The last person that played that radio died 50 years ago. The last news broadcast was probably covering the Vietnam War or Watergate. The last song it played was the Beatles. If you'd like to listen to one of the two AM stations left in my area, here is a Panasonic clock radio that wakes me up every morning. Go ahead, knock yourself out".

I think we have a RESPONSIBILITY to consider such things when we heat up a soldering iron. Once we tear in, that radio has permanently crossed the threshold of originality. There's one LESS original left. And there's no going back.


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 Post subject: Re: Should we "Restore" ALL Radios?
PostPosted: Feb Sat 03, 2018 4:06 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 8250
Location: Baltimore, MD
Col. Colt wrote:
I remember as a kid in Kansas City in the early 1960's going to car shows, featuring Model T's and A's, Packards, etc. JC Whitney even had special catalogs you could BUILD a Model T from! People were strongly interested in them - because they had grown up with them as a child or as their first car. You cannot give away a Model A or T today - no one alive ever drove or used one, or took one on a date. Likewise, I grew up with Springfield 1903 rifles and M1s at the local rifle club - young people today buy Black rifles that are "contemporary" for their trips to the range - not old stuff.



The reason the Model A and Model T and even some cars of the '30s were so popular with everyone from kids and customizers to backyard tinkerers in the '50s and '60s wasn't nostalgia. It was because they were yesterday's news that happened to be lying around, they were abundant at the time, and they could be picked up cheaply. Someone could choose to restore it or use it as a building platform and not be out a lot of money on their hobby.

If we followed the logic that someone has to remember something from their childhood in order for it to have value or collector interest, things like Civil War memorabilia would be worthless today. Price an authentic CSA belt plate or sword and you'll see that isn't the case.

azenithnut wrote:
Lately, I've been wrestling with whether I want to restore a Zenith 6-R-687R I recently picked up. I pulled the chassis and found it is 100% original.
No repairs have ever been done! :shock:


Steve, if it were me, I'd lean toward leaving that one original. It's not like you're missing out on anything special performance-wise by having an all original, untouched 6-R-687. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Should we "Restore" ALL Radios?
PostPosted: Feb Sat 03, 2018 9:24 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 2642
Location: England
"... most "restored" radios don't sound spectacular, and there's not much to listen to on AM anyway. A radio can only be original once."

The better 30's table radios sound fine to me: the AK, the Zen, the big Brit EMIs (with a little input from RCA!) and Philips the best. Have no consoles but I guess that's just more bass ... Possibly sound fine as my ears roll off at 4kHz at what dB/ octave ? Anyway they suit the old woodies.

We are lucky, still quite a few stations worth a listen and just build a chain of FM re-broadcasters :D and you can tune about all over the MW. We even have a Pirate station from the 70's, used to be on a ship moored off shore, that's opened up again. Bit heavy rock for me.

Gary


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 Post subject: Re: Should we "Restore" ALL Radios?
PostPosted: Feb Sat 03, 2018 6:27 pm 
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Radio Fixer wrote:
"... most "restored" radios don't sound spectacular, and there's not much to listen to on AM anyway. A radio can only be original once."

The better 30's table radios sound fine to me: the AK, the Zen, the big Brit EMIs (with a little input from RCA!) and Philips the best. Have no consoles but I guess that's just more bass ... Possibly sound fine as my ears roll off at 4kHz at what dB/ octave ? Anyway they suit the old woodies.

We are lucky, still quite a few stations worth a listen and just build a chain of FM re-broadcasters :D and you can tune about all over the MW. We even have a Pirate station from the 70's, used to be on a ship moored off shore, that's opened up again. Bit heavy rock for me.

Gary

Actually the consoles with their larger speakers really do sound great, as compared to table or portable sets. In this case, "size matters", lol.

AFA that pirate station, I assume you are referring to Radio Caroline? If so, I listened to it when I was stationed in West Germany, back in the '60's... :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Should we "Restore" ALL Radios?
PostPosted: Feb Sun 04, 2018 3:00 am 
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I watched a show once with people going through personal items in an apartment of a man who had recently passed away with no family. They came to photo albums and scrap-books all neatly preserved. They honored the man by going through them all page by page before putting them gently in a big black garbage bag. It woke me up as to stop thinking about what happens to items I possess. Just enjoy them however you like. I personally get every item in my collection working. I purchased it not only because I like how it looks, but to see it do what it was designed to do. It's a thrill for me to see it "alive" again. To each his own though. There's no defined right or wrong.


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 Post subject: Re: Should we "Restore" ALL Radios?
PostPosted: Feb Sun 04, 2018 4:07 am 
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I bought a 1934 GE Cathedral radio that someone had done an amazing job of restoring inside and out. Looked like brand new and sounded great. I was so impressed with it and it reminded me how much I enjoyed electronics in High School and the advanced class we would be bused to at the Vocational School for four hours a day. At home I would take apart old TV's and radio and build amplifiers, it was great fun to me. Life had taken me away from that and I wanted to get back to it. I have a lot to learn about the old tube radios, they are quite different from repairing a computer numerical control system. I built my shop in the basement and bought most of the equipment i could think of that I would need. Found several radios for future projects and a few record players. My first restore job was an RCA EY2 record player. I took some time and frustration at times, but when I got done it made me feel like I had accomplished something. When I retire in the near future I will be spending a lot of my time in my new shop and look forward to the day when I have gained the knowledge and experience that many of you have. With so many types of radios out there I can't see me ever getting bored with it because to me it's fun to learn new things and use the knowledge gained to accomplish something of value. At some point I hope to have a collection that I can donate to our local museum for others to enjoy and to make the exhibit interactive. A young man delivering for UPS asked me what I had bought one day, when I told him it was an AK from 1929 he was dying to see it. I took it out of the box and let him turn the knobs while I explained the workings of it to him and his eyes lit up and he said to me "This is so cool!". There's hope for the future in our hobby but we have to get into the schools and let the kids know what they are missing. Local clubs should arrange with schools to come in to electronics classes and tell them about the golden days of radio and let them tune in a three dialer to see ,feel and hear what it's like. I would bet more kids would get excited about it if they were taught a little about restoring and collecting radios and actually got to play with a few. Radio has a great history and they should learn this too. Add in record players too now that kids are getting vinyl fever. We need to reach out to the kids and younger adults and I have no doubt a certain percentage will respond and get interested in it. Have classes after school or at night. We can't expect a new crop of radiomen to grow if we don't go out and plant the seeds. Just my thoughts.

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 Post subject: Re: Should we "Restore" ALL Radios?
PostPosted: Feb Sun 04, 2018 4:37 am 
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I have a table transistor radio from Burma / Myanmar. I won't touch it.

it is the only unrestored working set in the collection.

steve

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 Post subject: Re: Should we "Restore" ALL Radios?
PostPosted: Feb Sun 04, 2018 6:21 pm 
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The idea that people have to have experience with an old item for it to have value or be of interest is not always true. As a coin collector for over 60 years I admire and desire to own many coins from the late 1700s and early 1800s. Not many folks from those years are still around, but try to buy those coins and you will be amazed at the prices. Another similar type of collectible are rifles from the 1700s or early 1800s. Again the guys who bought and shot those rifles are not around, but that has not made their rifles worthless; far from it.


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 Post subject: Re: Should we "Restore" ALL Radios?
PostPosted: Feb Mon 05, 2018 3:30 am 
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OK. I'll speak my piece and you can hate me later if you disagree. I've collected radios for close to 20 years now. Initially, I thought it would be fun AND a good investment. Now, older but wiser, I see that I was half right. I hardly ever "restore" radios, and then only if they're in poor shape and are interesting but not particularly valuable. If I want to listen to the AM band, I have my car radio, my trusty RCA Victor RGG 17B transistor set, my Telefunken Gavotte (which never breaks), my Japan Radio NRD-535, and my cheap no-name clock radio that wakes me up in the morning. Oh, and one of those survivalist hand-cranked sets in case North Korea decides to send us a love letter (not that I expect that to happen). Lots of options, but nothing much worth listening to. Ball games and traffic reports, maybe.

There are lots of AM stations here in the Bay Area, but a friend who lives in rural Wisconsin tells me that he no longer has ANY local AM stations, so it's nice and quiet for DXing the AM band, harkening back to radio's roots in the 1920s. Some young people don't even understand what "radio" means. And AM broadcasting is less and less profitable. It's kind of a miracle that most of us today can still use essentially the same frequencies and modulation type for the same purpose they did when Grandpa was a lad. Eventually, though, maybe not this year or next, but within the next couple of decades, this is likely to change, with the AM spectrum reallocated to some other use, possibly unrelated to commercial broadcasting, that brings in more money.

What happens to our radio collections then? What will radios be used for? 1) Maybe you can still broadcast to your sets yourself via flea-powered home stations, as some do now, but that doesn't sound very popular. 2) Radios can still be desirable for their looks or just because people still like to collect them, as they do other antiques. But this doesn't necessarily require them to work. 3) Maybe you can use a converter to receive FM or satellite or whatever kind of broadcasting then exists. This would require your set to work at one frequency, making alignments a cinch! 4) Radios could be used as neat old objects to play ipods, etc. People are already learning to install jacks for this in old sets, but it only requires the power supply and amplifier sections to work.

The point is, appearance and mystique become more important. Original condition becomes more important. Working as originally intended becomes less important. But in the end it doesn't matter. I have about 100 sets around because I like having them around, whether they work or not. If they do work, they will get used about 10 minutes per year (just to check). And when I'm not around, the best way to ensure their survival is to get them to fellow collectors through an organization like the CHRS. Will they recap them? Of course! I can see Seth getting out those orange drop caps already :D But at least they won't go into the dumpster.

OK. That's my two cents. Feel free to tell me all the things I'm wrong about. I don't mind.

Bob


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 Post subject: Re: Should we "Restore" ALL Radios?
PostPosted: Feb Mon 05, 2018 4:15 am 
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Location: Traverse City, MI 49684
I'm a stranger to this discussion but can't resist a comment or two.

My oldest radio is also my least restored. It's a Crosley VI and when I finally got a functional power supply and connected up an antenna and some high-impedance phones, boom, I was listening to WSM in Nashville, about 700 miles from me. The more complex they get, the more likely they are to need repair to be functional.

Whether or not to do it may depend on the condition of the unit. People pay very high prices for un-built electronic kits from Heath, Knight, et al., and leave them un-built, in-box. On the other end of the spectrum we have the GE E-86 I got this summer for free. The finish was in really bad condition and veneers were peeling. The speaker grille cloth had a hole punched in it and the cone had a tear. The voice coil leads were messed up. This ain't no museum piece. But I'm busy refinishing the cabinet and will set about recapping when that's done. Then, unless I've missed some gross defect, it will be functional and have some value as a curiosity piece. It had close to zero value before, except as parts. Maybe it will outlast me and somebody will enjoy listening or examining the technology--large scale tubes, transformers, caps, resistors, coils. Almost everything in that radio can be reduced to a single chip now as in the little Sony SRF-59 that accompanies me on my daily after-work walking route, lasting forever on its one AA cell. What a contrast.

Chris Campbell


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 Post subject: Re: Should we "Restore" ALL Radios?
PostPosted: Feb Mon 05, 2018 5:07 am 
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this is the first of the four times this topic will be discussed this year on ARF.

:P

(all in fun, guys)

steve

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 Post subject: Re: Should we "Restore" ALL Radios?
PostPosted: Feb Mon 05, 2018 5:20 pm 
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Who is this mysterious person, never seen, that sneaks into homes and pulls radio chassis out of their cabinets to check for original parts? Is it someone down the street with a key? Have you ever posted a sign on your front door authorizing him or anyone else to enter your home at any time to remove your radio chassis for an inspection? I've never seen him and never heard of anyone else seeing him. He's an invisible intruder licensed by no one to inspect radios for originality.

All of my radios work. I have the time and skills to make them work. I enjoy listening to them. No imaginary figure is controlling what I do with radios.

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