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Old 03-22-2016, 06:12 PM
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DustinBarby DustinBarby is offline
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Tips for a new antique radio collector?

Hi friends! I am an amateur antique TV enthusiast and I have a small collection -- don't want to talk too much about it since so many people here must have better collections! -- but I am thinking to branch out to antique radio as well.

The problem is I know very little about antique radio. Can any of you give me any starting out tips for this?

Any help is super appreciated! Thanks!
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Old 03-22-2016, 07:04 PM
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TUD1 TUD1 is offline
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Ah yes, I remember being a newbie. My advice to you is - see if you have a local radio club. Join and make friends with the guys there. When you get an antique radio that you want to fix, start out slow. Check the tubes, replace caps, etc. There are countless Youtube videos on all sorts of vintage radios. I have learned more in three years from watching Youtube and going to my radio club than I could have ever imagined. But be careful - radios multiply much faster than TV's!
"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe." -Carl Sagan

Last edited by TUD1; 01-30-2017 at 05:04 PM.
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Old 03-22-2016, 07:16 PM
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DustinBarby DustinBarby is offline
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Thanks that's a great idea! I will have too look around now for a radio club!

Edit: Wow, found a club with a quick google search. Should have thought of that earlier, thanks TUD1!
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Old 03-23-2016, 12:20 AM
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Rayburn69 Rayburn69 is offline
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Exclamation Addicting...

I have been collecting and fixing/restoring radios for over 40 years. I love it as a hobby and can be very rewarding!!! Learn as much as you can about the workings and parts available, so you can repair found sets. You can pick up non-working sets for little cash and repair the unit for little outlay of time-Very satisfying! Word of warning: This hobby is very addicting...Make sure you have room for storage and display! I have over 100 tube radios displayed all over the house and a garage full of parts/future repairs. Have fun and enjoy!-Ray>>>
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Old 03-23-2016, 05:00 PM
uncleputz uncleputz is offline
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Really addicting

I have been in the radio hobby for 40 years as well. I have been fortunate to have had the assistance of two "elmers" to guide me over the years. I am not a fan of radio clubs, but that is just me. Too many politics and not enough radio fixing for my taste. But I digress. I would advise you to read books on radio repair, practice good safety procedures and get radios you would enjoy. Feel free to ask lots of questions. And, above all, have lots of fun. You can't have just one radio. We all started out the same way. Good luck.
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Old 03-23-2016, 06:28 PM
Gregb Gregb is offline
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I have always been interested in electronics but once I discovered my first tube radio 40 years ago I was hooked. The addiction is as bad if not worse today than it ever was but I have learned restraint and am fairly picky about what I buy now. I am self taught as far as repairing them goes so like the fellows above have said, read all you can get your hands on, learn safety first, practise on a little plastic five tube set to get a feel for things. This has been a very rewarding hobby for me and has provided me with hours of enjoyment and made some great friends along the way as well.
Have Fun!

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Old 03-23-2016, 06:41 PM
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maxhifi maxhifi is offline
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My advice is to focus on getting what you want and not on getting what's available
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Old 03-23-2016, 08:03 PM
Titan1a Titan1a is offline
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I recommend spending time to determine what you want. There's lots of info on the web if you're willing spend the time. Look, look and look some more all over (craigslist, ebay, and swap meets). Don't buy the first thing you see and don't overpay! Lastly, have electronics friends. These people are worth their weight in Platinum!
Rick (Sparks) Ethridge
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Old 03-24-2016, 08:14 PM
walterbeers walterbeers is offline
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Rick (Titan1a) and I have know each other for over 37 years, and both of us have been interested and involved in all types of electronics, from old radios, TVs, and computers. (Rick is the computer buff). When I first read this post, I didn't even realize that your in Lincoln NE. I'm just a hop down I 80 in Omaha. I did consumer electronic repair for many, many years, when I gave it up as a steady income as most everything became cheap throw away items. I (now at age 65) just do electronic work only as a hobby. I have repaired/restored many items including 2 antique radios of Ricks, a Zenith 7S232, and a Philco 37-665 is a work in progress. I've repaired/restored everything from simple 5 tube radios, to my treasured 1954 Color TV, CTC2B 21CT55. If you need some help, advice, or I can be of some assistance, let me know. I love working on old electronics, but I'm not the person to do the cabinet work. I agree, find radios that you like and want, that appear to be in re-storable shape, and try to find bargains not only from sites on the web, but also check out estate sales, garage sales, etc. I'm sure I'm one of Ricks "electronic friends" that he mentions in his post above. If you like, contact me through my e-mail
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Old 03-29-2016, 05:15 AM
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decojoe67 decojoe67 is offline
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The greatest thing about vintage radios is the tremendous variety. I've been in the hobby for 35 years and still come across a set I don't recall ever seeing before! There's always that "next one" to add to your collection! I too collect vintage TV's, but the selection and styling choices are limited.
As far as advice, I'd say buy quality over quantity. I used to pass on say a classic set priced at $500, and then proceed to purchase 5 mediocre sets for $100 a piece over a short period of time. You find you'd be much more satisfied with that one great piece. Also, be knowledgeable about a set you purchase, or just pass on it. At this point in time vintage radios often have incorrect knobs, finishes, speakers, and even chassis'! You can end-up being very disappointed when you finally find that out. Lastly, buy what appeals to YOU, not what is the most popular, or vise-versa, don't pass on what collectors say is unpopular when it appeals to you.

Last edited by decojoe67; 03-29-2016 at 06:35 AM.
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Old 03-29-2016, 12:29 PM
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wa2ise wa2ise is offline
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Antique radios will breed like rabbits...
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Old 03-31-2016, 02:34 PM
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DustinBarby DustinBarby is offline
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Thanks a bunch you guys. I have contacted the club and I hope to get more involved once I get a few more pieces for my television collection.

You guys are great!
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Old 03-31-2016, 08:14 PM
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Sandy G Sandy G is offline
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Consider psychiatric help... Seriously, start out small. All-American 5 (AA5) tube models are still plentiful, & common, & generally have easily available tubes. Try yr hand on a couple of these, sort of "Get the Feel" of working on 'em, & then try yr hand on a more complicated set. But yeah, One of these dern things leads to 2, & then 3, & after a short while, you'll have Radidios starin' back at you from EVERY flat surface in yr house..
Benevolent Despot
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Old 04-17-2016, 02:03 AM
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Tubejunke Tubejunke is offline
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The comments about what equates to becoming radio hoarders are certainly accurate, but I feel that we left a thing or two out for this gentleman. You need a fundamental understanding at least of electricity and electronics, and you must learn to beware that the stuff can kill you. Strongly worded, but I don't know any other way of driving the point home. It was taught to me long ago that 1 ampere of electrical current can stop a human heart. These days it is fractional or so many milliamperes meaning less current. I forget the exact number, but I stress safety. Get yourself an isolation transformer. All AA5 radios without a transformer power supply have one side of the AC line coming from your wall outlet connected to the chassis. If you touch the chassis or just happen to be holding the radio and your hand is on one of the hold down bolts you run a 50% chance of getting electrocuted depending on which way the radio is plugged in. I could go on, but this gives you a reason to get those electrical fundamentals under your belt before you start tearing into things and get too secure and get hurt.

An isolation transformer in layman's terms is just a small unit you can buy on Ebay or elsewhere for not a lot of money that you will plug into the wall outlet and then plug your radio into it. Being a transformer is between you and the house's electrical AC line, there will be no way for you to come into DIRECT contact with the line, so you are greatly protected. Do a little study on alternating and direct current along with transformers and induction. You will be dealing with capacitors a LOT, so there are some important points of knowledge that I consider critical there. Caps come in many forms in old radios. It will take a while to simply be able to identify everything you run into. START with understanding how to safely handle them. Especially larger value capacitors which are termed electrolytic. They are polarized and if you connect them backward there can be a small explosion. Not going to knock your house down, but you will be left shaking wondering what in the world you have done. This is getting long winded and could get longer; I'm not proud (Arlo Guthrie?!!?), so I will finalize by saying go online and find a resistor/capacitor color code chart that you can understand. There's a ton of them thanks to the WWW. It used to be a page in a book and is quite simple. I find them on the web that I can't understand, but you will need that to be able to identify components in order to take measurements and get replacement parts.

So welcome to the world of thermionic emission and, well; old radios (tube type). Hint hint.....
"Face piles of trials with smiles, for it riles them to believe that you perceive the web they weave, and keep on thinking free"
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Old 12-24-2018, 02:20 AM
oldtvnut oldtvnut is offline
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Location: Oshkosh WI
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Those critters will have a way of following you home! Like they say,any more than two
and they WILL multiply! Aside from that, this hobby is a lot of fun. Even after 30+ years, the tail still wags the dog!
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