Forums :: NEW! Web Resources :: Features :: Photo Gallery :: Vintage Radio Shows :: Archives
Support This Site: Contributors :: Advertise


It is currently Mar Tue 02, 2021 6:32 am


All times are UTC [ DST ]





Post New Topic Post Reply  [ 52 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Car Radio DX- what is the Gold Standard?
PostPosted: Feb Tue 23, 2021 5:25 am 
Member
User avatar

Joined: Jul Fri 21, 2017 9:58 pm
Posts: 1695
Location: Erie, Pa.
I have read that if you are interested in a.m. dx, an older car radio might be the ticket, from a 60's or early 70's car.

Supposedly these radios were built to very high standards, and do quite well.

Anyone here do this?

Which old dash radios were best, and how do you set it up for operation?

_________________
Tim, N3YQV
"I'm SHOCKED! SHOCKED, I tell you!"


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Car Radio DX- what is the Gold Standard?
PostPosted: Feb Tue 23, 2021 6:02 am 
Member
User avatar

Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 15563
Location: S. Dartmouth MA 02748-1225 USA
I have use radios from cars of the late 40's to mid 50's. The 6-volt ones with tubes. I ran from a DC supply or jumped out the vibrator and an AC supply.

The RF stage makes the car radio what it is and the lower IF frequency.

Dunno "gold standard" but in tube radios be aware some used a field coil speaker that was good for an amp.

I still have the transistor radio from my 73 AMC hornet, I bought the car new and ran it into the ground, That radio was capable of great DX.

I did have issues with the plastic bushings that held the ferrite slugs these crumbled and I forced in some neoprene rubber then re-aligned, worked fine.

FWIR the radio only used about an amp...

I should revive that guy and stick it in a wooden box for snicks and giggles... chas

_________________
List' & I will Enchant Thine Ear


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Car Radio DX- what is the Gold Standard?
PostPosted: Feb Tue 23, 2021 1:15 pm 
Member
User avatar

Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 10052
Location: Beaver Falls, PA. USA
The better radios of the 1940s and 1950s had push-pull output tubes, usually 6V6, 6AQ5, or their 12 volt counterparts; they sound quite good, and have excellent sensitivity. They are designed for a short whip antenna. Even the ones with single output tubes work reasonably well.

_________________
Tim KA3JRT


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Car Radio DX- what is the Gold Standard?
PostPosted: Feb Tue 23, 2021 2:12 pm 
Member
User avatar

Joined: Jun Wed 08, 2011 2:33 am
Posts: 11549
Location: Ohio 45177
I thought about that once or twice. I have converted old solid state radios into table radios with an automotive type speaker and an easy enough to construct 12 VDC power supply in the package. It would be easy enough to work with a radio that you have that is working. I suppose service data is a difficulty alot and now I see online sellers with junky old car radios seemingly all asking "scarce collectible" type prices. Old Chevy radio? The kind you could get for a buck? 150$. Etc. As far as performance goes, I would have thought that a good old car radio was comparable to something like a very good home radio, especially one with an RF stage, like AA6 types. Probably the car radios gained a reputation as being hot rigs when cheap mass produced transistor radios came out and people compared them to how well their car radios worked. And found them lacking except for local stations.

_________________
Reddy Kilowatt says; You smell smoke? Sorry about that!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Car Radio DX- what is the Gold Standard?
PostPosted: Feb Tue 23, 2021 3:20 pm 
Member

Joined: Dec Sat 06, 2014 4:02 pm
Posts: 96
Location: Fergus Falls, Minn
The old AM car radio whip antennas presented about 60pf to the radio. If you want to use a longwire, connect 50 - 75pf in series and the radio antenna trimmer should peak on that. I built a power supply for my '51 Merc radio, sounds wonderful with P-P 6V6s and quite large output transformer, it has a stepped tone control with a dial.

_________________
Allen L.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Car Radio DX- what is the Gold Standard?
PostPosted: Feb Tue 23, 2021 3:32 pm 
Member
User avatar

Joined: Jul Tue 15, 2008 6:13 pm
Posts: 8854
Location: Gretna, Nebraska
Agree with the above comments relative to performance.

Would also add that car radio reception in a non-running vehicle, much like a battery portable radio, also has the advantage of being able to be moved to an area where the noise floor is significantly lower.

A low noise floor allows the AGC to operate the set at maximum gain, and in general is more conducive DX reception. This is not always an option when at home or other fixed location where the ambient noise level is higher.

Of course, the noise floor advantages on vintage car radios usually disappears the moment you start the engine or drive near power lines.

_________________
http://www.vintagerestorationservices.com
Paul
...... how hard can it be?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Car Radio DX- what is the Gold Standard?
PostPosted: Feb Tue 23, 2021 5:54 pm 
Member

Joined: Nov Wed 27, 2013 5:59 am
Posts: 788
Location: Metzger Oregon
Probably not the answer you are looking for, but for what it’s worth. We have a low power FM station somewhat close by run by the HAM club. I can sometimes pick up the station in the car driving around our neighborhood, but typically not very well. I tried almost every home receiver and tuner that I own and got nothing. I finally tried a Pioneer car radio with their “Super Tuner” and able to get the station with just a piece of wire for an indoor antenna. This one is an AM/FM/CD model that was given to me by a friend in the 1990s when one of the channels died, so it’s about that vintage. I suspect you had AM in mind, but if anyone is looking for FM DX, the Pioneer works great.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Car Radio DX- what is the Gold Standard?
PostPosted: Feb Tue 23, 2021 9:29 pm 
Member
User avatar

Joined: Oct Wed 14, 2009 6:36 am
Posts: 6248
Location: New York USA
We had a 1960 Ford Falcon with a hybrid tube radio that could easily get stations from NYC to Buffalo as we drove across the state.

Older 6 volt radios that had a 6 volt 1 amp field coil speaker, the field is not part of the power supply, so just replace the speaker with a modern permanent magnet speaker.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Car Radio DX- what is the Gold Standard?
PostPosted: Feb Wed 24, 2021 1:01 am 
Member

Joined: Nov Tue 14, 2017 5:09 am
Posts: 3396
Location: Austin, Texas
My gold standard was a 40's vintage Lincoln radio. I installed it in a '54 Ford and it was so big it had to be hung under the dash board. It had a large chromed bezel and I was able to drill some 1/4" holes through that to bolt it to the bottom of the dash. In the late 50's and early 60's, I could listen to stations all over the US while driving around in south Texas. I finally bought a real 54 radio in the mid 60's. I don't remember what I did with the Lincoln. I probably gave it to one of my friends.

Edit: After looking through some pictures, I think the radio was from a '50 to '52 Lincoln and made by Zenith.

Jay


Last edited by JnTX on Feb Wed 24, 2021 4:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Car Radio DX- what is the Gold Standard?
PostPosted: Feb Wed 24, 2021 1:58 am 
Member
User avatar

Joined: Jul Fri 21, 2017 9:58 pm
Posts: 1695
Location: Erie, Pa.
classicelectronicsguy wrote:
Probably not the answer you are looking for, but for what it’s worth. We have a low power FM station somewhat close by run by the HAM club. I can sometimes pick up the station in the car driving around our neighborhood, but typically not very well. I tried almost every home receiver and tuner that I own and got nothing. I finally tried a Pioneer car radio with their “Super Tuner” and able to get the station with just a piece of wire for an indoor antenna. This one is an AM/FM/CD model that was given to me by a friend in the 1990s when one of the channels died, so it’s about that vintage. I suspect you had AM in mind, but if anyone is looking for FM DX, the Pioneer works great.


Flashbacks!

I do indeed remember the "Supertuner" series, they were the hot thing even back in the 1970's, iirc.

_________________
Tim, N3YQV
"I'm SHOCKED! SHOCKED, I tell you!"


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Car Radio DX- what is the Gold Standard?
PostPosted: Feb Wed 24, 2021 2:00 am 
Member
User avatar

Joined: Jul Fri 21, 2017 9:58 pm
Posts: 1695
Location: Erie, Pa.
Chas wrote:
I have use radios from cars of the late 40's to mid 50's. The 6-volt ones with tubes. I ran from a DC supply or jumped out the vibrator and an AC supply.

The RF stage makes the car radio what it is and the lower IF frequency.

Dunno "gold standard" but in tube radios be aware some used a field coil speaker that was good for an amp.

I still have the transistor radio from my 73 AMC hornet, I bought the car new and ran it into the ground, That radio was capable of great DX.

I did have issues with the plastic bushings that held the ferrite slugs these crumbled and I forced in some neoprene rubber then re-aligned, worked fine.

FWIR the radio only used about an amp...

I should revive that guy and stick it in a wooden box for snicks and giggles... chas



AMC Hornets were great cars in their own right.

Glad you were able to salvage the radio to enjoy!

_________________
Tim, N3YQV
"I'm SHOCKED! SHOCKED, I tell you!"


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Car Radio DX- what is the Gold Standard?
PostPosted: Feb Wed 24, 2021 2:02 am 
Member
User avatar

Joined: Jul Fri 21, 2017 9:58 pm
Posts: 1695
Location: Erie, Pa.
Tim Tress wrote:
The better radios of the 1940s and 1950s had push-pull output tubes, usually 6V6, 6AQ5, or their 12 volt counterparts; they sound quite good, and have excellent sensitivity. They are designed for a short whip antenna. Even the ones with single output tubes work reasonably well.

Thanks Tim!

I have a National 183D that uses 2 6V6 tubes.

Very good audio.

_________________
Tim, N3YQV
"I'm SHOCKED! SHOCKED, I tell you!"


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Car Radio DX- what is the Gold Standard?
PostPosted: Feb Wed 24, 2021 2:04 am 
Member
User avatar

Joined: Jul Fri 21, 2017 9:58 pm
Posts: 1695
Location: Erie, Pa.
wazz wrote:
I thought about that once or twice. I have converted old solid state radios into table radios with an automotive type speaker and an easy enough to construct 12 VDC power supply in the package. It would be easy enough to work with a radio that you have that is working. I suppose service data is a difficulty alot and now I see online sellers with junky old car radios seemingly all asking "scarce collectible" type prices. Old Chevy radio? The kind you could get for a buck? 150$. Etc. As far as performance goes, I would have thought that a good old car radio was comparable to something like a very good home radio, especially one with an RF stage, like AA6 types. Probably the car radios gained a reputation as being hot rigs when cheap mass produced transistor radios came out and people compared them to how well their car radios worked. And found them lacking except for local stations.


Thanks Wazz.

As one who rode in a lot of 60's and 70's cars, I have memories of incredible dx on both a.m. and f.m..

_________________
Tim, N3YQV
"I'm SHOCKED! SHOCKED, I tell you!"


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Car Radio DX- what is the Gold Standard?
PostPosted: Feb Wed 24, 2021 2:06 am 
Member
User avatar

Joined: Jul Fri 21, 2017 9:58 pm
Posts: 1695
Location: Erie, Pa.
JnTX wrote:
My gold standard was a 40's vintage Lincoln radio. I installed it in a '54 Ford and it was so big it had to be hung under the dash board. It had a large chromed bezel and I was able to drill some 1/4" holes through that to bolt it to the bottom of the dash. In the late 50's and early 60's, I could listen to stations all over the US while driving around in south Texas. I finally bought a real 54 radio in the mid 60's. I don't remember what I did with the Lincoln. I probably gave it to one of my friends.

Jay

Thanks for sharing the great memory, Jay!

That really painted a picture in my minds eye!

_________________
Tim, N3YQV
"I'm SHOCKED! SHOCKED, I tell you!"


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Car Radio DX- what is the Gold Standard?
PostPosted: Feb Wed 24, 2021 2:09 am 
Member
User avatar

Joined: Jul Fri 21, 2017 9:58 pm
Posts: 1695
Location: Erie, Pa.
BikenSwim wrote:
We had a 1960 Ford Falcon with a hybrid tube radio that could easily get stations from NYC to Buffalo as we drove across the state.

Older 6 volt radios that had a 6 volt 1 amp field coil speaker, the field is not part of the power supply, so just replace the speaker with a modern permanent magnet speaker.

Thanks! I am near Erie, Pennsylvania, and have heard many of those stations!

Buffalo and Rochester, Albany and WABC from NYC, to name a few.

_________________
Tim, N3YQV
"I'm SHOCKED! SHOCKED, I tell you!"


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Car Radio DX- what is the Gold Standard?
PostPosted: Feb Wed 24, 2021 2:11 am 
Member
User avatar

Joined: Jul Fri 21, 2017 9:58 pm
Posts: 1695
Location: Erie, Pa.
scopedope wrote:
The old AM car radio whip antennas presented about 60pf to the radio. If you want to use a longwire, connect 50 - 75pf in series and the radio antenna trimmer should peak on that. I built a power supply for my '51 Merc radio, sounds wonderful with P-P 6V6s and quite large output transformer, it has a stepped tone control with a dial.

Sounds beautiful!

Thanks, Allen!

_________________
Tim, N3YQV
"I'm SHOCKED! SHOCKED, I tell you!"


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Car Radio DX- what is the Gold Standard?
PostPosted: Feb Wed 24, 2021 2:15 am 
Member
User avatar

Joined: Jul Fri 21, 2017 9:58 pm
Posts: 1695
Location: Erie, Pa.
processhead wrote:
Agree with the above comments relative to performance.

Would also add that car radio reception in a non-running vehicle, much like a battery portable radio, also has the advantage of being able to be moved to an area where the noise floor is significantly lower.

A low noise floor allows the AGC to operate the set at maximum gain, and in general is more conducive DX reception. This is not always an option when at home or other fixed location where the ambient noise level is higher.

Of course, the noise floor advantages on vintage car radios usually disappears the moment you start the engine or drive near power lines.


Yes, I remember a time when you could buy "low noise" spark plug wires!

And believe me, you DID WANT these! :lol:

_________________
Tim, N3YQV
"I'm SHOCKED! SHOCKED, I tell you!"


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Car Radio DX- what is the Gold Standard?
PostPosted: Feb Wed 24, 2021 2:29 am 
Member
User avatar

Joined: Jul Fri 21, 2017 9:58 pm
Posts: 1695
Location: Erie, Pa.
Chas wrote:
I have use radios from cars of the late 40's to mid 50's. The 6-volt ones with tubes. I ran from a DC supply or jumped out the vibrator and an AC supply.

The RF stage makes the car radio what it is and the lower IF frequency.

Dunno "gold standard" but in tube radios be aware some used a field coil speaker that was good for an amp.

I still have the transistor radio from my 73 AMC hornet, I bought the car new and ran it into the ground, That radio was capable of great DX.

I did have issues with the plastic bushings that held the ferrite slugs these crumbled and I forced in some neoprene rubber then re-aligned, worked fine.

FWIR the radio only used about an amp...

I should revive that guy and stick it in a wooden box for snicks and giggles... chas


I remember car radios - very old 6 volt ones - having vibrators.

I found the explanation of them, of course, on an old ARF post -

"Vibrator-style supplies were around for a long time. For example, they were universal in old-timer car radios meant to work on 6-volt batteries.

Yes, the "pulsating" (actually interrupted or intermittent) DC can (and does) work a transformer; that's the whole purpose of having the vibrator there. Without it (and the transformer), the high B+ required for the car radio tubes wouldn't be available.

As it "makes and breaks" the DC through the transformer primary, the transformer's field is first created and then collapses. This induces voltage in the secondary winding. It also generates a HIGH-voltage spike requiring use of a buffer capacitor across the secondary. This buffer serves to prevent sparking at the vibrator contacts. The usual value in the old car radios is .006uf at 1600 vdc.

The resultant may be then be rectified like ordinary AC and sent on to the radio.

It is worth noting that the vibrator typically doesn't work at 60 cycles, like ordinary powerline AC. It generally runs higher, somewhere around 105-110 cycles, if memory serves. This is part of the reason why a specially-constructed "vibrator transformer" is necessary. Ordinary 60-cycle transformers won't do. You should find special "vibrator transformers" in any transformer manufacturer's catalog from the 40's on up to the early 70's."


viewtopic.php?t=151831


I would imagine finding them and the higher cycle transformers today would be challenging.

If memory serves, vibrators tended to go bad fairly often, and were a hard to find replacement item.

_________________
Tim, N3YQV
"I'm SHOCKED! SHOCKED, I tell you!"


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Car Radio DX- what is the Gold Standard?
PostPosted: Feb Wed 24, 2021 2:34 am 
Member
User avatar

Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 15563
Location: S. Dartmouth MA 02748-1225 USA
Quote:
AMC Hornets were great cars in their own right.
+1, I had it 20 years, yes a lot of repairs but never had the transmission or rear-end down. 265k when I turned it in at a junk-yard one of the wreckers bought it, brush painted it blue, replace a rusted "A": frame and drove it another two years. Or at least that is how long I seen it parked at a local residence...

Strange enough, the Junk yard was right across the street from the dealer I bought it from 20 years earlier...

I was unable to get as much from a 93 Geo Metro and a 2000 Cavalier. Now I lease and it looks like I am not going to look back. A fresh auto every 3 years... No more on my back, machine shop or welder...

Having bought new cars for decades, I learned that after 3 years things begin to fail, by 5 years or 50k miles the pricey failures begin... Usually costing as much as the expense of a new lease, and it is still a 5yo. or older depending how long one endures the suffering the vehicle...

End off topic...

My first jalopy was a Chrysler Windsor 4 door with a flat head six two speed automatic.

The radio was all tube 6-volt great slide rule dial, P-P output and a 8" round speaker...

On dates, so long as the engine was idling, the radio would pull the Buffalo, Chicago and NYC stations with contemporary rock... All night... My gal and I had a several "secret" spots to contemplate the moon, the radio supplied the hits...

I had the radio out to replace a tube and when it was out, I whittled a slot behind the dial and installed a one of those 9-pin eye-tubes, the ones with a narrow blue-green band. Sweet...

I should have pulled the radio when I had to send the car along. Never did... chas

I would not give jack for a modern FM/AM/XSM radio, the AM sucks and the digital tuning is a PIA... I have not and expect I could not fix one of those radios...

When I was a teenager. I spent a lot of time in junk-yards. pulling parts for my car. The Chrysler shared a lot of parts with Plymouth & DeSoto...

It was a common site to see a car(s) burning in junk yard to reduce the organic stuff and then crushed by what ever, usually a front end loader. Radios were in most of the cars. Some of the more efficient yards did pull some of the radios along with other parts scrapping only what was known to be bad like the engine and other moving parts... A local yard from me had cubby holes rows and rows of 40's ,50's and 60's radios. Now the yard is gone, the land is slowly being cleaned...

Many yards were in communication via private Teletype so parts in demand could be found easily, that led to higher prices like a radio for a 50's Chevy or Fords of the same era. But no one cares about a radio from a Packard Patrician or even the Chrysler I had. However, I have read that some uninstalled radios ordered for Tuckers are still floating around. Now that would be quite a conversation piece have a nicely packaged operating Tucker radio in the collection... chas

_________________
List' & I will Enchant Thine Ear


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Car Radio DX- what is the Gold Standard?
PostPosted: Feb Wed 24, 2021 2:43 am 
Member
User avatar

Joined: Oct Wed 14, 2009 6:36 am
Posts: 6248
Location: New York USA
The low noise spark plug wires were some kind of graphite over nylon, so they deteriorated and had to be replaced every few years, you could buy a set with different lengths to match your engine layout. It was important to do one at a time and not mix up the order!

It was also necessary to have a solid ground where the antenna bolted to the fender, or you would hear the buzzing from the mechanical voltage regulator. If the regulator voltage was set too low (adjusted by bending a tab and looking at a voltmeter), you could drive all day and still have a dead battery, which happened to my brother who drove from NYC to Buffalo.

I read if you had a bad ground on a 6-volt system, it was possible for the generator to reverse polarity, charge the battery up backwards, and the only symptom was the radio would not play because the synchronous vibrator now put out reverse polarity. If the bonding wire between the engine block and car body broke, the current would go through a transmission bearing and pit the balls in it. But I digress.


Top
 Profile  
 
Post New Topic Post Reply  [ 52 posts ]  Moderator: sofaslug Go to page 1, 2, 3  Next

All times are UTC [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Buzz Killington, mgrant, otherzenithguy, palegreenthumb, Remedylane and 36 guests



Search for:
Jump to:  


































Privacy Policy :: Powered by phpBB