87 Monte SS - Diversions
I don't know what it is exactly about antique radios, but I've been enamored of them since I was about 12 or so. I began this infatuation by building some Heathkit radios, which led to some interesting flea market finds. At the time though, my skills were limited to replacement of tubes, and checking the chassis for faulty wiring.
Now, I've studied the ins-and-outs of capacitors, transistors, tubes and resistors. I figured restoring old radios would combine my dormant interest in them as well as generating a little income on the side. I credit my lovely wife for rekindling my interest in this somewhat arcane pursuit. My wife you see, gave me an RCA Victor Orthophonic High Fidelity floor model for my birthday one year. Whoever worked on the unit had replaced the original on/off switch volume control with a toggle switch to provide power. I went so far as to pull the chassis out of the case to restore it, but work has not progressed as I would have liked. In fact it's been gathering dust for quite a while now.
I found this little high-fidelity unit at a neighborhood yard sale of all places.
I immediately recognized it as an important step in the development of the Advent line of radios, and I scored it for a grand total of $8 dollars. Once in a while, even I get lucky.
The large speaker has a long cord enabling the user to place the speaker separately from the tuner. This particular unit has a hum which is undoubtedly either a capacitor or power filter issue. I'll address this as soon as time becomes available. Until then, it's quite acceptable at lower sound levels. Then of course, I began exploring eBay.
I found a completely restored version of this (obviously an early effort at a clock-radio), going for big bucks on a radio restoration site. Naturally, this meant I had to have one in my own collection. Besides, the styling of the unit appealed to me, so I won the auction for this one too.
I found resources for new grille cloth, new vernier for whatever wood is irreparably damaged, as well as new dial plastic. My real hurdle is time, and never finding enough of it to complete one of these little pieces of history. Oh well, I will someday.
Another eBay find, the previous owner had started restoring it but lost interest and decided to sell. It looked like most of the hard work had been done so I ended up with a classic radio kit. All I have to do is finish the assembly process.
When I opened the box, I discovered a mostly disassembled chassis, a collection of carefully wrapped tubes and a pretty decent wooden cabinet to boot. Hopefully, I'll be able to pick up where the previous owner left off and complete the restoration of this charming little unit.
This one appealed to me simply because of its mid century modern styling. It fit in perfectly for the retro-style theme I was creating for my den.
It works fine as purchased, but eventually I'll go through all the capacitors so it'll be reliable.
Most folks think that the tubes were the primary source of failures in these old units. In point of fact though, it was the capacitors and not the tubes which were the primary source of the failures.
This one appealed to me simply because it reminded me of one my Dad had when I was growing up. I used to amuse myself listening to all the strange languages it pulled in.
Sometimes I'd listed to all the repetitive beeps, squeals and other weird noises emanating from the speaker, imagining some sort of alien communication or invasion.
This unit reminded me enough of the other one so I absorbed it into my collection. Have to watch these old metal cases though, sometimes the way they were wired allowed current to escape to them.