Discussion:
Mandatory Radio Content
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Peter Wieck
2017-06-12 18:46:02 UTC
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My wife and I just got back from Cuba - what a fascinating trip! In any case. we were at the headquarters for Havana Club, one of the top rum distillers in Havana. While we were at the bar (tastings are free and there are several dozen different types of rum), I noticed two radios - one at either end. The right end was an Atwater Kent 447, the left side was a Philips 638A. Neither was working, of course.

Maybe next time, I will bring a pocket full of caps and a small field kit. The staff was fascinated by my interest and by the thought that these radios could be made to work. As an aside, it is common in Cuba to see a US 120V receptacle in the same faceplate as a Euro-240V receptacle. So no voltage worries.

Peter Wieck
Melrose Park, PA
Terry S
2017-06-12 19:57:12 UTC
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Radio content aside -- did you bring home any cigars?
Terry
Peter Wieck
2017-06-13 11:16:42 UTC
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Post by Terry S
Radio content aside -- did you bring home any cigars?
Terry
Cigars, yes. But by special-request only as none in the family smoke. Considerable rum. And a few knick-knacks for the kids. There is really not a great deal of *stuff* to bring back other than taste-based art (very expensive), leather goods (very cheap, but of only modest quality), rum and cigars. It is a strange world over there. We road in a Buick with a Mercedes drive-train and a Ford with a Mitsubishi drive train. Both diesel, of course.

However, I brought a box of 250 mixed-value resistors and 20 specialized relays over to a friend-of-a-friend who needed them for his work. Apparently, he was getting his resistors from salvaged Soviet-era equipment and installing manual switches ILO relays (!!). He needed a few, I brought him 20. A relay that costs me $2.88 from Mouser (to his spec.) costs 20 CUCs (about $23) on the black market when it can be gotten at all. His monthly salary is 40 CUCs. Go figure.

Peter Wieck
Melrose Park, PA
J.B. Wood
2017-06-16 10:21:06 UTC
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Post by Peter Wieck
However, I brought a box of 250 mixed-value resistors and 20 specialized relays over to a friend-of-a-friend who needed them for his work. Apparently, he was getting his resistors from salvaged Soviet-era equipment and installing manual switches ILO relays (!!). He needed a few, I brought him 20. A relay that costs me $2.88 from Mouser (to his spec.) costs 20 CUCs (about $23) on the black market when it can be gotten at all. His monthly salary is 40 CUCs. Go figure.
Peter Wieck
Melrose Park, PA
That's how America wins friends, on a case-by-case basis. Sincerely,
--
J. B. Wood e-mail: ***@hotmail.com
Michael Black
2017-06-16 13:41:35 UTC
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Post by J.B. Wood
Post by Peter Wieck
However, I brought a box of 250 mixed-value resistors and 20 specialized
relays over to a friend-of-a-friend who needed them for his work.
Apparently, he was getting his resistors from salvaged Soviet-era equipment
and installing manual switches ILO relays (!!). He needed a few, I brought
him 20. A relay that costs me $2.88 from Mouser (to his spec.) costs 20
CUCs (about $23) on the black market when it can be gotten at all. His
monthly salary is 40 CUCs. Go figure.
Peter Wieck
Melrose Park, PA
That's how America wins friends, on a case-by-case basis. Sincerely,
But in the old days, it was done with chocolate bars and nylon stockings,
now it's progressed to electronic components.

Michael
John-Del
2017-06-12 21:23:01 UTC
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On Monday, June 12, 2017 at 2:46:04 PM UTC-4, Peter Wieck wrote:
While we were at the bar (tastings are free and there are several dozen different types of rum), I noticed two radios - one at either end. The right end was an Atwater Kent 447, the left side was a Philips 638A. Neither was working, of course.
Post by Peter Wieck
Peter Wieck
Melrose Park, PA
Considering this is Cuba we're talking about, are you sure these aren't current products?

John

Wolcott, CT
Michael Black
2017-06-12 22:48:54 UTC
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Post by Peter Wieck
While we were at the bar (tastings are free and there are several dozen different types of rum), I noticed two radios - one at either end. The right end was an Atwater Kent 447, the left side was a Philips 638A. Neither was working, of course.
Post by Peter Wieck
Peter Wieck
Melrose Park, PA
Considering this is Cuba we're talking about, are you sure these aren't current products?
They don't keep manufacturing old stuff, they just keep using it. They
keep the old cars running, I gather, but you'd think their do it yourself
motto would apply to radios. The old radios don't have much in them that
are custom to the model, so as long as there are generic parts, they could
be kept going. It's the ones who ended up with more recent radios that
likely suffer.

Michael
John-Del
2017-06-13 14:39:47 UTC
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Post by Michael Black
Post by Peter Wieck
While we were at the bar (tastings are free and there are several dozen different types of rum), I noticed two radios - one at either end. The right end was an Atwater Kent 447, the left side was a Philips 638A. Neither was working, of course.
Post by Peter Wieck
Peter Wieck
Melrose Park, PA
Considering this is Cuba we're talking about, are you sure these aren't
current products?
They don't keep manufacturing old stuff, they just keep using it.
I was just pointing out the usual desistance of technological advancement that typifies Communist societies. It seemed funny when I typed it.

In fairness, I did read about a medical advancement from Cuba. Pretty interesting and apparently significant:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2016/10/27/in-a-first-u-s-trial-to-test-cuban-lung-cancer-vaccine/
Peter Wieck
2017-06-13 16:03:09 UTC
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Post by John-Del
Post by Michael Black
Post by Peter Wieck
While we were at the bar (tastings are free and there are several dozen different types of rum), I noticed two radios - one at either end. The right end was an Atwater Kent 447, the left side was a Philips 638A. Neither was working, of course.
Post by Peter Wieck
Peter Wieck
Melrose Park, PA
Considering this is Cuba we're talking about, are you sure these aren't
current products?
They don't keep manufacturing old stuff, they just keep using it.
I was just pointing out the usual desistance of technological advancement that typifies Communist societies. It seemed funny when I typed it.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2016/10/27/in-a-first-u-s-trial-to-test-cuban-lung-cancer-vaccine/
Lung, mouth, lip and esophageal cancers are huge problems in Cuba, so it is no surprise that they would be working on such a vaccine. We learned all this at the Cigar Factory.

Peter Wieck
Melrose Park, PA
Michael Black
2017-06-12 22:50:08 UTC
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Post by Peter Wieck
My wife and I just got back from Cuba - what a fascinating trip! In any
case. we were at the headquarters for Havana Club, one of the top rum
distillers in Havana. While we were at the bar (tastings are free and
there are several dozen different types of rum), I noticed two radios -
one at either end. The right end was an Atwater Kent 447, the left side
was a Philips 638A. Neither was working, of course.
Maybe next time, I will bring a pocket full of caps and a small field
kit. The staff was fascinated by my interest and by the thought that
these radios could be made to work. As an aside, it is common in Cuba to
see a US 120V receptacle in the same faceplate as a Euro-240V
receptacle. So no voltage worries.
Did you visit Hemingway's old house? I thought it was a museum now.
Someone posted elsewhere a photo of Hemingway in some exotic location,
with a Transoceanic, so maybe there are old radios at his old house.

Michael
Peter Wieck
2017-06-13 11:27:17 UTC
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Post by Michael Black
Did you visit Hemingway's old house? I thought it was a museum now.
Someone posted elsewhere a photo of Hemingway in some exotic location,
with a Transoceanic, so maybe there are old radios at his old house.
Michael
We did. It is a museum, and very well kept by any standard. We also saw his boat (stored on his tennis-court) writing tower - where he did no writing - and more. The house is much larger than we expected and an interesting mix of typical California and traitional Spanish architecture, the latter being typical of Cuba of the pre-Soviet era. There was one (1) very fancy speaker in his main study, a corner-style table-top device, but no discernible electronics anywhere. We also visited the fishing village nearby which was the basis for the Old Man and the Sea.

As to keeping old radios going - essentially, they do not. They have no access to tubes of any nature other for the occasional Soviet-era TV, and no parts but what they salvage from other items or get on the black-market at wildly inflated prices. The Soviets greatly discouraged anything other than reception from *their* stations. Since they left, the Cuban government has gone the other way, and encouraged the use of SW radio - however, there are vanishingly few (working) devices available.

Inflated parts prices: About 10:1 over US prices if available at all, and then consider the average Cuban salary to be $40/month.

Peter Wieck
Melrose Park, PA
Me
2017-06-24 05:00:48 UTC
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Post by Peter Wieck
My wife and I just got back from Cuba - what a fascinating trip! In any case. we were at the headquarters for Havana Club, one of the top rum distillers in Havana. While we were at the bar (tastings are free and there are several dozen different types of rum), I noticed two radios - one at either end. The right end was an Atwater Kent 447, the left side was a Philips 638A. Neither was working, of course.
Maybe next time, I will bring a pocket full of caps and a small field kit. The staff was fascinated by my interest and by the thought that these radios could be made to work. As an aside, it is common in Cuba to see a US 120V receptacle in the same faceplate as a Euro-240V receptacle. So no voltage worries.
Peter Wieck
Melrose Park, PA
Sounds like you were lucky to get in before old what's his President heard MSM too many time, got confused and decided to punish Gloria Estefan. Hope you enjoyed it, I saw it on Globe Trekker and was very impressed.
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