This past weekend I attended the New England Antique Radio Club NEVEC “RADIO 50” Expo and flea market at the Courtyard by Marriott Nashua. As a member of NEARC, I have attended this, the premiere vintage radio show in the region for several years. It is easily the high point of my entire winter and once again this year it did not disappoint.
The event draws vendors from all over the northeast and every year I love seeing the elusive rare radios that I have long desired but are beyond my means. Rarities spotted this year included a couple of pioneering compact Bakelite AC/DC Kadette sets as well as a space age Philco Predicta Princess television.
Going to NEARC every March has become a tradition for me and part of the fun is seeing the same good friends who aren’t local to me anymore. These include my best friend, Alan, who first introduced me to the NEARC show about a dozen years ago when we were first getting to know each other, and Larry and Andre – two high school buddies (CCHS ’83) – who now on the cusp of old age like me, are taking comfort in the company of other ancient things.
I never travel to Nashua intending to spend (much) money as I have a basement chock full of ongoing (read: largely ignored and/or abandoned) projects, yet once again this year I still managed to part with about $100 of my dollars.
I spent the most of my dollars at WJOE’s table – again. WJOE is my go-to guy for capacitor kits and other radio restoration small parts. His website is also an excellent resource, but it’s always fun to transact business in person. This year, WJOE sold me:
- a Realistic FM-AM Radio 8 Track Stereo Player Model 14-908A, restored, complete and functional,
- a 300 piece box of ceramic capacitors, and
- a Chinese 40M QRP PIXIE type XCVR kit (subject of a future blog post)
I also picked up a nifty Admiral model YH302GP 8 transistor portable radio (1965) from Garysradios.com and three used LPs:
- The Who, “Live at Leeds”
- The Who, “Who by Numbers”
- John Mayall, “The Turning Point”
I wasn’t looking for new projects and was very happy that both the 8-Track player and the Admiral transistor radio were both sold fully functional, serviced and ready to enjoy. Of course that situation didn’t last long because I managed to drop and kill the Admiral 8 transistor before I even left the flea market!
Inexpensive 1960s era plastic housed electronic devices were never known for their durability. Both the plastic casing and the circuit boards were extremely brittle by today’s standards and one drop typically means serious damage or more likely, a dead radio. Fortunately the Admiral’s case survived my drop without any damage but the radio itself, which was previously playing perfectly, was now completely dead.
Last night I opened the Admiral up on the workbench to troubleshoot the problem. I was guessing I might find a cracked circuit board and with any luck I’d be able to bridge any broken traces to get the radio to play again.
I started by testing the two AA batteries that came with the radio and as suspected, they both checked out fine…
I next examined the circuit board looking for a crack or other obvious physical damage, and I immediately spotted the problem. There was a broken resistor located between the speaker magnet and the battery clip. Apparently the impact of the drop caused the battery to collide with the resistor and break it in half.
So this was going to be an easy fix. Because I could still read the color code from the busted resistor (Brown – Black – Brown = 100 Ohms) I didn’t even need to reference the schematic.
I soldered in a replacement 1/4 watt 100 ohm resistor from my on hand stock and the radio returned back to life. All told the diagnosis and repair took less than a half hour to complete.
More scenes from RADIO 50… see you next year!