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 Post subject: Is the Select-A-Tenna a Good Choice for Tube Radios?
PostPosted: Mar Tue 06, 2012 4:05 am 
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I'm talking about pre-WW2 radios with no internal antenna. Something like a Philco 90 or 16 with only a connection point in the back for antenna and ground. I don't really have room outside to run a long wire. And yes, I know it is fairly easy to fabricate your own loop antenna but I need something that is a little less conspicuous (to keep the wifey happy). I also don't have a ton of time to fabricate one and I'd rather spend what little time I do have for this hobby actually working on radios.

I'm also really thinking about the Degen TG39 that is being advertised on eBay. A little pricey when compared to the Select-A-Tenna but I really like the old style look.

Both models mention that they can be physically connected to a radio, and not just passively connected.

What is eveyone's thoughts? Will either of these work in the aforementioned application?

Thanks!!!

- Geoff


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 Post subject: Re: Is the Select-A-Tenna a Good Choice for Tube Radios?
PostPosted: Mar Tue 06, 2012 12:58 pm 
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The Select-A-Tenna works by inductive coupling to an existing built-in loop or Ferrite antenna.

I've tried mine with a Philco farm radio (no internal loop antenna) and there was no improvement in reception.

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 Post subject: Re: Is the Select-A-Tenna a Good Choice for Tube Radios?
PostPosted: Mar Tue 06, 2012 1:26 pm 
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You could build a loop.

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Larry

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 Post subject: Re: Is the Select-A-Tenna a Good Choice for Tube Radios?
PostPosted: Mar Tue 06, 2012 2:13 pm 
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Geoff :
Most of the Selectatennas do not have the external connections. Sellers copy information from other auctions word for word so you need to have the seller verify that the one you bid on has the external connections.
A good alternate is a short wire antenna and ferrite core antenna coil in series.
Gnd can be house grounds or a short wire running along the baseboard below the antenna.


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 Post subject: Re: Is the Select-A-Tenna a Good Choice for Tube Radios?
PostPosted: Mar Tue 06, 2012 4:13 pm 
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rocketeer wrote:
You could build a loop.

Image

Larry


Like I said, I need something a little less conspicuous to keep the wife happy.

I saw this on eBay:

Image

http://www.ebay.com/itm/180567680771

About 11" across. Again, a little pricey but I just don't have the time to build my own loop and what little time I do have for this hobby I'd rather spend working on radios. It has two posts that I assume I can run wires from the antenna and ground connections on my radios.

What are the opinions on the TG39?

Thanks,
Geoff


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 Post subject: Re: Is the Select-A-Tenna a Good Choice for Tube Radios?
PostPosted: Mar Wed 07, 2012 6:28 am 
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From the web (edited)...........

"The Select-A-Tenna 541-M features a 3.5 mm "mini" jack on the front panel that allows the unit to be connected to a outside long wire and ground. This is handy for those trying to listen inside a concret building or trailer - or, alternately, this jack may be used as an output jack to connect the [Select-A-Tenna] to the AM radio's antenna input terminal and ground terminal. (This would be for a radio that does not have a built-in Ferrite antenna). "

This may possibly be what you are looking for.... I have one I got at a fleamarket for $15 - but I've never tried the jack and have only used it with transistor radios.......... Give me a day or 2 and I'll try it with a vintage tube radio and let you know how it did......

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 Post subject: Re: Is the Select-A-Tenna a Good Choice for Tube Radios?
PostPosted: Mar Wed 07, 2012 6:52 am 
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jgj6331 wrote:
From the web (edited)...........

...inside a concrete building or trailer

Wow, I have never seen a concrete trailer! OK, I will go away now.

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 Post subject: Re: Is the Select-A-Tenna a Good Choice for Tube Radios?
PostPosted: Mar Wed 07, 2012 7:31 am 
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jgj6331 wrote:
From the web (edited)...........

"The Select-A-Tenna 541-M features a 3.5 mm "mini" jack on the front panel that allows the unit to be connected to a outside long wire and ground. This is handy for those trying to listen inside a concret building or trailer - or, alternately, this jack may be used as an output jack to connect the [Select-A-Tenna] to the AM radio's antenna input terminal and ground terminal. (This would be for a radio that does not have a built-in Ferrite antenna). "

This may possibly be what you are looking for.... I have one I got at a fleamarket for $15 - but I've never tried the jack and have only used it with transistor radios.......... Give me a day or 2 and I'll try it with a vintage tube radio and let you know how it did......

Thanks! Please let me know how it works out.

- Geoff


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 Post subject: Re: Is the Select-A-Tenna a Good Choice for Tube Radios?
PostPosted: Mar Wed 07, 2012 9:06 am 
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Geoff wrote:
jgj6331 wrote:
this jack may be used as an output jack to connect the [Select-A-Tenna] to the AM radio's antenna input terminal and ground terminal. (This would be for a radio that does not have a built-in Ferrite antenna). "

This may possibly be what you are looking for.... I have one I got at a fleamarket for $15 - but I've never tried the jack and have only used it with transistor radios.......... Give me a day or 2 and I'll try it with a vintage tube radio and let you know how it did......

Thanks! Please let me know how it works out.

- Geoff

I too would be interested, as my Select-A-Tenna's are both the original style, sans jack.

I imagine that the Select-A-Tenna, as any other tunable loop, would have to be tuned to the frequency the radio is tuned to, for decent reception.

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 Post subject: Re: Is the Select-A-Tenna a Good Choice for Tube Radios?
PostPosted: Mar Thu 08, 2012 5:34 pm 
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Okay - the results of my (un)scientific study.............

The Select-A-Tenna (SAT) does work with older tube radios - but the results vary between different types of radios and within the types themselves. I did this test during mid-day (when signals are weakest) and tried both early 30's TRF-type radios and superhets from the 40's. I didn't use an output meter - just my own 2 ears. I compared the SAT's performance to a long wire antenna and to a decent transistor receiver with an un-aided ferrite loop. In no instance did the SAT match a long wire - and with the earlier radios I could not receive stations nearly as well as with the transistor set. With most all the superhets, the reception sounded essentially equivalent to the transistor radio. That said, you won't be blown away by the performance.

The SAT is cumbersome to use in - you have to twiddle the radio's dial while racking the SAT's dial back and forth.... and a third hand would be useful to turn the SAT unit itself at the same time (since it is somewhat directional). The SAT's tuning is edgy - a vernier would help.

My conclusions: If you have a decent superhet, have a particular weak station you'd like to receive and can't install some form of longwire - an SAT (541-M - with the jack) might be useful once you get it all tuned in (and leave it) ..... but if you're a BCB dial hopper - I'd suspect you'd soon tire of all the required acrobatics......

Here's a good discussion of the SAT loop and some general principles that apply to night-time listening (which I did not evaluate).......

http://www.radiointel.com/review-2loop.htm

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 Post subject: Re: Is the Select-A-Tenna a Good Choice for Tube Radios?
PostPosted: Mar Thu 15, 2012 7:57 pm 
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Well, I went ahead and got the TG39 and it came in the mail the other day. And before everyone starts yelling that I could have made my own let me quote from my post above:

I don't really have room outside to run a long wire. And yes, I know it is fairly easy to fabricate your own loop antenna but I need something that is a little less conspicuous (to keep the wifey happy). I also don't have a ton of time to fabricate one and I'd rather spend what little time I do have for this hobby actually working on radios.

Image

For me at least the TG39 made a huge difference. I hooked it up to my Philco 71 and I am getting more stations than ever. One station that I really like to listen to was always very weak and now it comes in clear and strong. I also didn't realize how much electrical noise I was getting with my 5 foot piece of wire that I originally had. With the TG39 there is a significant amount of noise that is not there anymore.

- Geoff


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 Post subject: Re: Is the Select-A-Tenna a Good Choice for Tube Radios?
PostPosted: Mar Fri 16, 2012 1:06 pm 
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Is there a USA distributor for the TG39?

Thanks -

Dan


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 Post subject: Re: Is the Select-A-Tenna a Good Choice for Tube Radios?
PostPosted: Mar Fri 16, 2012 2:10 pm 
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Location: Dallas Tx.
I've bought bulk electronics parts from Hong Kong. Delivery was fast and with no problems.
My opinion is that for 85.00 you could build a better 2 ft ferrite tuned loop using Litz and recycled milk carton lumber framing.


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 Post subject: Re: Is the Select-A-Tenna a Good Choice for Tube Radios?
PostPosted: Mar Wed 21, 2012 3:13 am 
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I just picked up one these - a Grundig AN-200 - for $15 at Radio Shack.
Using it inductively with my Grundig S350 DL portable - remarkable reception of stations all over the northeastern part of the USA.
Hard wiring it to my circa 1930 GE console - also pretty darn amazing - for the first time the old gal is hearing stations from NYC and Boston from here in Philadelphia.
Best $15 I've spent in quite a while…

Of course your mileage may vary!

Regards -
Dan

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 Post subject: Re: Is the Select-A-Tenna a Good Choice for Tube Radios?
PostPosted: Mar Wed 21, 2012 7:01 am 
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phinegan wrote:
I just picked up one these - a Grundig AN-200 - for $15 at Radio Shack.

I can't find it on their website. Did it seem to be a normally stocked item where you bought it?

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 Post subject: Re: Is the Select-A-Tenna a Good Choice for Tube Radios?
PostPosted: Mar Wed 21, 2012 10:02 am 
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Fifities, I noticed the same thing - the Grundig antenna isn't listed on Radio Shack's webpage, but it is a stock item locally. It's also available on Amazon, though their price is higher.

Regards -

Dan


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 Post subject: Re: Is the Select-A-Tenna a Good Choice for Tube Radios?
PostPosted: Mar Wed 21, 2012 10:41 am 
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Thanks Dan;

I'll call the local Rat Shack later today and see if they have any. I have two Select-A-Tennas, but they don't have a connection for the radio, like this one does.

Richard

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 Post subject: Re: Is the Select-A-Tenna a Good Choice for Tube Radios?
PostPosted: Mar Wed 21, 2012 1:53 pm 
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$15 might be a local phenomenon - that antenna normally sold for $30+.... Radio Shacks often clear out old or dropped merchandise as "clearance". Unless advertised in a flyer - it is most often hit or miss - with the pricing solely up to the individual owner. We had 4 Radio Shacks at one point and not all of them had the same clearance items. When they did, the pricing often varied widely. That this antenna is no longer shown on the website (it used to be) - I suspect it has been discontinued........

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 Post subject: Re: Is the Select-A-Tenna a Good Choice for Tube Radios?
PostPosted: Mar Mon 26, 2012 8:58 am 
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I bought a Grundig AN-200 at my local Ratt Shack for $19.95 the other day.

It was their last one, and calling the other two stores in our valley determined that it was the last to be sold here.

I hooked it to the antenna input of my Philco 46-131 farm radio, and noticed an immediate improvement in reception, but the best was yet to come.

Today we had a severe rain and wind storm, and it knocked power out for 5 hours. Since I couldn't play in my sandbox (the internet), I figured since the radio is battery powered, might as well twirl the dial.

Boy was I impressed! Stations that radio never had a prayer receiving were coming in completely clear, from 530 (LAX information) to an Oriental language station at 1650 Kc. I immediately ID'd stations from San Bernardino, Bakersfield, Fresno, and San Diego just between 540 and 600 Kilocycles, during daylight hours. I never get KMJ (560, Fresno) unless it's after dark, with this or any other radio.

Once power was restored, however, nirvana was over. I just had no idea how much QRM is produced by the electrical circuits and running appliances in the house. Got a real good lesson today.

And I would say that antenna is made for this type of radio, which doesn't have a loop antenna, but rather relies on a long-wire set-up.

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