A.R.C. -- THE NATIONAL PUBLICATION FOR BUYERS AND SELLERS
OF OLD RADIOS AND RELATED ITEMS -- PUBLISHED MONTHLY
Collector's Guide to Antique Radios: Combined CD-ROM Edition,
By Marty & Sue Bunis and George Kaczowka
REVIEWED BY RAY BINTLIFF
From Antique Radio Classified
(Copyright 1998 by John V. Terrey - For personal use only.)
All of the information contained in the four book editions of the Bunis Collector's Guide, along with additional information and features, is now available in CD-ROM format. This CD was produced by Marty and Sue Bunis and an added team member, George Kaczowka. Marty and Sue are well known to radio collectors, and George Kaczowka (pronounce the "K" and then mumble a bit, according to George)is about to become a household name as the result of his contributions to their excellent product.
This CD-ROM edition features all of the photos and descriptive material for the radios that appeared in the four editions of their Collector's Guide. Some models that appeared in the earlier editions were dropped from the fourth edition, but they have been included in the CD. Only tube-type radios now appear in this CD version. The great interest in transistor radios now justifies separate publications.
Like the book versions, the CD includes sections on the "Explanation of Pricing" and "Basic Radio Terms."
The CD contains more than 1,800 color photographs and pricing for over 9,000 models.
Thus far, the CD edition may seem to be just a combination of the four printed editions. However, it gets even better. The CD also contains an "Index to Manufacturers," a "Master Model Number Index," a "Master Photo Index," and a "Zenith Research Section." Just the sort of data suited to computer applications.
The "Index to Manufacturers" is described by the authors as "Just like the books!" But it's really much handier. Radios are listed in order by the manufacturer's name and then model number. But accessing the information by computer is much quicker than flipping through the four books.
Do you have a radio with a model number only and is the manufacturer's name unknown or uncertain? Try a search of the "Master Model Number Index" to locate the model number and then call up its descriptive page. This search capability is an excellent example of a made-for-computer application.
OK, but what if you have a radio without any identification? Then it is time to try the "Master Model Index." This index is organized by model type (floor, table or portable) and provides a small "thumbnail" picture for each of approximately 1,800 radios. Just click on any thumbnail picture to see the radio's detailed description page that includes a large picture.
Zenith buffs will be happy to see the "Zenith Research Section" By using the data in the "Chassis Index," a particular radio can be tracked down by either chassis number, model number or serial number. More than 350 chassis numbers are covered. Possible uses for this section include: determining the model number -- if you know the serial number; finding the radio's tube complement and Intermediate Frequency; and obtaining a list of other models that used the same, or similar, chassis. The index also provides references to Zenith and Rider manuals.
INSTALLATION AND USE
Frankly, I dread installing new software on my computer. Sometimes the task is most unpleasant. But installing this CD is a cinch. It is designed to run on both IBM-compatible and MAC PCs that have a Web Browser installed. The authors list Netscape (Version 2.02) and Microsoft Internet Explorer as suitable browsers. Version 4.0 of the Microsoft browser is recommended based on user feedback.
Some difficulty may be experienced when using version 3.0. With my IBM-compatible PC running Windows 95 and version 4.0, it was only necessary to pop the CD into the machine and the CD was up and running. Using the program to find information and to move through its various sections proved to be simple and intuitive.
Contents of the CD, including pictures, can be printed simply by clicking the "Print" icon. There are some restrictions, so keep in mind that you are printing copyrighted material and treat it as such.
[When traveling to meets, your editor has already discovered that the Bunis CD is much easier to pack than four books. Using his MacIntosh PowerBook laptop computer, he experienced no difficulty accessing price info and photos.]
How does the CD stack up against the book versions? Some answers are obvious. Reduced storage space as compared to the four printed volumes is one clear advantage. Is your bookcase groaning under the load too? The ability to search for specific information and the speed at which information can be accessed are significant advantages. It is very convenient to be able to print information on the spot and not have to locate a copy machine. Some of the picture printouts are larger than those that appear in the book version - a nice fringe benefit.
However, unless you are fortunate enough to own a laptop, what do you do when attending an auction or flea market? And what about those trips down antique alley? It would seem that the book versions will continue to serve a purpose for some time to come. And books don't have batteries that run down. Each medium has certain advantages, so the answer seems to be to own both. Run the CD at home and keep the books in your car -- right now they never seem to be there when you need them.
Looking over the field of price guides, it seems to me that the Bunis/Kaczowka team has produced a very comprehensive and useful pictorial radio price guide.
The Collector's Guide to Antique Radios -- Combined CD-ROM Edition may be ordered from Marty Bunis, 32 West Main St., Bradford, NH 03221. It is $39.95, plus $3 for U.S. Priority mail or $3.75 for overseas air mail.
(Ray Bintliff, 2 Powder Horn Lane, Acton, MA 01720. E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)