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

Antique Radio Club of Illinois
Radiofest 2010 -- August 5-7, 2010


Web Edition

The Antique Radio Club of Illinois (ARCI) celebrates is 30th anniversary this year. Some of the radios that were new when ARCI started are now becoming collectibles. This is the fourth year that Radiofest has been held at the Willowbrook Holiday Inn Conference Center near Chicago just north of Interstate 55 on Route 83, the Kingery Highway. The hotel is a few years old, but it is well kept, the staff is great, and the rooms are clean and fresh.

My wife and I arrived on Thursday afternoon about 3 p.m. to check in at the hotel. We are usually unable to be there on Thursday for the auction, but this year was an exception. I brought several items along to sell in the main auction, and I was looking forward to seeing what other items would be alongside them. Sellers were setting up their tables in the parking lot, and a lot of activity was going on.

Slagel Radio Company of Fort Wayne, Ind., Model IV 3-dial battery set with speaker
This Slagel Radio Company of Fort Wayne, Ind., Model IV 3-dial battery set with speaker was an entry in the old equipment contest by Bob Slagel.

The main auction registration started on Thursday afternoon just after 4 p.m., and the line formed quickly outside the banquet room where the auction was held. The banquet room was crowded with people and auction lots. Chairs were set up facing a large projection screen, and tables with the items were set up around the perimeter of the room. In the center of the room, a Sony 360° remotely controlled pole camera feeding high definition video to a projection system had been set up by John Bart, ARCI President, and Rent Com. For years, this company has provided ARCI with AV equipment gratis. The same system was used later during the seminar presentations for graphics, illustrations and recording the presentation.

The total registration for the auction included 215 lots, 56 sellers, and 145 bidders. Frank Rasada was the floor manager directing the placement of lots around the room and generally keeping order. My wife started making a list of what was going to be auctioned, while I started getting photos of the room and the highlights of the items for sale. There were so many interesting things coming in we couldn't keep up. The bidding started about 6:30 p.m.

Harry Blesy called the auction, Art Bilski described the lots, and the bids were recorded by Margaret Coscino. There were well over 200 people in attendance. The camera was panned and zoomed onto each lot so everybody could get a close look at each item as the item went up for bids. When the auction ended just after 10:30 p.m., 132 of the lots had sold for a total of $17,680.

Waiting in 
the flea market
At 9:15 a.m. on Friday morning, consoles, tombstones, cathedrals, and table radios were waiting in the flea market for just the right buyer

There were several unusual and desirable items in the auction. The highest bid of the evening went for a beautifully restored 12-tube Zenith 12S232 "Walton" at $2,200. A Norden-Hauck Super 10 closed at $1,500, but neither the Zenith nor the Norden-Hauck met the seller's reserve. Two of the other items not reaching their reserve were a Dynaco 79 stereo amplifier at $325 and a DeForest D-10 at $570. Total bidding on the unsold lots was $12,870.

Of the items that were sold there was a green marbled Emerson AU106 Catalin for $2,000, a Western Electric KS-15750-L1 tube tester at $675, and a Scott Allwave 15 in a Warrington cabinet for $650. A Belmont Boulevard miniature, pocket tube radio and a pair of Altec Voice of the Theater horn speakers each went for $575.

Other special items included an Atwater Kent 10C breadboard, Marconi Wireless and DeForest Wireless stock certificates, a Sonotron 3-tube amplifier with tubes in the original cardboard display box, and a very old Thompson DC direct current watthour meter. One of the oddities was a regulation football with a Zenith sales promotional message printed on it that sold for $170.

I think my personal favorite was a United Metal and Stamping Company "Diamond" crystal set, just because it was cute. Most of the crowd hung on until the last lot was sold. Following the auction the club had free pizza delivered.

Sales promotion items in the special exhibit of Atwater Kent Radio
Shown here are a few sales promotion items in the special exhibit of Atwater Kent Radio.

Earlier in the week it had rained, but by Thursday, it cleared off and the weather was perfect for the flea market. Friday morning we started early, and by 7 a.m., things were buzzing. Many of the sellers were already there and set up. Even later in the morning there was quite a bit of activity.

I saw many interesting things in the flea market: some colorful Catalins, a Philco Predicta, a couple of Philco Safaris, and some early DeForest wireless equipment. There was a pair of 1961 vintage DuKane DuK-10 Ionovac plasma tweeters in working condition. These are rarely seen at flea markets.

I bought a copy of A History of Engineering and Science in the Bell System/Electronics Technology 1925-1975. This is the sixth in a series of seven books published by AT&T on their history that I am working my way through. I also picked up five old Wollensak portable tape recorders mostly for parts. Several sellers told me that they did very well with enthusiastic sales.

This year there were 208 spaces sold which is considered a sellout. There were visitors from 23 states and several foreign countries. Over 1,000 people attended the 3-day event.

A lot of people took advantage of the hospitality tent. Janet LaVelle provides cold drinks, chips, homemade cookies and light snacks for a donation offering under a large canopy with tables and chairs. The hotel sold breakfast entrées and then lunch later on at a serving area adjacent to the hospitality tent.

The Special Event amateur radio station, using call W3O in honor of the ARCI 30th anniversary, was operating 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday and 8 a.m. until noon on Saturday. Club member Chris Farley, KC9IEQ, brought several vintage pieces, including a B&W 5100B transmitter dating from the late 1950s, a National NC-303 receiver from roughly the same era, and a Johnson Matchbox antenna matcher for operation on AM.

Jim Novak, WA9FIH, set up a Hallicrafters FPM-300 for sideband operation. Jim also brought his Kenwood TR-7950 for two meters. The antenna setup was a multiband dipole for HF and a vertical for two meters. Due to a solar flare earlier in the week, the bands were problematic, but the station made a number of contacts in Europe, Israel, the U.S., and Canada. Special commemorative QSL cards were sent to contacts.

This year's old equipment contest categories were: (1) Made in Illinois, (2) Made in Wisconsin, (3) Made in Indiana, (4) Rare Plastics/Catalin, (5) Art Deco Radios, (6) Radios Pre-1930, (7) Radios 1930-WWII (1945), (8) Radios Post-WWII (after 1945), (9) Transistors/Novelty, (10) Speakers, and (11) Open Category. Display only entries were also in the contest room.

Olin Shuler displayed his collection of Motorola radios manufactured in the Quincy, Illinois, assembly plant from 1948 until 1968. David and Julia Bart displayed historical documents and collectible items from the establishment of the IEEE Edison Medal in 1909 and the 100th anniversary. This year there were 31 contest entries covering all categories.

Attendees enjoying the fine display of Atwater Kent items
A couple of Radiofest attendees enjoying the fine display of Atwater Kent items.

Some of the highlights of the entries were a Silver-Marshall "Sargent-Rayment Seven" made in 1928 that I thought bore a similarity and certainly competed with the Golden-Leutz Universal Transoceanic Phantom Type 9 which was also sold in 1928. Another interesting entry was an Andrea portable suitcase radio made for the military for tracking down spies. A really beautiful entry was the 1931 Chronovox clock radio. The intricate wood case was stunning. A rather novel entry was a set of three progressively larger horn speakers made from seashells, one of which was playing.

Outside the contest display room, a fabulous collection of early Atwater Kent radios, advertising items, literature and manuals was displayed in the hotel atrium. Tables of pristine breadboard sets, some of which are extremely rare, were shown. An Atwater Kent crystal set, several table radios, and consoles rounded out the display.

The special presentations this year began at 9 a.m. with Dr. Virginia Utermohlen-Lovelace, the author of Jack Binns and the First SOS, a biography about her grandfather Jack Binns. On the foggy morning of January 22, 1909, two ships collided in the waters off the Atlantic coast near the Nantucket lightship. Jack Binns was the shipboard wireless operator aboard the luxury liner "Republic" which had been struck by the "Florida" in the fog. Binns sent out a distress signal on the newly installed wireless equipment. The faint signal was picked up by the Marconi station at Siasconsett, Massachusetts, with Jack Irwin at the key. Thus began the story of the first use of wireless technology to summon rescue of ships at sea.

United Diamond Crystal Unit
This small crystal set called the "United Diamond Crystal Unit," manufactured by the United Metal Stamping and Radio Co., Cincinnati, Ohio, sold for $225.

At 10 a.m., ARCI's own Dan Clark gave us the history of a word we have all heard but maybe never knew much about, "Superheterodyne." He started with some of the key people in radio and told the history of how radio reception evolved from the tuned radio frequency sets of the twenties to the invention and development of advanced radio circuits, such as the regenerative, superregenerative, heterodyne, and superheterodyne methods invented and developed by pioneers, such as Reginald Fessenden and Edwin Armstrong. He described how superheterodyne circuits work and how they evolved into the technology that made radio a household word.

At 11 a.m., Olin Shuler talked about his experience as a Quality Engineer in the Production Engineering Department at the Motorola Consumer Products factory in Quincy, Illinois. Motorola manufactured its line of auto and table radios there from 1948 through 1968. Shuler talked about the history of the manufacturing facility and showed various examples of sets produced. As an adjunct to his presentation, he displayed a large museum quality collection of Motorola radios in the contest room.

The Ladies Luncheon hosted by Janet LaVelle from noon to 1 p.m. in the hotel restaurant dining room was a special time for the ladies to share a few minutes together.

At 1:30 p.m., Bill Ross, W9WR, hosted the Ham Radio Forum. This forum is a chance for Hams to get together to discuss their Amateur equipment, show off favorite pieces and ask questions.

At 2:30 p.m., Felicia Kreuzer and Geoffrey Bourne hosted a joint presentation on the new facility for the Antique Wireless Association museum in Bloomfield, New York, and the Museum of Radio and Technology in Huntington, West Virginia. Both museums have splendid collections of early radio history and even some early computer equipment.

The final presentation of the day was the practical side of radio restoration with Ed Huether and John Stone. These guys have all the answers about electrical restoration starting with essential safety precautions, troubleshooting, and the use of test equipment. The mysteries of alignment were covered using an actual example.

With a capacity crowd of over 100 people, ARCI President David Bart opened the awards banquet with a moment of silence for our radio collector colleagues Don Arpin, Larry Babcock, Ernie Hite, and Ed Bell, all of whom had passed away in the last 12 months. Bruce DuMont, president of the Chicago-based Museum of Broadcast Communications and host of the syndicated program "Beyond the Beltway," then gave a status report on the museum and accepted a digital collection of photographs and 30-year history of ARCI on CD and DVD.

Closing out the evening the musical quartet "Mississippi Flannigan" played selections from the 1950s through the 1970s.

One of the interesting events at Radiofest doesn't happen until the end. On Saturday morning Tom Kleinschmidt holds the donation auction, an assortment of donated items, parts and box lots that sellers didn't sell or don't have the room to take back home. Just because they didn't sell it doesn't mean that it's useless junk. I have personally picked up more than one treasure out of the stacks, including a GE Porta-Fi speaker in good condition for my dad's old 1960s stereo.

The proceeds this year were $1,001, which went to the club to help cover expenses. As always ARCI is very grateful for the donation of items and to the buyers who participate.

While other events, hamfests, and flea markets seem to be shrinking, Radiofest is showing itself to be a continuing strong event. ARCI is very grateful for the help of all the sellers, buyers, and volunteer that are so vital to making this event possible. We all look forward to the excitement of the auctions, the informative presentations, and the competition of the contests that Radiofest provides. The friendship and sharing of information are a big part of the radio collecting world, and Radiofest provides an excellent venue to share and be a part of this exciting pastime.

Thanks to Harry Blesy for the main auction sales sheets, John Bart for the main auction video recording, David and Julia Bart for the awards banquet notes and auction sheets, Jim Novak, WA9FIH, for the Amateur station summary, and Donna Schoo for recording the auction stats and all the photo descriptions.

Abbreviations: e=excellent, vg=very good, g=good, f=fair, p=poor, N.O.S.=new old stock, wk=working, nwk=not working, WT=with tubes, NT=no tubes, gf=good fil, WE=Western Electric. All prices have been rounded down to the dollar. Some low cost items and items in poor condition or non-specific descriptions are omitted. See print version or complete PDF for complete auction listing.

©2010 Daniel Schoo

The Antique Radio Club of Illinois (ARCI), P.O. Box 1139, La Grange Park, IL 60525, publishes the "ARCI News" monthly and "ARCI Update" periodically. Dues are $15. Events are the annual August Radiofest and bimonthly swap meets. For more information: Art Bilski, (630) 739-1060. E-mail:

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.

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