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Old 24th Mar 2017, 2:18 am   #1
mickash
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Default 1970s Hong Kong radio

This was our family radio from the mid 70s. I've just rediscovered it in the loft and applied power.
Initially it appeared to be totally dead but a squirt of Philips contact cleaner in the wavechange switches, volume slider and earphone socket has brought normal operation to MW and SW. The FM and air/public service bands remain silent not even any hiss. On very close listening I can hear very quiet reception of FM stations.

Does anybody have any servicing information or have any pointers of where to look for this FM fault?
There's no sign of a make or model number. Any clues of that were on the plate around the controls but this wore away many years ago.
I've included some pictures that might help in identification.
It would be nice to get this fully working for sentimental reasons but I'm not expecting great performance!

Michael.
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Old 24th Mar 2017, 6:46 am   #2
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Default Re: 1970s Hong Kong radio

Try Google Search (images) using the words: Hong Kong 3 band FM, SW, Air Band Radios as that should provide quite a few similar style radios and that may help with the worn out printing.

One of the slider controls on the front panel is going to be the Volume control.

As to poor FM & Air band reception, is the telescopic aerial ok, any damage or pieces missing, will reduce reception on those bands.
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Old 24th Mar 2017, 10:32 am   #3
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Default Re: 1970s Hong Kong radio

Hi Mick, I have a "Flight 4" could be from the same stable, no short wave. Apologies for the poor picture, it was on a high shelf and my steps were not handy. It has been in the family from new. Set also has a false back inside with cable tidy and IIRC ran on batteries only.


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Old 24th Mar 2017, 11:13 am   #4
paulsherwin
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Default Re: 1970s Hong Kong radio

Similar radios were very common. The ones with slider controls do tend to have lost a lot of paint, as in this example. The electronics are very conventional with transformer coupled AF amps. Although they had and still have a poor reputation, they often perform quite well. I used one as a bathroom radio for a while.

They don't usually suffer from electronic faults such as bad transistors, so the first thing to do in this case is to clean the wavechange switches again, and then look carefully for wiring problems to the aerial. A meter probe will act as a temporary aerial. Don't start twiddling with coils and transformers until you understand what the fault is and after checking everything else first.

Did it work normally when it was banished to the loft?

Don't expect anything useful on the air band range. It is still using the FM discriminator, and aviation comms use AM. You can sometimes resolve strong signals with careful tuning but it's really just a marketing gimmick.
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Old 25th Mar 2017, 3:03 am   #5
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Default Re: 1970s Hong Kong radio

Success!!

I tried some more lube in the wavechange switches but no difference so decided I had to remove the chassis from the case.

I quickly noticed a quarter inch of the PCB chipped off at the top edge with a short length of track missing along with the chip. Bridging this with a piece of wire made absolutly no difference! Then I noticed a short length of wire connecting two points on the board, one end had come away from its solder pad. Touching it back in place brought life back to the FM band so I soldered it back into place.
I checked all the other connected wires for loose joints, all were firmly soldered in place.

After reassembly, the radio has been playing all evening and sounds pretty good for what it is. There were no signs inside as to a manufacturer. I guess it is a nondescript brand, it's quite likely Mum bought it from a mail order catalogue.

It will get use now as a kitchen radio but will need tidying up with a new set of push buttons and aerial if I can find anything suitable.

As I remember the airband wasn't much use but the public service part was quite interesting with reception from gas and electricity board and Corporation bus PMRs. I suppose they will all have gone digital or use mobile phones now.

John - thanks for posting the photo of your Flight 4. If you manage to fish it down from the shelf I would be interested to see more photos including shots of the inside. The handle on your set looks identical to mine so the two could well be closely related.

Thanks for all your replies, Michael.
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Old 25th Mar 2017, 9:20 am   #6
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Default Re: 1970s Hong Kong radio

I have a few telescopic whips. If you want one ill send you one

D
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Old 25th Mar 2017, 9:59 am   #7
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Default Re: 1970s Hong Kong radio

That type of radio turned up in many guises in the early 70's. The ones we stocked were badged 'OSCAR' and were truly dreadful. They were built in a sort of cardboard/leatheret case and the whole thing was bargain-basement and then some! The volume knobs & sliders were often noisy even when new and the sound quality was harsh and unpleasant.
Sorry, anyone would think I didn't like them.... They did a car radio as well......
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Old 25th Mar 2017, 10:41 am   #8
60 oldjohn
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Default Re: 1970s Hong Kong radio

Some photos of a play worn Flight 4. I remember now set was nearly new when I got it, someone had deeply scribed on the centre of knobs and wreaked the aerial. I tried to disguise it with emery cloth and a pillar drill. Model no L314 Flight 4 Hong Kong. I think the extra Din socket (Green & Yellow wires to VC) was to record from radio. The original 4 x C cell holder was there but had suffered from age. New holder and batteries and it still works great. If I known 50 years on I was going to be photographing it for the world to see I may have taken better care of it.


John.
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Old 25th Mar 2017, 11:04 am   #9
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Default Re: 1970s Hong Kong radio

As I said earlier, they mostly perform quite well for what they are. The worst thing about them is the strange cardboad and leathercloth cases which don't take a lot of abuse. A lot of them had "sheep in wolf's clothing" styling which implied a lot more sophistication than was actually present.

They were sold in catalogues and by mail order, and sometimes by independent shops, though not usually by the mainstream R&TV trade.
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Old 25th Mar 2017, 11:28 am   #10
60 oldjohn
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Default Re: 1970s Hong Kong radio

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew2 View Post
That type of radio turned up in many guises in the early 70's.
Especially for Andrew, In near mint condition, and sounding wonderful I expect, if I were to put some batteries in it. Grin, Grin, Grin. sorry the little yellow faces do not work, although they use to.

John.
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Old 25th Mar 2017, 1:09 pm   #11
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Default Re: 1970s Hong Kong radio

Thanks for that photo, John - that looks identical to one of the 'Oscars' we flogged. Oh, the memories (most of them bad...)! There was a 'stand up' style one too. It had public service/airband on it.
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Old 25th Mar 2017, 1:15 pm   #12
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Originally Posted by paulsherwin View Post
The worst thing about them is the strange cardboard and leathercloth cases which don't take a lot of abuse...
I agree with the "strange" part, but they seem pretty durable to me. Forty-odd years on, the radios still turn up in fair quantity, and I've hardly ever seen a crushed case and rarely one with a covering that's peeling or at all seriously marked unless by paint. If only as much could be said of the latest Roberts Revivals, which after two or three years of use often look as though they've been dragged along a road on the end of a piece of string.

Paul
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Old 25th Mar 2017, 1:21 pm   #13
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Default Re: 1970s Hong Kong radio

Mine... It even has a squelch control, and proper AM on the air band. It must have been one of the more upmarket models, though a Grundig Satellit it ain't.

I agree about the modern Roberts coverings, I have an RD60 which is only a few years old and has had a very easy life and the covering is disintegrating.
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Old 25th Mar 2017, 1:44 pm   #14
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Default Re: 1970s Hong Kong radio

When I was at school several stand-up ones were about.
The cases were sticky backed fake snake skin over what can only be described as high density egg box board. They could take a fair few dents before the case fell apart.
If they took a serious battering the fake snake skin would get a bit tatty at the corners.
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Old 25th Mar 2017, 2:21 pm   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew2 View Post
The ones we stocked were badged 'OSCAR' and were truly dreadful. They were built in a sort of cardboard/leatheret case and the whole thing was bargain-basement and then some!...
Ah, Oscar! I remember quite a sweet little thing in pale blue, the Oscar Belle: and this, the Majestic, which may have been at the top of the range and sold for around 16.95. I had one briefly in about 1972, and shameless nostalgia had me watching for years for a replacement to come along until finally this one did, in of course the very same shiny PVC mock-croc. Reception and sound quality are poor to indifferent, just as they should be.

Paul
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Old 25th Mar 2017, 2:40 pm   #16
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Default Re: 1970s Hong Kong radio

They all seemed to use the same tuning scale fonts and colours. Is it possible they all came from the same factory?

The overall styling seems derived from American designs of a few years earlier, though obviously with much cheaper materials and finish. Presumably the US was their primary market, though a few are obviously tailored for the UK, with LW coverage and even station names.
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Old 25th Mar 2017, 3:12 pm   #17
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Default Re: 1970s Hong Kong radio

My dad bought one of the upright fake croc skin-cardboard box type radios in about 1973. FM and MW were very good and were used a lot, SW was vaguely interesting sometimes and other times almost dead. It had a built in battery charge function which we never trusted so it was never used. It had a rather snazzy perforated spun aluminium speaker grille. I can't remember what make it was. The speaker sounded as if it was in pain...

In about 1980 I acquired a radio identical in appearance to the one shown by the OP. It had been the work's radio where my mum worked and had been replaced by one of these newfangled radio-cassette units. I used it in my bedroom for a couple of years and plugged into a speaker from the tip it sounded...tolerable...

Now, the maker. It was either Hira or Shira. I saw them for sale at the time in the Arndale Market and the Underground Market in Manchester. If memory serves they were 9.95.

Regards,
Paul
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Old 25th Mar 2017, 4:49 pm   #18
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Default Re: 1970s Hong Kong radio

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There was a 'stand up' style one too. It had public service/airband on it.
That would have been the 'Safari' possibly as no airband. There's the 'Mirage' as well which had FM.

Andrew
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Old 25th Mar 2017, 5:06 pm   #19
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Default Re: 1970s Hong Kong radio

I remember a radio very similar, if not identical, to the "Flight 4" above; with a colourful tuning scale, and "PB" as a continuation from air band. This must have been the early 1980s (while 405 line TV was still on air) because I remember it could pick up the ITV sound.

My nan also used to have a smaller mains / battery set, with just medium and long waves and a solitary speaker, badged "Clarentone DeLuxe". It used the same covered-cardboard construction, with a false back over the electronics leaving a space for the mains lead and the plastic battery holder. A big round silver knob for tuning and a slider for the volume.
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Old 25th Mar 2017, 5:12 pm   #20
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Default Re: 1970s Hong Kong radio

Looking at the pics in Post #8, I just hope those 2 speakers are in phase so as to give more Bass! Those snap-studs are just so typical of the genre. I have one, and still working, from Dixons - known as the "Dixi".
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