Antique Radio Club of Illinois
Radiofest XXVII -- July 31-August 2, 2008
Reported by Daniel Schoo
The Antique Radio Club of Illinois three-day Radiofest XXVII was held at the Willowbrook Holiday Inn Conference Center for the second year in a row. The hotel is on Route 83 (Kingery Highway) in Willowbrook, Illinois, a southwest suburb of Chicago.
On Thursday, preregistration started at 4 p.m. followed by the main auction at 6:30 p.m. The main auction was scheduled to be held in the large hospitality tent set up in the parking lot. However, this year because there were so many more quality items, it was moved indoors to the main ballroom. Because of the great attendance, ARCI has decided to hold the auction indoors again next year.
After Julia Bart and Barry Nelson had checked in the items, Harry Blesy conducted the auction for two and a half hours. 130 registered bidders competed for 152 lots of which 110 were sold. Items from the David Johnson collection, as well as a number of high quality and rare items from other collectors, were included.
The total auction sales were $25,730, which was more than double the amount of last year's auction. The highest closing bid of the evening was on a Scott 23 tube receiver in a Warrington cabinet, including an FM converter, for $1,600. Five lots sold for $1,200 or more. Immediately after the auction, the club provided free pizza for everybody.
When Donna and I arrived on Friday morning, the weather looked a bit threatening, but the rain passed, leaving a nearly perfect day. We saw several interesting pieces for sale, such as an Echophone Model 3, a beautiful Grebe Synchrophase MU-1 battery set restored to like-new condition, and a rare Martian Big 4 crystal set.
ARCI is actively fostering mutual support from other clubs and the presidents of AWA, and the Michigan, Colorado, and Wisconsin clubs were in attendance. The hotel made a last minute adjustment of the parking area and provided more spaces for sellers and the club, most of which were used. For buyers or casual gawkers the admission was free. The club also provided a free shuttle bus to offsite parking.
Plenty of flea market activity at the ARCI meet on Friday morning with buyers, sellers and lookers.
The hospitality tent was expanded this year with electric lighting for more effective evening use. Refreshments were available for a donation. The hotel also offered coffee and sweet rolls for breakfast and backyard barbecue fare for lunch.
The special event Amateur radio station KC9IPB operated with 1960s and 1970s vintage equipment supplied by Jim Novak WA9FIH, Ed Schumacher WA9GQK and Chris Farley KC9IEQ. They, along with Barry Nelson K9YVT, operated the station, making forty contacts on HF and 2-meter FM. Special event QSL cards were available to any Hams who contacted the station.
Chuck Doose displays his newly acquired horn speakers: left, an Atwater Kent Model M, and right, a Musette.
Check-in for the old equipment contest opened at 9 a.m. This year there were 42 entries, nine more than last year. Entries were in 10 categories: Radios No One Ever Heard Of, Radios Built in Illinois, Military/Ham/Communication Receivers, Any Communications Receivers, Radios of the '20s, '30s, '40s and '50s, Radios after 1960, Speakers, and Open.
We saw several unusual entries, such as a 1925 Buckwater "Supertone" superheterodyne battery set, which played and was in excellent condition. Another extraordinary entry was a collection of historical documentation, instruments, and samples of the 1858 Transatlantic Cable. Viewing opened to the public at 5 p.m. and continued until 9 p.m.
Ed Schumacher WA9GQK operated the ARCI Special Event Ham Station KC9IPB.
The Ralph Muchow Best of Show Award went to Charlie Stinger for his historical display about the Doron Brothers Electrical Company of Hamilton, Ohio. The People's Choice Award was given to David and Julia Bart for their display of historical items relating to the 150th anniversary of the Atlantic Cable.
Three new trophy awards were introduced: Best Restoration, Best Historical Display and Chairman's Award. They were won, in that order, by John Reinicke for a 1942 General Electric Model LCP-609 table radio, David and Julia Bart for the Atlantic Cable display, and Mike Feldt for a 1925 Buckwater Radio Corp. Supertone, Superheterodyne receiver.
In addition to the contest this year, there was a special display of horn speakers coordinated by Jay Volke and sponsored by the Antique Wireless Association. Horn speakers from the collections of nine collectors were showcased. This unique arrangement featured more than sixty rare examples, many of them never seen on public display.
An average of thirty to forty people attended each of the seminar presentations this year. The first presentation was given by Dr. Eric Wenaas author of Radiola The Golden Age of RCA 1919-1929. He outlined the early history of RCA, showed slides and talked about the early commercial communications equipment, the broadcast receivers, and samples of advertising.
Left to right, the horn manufacturers include Truetone, Magnavox, Bristol, Timmons, and Stromberg-Carlson.
Next up was Greg Hunolt author of the Battery Set Compendium. He explained that this project is an interactive database in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet computer file that holds a collection of information on individual battery radios and battery radio manufacturers from 1909 to 1929. He encouraged feedback from the attendees as an ongoing process of refinement and improvement. The Excel file is available from Hunolt at no charge, and eventually, it will also be available directly on the World Wide Web.
After lunch, Bill Ross W9WR hosted a forum on Amateur radio. He showed a fascinating video presentation on the last operational Alexanderson alternator, located in Grimeton, Sweden, a prevacuum tube, high-power rotating mechanical radio frequency generator. The Grimeton alternator developed 200 kilowatts at an operating frequency of 17.2 kilohertz and was used as a radio transmitter for commercial message traffic.
The final presentation was given by Sgt. Michael Goodale, public programs manager for the world famous First Division Museum at Cantigny Park in Wheaton, Illinois. Hosting over 110,000 visitors per year, the museum collects and displays military history relating to the United States First Infantry Division. The museum is interested in establishing contacts with the radio collecting community as future resources for information.
For the ladies, hospitality coordinator Janet LaVelle hosted the annual Ladies Luncheon at the hotel restaurant. A well stocked table full of prizes was included, and everyone was a winner. Good conversation and good food made an enjoyable afternoon.
This 1929 Peer Model AD, a portable AC radio, was an entry in the "Radios No One's Ever Heard Of" category.
At 6 p.m., the banquet program was introduced by ARCI president David Bart. The speakers this year were Peter Jensen, Jr. and William Jensen, the son and grandson of Peter Jensen, co-founder of Magnavox and founder of the Jensen Radio Manufacturing Company, manufacturer of Jensen speakers. They showed a series of slides on Jensen history and had a number of samples of Magnavox and Jensen products for display.
After the Jensen history, ARCI President David Bart announced the ARCI volunteer awards. The President's Choice Award for the Volunteer of the Year was presented to Ron Steinberg for his time and effort providing the outdoor sound systems, AV systems and support electronics for Radiofest. Ron has provided support to the club for many years and well deserves the recognition for his efforts.
After dinner, the Crown Vics, a 1950s style rock and roll band, provided the evening's musical entertainment. They presented a tribute to pioneer disk jockey Alan Freed who coined the term "rock and roll."
Saturday continued with the flea market, but there was not a lot of activity by late morning. Saturday morning the donation auction/sale was conducted by Tom Kleinschmidt. I donated some old Tektronix scope manuals that went quickly. The club took in generous proceeds from the donated items to help cover the costs of Radiofest and wishes to offer thanks to all of the donors for their support.
Once again the near perfect weather and the participation of so many volunteers and collectors contributed to the success of Radiofest 2008. Even with the high price of gasoline many people made Radiofest a must see event.
Ward Kremer purchased this Collins dual turntable console that was once used at radio station WAIT.
The club would like to thank everyone who was able to attend and those who volunteered their time to help with all of the details that go into a premier event like this. We would also like to thank the hotel and staff for the friendly help they provided. When I needed photocopies of documents for my report this year they were happy to run them off for me with a smile. We hope to see you all next year!
Lots of shining chrome on this E.H. Scott Philharmonic offered in the flea market by Mel Solderlind.
Bob Uhelski found a new home for this 1938 Philco Model 38-10.
The Antique Radio Club of Illinois (ARCI) publishes "ARCI Update" periodically and "ARCI Newsletter" monthly. Dues are $15. Events include the annual August Radiofest and bimonthly swap meets. For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org.
A warning: Auction prices are not current values. Our selection of auction items is not necessarily complete. A listing such as this cannot adequately include the condition of cabinets, chassis, transformers, tubes, the operating status of the set, and the inclusion of incorrect, restored or replica components, etc. Auction prices are the result of the excitement of the auction process, the skill of the auctioneer and the specific interests of the participants. Nevertheless, auction prices serve as useful references and as another element in the value determining process. The possibility of error always exists, and if we are notified, corrections will be reported.