Antique Radio Club of Illinois Radiofest 1996 Report

Web Edition


The Antique Radio Club of Illinois (ARCI) held its Radiofest 1996 from August 28 to 31 at the Holiday Inn Holidome and Convention Center in Elgin, Illinois. This event held particular significance for me -- your editor -- because it was here at Elgin ten years ago that, in the wee hours of the morning, I bought Antique Radio Classified from Gary Schneider.

I remember well that transaction at the bar, as well as my announcement at the banquet that the magazine would continue and that I would appreciate your support. This year, again at the banquet, I reminisced and thanked those present for continuing their support through ten good years.

Awaiting auction: an Atwater Kent Model 10 breadboard, a Burns horn speaker with broken petals, a Gilfillan Neutrodyne and a Goetz beer bottle radio.

The fact that this year's Radiofest and Antique Wireless Association annual conference were only one week apart led to some interesting observations. For one, there was concern that many may have felt obliged to choose one over the other -- or simply to bypass both. On the other hand, many who traveled across country or from overseas were able to plan a 10-day or 2-week vacation around the two events. This may have been especially true for the foreign visitors who came from Holland, Italy, Korea, New Zealand, South America, and Sweden. In addition, the U.S. collectors who came from afar to both events seemed prepared to carry home much more than usual.

Another observation about meets in general came to mind during this trip -- meets offer a wonderful opportunity to visit personal collections in the particular area. I was able to spend part of Saturday viewing Carl and Carolyn Knipfel's collection of early broadcast receivers, along with several garden storage sheds full of old radio parts and gas engines. And while driving there, I caught Jack Benny on Chuck Shaden's Old Time Radio Show out of Chicago. What better entertainment for a radio weekend!

Seen in the flea market were these WWII items brought by Steve Bartkowski: a BC-1003 direction finder, a TBY Marine Corps transceiver, a BC-611 (first walkie-talkie), and a BC-1000 transceiver.

The wonderful weather made the flea market -- which extended over three sides of the motel and an adjacent field -- even more enjoyable. On Wednesday and Thursday, about 185 different sellers had set up. The number dropped to 140 on Friday and to about 40 diehards on Saturday. The club did allow opening late Tuesday afternoon, although the official time was Wednesday morning.

Always a popular attraction, the old equipment contest contest featured many nice entries in eleven categories. Several of them are included in the photos with this report. At the well attended banquet on Thursday night, the popular Dixieland Trio Banjo Buddies provided the entertainment.

Friday morning's presentation on E.H. Scott's low radiation marine receivers was given by John Meredith and Marvin Hobbs of the E.H. Scott Historical Society. Hobbs, who had been the chief engineer for this Scott project, added much to the story that was new to many of us.

Also available were trips to the Motorola Museum, as well as to the Muchow Museum, which has now grown to 24 rooms. As in the past, ARCI is grateful to Dr. Muchow for this once-a-year opening of his museum only for Radiofest attendees. To the delight of all, the Bad Mood Swing Band, a k a the "Split Level Ramblers," made another informal appearance this year.

John Sakas offered this Emerson Model BD197, popularly known as the "Mae West," for $1,500.

The lively auction, conducted by Harry Blesy, included 206 lots and totaled $17,735. Highlights included an RCA Victor chrome and white vinyl upholstered chair selling at $450, a Predicta gas pump-style TV at $350, an all-original Atwater Kent 4600 breadboard with tags and tubes at $850, an Emerson AX235 Catalin with yellow and black trim at $700, and a Federal 110 at $600. A Silvertone 6110 black plastic radio was the top priced item, selling at $1,900. There were no minimums; instead, the seller could bid on his own items with a buyback fee of 5 percent. Sellers paid a 10 percent seller fee.

Radiofest 1997 will be held August 6-9, again at the Elgin Holiday Inn.

Additional photos and an auction listing of nearly 150 items sold at the Radiofest auction can be found in the November 1996 issue of Antique Radio Classified.

The Antique Radio Club of Illinois (ARCI) holds meets, as well as its annual August Radiofest. The club publishes "ARCI News" quarterly, and dues are $12. For more information, contact Carolyn Knipfel, RR3, 200 Langham, Morton, IL 61550.

Photo credits: John V. Terrey

(Jeff Aulik, 1708 Parkview Ave., Rockford, IL 61107; Karl Ayer, P.O. Box 665, Thiensville, WI 53092; John Terrey, c/o A.R.C., Box 2, Carlisle, MA 01741)

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Antique Radio Classified
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Copyright © 1996 by John V. Terrey - For personal use only.
Last revised: October 26, 1996. Pages designed by Wayward Fluffy Publications