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Old 24th Nov 2019, 7:30 pm   #1
HoraceBatchelor
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Default Nostalgia? Probably.

What is the reason why, these old radios still give pleasure to some of us? For me it's nostalgia, and I also like the way they look. But some of you no doubt love the challenge of getting these things to play again. And what an honourable thing to be able to do. Changing the odd capacitor is the limit of my expertise i'm afraid to say. And that is a challenge as eyesight dims and hands shake just as you are about to apply the soldering iron to the right spot.

But you lads and lasses who can repair these things, i take my hat off to you. But please don't attack me for asking, "Is it worth it?" The cost can get a bit excessive when buying spares. I recently bought an Eddystone870A and the price of a replacement mains connector that plugs in the back was 24.99. And for those who crave originality that is a high price to pay for a small plastic two pronged plug. Needless to say i am not one of those who has to have original.

So I ask myself, why do I bother, why does anyone bother? As i said, i like the way they look and the nostalgia they bring. Even though the original Horace Batchelor not once successfully tipped my old fella, not even a minor dividend on the football coupons prediction show on Radio Luxembourg. But it was always avidly listened to.
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Old 24th Nov 2019, 7:41 pm   #2
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Default Re: Nostalgia? Probably.

For the price of that connector or a lot less you can re cap one of those Eddystones,so yes it is worth every penny excluding said connector.If I cannot a good few stations on 10/20 foot of wire on nearly all sets,then it needs repairing or overhauling properly.

It is like any old technology and I will not say the word,it is great when it fires up again.

PS Not a rude word but only correct for the forum if it is a radio.
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Old 24th Nov 2019, 7:56 pm   #3
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Default Re: Nostalgia? Probably.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HoraceBatchelor View Post
Also on a well known auction site (Ebay) the price of particular "working" radios has gone through the roof. And all this expense for a radio that plays maybe three stations if your lucky. And plays not very good even with an aerial stretching the length of the street.
You may live in a poor reception area.
But I find with a radio like that its all about the aerial and the earth, and how you use the controls.

I like radios because of the nostalgia about how they have bought real time news of world events to the population, they were the first information super highway.
I imagine them as the centre of the home with the family sitting around them being entertained or informed of dramatic events.

Mike
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Old 24th Nov 2019, 8:32 pm   #4
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Default Re: Nostalgia? Probably.

If only painted steel and Bakelite could talk!
I can't look at an R107 or an AR88 etc, without wondering what action it saw, and what pivotal messages were received on it.

In many cases I suspect the truth is none whatsoever.
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Old 24th Nov 2019, 9:06 pm   #5
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Default Re: Nostalgia? Probably.

Well, I bought my AR88 in the sixties when it wasn't a museum-piece, but was still seen as a decently capable HF/MF receiver. I've had it a lot longer than whatever governmental/military department ever did. There's a lot of me in it. I've got it on one side and I'm collecting capacitors etc, intending to have a grand refurb session some winter. Am I bothered about originality? Hmmm... not greatly. I had the case and panel sandblasted and stove enamelled in silver hammer back in the sixties. Mum thought scabby wrinkle paint wasn't bedroom compatible. The AR88 isn't kept for historic reasons, it's personal!

When I did my BSc, the department had a RACAL RA1217 in the lab. It looked gorgeous, and one of the lecturers had been involved in its design. I'd never seen anything like it before, so I kept an eye out in the back of Radcom until I found one.

I've still got an eye out for an RCA AR8516L, which also impressed my socks off back in the day, but now I know a bit more about them, I think I'd rather have the CRM-R6A variant.

I have an Eddystone EA12. A member of the old Dunfermline Radio Society asked me to go through it for him. I thought he wanted to put it back into use, but afterwards he surprised me by saying he intended selling it and wanted to be sure it was OK first. I had to work hard to negotiate his asking price up to something my conscience could accept.

I have a RACAL RA1792 because a good friend gave it to me.

And an Icom R9000 because I was heavily involved in designing a hefty system around one.

So, with all except the 1792, what attracted me to these particular ones has been memories of how much they impressed me back in the day when they were in current use.

I guess I've grown old alongside these models ;-)

David
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Old 24th Nov 2019, 9:09 pm   #6
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Default Re: Nostalgia? Probably.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HoraceBatchelor View Post
For me it's nostalgia, and I also like the way they look. But some of you no doubt love the challenge of getting these things to play again.

But you lads and lasses who can repair these things, i take my hat off to you. But please don't attack me for asking, "Is it worth it?" The cost can get a bit excessive when buying spares.
Well you've mentioned the first two reasons....Nostagia and getting them to work again, How they look....well that may not always be a key factor in getting an old radio to work again.

For me I have fond memories of valve equipment back in the 50's and 60's. The first 'proper' radio I built (back in 1968) used valves and I found them far easier to use than transistors....that may sound strange but most of the valve stuff I built worked first time or at least partially worked first time and surplus valves were also very cheap back then. I had more trouble with transistors which were more easily damaged and more expensive.

As to whether it's worth it well in terms of monetary value of a radio, probably not....it invariably costs more to restore a set than it's really worth. As to the pleasure that it gives in getting it working again, then yes it is worth it. I restored a Bush BA91 battery valve set a few weeks ago, the set cost 35, I had to get the output transformer rewound...another 30 and I had to build a power supply for it....that was another 30 altogether. The cost of actually getting the radio to work was about 9 capacitors....around 2. However I don't regret the cost since these sets don't turn up very often and it's a very good sounding set with shortwaves as well.
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Old 25th Nov 2019, 11:01 am   #7
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Default Re: Nostalgia? Probably.

Personally, I've never been that interested in 'originality of appearance', preferring to focus on restoring/reworking equipment so it performs at-least-as-well as when it was made, preferably better.

Equally, I'm happy to include 'period' modifications where they increase reliability, performance or usability.

My radios are there to be used, not put-on-a-pedestal-and-looked-at like some museum-exhibit.

So, I'll happily fit a cable-gland/clamp and modern PVC-jacketed cable in place of the old 2-pin connector on an Eddystome, install modern MKT yellow capacitors in place of leaky waxies, or modern axial electrolytics in place of tired 'metal can' types. Never bothered with 'restuffing' - that doesn't improve performance - I'd rather spend the time doing a top-notch alignment job (which does improve performance...) And I'll fit a HT voltage-regulator and product-detector to an old radio so I can listen to SSB without distortion or the thing drifting up and down the band at whim.

As to why we do it - I guess it's all a matter of personal taste. Many people wouldn't understand, just as I can't understand the attraction of ballet, opera or musical-theatre.
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Old 25th Nov 2019, 11:27 am   #8
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Default Re: Nostalgia? Probably.

Well very well summed up indeed.
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Old 25th Nov 2019, 12:06 pm   #9
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Default Re: Nostalgia? Probably.

For me, the pleasure I get is from getting a defunct and long-abandoned 1940's radio, and coaxing some audio out of it. Hearing it play for the first time in decades!

I rarely buy spare parts, apart from a selection of new caps to replace the waxies, and will modify things a little if necessary. So the repair cost it low. My "box of junk" usually has what I need in it.

Of course, as we all know a defunct radio bought for 10, fully repaired and re-capped etc is still only worth about 10 pounds! But who cares? A hobby does not have to make a profit.

Ted.
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Old 25th Nov 2019, 12:11 pm   #10
David Simpson
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Default Re: Nostalgia? Probably.

Nostalgia & Horace Batchelor go together, when thinking of the late 50's when my father gave me an old bakelite wireless,(cant remember the make, 'cept that it had a PM24B which glowed), thus enabling me to listen to Radio Luxemburg. Plus "Keynsham, Bristol" - spelt K,E,Y,N,S,H,A,M.
Cant say that those early teenage years prompted me to return to vintage radio/electronics 12 years ago as a pastime pursuit. 'Twas probably more my involvement with RAF test equipment in the 60's/70's, and a brief spell on marine electronics in the late 70's/early 80's. RAF-wise, CT160's, CT446's, CT452A's(TF144H's), CT436's,AM10D's, & so on, were SOTA back then. Then marine-wise, HF AM Tx/Rx's & AM VHF's were still much the common fitment on fishing boats, although SSB's were starting to be introduced on newer vessels.


Regards, David
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Old 25th Nov 2019, 2:08 pm   #11
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Post Re: Nostalgia? Probably.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ted_ntsx View Post
A hobby does not have to make a profit.
My sentiments entirely. To me, a hobby is something you do for pleasure, so inevitably there is a cost to that. For me, the 'fun aspect' is very closely related to learning why something was designed and assembled in a particular way. And since 'electronics' is such a vast subject, there is always something new to learn. I think we've all met a chunk of circuitry (or even a complete item) which upon first inspection invokes the response "Huh? What that's for? How does that bit work?" 'Electronics' as a hobby? It's all about discovery and exploring. And that can be very rewarding, if not financially, then certainly mentally.

Al.
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Old 25th Nov 2019, 2:31 pm   #12
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Default Re: Nostalgia? Probably.

I grew up in the days of valve radio's and indeed TV's, I was in the trade for 50 years and also feel that early radios had character - much like steam trains.

They were built in a way that you could easily understand and repair them, in fact you had to repair them as the cost of replacement was beyond many peoples means. Give me valves any time, they were the only form of electronics that I anything like fully understood.

As radio's and TV's of the time were usually kept for many years many people regarded them with some affection. Different world now, if it doesn't work - or even if it does, go and buy a new one is the common attitude.

Most electronic equipment now is made in a way that either you can't repair it or its not economical to so. Bring back valves.

Peter
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Old 25th Nov 2019, 2:45 pm   #13
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Default Re: Nostalgia? Probably.

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And since 'electronics' is such a vast subject, there is always something new to learn. I think we've all met a chunk of circuitry (or even a complete item) which upon first inspection invokes the response "Huh? What that's for? How does that bit work?"
So true. Case in point, after watching the latest Big Clive video it occurred to me that I had never built anything containing those now ubiquitous power MOSFETS. I must have blinked and missed how they'd made the quantum leap from small signal RF, to power switching. I've ordered 50 of the ones he was using for about a quid. No idea what I'll do with them.
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Old 25th Nov 2019, 2:58 pm   #14
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Default Re: Nostalgia? Probably.

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Originally Posted by Peter.N. View Post
... Most electronic equipment now is made in a way that either you can't repair it or its not economical to so. Bring back valves. ...
It's a warming thought. But if you wanted only valves the first thing you'd have to sacrifice woud be the internet, and this forum, so it wouldn't be without its drawbacks.

If you just want some valves then actually they're still around. There's plenty of current-production valve hi-fi and also valve guitar amps and, although I can't speak from first-hand experience, I wonder whether you can still buy valve amateur radio kit ? I imagine you can build it and use it alongside solid-state stuff without anyone who's listening noticing.

Cheers,

GJ
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Old 25th Nov 2019, 4:01 pm   #15
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Default Re: Nostalgia? Probably.

You certainly can still buy valve amateur-radio gear (though not usually as kits: the health&safety/legal-liability guys are rightfully reluctant about letting people self-assemble a HF linear-amp using a 2.5Kv@1A power supply)

3-500Z, 3CX1500 and 572B valves are still popular in such applications. CPII [the company which now owns Eimac] are still making these valves!
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Old 25th Nov 2019, 4:49 pm   #16
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Default Re: Nostalgia? Probably.

Nostalgia, not really, more of a useful history. I like the technology old and new, it does teach you something. I think all electronic engineering qualifications should have a section on "old" equipment. That will (may) teach them to use an R&C as a low pass filter rather than looking up some whizz bang chip to do the job (yes, that happened last week at work, the chap had the sense to "sanity check" the design with me, RC used!).
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Old 25th Nov 2019, 5:04 pm   #17
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Default Re: Nostalgia? Probably.

I have also done 50 years plus in tv/radio servicing and one thing for certain,todays tv,s are lucky to be running in 5 years time let alone 70 plus ditto the modern radios.

Yes,I have fixed them all from valve replacement to match head size smd,s plus fitted 100 leg ic,s.

It is all good fun!

This post will run as long as mods allow,even if it is in the wrong place.
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Old 25th Nov 2019, 5:15 pm   #18
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Default Re: Nostalgia? Probably.

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Originally Posted by Peter.N. View Post
Most electronic equipment now is made in a way that either you can't repair it or its not economical to so.
Call me a cynical old so-and-so if you like, but I've often adhered to the belief that apart from the relative cost reduction (and some user benefits) with modern electronics equipment over earlier methods of design & construction, the manufacturer doesn't want a third party repairing his equipment: he'll make no (or very little) money that way. But if the item is made to be unrepairable (but, yes, O.K., it has provided a 'useful life'), the manufacturer wants you to buy a replacement - and probably an expensive - item.

Al.
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Old 25th Nov 2019, 5:23 pm   #19
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Originally Posted by rambo1152 View Post
I've ordered 50 of the [power MOSFETs] he was using for about a quid. No idea what I'll do with them.
Possible uses: pass transistor for linear regulated PSUs; A.F. power amplifiers; d.c. power switching - amongst others.

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Old 25th Nov 2019, 5:26 pm   #20
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Default Re: Nostalgia? Probably.

It's not really nostalgia for me, I'm too young to remember them, it's the pure charm, fascination and beauty of them.
The golden period for me is the 1930's and I get a real kick out of listening to pre-war radios and enjoying the look of the cabinet. If I've restored the set and got it working myself, all the more enjoyable!
As for it being and expensive hobby, I would dispute that, there are still a lot of lovely old radios about that are very cheap. and I've never broken the bank fixing them.
It's great hobby and a hobby for life!
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