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 Post subject: Firestone Air Chief "S-7398-1" AA6 to (hopefully) Restore
PostPosted: Sep Sat 26, 2020 5:35 am 
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Joined: Jan Wed 30, 2019 3:44 am
Posts: 315
Location: Lake City, SC
I have two radios in the restoration queue: a 1946 Gilfillan 56B, very attractive AA5 missing its cabinet--and a 1939 Firestone Air Chief "Beaumont." We will call it the Beaumont because that is much nicer than the S-7398-1, just as my Columbia BN Graphophone of 1909 is much nicer as a Columbia Jewel (and it too is splendid with its red horn painted in flowers.)

The thing is, I was thinking "I'll fix the Gilfillan and once it's working I will put a cabinet on it." That is, if I can find a Gilfillan 56B cabinet anywhere, even if it needs a refinish. But in an antique shop haunted by shabbychickers I happened upon a Firestone, still intact, and looked at it...

It was $40. That was steep for me, but the photofinish stripes on the cabinet were still nice, and the grill cloth and dial were original. So I opened it up, found six series-string tubes inside, and decided "well, now time to do an AA6."

The schematic seemed like the best place to get parts listed but it was very blurry; I've got a list elsewhere and am thinking to order the pieces.

The pictures will be up tomorrow I think. Anyone else worked on a Beaumont?


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 Post subject: Re: Firestone Air Chief "S-7398-1" AA6 to (hopefully) Restor
PostPosted: Sep Sat 26, 2020 1:15 pm 
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Joined: Jan Tue 31, 2012 1:55 am
Posts: 14656
Location: Mountains of Mourne. Ireland.
Schematic from americanradiohistory.com
http://americanradiohistory.com/hd2/IDX ... e-0143.pdf

Greg.


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 Post subject: Re: Firestone Air Chief "S-7398-1" AA6 to (hopefully) Restor
PostPosted: Sep Sat 26, 2020 5:19 pm 
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Joined: Jan Wed 30, 2019 3:44 am
Posts: 315
Location: Lake City, SC
Thank you Greg, that is EXACTLY what I needed--good diagram & good condenser list.

I'll be tearing into this one when parts are here, and will post pictures of the radio then, I suppose.


Charles F.


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 Post subject: Re: Firestone Air Chief "S-7398-1" AA6 to (hopefully) Restor
PostPosted: Sep Sun 27, 2020 6:35 am 
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Joined: Jan Wed 30, 2019 3:44 am
Posts: 315
Location: Lake City, SC
So here is the set.

Tubes appear to be later 1940s ones. They look OK and test just fine on a tester.

The radio would ordinarily be refinished without a second thought, but I want to save the photofinish bands. At present I am going to concentrate on getting it playing--no one ever ruined a nice old radio by leaving it original. The "Ingraham cabinet" is pretty, regardless who made it.

So this gives me something nice to start with.


Attachments:
File comment: Playing 1080 AM.
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File comment: Condition of finish.
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File comment: Tidy on top of chassis. I removed the loop antenna for this photo.
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DSC00686.JPG [ 611.68 KiB | Viewed 523 times ]
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 Post subject: Re: Firestone Air Chief "S-7398-1" AA6 to (hopefully) Restor
PostPosted: Oct Mon 26, 2020 5:53 am 
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Joined: Jan Wed 30, 2019 3:44 am
Posts: 315
Location: Lake City, SC
Parts are on the way from Just Radios, and I managed to source a rather nice cloth-covered power cord to install & cap off the restoration. I think the rubber cord is rather interesting but prefer the longevity of cloth and Bakelite plugs.

My new cord for it came from a beautiful antique Kellogg candlestick telephone that someone sadly turned into a lamp! I'm going to take it apart and turn it back into a phone and then hopefully figure how to rig it to a modern system. Antique phones deserve better than that--they are such interesting devices. Like radios, they were built to do their job & they sure do it well. It was a handsome lamp but seeing a very fine old phone with holes drilled in it and its wiring torn out is, well, kind of bothersome.

All six tubes tested great so I think this one stands a chance of waking back up after its long sleep. There is only one station it receives now, and it doesn't receive it well. If capacitors don't save it, I'll add resistors I guess. But I want to see if it will go.


Attachments:
File comment: Beautiful dial and a great-condition speaker
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File comment: Vintage condensers still in place
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DSC00827.JPG [ 556.53 KiB | Viewed 371 times ]
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 Post subject: Re: Firestone Air Chief "S-7398-1" AA6 to (hopefully) Restor
PostPosted: Oct Wed 28, 2020 4:05 pm 
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Joined: Dec Sat 24, 2011 9:17 pm
Posts: 6881
Location: Vancouver Island, Canada
It is in great shape for its age. The years have been kind to it.
With the extra tube in the front end, it should be a terrific receiver as well.

_________________
Watch the doughnut, not the hole.
Burl Ives, RIP, oldtimer.
[:l>)


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 Post subject: Re: Firestone Air Chief "S-7398-1" AA6 to (hopefully) Restor
PostPosted: Oct Sat 31, 2020 5:32 pm 
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Joined: Jan Wed 30, 2019 3:44 am
Posts: 315
Location: Lake City, SC
westcoastjohn wrote:
It is in great shape for its age. The years have been kind to it.
With the extra tube in the front end, it should be a terrific receiver as well.


Thank you--it really is beautiful in person! There are some cracks & chips in the varnish but I am not planning on refinishing, but just maybe restoring it a bit. This is one to leave original. That speaker cone is absolutely perfect.

The six tubes had me curious--it was an AA5-style transformerless set but with one more to boost it. I want to try seeing what this little set can do with its loop antenna.

The new condensers came in today so I will go change those out & we shall see what she does tonight catching the skip over the broadcast band. There are only 8 condensers under the chassis and one on the antenna coil. There is no condenser can on top of the chassis either--only two 40mfd Sangamo Dry Electrolytics. There is plenty of room underneath for servicing and with the small size of modern components, it's just going to be extremely simple to restore--I hope.

It barely plays right now. The volume is extremely low and weak, the audio is almost nonexistent, and it only picks up one local station. We'll see what happens. It was playing that station loud & clear when I got the set but let's find out what happens with a few new parts in the old circuitry--there's a good chance it will spring right back to life.


Attachments:
File comment: The view underneath.
DSC00848.JPG
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File comment: Top view of chassis--only one condenser to change and it is on the back of the antenna panel. (This set is missing the back that would have covered that loop antenna.)
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DSC00849.JPG [ 640.21 KiB | Viewed 184 times ]
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 Post subject: Re: Firestone Air Chief "S-7398-1" AA6 to (hopefully) Restor
PostPosted: Nov Sun 01, 2020 3:17 am 
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Joined: Jan Wed 30, 2019 3:44 am
Posts: 315
Location: Lake City, SC
Just in time for Halloween-- It's alive!

There's a problem with the wiring in this radio: something is up with the antenna. It will play when I put my hand over the back of the radio & touch the top of the coiled loop antenna--oh, then it will play up a storm. I'm in the middle of South Carolina and it will pull the traffic reports out of New Jersey and New York. I was pulling in WSB from Atlanta as well. It's got great sound too with that extra tube and if I can get the wiring all sorted out this is going to be a terrific receiver.

Once again I messed up one thing with the repairs. Looking at the schematic I missed that there's a .0001mfd condenser on this that needs changing. I was restoring it & there it was, a paper & wax Sprague condenser and only when I turned it over did I read it was not a .01 like it appeared to be. I'd seen it on the parts list but didn't notice it wasn't marked as a mica cap.

Restoring this guy was actually a lot easier than I thought it would be, though, all things considered. One of our A.R.F. members K4YDO (Mr Dixon) taught me how to do a better job wiring them up so this helped.

So:

THE GOOD:
--Changed filters
--Changed most other caps
--Found out radio sounds great

THE YET TO BE DONE:
--Buy a couple more caps & install
--Maybe do all resistors while I'm in there
--Fix Antenna & other connections
--Lubricate volume potentiometer and clean.

THE QUESTIONS:
--Any idea why a dial light might flicker randomly for whatever reason? It is pretty dim but it will flash crazy-bright for a split second.
--Do loop antennas go bad easily?
--Anyone else have one of these sets & know its peculiarities, if any?


Attachments:
File comment: Beautiful radio.
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File comment: A glorious Deco dial.
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