From Antique Radio Classified for May 1998
(Copyright 1996-8 by John V. Terrey - For personal use only.)

Trips down "Memory Lane" are a frequent happening for radio collectors. Even if we haven't been there, the equipment and literature we treasure tell us much about the early days of radio. We appreciate articles like Ellsworth Johnson's account of his family radio business with the accompanying photo on our cover because they take us back to the 1930s and strike a strong nostalgic chord. But, they also remind us of how little times change -- that 1936 convention banquet could be the next AWA gala at Rochester, New York. Radio folks will always find a way to get together and share the past.

Nostalgia is also evoked by articles about that often overlooked category -- early home brew sets. Usually found at bargain basement prices, they often reveal fine workmanship and quality components, once you look under the lid. Dwane Stevens' article tells about his "garage sale find" -- a neatly laid-out 5-tube neutrodyne battery set where bad audio transformers were the only major problem. We can easily picture the maker of this radio working away at his kitchen table just as Ellsworth Johnson's father did in the 1920s.

Frank Smith adds another nostalgic note with his article about an Amrad battery set, which was the family radio when he was a kid. In contrast to a home brew, Amrad was a commercial product of outstanding construction. Frank writes with regret about the fate of his childhood set.

Another small General Electric cathedral is Richard Arnold's subject this month. Although the 5-tube chassis is cramped, the GE Model K50-P is a 2-band set with a tone control, plus the necessary band switch offset to the right.

Ask a radio collector what else he collects, and you may hear phonographs, cars, early medical devices, calculators, and even computers -- some related to radios, some not. But, light bulbs are closely related to radios -- they are the predecessor to the vacuum tube and are often seen on flea market tables at radio meets. Robert Enemark writes about a reproduction of an early Edison light bulb which he found at an auction.

Events in Texas and Pennsylvania point to a busy season on the meet and auction circuit. Bill Werzner and David Moore report on the January Houston Vintage Radio Association Mega Auction. At the 2-day event, 624 lots were auctioned, and a Grebe MU1 brought the highest bid of $490.

Reporter Ray Chase covers the second auction of the Joseph Kanuski collection held by Robert Arner in Kempton, Pa. The condition of the items offered reflected the low prices realized. The home-brew collector, however, came away happy, since he had his pick of over a half dozen home brews, including a superheterodyne. A Zenith Trans-Oceanic brought the top bid of $200!

Capacitor topics are the rage at present, and Alan Douglas describes the latest in testing electrolytic capacitors -- measuring the equivalent series resistance (ESR). Using a signal generator and an AC voltmeter, the ESR of an electrolytic capacitor can be easily measured without removing it from the circuit. Although a bit of math is required if you use generic bench-top equipment (as does Alan who describes himself as a "certified cheapskate"), he reports that commercial testers that give good/bad readings are available.

A log cabin desk radio and a novel Crosley AC/DC set are of interest in this month's Photo Review. In addition, photos of two crystal sets constructed on postcards, contributed by the Austrian collector Erwin Macho, are included.

The anticipated CD-ROM version of Marty and Sue Bunis' Collector's Guide to Antique Radios has arrived. A.R.C. staff member Ray Bintliff reports on his "test-drive" using his home IBM-compatible computer. Included on the CD-ROM are over 1,800 photos and information on over 9,000 models. Several different indices are included to make finding a particular set easy.

Subscriber Allan H. Weiner's book Access to the Airwaves is off the beaten path of radio collecting, but his struggle to develop "pirate" radio broadcasting and to make the airwaves free to everyone is certainly radio-related. Reviewer Jerry Berg finds Weiner's commitment to his cause admirable.

Coming Radio Events. May is a difficult month to schedule radio events with two major holidays, Mother's Day and Memorial Day, taking our attention. However, there are five weekends in May this year, so three are left to cram in over four dozen events and auctions. Multiday events are being held in Texas (Mega Auction), Indiana (IHRS Spring Meet), Pennsylvania (the Molettiere auction), Minnesota (Radio Daze '98), and Ohio (Hamvention).

A.R.C. will be at this last event attended by over 30,000 ham radio operators. Look us up at indoor booth 207; New Wireless Pioneers will be next to us. Radio collectors can often find treasures at this huge show, with 558 inside exhibit spaces and 2,500 outdoor flea market spaces. So, I hope you will stop by our booth and say, "hi."

Happy Collecting.

John V. Terrey, Editor


Our cover photo, contributed by Ellsworth Johnson, evokes the ambience of a 1936 North Pacific Radio Service Association Convention in Spokane, Washington. The Johnson family radio electronics business (1934-1974) made attendance for them at such events a given. Having just joined the firm full-time at age 17, Ellsworth and his father Edwin are pictured seated at the upper right edge of the photo. Do any of you see a familiar face in this photo?

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Copyright © 1996-8 by John V. Terrey - For personal use only.
Last revised: April 30, 1998.Pages designed by Wayward Fluffy Publications