OLD RADIOS, RADIO-GRAMS.
Some pictures of BEFORE and
AFTER restoration and re-engineering work...
1. Healing BEFORE.
See the 15Watt fridge light
bulb, top left, which over heated and degraded the fragile
plastic dial drum.
Dial cord had been badly
installed by earlier tech, and never fixed, and radio was not
used for 20 years.
All old electrolytic caps were
faulty, along with many other parts.
2. Healing BEFORE.
See front view of chassis, and
15W lamp is top right, and very poor design from 1950
3, Healing BEFORE.
See 3 grey colored electrolytic
caps installed in 1963. The 1963 repair ticket still tied to the
in 2011 listed the 3 caps and one 6U7G IF amp tube, cost was 5 pounds, about a
week's average wages
equal to about $1,050 av weekly earnings in 2012 money. This indicated the
lady who owned the radio
had been ripped off badly, because the repair should have cost $100 maximum, or 10
shillings, 10/-, in
Notice than many minor parts
appear to be stocks from before WW2, such as the black tubular
and all resistors.
4, Healing BEFORE.
Close up of under the chassis
before work. See the dial cord ran around a rubber bush at top.
The rubber has hardened, and a deep groove had formed from dial cord pressure over a
time, preventing correct operation. The rubber bush was removed,
and a different shaft fitted,
giving a slower tuning
rate especially useful for short wave bands. Notice the bone to
the right side,
no doubt a child had been eating a mutton chop over 50 years ago and
somehow had managed
to drop the bone which ended up wedged in under the chassis.
The radio was unaffected.
5. Healing AFTER.
Dial cord is replaced, added
switch to left side, better electrolytic caps used, and LED
lamps set up to replace
15W 240V mains lamp to
illuminate drum dial without any heating. Drum might now last
another 50+ years.
Dial cord arrangement shown
above was first tried, but was not as original. The dial cord
shown below in image 6
was how the final arrangement was done, close to the original
6, Healing AFTER
Two dial cords were used, each
with its own tension spring.
7. Healing After.
The cabinet had many unsightly
blemishes. The finish was a combination of both lacquer and
and evidence suggested the finish had been "touched up" of
fiddled with some 60 years ago.
The top of the cabinet and
all brown painted edging was in poor condition with areas of the
having been sanded down to paper thin to try to remove damage from wet vases of
flowers or hot objects etc.
I carefully sanded brown edgings and applied new brown paint and
re-coated with french polish.
Some carefully applied
stain was applied to thin walnut veneer, 3 coats of french
polish were applied all over,
and the cabinet began
to look very good.
The drum dial sits behind a curved perspex guard held in place
by a bakelite escutcheon.
The old perspex had become
yellowed and unclear, and was replaced with slightly thicker
The escutcheon was cracked and
needed re-gluing together with epoxy and all re-fitted properly.
Different brown bakelite knobs
were fitted because one was missing, and I added a new switch.
The cloth covering the
loudspeaker was very well cleaned. The loudspeaker was in
needing re-gluing of the cone
edge to metal basket and and re-aligning.
8. Healing AFTER.
9. Healing AFTER.
8 and 9 show the rear chassis
panel with new power cord, accessible mains fuse, RCA sockets,
new EL34 and 6SJ7 audio amp tubes, new ferrite rod antenna and LED dial lighting
fitted onto a
sculptured wood block.
10. Healing AFTER.
This shows the repaired
shielding around 6J8 and 6U7. 6J8 socket and tuning assembly
were resting on soft
rubber grommets to prevent
sound from speaker causing microphonic distortions. All grommets
and become weak and brittle, so
all were removed, with silicone used as a replacement which gave
soft mounting. The silicone is
likely to last 500 years.
11. Healing, AFTER.
Under the chassis looks a lot
different with about twice the number of original R&C parts
used for a
completely revised schematic
for all except the short wave tuning coils of the radio.
Short wave reception needed a long wire antenna, and was best if the
wire was taken up to a tree
or suitable high point.
The use of CD player or other analog stereo source gave very
pleasing mono sound.
Reformed Healing Audio amp Schematics :-
12. Howard BEFORE.
The Howard chassis was housed
in a very poor quality floor standing timber cabinet which was
in fair condition, and not
needing much work. Countless chassis like this one were made
by many Australian or other makers and normally used for a
"mantle radio" cabinet of
small size less than a cubic foot, and such radios sat on mantle
pieces around the nation.
Today's generation doesn't know what a mantle piece is. In olden
days before gas or oil
central heating was used in houses, frozen people used coal or
wood fireplaces in their house,
and most people could only afford one fireplace, and one
chimney. And only one radio.
And often there was some sort of shelf across the top of the
fireplace front, and that's
where the "house radio" lived for 20 years. People were quite
socially skilled back in those
old days, and tried to enjoy each other's company and not fight
over radio programs or
whose turn it was to fetch more wood or coal for the fire. It
wasn't like today where ppl
huddle in bedrooms alone with a screen and the darn Internet and
fake friends on
Inevitably, much larger wooden cabinets were made by eager poor
joiners to get a bigger
price from people who bought radios through such cabinet makers.
The larger cabinet
was often a 900mm high box with no back, and often was fitted
with a 200mm to 300mm
dia speaker instead of the small 100mm to 150mm dia used in
This gave much better "mellow" sound, because while bass
response would extend
down to 60Hz instead of only to 150Hz, the treble remained weak
and cut off at 2.5kHz
if you were lucky.
The cabinet for the Howard was in fair condition and only the
chassis was brought to me
for repair. There was a huge long list of problems and a total re-build took weeks.
13. Howard BEFORE.
2 tubes on left were original
queer European types with unusual recessed sockets with
4Vac heaters. Replacements
were not available. 2 other tubes had obviously been changed
from Euro to "normal" octal and a small additional 6.3 Vac
transformer added, maybe in
1955. The dial mechanism was the old metal disc and pinch wheel type which failed to
properly since about 1960. The dial itself had missing bolts and
plastic was shabby.
There were many things wrong everywhere with everything in this
The chassis is steel, but not plated, and the single coat of
paint was powdery and allowing
14. Howard BEFORE.
The set had been repaired
sometime after 2005, and some capacitors were replaced.
The set had given some sound for awhile, very quiet, lots of distortion, then
Ah, the Unknown Stupid Bastard has struck again! ( USB ) All the
big problems with
so many things had not been fixed.
15. Howard, AFTER.
The chassis looked better with set turned on than the photo shows. The whole dial
was re-engineered to have a dial cord and drum tuning. Magic eye
tuning now works.
The old 10" speaker and its output transformer were beyond
repair, and replaced with a
10" hi-fi speaker I
had "laying around". To increase the speaker bandwidth from the
2.5kHz, a 2.5" dome tweeter was fixed on aluminium straps bolted to edges of the 10"
The 1995 10" speaker had the same overall size and bolt hole
spacing as the original from
1945, so the owner would have no trouble re-installing the
speaker without cutting an extra
hole in the cabinet front for a tweeter. Thus the speaker was
able to reproduce high
sound from CD or other source from rear RCA terminals.
Bass from such a speaker
mounted in a large floor standing cabinet without any back
down to about 60Hz and
usually quite pleasing for most music.
16. Howard AFTER.
After stripping the whole steel
chassis bare it was sanded well and repainted with oil based
a pleasant pale green-grey. The
chassis top has an L shaped piece of flat colourbond sheet metal
siliconed and pop riveted to
the painted chassis to hide all old tube socket holes. The type
rectifier tube was replaced
with silicon diodes - normal practice for me. The EL34 on left
used as a triode for 5 good
watts to power the new speaker through a new output transformer
bottom centre. I wound this OPT. The original audio output tube might
have made 2 watts,
OK for the old speaker when it was new, but the new speaker
needs more power.
I also fitted a new power transformer. Other new replacement
tubes were 6AN7 mixer,
hidden from view at far top right, then 6N8 IF amp, AF 12AU7 detector,
12AU7 AF pre-amp
and tone control, 12AX7 AF amp input/driver for EL34.
17. Howard, AFTER.
Under the chassis is completely
rewired with my own unique circuit. It has more than
twice the number of parts, but
all are needed to get the quality Mr Howard left out
back in 1938 because it may
have been Too Hard.
Sound quality is now fabulous!
18. Howard, AFTER.
Another under-chassis view. The
red antenna terminal for a long wire antenna is good for short
TREVOR'S RADIO. I don't have any
BEFORE pictures for the next radio set which had no brand name
anywhere on the chassis
or its floor standing cabinet which was yet another low grade
The chassis was a fair old mess, and all required a total
re-build with better circuit.
An enormous number of hours were spent, as usual.
19. Trevor's radio chassis
There is now a long ferrite rod
for local AM stations, and wires are shielded where possible,
a brass shield around the coil on the rod. Such tight shields are kept 2mm away
from coil, and have a
gap so they do not form a shorted turn, but act to shield the
coil from electrostatic pick up, but while
allowing the magnetic portion of electro-magnetic radio wave to
be picked up without so much noise
from modern devices and fluorescent lamps. Chassis was
fully re-painted, timber block used for ferrite
rod support, dial mechanism re-made. Black control shaft at
front is for switching to CD or other source.
20. Trevor's radio chassis
The chassis rear shows new
mains cable and mains fuse. I always use a 3 wire mains cable
connect the chassis to
Earth via green-yellow wire. External sound source such as CD
player can be
plugged in at the RCA terminals. I would guess this radio chassis was
originally bought by a late1930s
furniture maker who could sell his cabinet work with the radio inside and get more income.
The floor standing cabinet for this radio chassis was of minimal
size, with cheap plywood stained
dark, and with a small round
port hole for the dial. So such a radio could never be a high
collector's item. But it performs so much better than many
better looking floor stander radios held by
This chassis had a nice big timber floor standing cabinet which
did not need any work, except
the cheap pink cloth used in front of the speaker looked quite
odd. The owner wanted it to stay that
way, so it was. The chassis was
a rusted mess, needing weeks of work totally re-building it all.
21. Oceanic, After.
The nice big dial is some sort
of fragile early plastic and the translucent paint on the rear
had been touched up by someone
badly and any attempt to make it look better at night would have
ruined it, so all I could do was
clean and re-assemble it all and place metal clips to hold the
warped plastic to its
steel frame. Clips remain hidden
when chassis is in cabinet. Chassis was sanded clean inside and
given a coat of of "crackle
22 Oceanic, AFTER.
The set has 6J8 mixer, 6U7 IF
amp, 6SN7 AF detector, 6J7 audio driver tube, and EL34 output
triode mode I added a ferrite rod antenna for local AM and the
red terminal at LH side is for a SW
long wire antenna. Mains transformer was removed, varnished,
replaced, and painted black.
23 Oceanic AFTER.
The circuit was
completely re-designed and re-wired and included one extra
switch added to allow
any modern stereo source signal such as from a CD player,
cassette, or phono signal if amplified to
line levels. Much old
radio wiring was done using cloth covered rubber insulated
stranded wire and
the insulation disintegrates and there is risk of short circuits and damaged parts in
PVC insulated wire was used for re-wiring.
The original set was made
sometime between 1939 and 1950.
It was used in a large timber
floor standing cabinet, and its sound quality would have always
dreadful, but now it performs beautifully.
Other miscellaneous AM radio
The range of 10 AM radio stations which some of my
customers listen to in Canberra :-
My irrational horrible scores out of 10 for listenability
666 kHz, Triple 6 ABC
Canberra. Local content, rather boring, parochial, too
too much old fart chat about flippant issues. 4/10
846 kHz , ABC Radio
National – ABC Many interesting discussion programs,
some world music.
It is worth having a good AM radio for this station alone. 10/10
1008 kHz 2KY – Racing narrow-cast. I
don't bet on horses. BORING! horse racing, for which
hi-fi is not needed. -1/10
1053 kHz, 2CA – Capital Radio
Network Boring repeated replay of a small number of
old hit records,
boring advertising. 1/10
1125 kHz Radio 1RPH – Radio Print Handicapped Network.
Good to listen to news papers being read, some book reads,
dramas, announcers have foggy old voices
and cater for mainly older people with impaired senses who have
fond memories of the heyday of radio
between 1935 and 1955, especially including WW2. I have enough
compassion for other less well
off than myself to give it a high score, 9/10. There is little
advertizing, and although signal is only 300Watts
at transmitter, sound quality is good like ABC Radio National,
because RPH caters for those who cannot
read, so a radio gives them their world.
1206 kHz, 2CC – Capital Radio Network Boring
repeated replay of a small number of old hit records.
Red-neck talk back,
unintelligent BS most days, advertising. 1/10
STAR Country Canberra Country music, no need for hi-fi.
Not my scene to listen to crap songs
about achy breaky hearts and being lonesome by Oz singers with
false US accents. 1/10
1440 kHz 1SBS – SBS Radio Multicultural. Mainly foreign language broadcasts with
small music content.
Excellent for those multicultural type who enjoy music with
there own languages 8/10
1620 kHz Rete Italia – Italian Radio – Sth Canberra.
Italian language broadcast 5/10
1629 kHz Rete Italia – Italian Radio – Nth Canberra.
Italian language broadcast 5/10 Issa notta too badda.
Summa time they havva de Tarantella, we canna be 'appy.
I find I like ABC Radio
National during breakfast, lunch, dinner, and during coffee
But not all ABC talk subjects
interest me and a quick tune along the band reveals nothing
a listen so I will then switch
to ABC Classic FM 102.3Mhz, or the news station on 103.9Mhz.
My own AM kitchen radio which I built from scratch in 1999 does
not pick up FM. But I have a generic old
Pioneer AM-FM tuner from about 1975 sitting on top of the timber
tube radio cabinet, about 450mm wide,
250mm high, and 250 front to back. The radio speaker is in a box
800mm high, 450mm wide, 280mm deep
and I have a Rola Deluxe 300mm dia speaker made in 1953. It does
between 45Hz and 4kHz, and a 25mm
Foster dome tweeter does above 4kHz. The box is nicely ported
for bass reflex. The radio audio amplifier
has 12AX7 driver plus EL84 in SE triode. Because the speaker is
so sensitive, little power is needed for
thundering levels of marvelous plate rattling bass, while treble
goes to 10kHz with AM because of how the
IF amp stage is configured with variable IFT coupling.
Sometimes nothing is
interesting on radio, so I hit the off button. But most days
radio is an important source
of music and info, and
I'd have a much poorer life without radio broadcasting. Without
broadcasting, you have to
spend time searching for interesting media content elsewhere,
and radio allows highly trained people to do
your searching for you, and with music they will often make far
better choices than you or me.
Some customers I've had wanted
their old equipment fully restored to its original condition
to the original appearance of perhaps 70 years ago. Much ancient electronic equipment
comes to me in a
terribly unsafe condition. I will always try to fit modern safe mains wiring and a
fuse so that ancient
equipment won't give you a shock, electrocute your cat or burn down
your house, so the mains
cabling may change slightly.
Full restoration is more
expensive than providing the minimal repair of the equipment to
make it work.
Restoring the appearance may
cost much more than the electronic restoration.
I know furniture restoration
tradesmen who can do french polishing and veneer repairs.
Their cost usually exceeds mine
for any large mantle radio or larger floor standing radio or
finishes are not much cheaper but I am well skilled at this, and
Polyurethane varnish is more
rugged than french polish shellac.
For any given amplifier, pair of
speakers or old radio, there may be a need to replace any old
including switches, mains cabling, volume & tone controls,
dial tuning assemblies, electrolytic and
paper+foil capacitors, resistors, tube sockets, tubes etc which
may threaten the the future reliability
of the item or become dangerous. The repair has to include
preventative work to ensure a happy
future. So when I repair an old 1950 tube amp or radio, I don't
just replace one little part, leaving
many others which will fail sooner rather than later.
Usually many parts need replacing to get low noise and low
distortion giving good performance
of the unit to meet modern expectations of sound quality and
I am well skilled at designing amps and radios to give
better-than-original performance but it
does take a lot of time, and any time you contact me I am likely
to have many months of work
ahead of me.
Old radios, and radiograms have
been a small part of my work, but much care is taken to ensure
Canberra's FM radio stations. This time I won't
be an old curmudgeon and award points out of 10.
such old items benefit from restoration for future generations
87.6 MHz Raw FM –
87.8 MHz Cue FM – Student Narrow-cast
88.0 MHz Radio Austral – Spanish narrow-cast
88.7 MHz ACTTAB Radio – Racing
89.5 MHz Valley FM – Community
91.1 MHz CMS
Radio – Multicultural Radio
91.9 MHz 1WAY FM
– Canberra Christian Radio Limited (with 94.3 MHz Tuggeranong repeater)
92.7 MHz ArtSound FM – Music
and arts (with 90.3 MHz Tuggeranong
96.7 MHz QBN FM – Community radio
97.5 MHz Hot Country Radio
98.3 MHz 2XXfm – Community radio
101.5 MHz Triple J – ABC (with
95.9 MHz Tuggeranong repeater)
102.3 MHz ABC Classic FM – ABC (with
99.1 MHz Tuggeranong repeater)
103.9 MHz ABC NewsRadio – ABC (with
99.9 MHz Tuggeranong repeater)
104.7 MHz 104.7 – Southern Cross Austereo/ARN (with 100.7 MHz
105.5 MHz SBS Radio –
106.3 MHz Mix 106.3 – Southern Cross Austereo/ARN (with 107.1 MHz
Hot Country – Capital Radio
My Canberra Digital – Capital
Radar – Southern Cross Austereo
Mix 106.3 Plus – ARN