Discussion:
Just in Time
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Peter Wieck
2017-03-24 15:37:57 UTC
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From all that I have seen and am seeing as it relates to this hobby and over the last 20 years or so, clearly I got into it just in time.

When I started seriously into the hobby (1978):
• Whereas most tubes were mostly out of production in the US, they were still readily available OTC in actual bricks-and-mortar electronics stores. At standard prices.
• Which in the aggregate were as common as Radio Shack at that time.
• Kit s (Dynaco/Heath/Allied et.al.) were still in business and innovating.
• Good tools were (relatively) inexpensive and available from many sources.
• One could still go to a flea-market, swap meet or hamfest and fill up a moderately sized family car with *stuff* for $100.
• Vintage test instruments were common and inexpensive.
• And many of their makers were still in business and supporting their products.
• Picking one single example, if I went to the Columbus or Pennsauken flea markets, I would find at least one Dynaco, Scott, AR or similar item at an affordable (to me) price, and in restorable condition. If not several.

Today, the tube tester I purchased from Leon Fertik for $100 in 1990 is now commonly selling on eBay for $1,000 or more.
A tube amplifier that I purchased at Kutztown 8 years ago for $100 might go for 12 x that these days, if it can be found at all. And have Chinese tubes in it.

Now, I have a reasonably well-equipped bench which would easily cost in the high four-figures to replace in tooling alone (new-retail). If I were to invest in decent FM Stereo alignment gear, it would likely top $10k in total.

At per-each retail prices these days, I probably have $10,000 worth of tubes stored, which likely cost me less than 5% of that in total over the years.

And, yes, I do have a "Collection Executor" in the case of my untimely demise. My wife will not have to hire an excavator. I am providing similar back-up for others.

Peter Wieck
Melrose Park, PA
philo
2017-03-24 18:59:01 UTC
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Post by Peter Wieck
From all that I have seen and am seeing as it relates to this hobby and over the last 20 years or so, clearly I got into it just in time.
• Whereas most tubes were mostly out of production in the US, they were still readily available OTC in actual bricks-and-mortar electronics stores. At standard prices.
• Which in the aggregate were as common as Radio Shack at that time.
• Kit s (Dynaco/Heath/Allied et.al.) were still in business and innovating.
• Good tools were (relatively) inexpensive and available from many sources.
• One could still go to a flea-market, swap meet or hamfest and fill up a moderately sized family car with *stuff* for $100.
• Vintage test instruments were common and inexpensive.
• And many of their makers were still in business and supporting their products.
• Picking one single example, if I went to the Columbus or Pennsauken flea markets, I would find at least one Dynaco, Scott, AR or similar item at an affordable (to me) price, and in restorable condition. If not several.
Today, the tube tester I purchased from Leon Fertik for $100 in 1990 is now commonly selling on eBay for $1,000 or more.
A tube amplifier that I purchased at Kutztown 8 years ago for $100 might go for 12 x that these days, if it can be found at all. And have Chinese tubes in it.
Now, I have a reasonably well-equipped bench which would easily cost in the high four-figures to replace in tooling alone (new-retail). If I were to invest in decent FM Stereo alignment gear, it would likely top $10k in total.
At per-each retail prices these days, I probably have $10,000 worth of tubes stored, which likely cost me less than 5% of that in total over the years.
And, yes, I do have a "Collection Executor" in the case of my untimely demise. My wife will not have to hire an excavator. I am providing similar back-up for others.
Peter Wieck
Melrose Park, PA
It's only worth what you can get.


No matter how hard I try I can't get takers for my console radios...

just to get them out of the house I sold a few for just $35
Terry S
2017-03-24 19:04:51 UTC
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Ahhh, maybe true for your early HiFi gear, but the radio hobby has changed so. Maybe we got into this in time, but I think we missed the last bus out.

Radios have in large part hit rock bottom in price. Sets that I might have paid $50 to $100 for years ago can now be found at swap meets going unpurchased, tagged at $20 to $30. Remember when a nice leather T/O would command hundreds a few years ago? At the last meet, there were at least two nice examples well under $100. And some clean SS T/Os for under $50. If I was just building a collection, this would be a great time. But I'm at the other end of the spectrum now, trying to thin the herd without taking a bath.

Some high end sets have held their values, but nice consoles are dirt cheap. Tabletop bakelite sets are mostly worth less than ever before. Yes, good gear is still pricey, as you mentioned, some higher than ever. But ordinary collector fodder is way down. Maybe this will spur some newbies into buying... But I'm not seeing that happen. Blame eBay and Craigslist if you want, it really doesn't matter.

Just look at the demographics at your local meet. The average attendee is collecting Social Security and has been for years. I'm 56 and I still feel like I'm among the youngest at the meets. There are almost no young people interested in the hobby these days. Club membership is down, meeting attendance is down.

I hope I'm wrong, and that the pendulum will swing back the other way.
Peter Wieck
2017-03-24 20:13:03 UTC
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Accurate Stuff <<
You and Philo are entirely correct. I have been exceedingly lucky in my collecting as I have few dogs and fewer junkers. First, I took the attitude that no radios/electronics joined the permanent collection unless they could be made to work.

Moving on, "permanent collection" is assumed in all descriptives hereafter:

Only one official "console" was ever permitted - that a very, very nice Zenith shutter/robot dial with the OEM (and bright) 6T5 eye tube.

Three chairsides. Zenith, Glass-top Coronado, and an off-brand drop-leaf table radio with a false drawer front.

As many novelty radios as I wanted - as long as they work. Piano, car, globe, ketchup bottle, coke bottle, orange and so forth.

Up to eight shelves worth of radios in the library - about half the total.

These include a French SNR, A Sparton 558, A Tesla, a Ducretet (Thompson), several German portables, a Pye, Atwater Kent small-case 30 with horn, Portobar, and like that.

And, of course, the range of Zenith TransOceanics and clones, all top-flight examples of each model. My favorite being the FADA with the factory dial in Arabic (purchased in New York).

I dunno - I am very gradually divesting of those items not on active duty. I have Kutztown twice per year to do this. As well, I know sufficient collectors and what they like such that I can preview to them. My wife is active in her church - and mentioning her and "church" in the same sentence is entirely remarkable given her (and my) general attitude towards organized religion. But they are good people fighting for good causes at many levels. So, I restore and reserve a few 'decorator friendly' vintage radios for their annual auction. And also cull my collection. Two radios raised $400 in December.

There are ways and there are ways. I have always enjoyed the hand-on/fix/restore part of the hobby far more than the accumulation part. So sending my work back out into the world, but this time fit for polite society, gives me great pleasure.

Anybody *need* any solid-state Dynaco stuff?

Peter Wieck
Melrose Park, PA
Peter Wieck
2017-03-27 12:56:02 UTC
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https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ffcy5z6o8y6acdp/AABppRdtcGzq4JoWRrh4adYKa?dl=0

Two pictures of radios in the Library (I get, in aggregate, the equivalent of two shelf bays - the rest go to - believe it or not, books), and one of the workbench with a Dynaco ST70 under test. That came as a hulk, but with no rust, thankfully, and is now playing very nicely.

The only radio shown that is not working is the FADA catalin. That is not working and will not be made to work as heat is not good for these beasts.

Peter Wieck
Melrose Park, PA
c***@snyder.on.ca
2017-03-27 20:50:40 UTC
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Post by Peter Wieck
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ffcy5z6o8y6acdp/AABppRdtcGzq4JoWRrh4adYKa?dl=0
Two pictures of radios in the Library (I get, in aggregate, the equivalent of two shelf bays - the rest go to - believe it or not, books), and one of the workbench with a Dynaco ST70 under test. That came as a hulk, but with no rust, thankfully, and is now playing very nicely.
The only radio shown that is not working is the FADA catalin. That is not working and will not be made to work as heat is not good for these beasts.
Peter Wieck
Melrose Park, PA
Hide a transistor radio in it - no heat and a "working" catalin.
John Robertson
2017-03-28 03:46:12 UTC
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Post by c***@snyder.on.ca
Post by Peter Wieck
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ffcy5z6o8y6acdp/AABppRdtcGzq4JoWRrh4adYKa?dl=0
Two pictures of radios in the Library (I get, in aggregate, the equivalent of two shelf bays - the rest go to - believe it or not, books), and one of the workbench with a Dynaco ST70 under test. That came as a hulk, but with no rust, thankfully, and is now playing very nicely.
The only radio shown that is not working is the FADA catalin. That is not working and will not be made to work as heat is not good for these beasts.
Peter Wieck
Melrose Park, PA
Hide a transistor radio in it - no heat and a "working" catalin.
My thoughts exactly. Heck you could even use the original pots and
tuning knob with some creativity. Plug it in and use a small switcher to
power the transistor radio. Might want to add a 555 timer that is set to
60Hz for injecting a bit of hum into the audio. Or use a linear power
supply that is not quite filtered enough to fully reject hum.

Hmmm?

John :-#)#
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Terry S
2017-03-28 14:11:36 UTC
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If you really wanted to play it, a small fan behind the radio would more than suffice. Most computer fans now are brushless and contribute no noise.

Terry
Peter Wieck
2017-03-29 13:28:36 UTC
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I do want to thank you all for the creative problem-solving on how to make the Catalin radio 'pretend' to work. I would have to see if that radio has a light as an option, and I have considered the following:

a) Find a small transistor radio that could be broken down so that I could separate the on/off/volume from the tuning controls.
b) use the speaker output to drive the OEM speaker.
c) find a way to get a few mixed color LEDs attached for a nice warm 'incandescent' glow.

Problems to solve: Coordinating the dial pointer to the tuning knob. I may have to dust off the lathe and mill to make some sort of chassis for it all.

Where this project sits in the queue becomes the next question.

Peter Wieck
Melrose Park, PA
Michael Black
2017-03-29 19:27:52 UTC
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Post by Peter Wieck
a) Find a small transistor radio that could be broken down so that I could separate the on/off/volume from the tuning controls.
b) use the speaker output to drive the OEM speaker.
c) find a way to get a few mixed color LEDs attached for a nice warm 'incandescent' glow.
Problems to solve: Coordinating the dial pointer to the tuning knob. I may have to dust off the lathe and mill to make some sort of chassis for it all.
Where this project sits in the queue becomes the next question.
There was a time when you could get AM and FM tuner modules, and amplifier
modules, at places like Lafayette.

And in Elementary Electronics in the late sixties and early seventies,
that was the limit of "antique radio". There'd be projects consisting of
woodworking to make a "replica" of an old radio cabinet or one of those
old telephons that hung on the wall, and inside would be a transistor
radio via those modules.

And then suddenly (I think it was September-October 1973, but maybe a year
later, I just saw the issue), James A. Fred was writing the antique radio
column, making it mainstream when it had been off in the corner and done
with small newsletters.

Michael
Peter Wieck
2017-03-29 19:44:06 UTC
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Post by Michael Black
There was a time when you could get AM and FM tuner modules, and amplifier
modules, at places like Lafayette.
Much Snippage <<
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/New-DIY-Radio-S66E-S66D-6-Transistor-Superheterodyne-AM-Radio-Kit-530KHz-1605KHz/32787970520.html?source=%7Bifdyn:dyn%7D%7Bifpla:pla%7D%7Bifdbm:DBM&albch=DID%7D&src=google&albch=shopping&acnt=708-803-3821&isdl=y&aff_short_key=UneMJZVf&albcp=653153647&albag=34728528644&slnk=&trgt=68416666751&plac=&crea=en32787970520&netw=g&device=c&mtctp=&gclid=Cj0KEQjwtu3GBRDY6ZLY1erL44EBEiQAAKIcvt4tTq66PKD5Lvt40v4y3ojQAQM9dU7RbAumvYbu5pYaAi-T8P8HAQ Might work. Sorry for the long URL.

Not expensive, either.

Peter Wieck
Melrose Park, PA
Jim Mueller
2017-03-30 06:42:53 UTC
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Post by Peter Wieck
Post by Michael Black
There was a time when you could get AM and FM tuner modules, and
amplifier modules, at places like Lafayette.
Much Snippage <<
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/New-DIY-Radio-S66E-S66D-6-Transistor-
Superheterodyne-AM-Radio-Kit-530KHz-1605KHz/32787970520.html?source=%
7Bifdyn:dyn%7D%7Bifpla:pla%7D%7Bifdbm:DBM&albch=DID%
7D&src=google&albch=shopping&acnt=708-803-3821&isdl=y&aff_short_key=UneMJZVf&albcp=653153647&albag=34728528644&slnk=&trgt=68416666751&plac=&crea=en32787970520&netw=g&device=c&mtctp=&gclid=Cj0KEQjwtu3GBRDY6ZLY1erL44EBEiQAAKIcvt4tTq66PKD5Lvt40v4y3ojQAQM9dU7RbAumvYbu5pYaAi-
T8P8HAQ
Post by Peter Wieck
Might work. Sorry for the long URL.
Not expensive, either.
Peter Wieck Melrose Park, PA
Looks like you get to wind your own antenna coil. And no instructions,
woo hoo!
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Peter Wieck
2017-03-30 15:13:07 UTC
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Post by Jim Mueller
Looks like you get to wind your own antenna coil. And no instructions,
woo hoo!
This is a problem because?

I still have reasonable dexterity - and I am a great believer in use-it-or-lose it.

I expect the instructions - a piece of paper - are with the kit. Neither is the shipping box shown, does not mean it does not exist. And, of course, being made in China, such niceties are minimal in any case.

Peter Wieck
Melrose Park, PA

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