My Radio Collection — 1940's
The 1940's were a great time for radios. World War 2 interrupted the production of consumer radios. So there was about a 4 year break that gave us a jump in technology. FM and miniature tubes are a couple of the developments that come to mind. Look how many different types of radios are represented on this page.
I sure love these sloped front sets. I have another one that is being repaired right now. This one is probably my favorite set behind the Fairbanks-Morse. I bought this one on ebay and was in good condition. I ended up replacing 80% of the paper capacitors and the grill cloth. That isn't the correct grill cloth, but I don't care. I bought the replacement wine colored push buttons and I made some radio station stickers with my Brother label maker. This set really looks super now!
This is similar to the 40-150 that I have. They call this the "log cabin" look because of the front panel woodwork. This covers the Broadcast band, 2.3 to 7 and 9 to 12 mhz. This has two IF amplifier stages and a push-pull audio stage. This radio came to me through ebay and had some bad problems. The main problem was someone had reworked the transformer but didn't wire it back in properly. The grid bias circuit was left out. I replaced the filters and changed every paper capacitor in the set. I sure like these slanted front sets.
They don't get any easier to fix! This is another one of those ebay deals. Luckily I didn't pay a lot for this one but it was too much anyway. Two tubes were wrong and the other 3 were bad. Batting 000 here. I also had to change the battery wires, the wires to the speaker and several of those other rotted rubber covered wires. The set worked on shortwave only. I found that the oscillator coil (tickler section) was open. I rewound this coil and now the radio plays strongly. I use my battery box with 1.5 volts for the filaments and ten 9 volt batteries for the B+.
This radio may turn out to be a special one in my collection. Around 1960 my dad and I were in the old Corning Electronics store on Bridge St. in Corning. Behind the counter I spotted a set just like this one. The person behind the counter told us that it was for sale, $10.00. Well, I only had $5.00 and I the guy told me that I could have it for $5.00 (this was before there was a sales tax). I took it home and used it for many years. Then in 1971 or so, I sold the set. I never thought about it that much until I was looking at old radios on ebay and spotted one. I spotted several, but the prices were above what I was willing to pay to relive my childhood. However, one did come along that I snapped up. It arrived today and I found that it was in working condition. Most of the tubes are very weak, so I will be putting in new ones as I find them. I will also put in new audio coupling capacitors and see if I can get the FM section working. Isn't the internet wonderful?
Now this is a RADIO! This thing is huge! The Sparton 842-SX was made in the late thirties. It has a combination of loctal and octal tubes. The RF amplifier is a 7B7, then a 7J7 mixer, the a 6K7G IF amp, a 7B6 detector and a pair of 6F6G audio output tubes. There is a 5Y3 and 6E5 magic eye tube.
This is one of my ebay deals. I got it pretty cheap probably because no one knew what it was. I didn't know but that never stops me. I looked up the schematic in the Riders and found that this had a great circuit. Each IF can is triple tuned. There is also a padder and trimmer for each band and they are very well marked. There is no guessing here.
I started out by bringing this one up slowly with the variac. No smoke. Good. But lots of hum. I replaced the filters and a couple of paper capacitors to start. I also found there was a bad RF amplifier tube, open filament. That is probably why the radio was put aside. I found a tube and signals started coming in! I did an alignment. This has to be the nicest set in the world to align. Everything is labeled! I also replaced the 6E5 magic eye tube as the old one had gone blind.
The radio has a phono input and 8 bands. The broadcast band and seven well bandspreaded shortwave bands. The dial markings are only in meters (both kc and meters for the bc band). The major cities of the world then are also marked on the dial. There is flywheel tuning. The band is indicated by a plastic wheel (which I managed to break off a piece) lit with a lamp on the left hand side of the dial.
I took a chance buying this kludge (nearly 50 pounds shipping weight) but it was worth it. This radio also has a tapped primary for 110 and 220 volts too. All I have to do is find a place to put it. Geez.
This Crosley was a popular model sold just after WWII. I wanted one of these for a while. This one wasn't in the best condition but it wasn't costly either. This one wasn't working at all. After bring up the voltage slowly with my variac, I found there wasn't a peep from it. I checked the speaker and there was the problem. I put in a new speaker. This radio had lost its field coil speaker long ago. This is probably speaker #3. Now I got some noise but no music. In further checking I found that there were two 6SA7 tubes stuck in the sockets. I put the right tube in and I could hear a little. There was an extremely weak 6SQ7 in there and once that was replaced this set started working. I replaced all the paper capacitors and the filters. Might as well as they will need it sooner or later anyway. I did an alignment and fixed the cabinet and replaced the speaker and it is good to go.
I left the "before" picture up and now there is an "after" picture. I took the radio out of the cabinet along with the speaker and all the hardware. I bought some new grille cloth, but I found that with some Formula 409 soaked and rubbed in, the old grille cloth looked fine. I used some Novus plastic cleaner and polish to bring back the dial glass.
I stripped the cabinet, then put a coat of golden oak stain and several coats of poly. This is kind of a beginners job at finishing, but it turned out pretty well and I am very happy with the looks of this radio.
Ebay strikes again! That's where I came up with this little treasure. The cabinet is fair at best having a major wood problem on the right hand corner. The insides weren't so hot either but it did play when it came in the house. It played weak, and had noises here and there so away I went. I found a few weak tubes and replaced them. I did the usual audio coupling capacitor replacement plus a couple of other capacitors. Then came the fun. Rubber covered wires. Those just didn't stand the test of time. I had to rewire all the tone control wires that were in the shielded braid. I also had to change two of the wires to the preset selector switch. The set aligned beautifully and you should hear the good tone this set produces. I feel that Zenith probably used the best speakers of the time. The tuning is also very nice on that radio.
The top was somewhat rough. I stripped the finish and put two coats of Minwax golden oak stain along with a coat of poly. Later, I decided to try to fix that cabinet problem and refinish the whole cabinet. I used the chemical stripper to remove the old finish. Then I used wood filler to work on the side of the radio. I think that if I had used a darker filler, my results would have been better. Overall I did improve the looks of the radio.
I love these Sparton radios! I found this beauty on ebay a short while ago. I had no circuit information on this set. I used "brute force" to find a circuit. I went through all my Riders manuals and I found a 642-X that looked very close. Extremely close I would say. Here is what I know about the model number: The 6 means 6 tubes, 42 is the model year and the X means export.
This was one of those working radios. I took it apart,
cleaned it up and inspected the undersides. There had been
some work on it before. I changed the paper capacitors and did a full
alignment. All the tubes checked good. The only problems have been some
intermittent connections in the tube sockets. The dial cord broke and had
to be restrung. That wasn't too bad of a job.
I did do a cabinet restore on this one. My first time a using chemical wood stripper. I used Minwax red mahogany stain with several coats of poly. This was a simple cabinet to do. Before I attempt anything more complicated, I will do a lot more reading on the subject. I knew this set was within my capabilities.
This is some set! It has 6 bands. Long wave, broadcast and 4 shortwave bands, up to 23 mhz. This set has some of the features that my 842SX has. The power transformer is multi tapped, flywheel tuning, tons of dial cord and is nearly 24 inches long.
This is my first Canadian radio. I bought this from a gentleman
in Ontario via ebay. This is a 6 tube set, which includes a 6U5 magic
eye tube. The RCA 641 was made after World War 2. The cabinet is plastic
with a woodgrain covering. This is a very attractive radio.
After replacing the grid coupling capacitor and replacing another one that exploded apart, I was ready to make this radio sing. I attempted an IF alignment and found that it tuned very strange. Luckily I had the service information.
I ended up taking one of the IF cans apart and measuring the coil
and parallel capacitor separately. I found the combination was no where
near 455 khz. I did a search of the news groups and found that IF can
capacitors would stop working properly. I put a fixed capacitor across
each winding and was able to tune the IF and continue the complete alignment.
I will have to install new transformers to get this radio perking like it should, but what a nice radio this is. It covers the AM band and from 2.5 to 22 mhz in two bands. I will also need a new magic eye tube. This radio sure is a beauty, eh?