Antique Radio Classified
A.R.C.--The National Publication For Buyers And Sellers
Of Old Radios And Related Items--Published Monthly

Antique Wireless Association
Conference and Auction Report
Rochester, New York -- August 23-26, 2006


Web Edition

The 45th AWA conference was held August 23-26, 2006, at the RIT Conference Center, Rochester, New York, as it had been for many years. However, a different schedule was in effect. The flea market opening was moved to Thursday, and the auction was held on Saturday with programs on Thursday and Friday. Nevertheless, on Wednesday evening, one program was held and flea market setup was allowed. Selling was prohibited until Thursday, but this rule was not enforced, and selling did take place during the Wednesday setup.

Thursday, the opening day of the flea market, was blessed with excellent weather, but the flea market area was further reduced from last year and there were many spaces unoccupied. Still, the action on Thursday morning was brisk, and some good gear changed hands.

Opening day for the flea market
Opening day for the flea market was Thursday, and the weather was excellent, as this photo shows.


The Thursday morning lecture by Bengt Svenson on his new book was very well attended. A sellout at the auction, the book is about early 20th century engineer Ernst Alexanderson and his important work on the development of telegraphy, telephony, radio and television.

There were two full days of programs on Thursday and Friday and most of them were exceptionally good and well attended. Fortunately, AWA has a membership gifted in historical knowledge and a willingness to put together presentations that enlighten and entertain the rest of us. A lot of effort goes into creating this exchange of information, and that makes the conference well worth attending.

Thursday evening was rainy, and Friday morning was gloomy and cloudy with light intermittent rain. Nevertheless, in the flea market, a few vendors opened for business at around 7:00 a.m. The weather cleared for a little bit, and it appeared that the flea market might be busy again, but at 10:00 a.m., the rain came down, and that killed any further flea market activity for the meet. The hope may have been that the market could be sustained through Saturday, but the weather caused many sellers to pack up for home on Friday.

The contest theme this year was Military Radio, and there were some outstanding entries, along with others in the rest of the usual categories. I expected more entries in the military category, but perhaps the size and heft of some of the military equipment held some people back. On Thursday, there were a couple of enthusiasts with some operating World War II field communications rigs set up at the rear of the flea market. Nonetheless, the contest entries were excellent and well worth the trip to the conference to see them.


A group of military radio collectors set up this man-powered World War II field station.

Jane Chidester awaits buyers
Jane Chidester awaits buyers for the impressive collection of speakers, including a "ship speaker" and one with a dancing girls motif.


Member Peter Yanczer never ceases to amaze us with his mechanical abilities. In addition to his previously shown working mechanical TV that was operating in the contest (see also the auction report), Peter had fabricated from scratch a "Radio Love Message" arcade machine that actually dispensed a printed message upon deposit of a coin. Peter had seen such a machine in a museum some years ago and was so captivated by it that when he could not find one to purchase, he decided to make a replica himself. This was truly a labor of love and an outstanding piece of work.


Merrill Bancroft's entry in the TRF contest category was two of the earliest factory assembled Atwater Kent breadboards. The Model 4052, rear, has one stage of RF amplification, a detector, and two stages of audio amplification. The Model 4066, front, the first Atwater Kent set with five tubes, has an additional stage of RF amplification.


The Auction

The auction was moved to Saturday with no separate sales of tubes on the previous evening. The start was moved back to 8:30 a.m., and the auctioneer was Richard Estes, assisted by his brother John, along with Bob Dobush to handle the tube sales. Estes Auctions brought a new level of professionalism to the sale. Overall, there were 380 lots entered and the total sale proceeds were about $38,000, which is down from last year and on a par with 2004. Only 328 of the 380 lots were sold due to failure to meet seller reserves. The auction concluded at 2:50 p.m.


At first glance, these radios might be mistaken for Atwater Kent sets. However, they are 1935 Japanese radios from Yamanaka Electric Co. The model numbers are M-3B4 and M-44


An interesting note is that Peter Yanczer had entered his 60-line, mechanical mirror, screw TV complete operating system in the auction with a $20,000 reserve. Considering the work that went into it, this was an amazing bargain for some museum, but there were no takers. Peter did offer two prototype mirror screw assemblies, one of which sold for $200.

Overall, the conference was enjoyable, and the shorter scheduling did cut expenses a little. This is the meet where you still see old friendly faces that you don't see anywhere else. Reunions and socialization dominate in a venue that is clean and comfortable. The house restaurant offers an informal, casual atmosphere with good food, and an indoor/outdoor pool and exercise room give attendees options when they hit radio overload.

Still, the trend in attendance continues on a downward spiral with only about 400 registered attendees. Some of the prior problems with this venue have resolved themselves simply by virtue of the reduced participation (lack of parking, need for shuttle buses etc.). One attendee reported on the Internet that he had "a great time and can't wait until next year." Plans for the 2007 conference indicate that it will be at the same place at the same time of year.

Grebe Model CR-13
This nice Grebe Model CR-13, with its distinctive adjustment knobs, was one of Merrill Bancroft's contest entries.


See print version of A.R.C. for complete auction listing.

Photo credits: Ray Chase, Bobby Lyman.

(Ray Chase, 1350 Marlborough Ave., Plainfield, NJ 07060; Estes Auctions, 7404 Ryan Rd., Medina, OH 44256; (888) 769-4992;

Ray Chase has been a radio enthusiast and a collector of many types of radios for years. Currently, he specializes in World War II electronics equipment, as well as early battery superheterodynes. He also has an extensive collection of radio documentation and ephemera.

For information about joining AWA, write to P.O. Box 421, Bloomfield, NY 14469-0421, or Dues are $20 (U. S.), $25 (elsewhere). AWA publishes the "AWA Journal" quarterly, holds an annual national conference and regional meets, and maintains a museum.

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.

pre-auction inspection period
The pre-auction inspection period gave prospective buyers an opportunity to examine the goodies.

Atwater Kent Model 10C
This Atwater Kent Model 10C, being shown by John Estes, sold for $700. Auctioneer Richard Estes is seen in the background.

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