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Rebuilding Antique Collectible Vacuum Tube Radios

OddMix.com - Radio Technology Note - RTN0801 - Karl Nagy
Picture 1. Radio Receiver from 1936 [5 KB]
Picture 1. Radio Receiver from 1936

Some folks found themselves in a possession of a nice old radio set of ancient times Picture 1. These can be in the form of some real heavy piece of furniture, a monstrous console, or just a little tabletop set. Regardless of their shape size and form, these surviving examples of a bygone era are well worthy of restoration, display and use.

Most of these early sets are no more, they buried deep in a landfill, as in America folks are too fast to scrap items of value. Especially items of great technical and cultural value. Many beautiful irreplaceable classic buildings are destroyed daily to make way for truly ugly disposable, paper and wood "architecture". That is why it is even more important to revive those nice old cathedral and other radios and other early technical artifacts when an opportunity presents itself.
Picture 2. Typical Old Vacuum Tube [3 KB]
Picture 2. Typical Old Vacuum Tube

Even in the era of the satellite radios, many of you would be simply awestruck by the rich quality sound an old timer radio set can produce. Without a doubt vacuum tube - Picture 2. - amplifiers sound better than the sterile digital sound of semiconductors. The reason tube types equipment sounds better, because vacuum tube amplifiers had a lot less gain then transistor and IC types and they most often could not afford to use negative feedback. Negative feedback has its uses, but it sure not improves the sound of a radio.

Since many owners of such lovely technical inheritance have no idea what to do with an old set found in the basement of a departed relative, here are a few pointers that make you a radio repair reconditioning expert in a few minutes. The first requirement for the restoration is plenty of patience, an inquisitive mind and willingness to do it. There are no expensive instruments and other high tech device required for this effort.

                  Steps of the Radio Reconditioning Process:

                   1 - Inspection of the power cord and power supply determination
                   2 - Case and back cover inspection outside and inside
                   3 - Internal chassis inspection top side - tubes, electrolytic
                   4 - Internal chassis inspection bottom - resistors, capacitors
                   5 - Functional test the ultimate operational test



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