New to Antique Radios
Last christmas I got my first vintage radio back from the shop, a Philco 38-93 that belonged to my great-grandmother. Being my first antique radio, I'd like to ask the local experts a few questions:
1) How much does a tube last? I believe the ones on this radio are at least from the early 50's, judging from the graphics.
2) Does anyone have pictures of a good antenna (or perhaps plans from a vintage magazine)?
And finally, Is it normal for it to make a loud whining noise when I turn up the volume?
I'll post pictures if I can restore the dial scale.
Antennas, for AM if you do a search on "Antenna winding" you should come up with some stuff that is like a Popular Science article. I recall seeing several designs from table top size to using the walls of your room.
Whining is never fun, check to see if there is interference from other electrical appliances nearby. Computers often give radios a hard time, other everyday objects could be doing the whining.
One Too Many
Tubes can last for a very long time.
My 1940 Zenith console still has the original Zenith tubes, with the only things changed on the set, were the caps & power cord.
All you need for an antenna is a "Long Wire" (google)
Could the whining be caused by a nearby lamp?
Originally Posted by John in Covina
And what about ground connections? I currently have the radio hooked up to an old belt buckle on the floor, but certainly I could do better than that.
And that is one great Zenith console, absinthe! Guess I won't have to worry about changing tubes anytime soon.
A bad tube can cause a high-piched squeal. If you are able to look into the back of the radio when it's on and can see all the tubes, look for one that is dimmer than the rest.
It would be worthwhile to have the radio checked by a qualified vintage radio repair person. There are many old components that could have degraded over these many years and can cause problems. I'd be careful with it because those tubes can get pretty warm and there is a potential fire hazard. If you plan on using it alot, get it checked out.
Here's a good page on AM antennas. It gets pretty technical but there are some good links too. You can probably find a decent loop antenna at Radio Shack. If you have a friend who's a ham radio operator, they can help you too.
Then it must be a bad tube. I once checked the inside while it was working and the only glow I saw comes from the bulb above the dial pointer, unless you meant another sort of "dim". Fortunately they aren't very expensive, as far as I know.
Originally Posted by EdinLA44
Thanks for the link, by the way!
Turn on the radio and let it warm up, then turn off (or turn down) the lights and look in the back of it. You should be able to see the tubes glowing better. Hopefully there's an electronics repair shop in your area that has someone that even knows about tube-type vintage AM radios.
Cool Homade Loop Antennas for AM
I ran into that same site when I did a search for "antenna winding" some minutes ago. That's exactly what I had in mind when I thought of a vintage radio antenna.
The night time signal bounce.
There are several others that are really astonishing that people would make. It is a fun thing to do at night, to see how far you can pull in a station from if the bounce is working well