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Vintage Radio (domestic) Domestic vintage radio (wireless) receivers only.

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Old 13th Apr 2010, 9:33 pm   #1
yesnaby
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Default Vintage car aerial etc

Hello,

Does anyone remember a type of car aerial that I once had? Not sure where it was bought from (Halfords?) but it was a telescopic type fitted into a hole drilled in the car's front wing and operated by an electric motor and a housing with a spiral flexible rod that pushed and pulled the top bit up and down whilst making a hammering noise. (It never did work very well!)

Also, perhaps OT but at about the same era (1970s) I had a stick-on rear window de-mister called 'Frost King' that I bought from a newspaper advert. This also was not too good. Wonder who made this? Could it have been a Mr. A. Sugar?

Michael

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Old 13th Apr 2010, 9:40 pm   #2
Rob_Lewis
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Default Re: Vintage car aerial etc

I certainly remember that aerial thing. It made the hammering noise, if memory serves, near to the end of its travel. The demister thing rings no bells, but I can easily imagine the hand of Mr. Sugar somewhere...
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Old 13th Apr 2010, 9:49 pm   #3
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Default Re: Vintage car aerial etc

We had 2 cars fitted with electric aerials. They were not the most reliable items as water gets into the casing, corroding the mechanism. I think if you got 5 years use you were doing very well. The one on my wifes car failed, with the mast up. I'd bought a replacement but before I could fit it other problems caused us to part exchange it.

There was another type which you stuck across the top of your windscreen. Not sure how good they were.

Keith
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Old 13th Apr 2010, 9:54 pm   #4
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Default Re: Vintage car aerial etc

i had one or those aeriels on the rear wing of my jag, was never much cop and used to stick reguarly. i replaced it with a whip. i may still have it in the garrage somewhere if i can find it i'll take a pic.

Jay
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Old 13th Apr 2010, 10:33 pm   #5
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Default Re: Vintage car aerial etc

Hi,
I too can remember both the Electric aerials and the stick on de-mister.
The electric aerials did make a hammering noise towards the end of their travel, sonmething to do with a slipping clutch/ratchet mechanism I think.

The type that I owned could be wired directly to the car radios "Aerial power" lead, if you were lucky enough to have a radio with this facility, or via a sensor board which detected current flow as the radio was switched on (or lack of it at switch off); this relied on there being two live feeds to the motor circuitry, a "direct" one to operate the motor after the radio was switched off, and the series feed to the radio via the sensing circuit.

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Andrew
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Old 13th Apr 2010, 11:20 pm   #6
Peter.N.
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Default Re: Vintage car aerial etc

I remember them both, the defroster was chrome - or something shiny anyway.
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Old 13th Apr 2010, 11:53 pm   #7
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Default Re: Vintage car aerial etc

I remember the power antennas well - two of my cars still have them and they work fine. They are still available new from most car spares shops.
The stick on windscreen aerials were good for FM but suffered terrible interference on AM as they weren't connected to the metal bodywork.
As another variation, who remembers the type of aerial that clipped onto the side window glass? You wound the window down, clipped the bracket on then wound the window back up so that the telescopic rod was outside and the cable was inside to connect to the radio........
The rear add-on demister element i remember was the sort that was like a metallic zig-zag made out of what looked like tinfoil.........
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Old 14th Apr 2010, 12:22 am   #8
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Default Re: Vintage car aerial etc

Window clip-on type- yes remember those. Also long fibreglass? whips which clipped under a small hook screwed to the roof gutter to stop them waving about too much!

Best replacement type was an old galvanised coathanger jammed into the remains of the vandalised original telescopic- they were never messed about with for some reason

If the car was a banger (or an old van) a UHF socket mounted in the middle of the roof with a bit of welding rod soldered into the centre pin of a UHF plug was pretty robust and was easily removed if required.

An interchangeable selection cut to 1/4 wave for either FM radio or 2m Ham band and with a longer one for AM broadcast graced my old 400E van about 35 years ago.
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Old 14th Apr 2010, 8:12 am   #9
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Default Re: Vintage car aerial etc

Michael..you mean one like this. I bought this circa 1966 from a motor factor in Ipswich ( Shortis, now long gone) It's an FJ motor antenna model MO6445 12v made in Japan. As you say it never worked very well but it was flash (I was 17!!)
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Old 14th Apr 2010, 8:38 am   #10
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Default Re: Vintage car aerial etc

Perhaps i have been quite fortunate. I have three Ford Capris which all use these type of aerial and all have been working without problem since 1986.I even bent one because foolishly i tried to listen to the radio whilst in the car wash.But it still worked afterwards although not through it's full travel.I still have one new in box somewhere that i bought as a spare.I do periodically lubricate them.Perhaps that's why they have been so long lived. Colin.
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Old 14th Apr 2010, 9:09 am   #11
Mike Phelan
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Default Re: Vintage car aerial etc

Motorised aerials were commonplace on various makes - I had one on a BMW 520i as original equipment and the same on a Citroen BX.
They did need regular stripping and lubrication.
The aerials might be vintage, but there were no vintage (pre 1931) cars with radios.

There was another sort of car aerial used in the late 1930's which was a rod under the sill and parallel with it, attached to the chassis or floor by insulators.
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Old 14th Apr 2010, 12:30 pm   #12
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Default Re: Vintage car aerial etc

Yes! I remember them well. The stick-on rear window demister was a great idea and worked well in the sixties. Much later, my Rover limo. had a heated rear window that used the element as an efficient aerial but required an expensive box of tricks in the boot.
The motorised telescopic sort was fitted to a company car I had in about 1964. The original was unscrewed and carted away by some rascal at Heathrow airport in the days when one could use the multi-storey carpark and not put out in a field nearby.
The replacement didn't last very long either. When taking the car for its mandatory wash one Sunday afternoon the final section failed to retract before the Carwash machine brush got to it, wrenched it out and proceeded to thrash the side of car with it both going forward and back. The damage was slight but the noise was terrifying. I never used one again although they worked well.
The little window/gutter mounted aerials were very popular for attaching by cable to transistor radios that built with a suitable coupling coil on the ferrite rod. This was seen by some as a method of avoiding the purchase of a receiving license that was required for "proper car radios" permanently installed and wired to the car electrics. The license was cancelled 1971.
Happy days . . .
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Old 14th Apr 2010, 2:50 pm   #13
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Default Re: Vintage car aerial etc

I always heard bad things about those motorised aerials, even the better ones only lasted a few years. I always stuck to the simple telescopic aerials that I bought from either Halfords or other auto spares shops. These only seemed to last a few years I was always replacing my front wing mounted aerial on my Escort mk1. I remember one which would not retract fully forgetting about this I drove into a garage to use the car wash. I pushed the aerial down as far as I could put the tokens in the machine and sat there and watched as the brushes snapped the aerial clean off, this then got tangled up in the brushes and made quite an impressive sound as it banged against the bodywork of my car. At the end of the wash I had good intentions of running in to tell the garage about this but events rather overtook me. As I got out of my car the driver of a brand new BMW ignored my shouts put his tokens in the coin slot and all you could hear was this expensive rattling and clattering as the remains of my car aerial laid into the BMW's brand new shiny paintwork. I am afraid I just got back into my car and made a sharpish escape. It was quite a while before I had enough courage to use this garage again as I heard it did cause a bit of a row between the garage and the owner of the BMW. For some time after this I just relied on those aerials which would clip on to the cars guttering. Reception on my elderly Philips car radio was ok on the stronger medium wave signals but not to good for Radio 4 on long wave.
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Old 14th Apr 2010, 8:21 pm   #14
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Default Re: Vintage car aerial etc

How odd! Bought a brand new electric aerial at Blackpool on Sunday. It was A Tandy one just like I had on my Fiat Argenta 25 years ago. The difference between this one and most is that this one has a loading coil because it can be used for CB as well.

Peter
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Old 14th Apr 2010, 9:01 pm   #15
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Default Re: Vintage car aerial etc

I bought one of the Paddy Hopkirk stick-on windscreen aerials in 1974, as I didn't want to drill holes in my new car. Thirty six years later it's still there.
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Old 15th Apr 2010, 10:32 pm   #16
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Default Re: Vintage car aerial etc

Have had two Saab 900's (from 86 and 89 respectively), both of which had electric aerials - one of which worked, one of which didn't. However as about 50% of the electrics in that one never worked right anyway, I was never sure whether the unit of the car in general were to blame! ...but I did only pay 60 for the car...and it did me nearly a year, so I never complained.

Both of my Skodas (130GL and 135 Rapic RiC) have had radio antennas built into the sunroof (can't for the life of me find a photo of it for all the dozens of photos of the cars I have...will snap one of the Rapid's at the weekend). Doesn't seem to be honest to be hugely effective...but did the job more or less on FM...Am was appalling though!

Have never had a car with a stick on demister...but do remember seeing them on a few cars when I was younger. Think one of our neighbours had...can't remember precisely...was either a MkI Vauxhall Astra, or possibly a Chevette with one of them. No idea how effective it was though...I was about five at the time!
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Old 16th Apr 2010, 10:33 am   #17
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Default Re: Vintage car aerial etc

I remember those zigzag rear window demisters, they were made by Smiths and you could get them in Halfords back in the 70s. Really ugly things, the foil was about 1/4" wide but I suppose they were a product of their time.

The last Sierra I had a few years ago had a diplexer built into the heated window wiring to use it as an aerial. I could get a good reception of Capital Radio driving down the A21 out of London all the way home, but driving towards the transmitter I had to get at least 15 miles up the road, it was rather directional!
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Old 16th Apr 2010, 12:24 pm   #18
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Default Re: Vintage car aerial etc

Using the heated rear window as an aerial dates back to at least the late 70s when you could get a unit that you connected in the power feed to the heating element and it isolated it from the RF point of view and connected it via a matching network to the aerial input of the radio. That really only worked for LW & MW. A different approach was needed for VHF as descibed in a WW article in 1986 (I believe) This required a different form of the heating elements with the feed connections on one side of the car to allow the diplexer to connect to it. The VHF signals were split off and amplified the re-combined with the LW & MW signals before being fed to the radio.

In the article the authors measured the impedances at band 2 frequencies of different cars heated rear windows and the Ford Orion, which was the first car to be fitted with this system, came out as 50ohms. It was I believe an expensive way of fitting an aerial but it did mean no holes had to be made in the wings.

I had a hire car once with this system and whenever the HRW was switched on there was tremendous interference on the radio. I checked and there was a break in one of the elements. I mentioned it when the car was returned and a few weeks later I got the same hire car and the rear screen had been replaced. The radio actually worked when the HRW was on.

Ford fitted it to the Granada, Sierra, Escort and Orion in the mid to late 80s but reverted to roof aerials for their 90s models, presumably due to the cost.

Keith
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Old 18th Apr 2010, 8:57 pm   #19
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Default Re: Vintage car aerial etc

Here we go. Not had a car which I was aware of the antenna being in the rear window - though we did have a Sierra which I remember not having one visible - so it was probably in there. That was a '91 car...so probably one of the last before they reverted back to the conventional ones. Reception on that one always seemed good.

This is the sunroof of my 1991 Skoda 135 Rapid. Not the world's greatest photo I'm afraid...but you can see the way it's been printed in the metal dot pattern there.
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Old 18th Apr 2010, 11:14 pm   #20
yesnaby
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Default Re: Vintage car aerial etc

Hello,

This has been an interesting thread.

I have a Mazda 626 which has the motorized telescopic type aerial mounted in a rear wing, perhaps they have improved the design as this has never given any trouble!

The rear window demister I remember did have wide stripes. They were mounted on a plastic sheet that could be rolled up (for posting etc). The stripes had a habit of fracturing and they had to be mended with conductive silver paint, the repairs did not last long. I do remember the one I had was named 'Frost King', but I have been unable to find any trace of this on the Internet.

Michael
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