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 How often do you use your vintage radio?

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High Tension



Join date : 2011-11-08

PostSubject: How often do you use your vintage radio?   2012-08-27, 3:36 am

Hi All,

I have often wondered how often others listen to their vintage radios. I have a 1941 (I think) Ultimate Bandspread mantel radio I listen to sometimes, but lately it's a 1925 A.C. Dayton TRF set I listen to most. I usually get about 5 hours a week on something. I have others, but there is a real challenge finding a distant station then getting all three stages tuned properly while trying to tune out some other station next to it. This is a bit trickier being that ALL the dial markings are worn off. So far my best for this set is Adelaide, 1211km or 757 miles from here in Kurri Kurri, New South Wales Australia. I MAY have heard Perth, Western Australia the other night, the station was on the right frequency, and the two call letters I heard were correct, I am just not sure enough to say I got it. Perth is 3329km or 2080 miles.

I got these because I enjoy them, I am fascinated by them, and I enjoy listening as I do other things. Not much different than ham operators with their Hammerlunds and Nationals.

On another note, many of the stations here broadcast syndicated radio programs, symultaiously. You will often only hear the station ID somewhere near the top of the hour, if then! So, if you only have mediocre reception or a basic crystal set, you may pick up five stations on AM but only two programs. Add a longwire and the air comes alive with low powered oldies and independant local stations. Much better! Sometimes there's a radio drama or a bookreading. Just the thing to come drifting out of the horn on top the set with something cold to sip on! cheers

Let me know what you guys think

Lindsey
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Cliff Jones
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Join date : 2010-11-22

PostSubject: Re: How often do you use your vintage radio?   2012-08-27, 12:56 pm

The reason for your problems with reception is you are down under, and the signals get reversed from us on the mainland. LOL
Very interesting, do you have to have a permit or tax on radios like they do in England? Tell us about your radios in some more detail. What Brand(s) tube count, type of such as superheterodyne or TRF, Crystal, or Regen, Reflex, Dual or triple conversion?

Types of antennas used etc.

Ultimate Bandspread, is that the brand name?

does the dayton look like this?


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High Tension



Join date : 2011-11-08

PostSubject: Re: How often do you use your vintage radio?   2012-08-28, 6:24 am

Hi Cliff,

Yeah, I seem to think it's really because the signals SWIRL in the opposite direction.

There used to be a radio listeners' licence here, but I am not sure when that stopped. I have one somewhere I have been meaning to frame as a reminder of the way things used to be. I think that listeners' licenses were considered or in use in the U.S. at one time according to Radio Broadcast magazine articles of the 1920's. Its been a long time since I read that article.

OK, brief description of the pile surrounding my bench: The AC Dayton is playing now, Melbourne, Victoria or Adelaide, South Australia is coming in strong and clear here in Kurri Kurri, New South Wales tonight. Hard to tell with no numbers on the dial, I can't remember which is which without a dial or log to go by. It looks to be the same model you show, just not as clean and pretty. The graphics on the front are nearly entirely gone and the finish is a bit rough. Parts of the little carved bits are missing. NICE speaker in the pic, mine is a Dictograph with a Baldwin balanced armature driver installed. It was one of those Ebay deals that didn't get many bidders. OOPS! But at least I have a working speaker to enjoy. I have a cobbled together Browning Drake with the later 'Raegenaformer' coils. UX-112A in the RF, UX-200A for the detector, and just normal '01A's for two stages of Audio. It does OK. Regeneration is SMOOOOOOTHE! I have modified it just a bit, the RF tube rheostat goes straight to the A battery, and grid return is reversed on the '200A as per RCA's own recommendation ( I read it somewhere and I can't find that specific info again, but I've found references to it). I have been thinking about switching to a really trick vernier rheostat I have for the RF tube, but I may save it for another project, don't know yet.I have a pair of variometer tuned sets with variometer regneration similar to the Radiola II, the first is a single tube that has really impressed me as its quite sensitive. The other I haven't started on yet, it has three UV199 tubes. I also have an old one tube homebrew set. It tunes VERY sharp and uses a variable capacitor on the regen.

My 'Ultimate Bandspread' is from around 1941 near as I can tell and is roughly the size of a large US rural regulation mailbox like you used to see out on the backroads there. It has six tubes and is a superhetrodyne with shortwave bands. 'Ultimate' is the brand name. I think they used 'Bandspread' as a marketing gimmick on several different models, even though it seems to work pretty well. The shortwave bands are not hard to tune and are also nicely spread out. It's a pretty good performer and was made under license from New Zealand in Sydney I believe. It is a New Zealand designed radio with a working tuning eye. I traded a $50 riding mower for it. It doesn't have an internal antenna.

I have a 1930's Paling superhet chassis that came out of a house at Wauchope, New South Wales, it had been built into the wall. It has shortwave also, but it also has a very large and unusual dial. It doesn't have a real needle type pointer, its painted on a disc that as it rotates holes in the printing on the disc come into alignment with another layer of the dial and the call sign of the radio station becomes visible illuminated from behind in the black center of the dial. It seems like I saw something similar once as a kid growing up in the US, maybe around Louisville or in Evansville Indiana.

I have a few more, plus some crystal sets, but nothing of real interest. Here there seems to be a real mix if English, Aussie, and American radios in the very early years of radio here judging from the odd bits and pieces I see sometimes at the markets and such. I have a few parts I have never even seen before like some type of resistor block roughly a half inch square and three inches long with threaded brass inserts for screw-in taps. I have a few old rheostats, one reminds me of some kind of train speed control or boat throttle but has really fine resistor wire. Also some type of choke it seems with two windings in a square frame each having probably only twenty windings of 20 to 24 gage wire and '50' stamped into it (50 cycle A/C 240v power here). I am betting its for smoothing DC ripple.

OK, my aerial is a joke. I may be close to 90 feet long, but it's only seven feet in the air at the ends and awfully close to metal roofing at each end. Add to that the fact that I live in a low spot in a valley with mountains in sight in almost all directions. The gap in the mountains is roughly between me and the local stations and open ocean beyond that. Oh to live on one of those mountaintops! I have plans to go up another 20 feet higher with steel pipe and fiberglass poles on top of those to hold the insulators. So far my record here with these radios is Adelaide, South Australia 1211 kilometers or 757 miles away on MW broadcast band. Its a 50KW station with most stations here running10KW or less.

Feel free to ask about the radios or parts, I'll try to answer.

Lindsey
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Cliff Jones
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PostSubject: Re: How often do you use your vintage radio?   2012-08-28, 3:46 pm

Rather than fibreglass poles Get some plastic water pipe, probably a lot cheaper.

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High Tension



Join date : 2011-11-08

PostSubject: Re: How often do you use your vintage radio?   2012-08-29, 4:58 am

I already have the poles, they are old golf course flag poles that marked the holes and have a metal tip with a machine screw sticking out the top to connect an insulator and a tapered metal base that should fit nicely into the end of some pipe or a fitting. If I need to, I could split the end of the pipe and clamp it onto the pole's tapered base. They seem ready-made for this and only cost me a few dollars each at a junk shop. I just wish I could find a nice pair of push-up poles at a decent price. I'll probably end up getting some lengths of galvanised pipe instead.

I forgot to mention earlier how I find the frequencies on the Dayton. I use a digital Sangean ATS 505 radio as a spotter. If it's close to the Dayton it effects the signal on the Sangean when it's tuned to the same frequency. I also noticed that when the signal is fading in and out rapidly like a flutter, the two radios alternate in signal strenth. The digital gets louder when the Dayton is weaker and vise-versa. Does the magnetic wave effect the ferrite rod differently than the longwire? Why is the signal strength reversed? Or is the Dayton just acting as a wavetrap? They were pretty close together when I noticed this.

Lindsey
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Cliff Jones
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PostSubject: Re: How often do you use your vintage radio?   2012-08-30, 11:18 am

The signals are handled different in a newer receiver, as they have better AGC. action. The two different antennas would pick up the signal different to, depending on orientations to the signal. One thing that I have always wanted is a diversity Receiver that will handle fading signals as it uses two separate antennas for that purpose and broadcasts the stronger signal so it seems like a more solid signal. The gain of the anntena is very importaint too. Also it's length.

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willy3486



Join date : 2012-10-30

PostSubject: Re: How often do you use your vintage radio?   2012-11-04, 6:39 am

Not too much these days for two reasons. I got out of old radios about 20 years ago, but I saved my stuff. The other reason is so much going on with family members moving. I do plan on listening a lot more not too long from now. I have a 30 foot tower I want to raise in a few months and I have some Hallicrafters radios I want to redo. I would like to see how I can get with these shortwaves. I have one hallicrafters I used years ago but I have added two more. I also have one of the cheaper am transmitters I may use some. I might even upgrade it to the better one. I want to start repairing again on my weekends so listening to radios will give me something to have playing. I use to listen to them quite a bit years ago.
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ve1arn
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Join date : 2010-11-23

PostSubject: Re: How often do you use your vintage radio?   2012-11-05, 1:41 pm

I don't get to listen too much in the summer. Now that the older weather is coming, and it gets darker sooner, I'll be doing more.
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copain



Join date : 2011-12-28

PostSubject: Re: How often do you use your vintage radio?   2013-10-07, 2:18 pm

In answer to the question heading the original post, I use my vintage radio(s) everyday, often for hours on end. It's not that the present AM band is loaded with fascinating, interesting material; it is decidely not. But I have three home AM broadcasters that I use alternately every couple of weeks or so with which I broadcast old radio programs either from the Internet (free) or from CDs. These programs are enormously entertaining and nostalgic and provide a listening authenticity not otherwise available. I also am fortunate in that in my area I receive an FM station that broadcasts "my" kind of music (classical) 24/7/365, and it is a simple matter to rebroadcast this station by means of my home AM broadcasters. I get the impression that not many antique radio hobbyists are into this fascinating aspect of the hobby. They are missing a lot, especially a unique way to "exercise" the antique radios they possess.
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FrankB
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PostSubject: Oz Radio Reception Problem   2013-10-09, 10:28 pm

Lindsey,
Have you tried a buried counterpoise under your antenna?
That might be just your ticket to increase your reception (and transmissions too).
Should be some good info on them in the old RSGB or ARRL handbooks. I remember reading about the counterpoises in some of the early books.
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High Tension



Join date : 2011-11-08

PostSubject: Re: How often do you use your vintage radio?   2013-10-24, 8:24 am

Hi Frank,

I have considered a counterpoise, and I may try one on top of the ground under my antenna. Currently there is a metall fence running not quite under but paralell to my antenna. I haven't tried grounding directly to it but it has been in my mind. I'm renting, so a serious set up isn't quite it the cards for me right now.

I have also considered trying a capacitor coupling to my metal roof, just to see how that does just for curiosity. It could make for a stealth antenna system at rental properties like mine if it works.

Lindsey
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FrankB
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PostSubject: Re: How often do you use your vintage radio?   2013-10-24, 9:26 pm

Lindsey,
The metal fence might work.

Also if you have a metal gutter/eaves trough / metal roof on the house and its not grounded, it can make an effective antenna too.
Make sure no plants are climbing on it though.

I also live in the bottom of a valley. It does make getting some signals a challange, and getting out ont he ham bands is a PITA to get any stations other than Canada or California.
Which is weird, as my valley runs NW and I am at the N end of it. The long wire antenna was running N & S, so I must have been end firing. I was hoping the hills would bounce the signal E & W and I could get Europe or Asian stations from the high angle bounce. Probably only getting the alien spacecraft though.Wink . Even when I ran a dipole E & W, at 125' off the old fir trees I used to have, all I could get was CA & Calif. stations to reply. _._. _ _._

73'
Frank Wb7ELC/ ex- ZL2BJZ

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