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Why do I collect Radios ??

Ernst Erb Martin Renz Vincent de Franco Miguel Bravo-Cos Mark Hippenstiel Alessandro De Poi Heribert Jung Bernhard Nagel Eilert Menke 
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Forum » In General » Why do I collect Radios ??
Konrad Birkner † 12.08.2014
Konrad Birkner † 12.08.2014
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26.Jun.04 21:30

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Good question, for heavens sake, why just Radios ?   I think its nostalgia in several facets:

There was that wonderful looking mahogany box topped by three mysterious looking glass tubes and two honeycomb coils behind. I got it when I was fourteen and the Radio already twentytwo, outdated but not yet an antique. I played with it - the Radio didn´t survive that.
30 years later it returned to my mind and the "virus" became active. That radio required another 20 Years to share my home. But in the meantime the virus collected 200+ other radios - all of them equally attractive to me.

And there was that wonderful feeling of success when my first homebrew Crystal Set allowed me to listen in to the "ten of the week". Glenn Miller, Doris Day, and the Andrew Sisters were regular guests in my headphones.
These Crystal Sets are still fascinating for their relative efficiency: to get so much from so little effort. I have now 70 in my collection...

Not to forget the numerous colorful Plastic Radios, starting with Catalins (too expensive to specialise...) but also fancy postwar sets, one model in a variety of colors, reminding me to a set of stamps or butterflies...

And there are those homebrews of the very old days including the 20s, where amateurs used to build their own sets. some from a kit, others following a construction envelope, and the cream of amateurs built sets of own design, e.g. eight tube battery superhets. Radios which not only were cheaper than comparable industrial models, but often even outperformed their off the shelf competitors.

Last but not least the "conversation pieces": wonderful consoles, pieces of furniture with all the bells and whistles one would dream of: magic eye, illuminated dial, pushbuttons or piano keys, with an unsurpassed sound, not for hard rock or techno, of course...

If there only would be more space available....................

                                                               And why do YOU collect ???




Bob Balser
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29.Jun.04 09:56

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Since school I've been interested in radio.My science teacher was a "ham" & he taught me how to built a simple valve shortwave set & a power supply.

When I started work in 1959 multiband transistor sets were coming on the market.I bought a new Grundig or Nordmende receiver each year.Pity I sold the previous years model to finance the purchase of the new one.I always wanted a Zenith Transoceanic but they were to expensive here in the UK.In the late 1990's I "found " ebay......... There they were Zeniths for sale.I started buying the transistor Transoceanics.I then found there had been valve models previously.Then I found other manufacturers had made similar multiband receivers.After that the collection "exploded" until I now have over 100 multiband valve & transistor sets.


This article was edited 30.Jun.04 12:05 by Bob Balser .

Keith Watt
Keith Watt
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29.Jun.04 12:37

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Since the age of about 13 when I found my first radio, a wireless set No.19, I found myself being drawn to radio and its uses over the years. As a result I have collected WWII to modern day military communications equipment and more recently in the last 4 or so years I have collected British domestic battery powered portable medium wave/long wave radios.

I still think listening to a valve radio on medium wave is far better than listening to some station on FM stereo. The old valve radios always sounded more rounded and comfortable to listen to.

My collection of domestic radios can be found at -

All the battery valve radios on this page are mine along with the WWII Wireless Set No.22 in the middle of the page.

All my radios have been restored to fully working condition and all have their own working HT and LT batteries fitted and can be switched on and used at any time. I prefer to use batteries so that the radios can be used as they were originally intended, as portable radios and not attached to a mains power supply.


Keith Watt RN (Rtd.)


Norman Graewe
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29.Jun.04 13:33

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Reply  |  You aren't logged in. (Guest)   4 I haven't had any difficulty with language choices. The feature appears to work flawlessly. While I can understand the desire or need among members for this feature, my personal preference would be for a single forum list which includes all languages.
Juha Lahtinen Liljeroos
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29.Jun.04 13:51

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I collect because it is intresting to face time changes in the technical + shape

of radios

best regards Juha

Claud Wendrich
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29.Jun.04 14:46

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At the age of 5 when other boys wanted to be a fireman or a pilot I always wonder where the voice came from out our Siera radio S99X (1939).

The result was that I stripped the radio but could'nt discover where the voices came from.
Don't worry, I rebuild the radio with the help of my grandfather and it is still working today without any modifacations or replacement of tubes (even the magic-eye EFM is 100%).
Fifty years later I am the custiodian of the Philipsmuseum in Amsterdam, so you can say that radios are still a passion!

Robert Sarbell
Robert Sarbell
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29.Jun.04 15:13

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Reply  |  You aren't logged in. (Guest)   7 This is my third or fourth attempt to explain why I collect radios. If this post clears through the cyber circuits, it may help to answer several questions posed by melself and several staff members of Radiomuseum. If it does not make it through the "routes" established, then I must defer to the absolute cyber specialists. In essence I collect radios because I enjoy the thrill and wonderment of the millions of never-ending continous flow of information and entertainment that radio propagation has done for mankind. All of this occurs over, under, around, and through every one of us every moment of our lives and rarely do we experience harmful effects.

My most appreciative Thank Yous to Mssrs Ernest Erb, Eilert Menke, and all the gentlemen who persevere with the likes of "old Dinosaurs" like myself. As soon as I graduate from the introductory class of Digital Photography 101, I will submit my small collection
Mario Coelho
Mario Coelho
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29.Jun.04 15:50

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Hello Mr. Conrad Birkner

Good question

Here is my reply:

1960 - I was a regular 15 years old student. After school at night I enjoyed reading fascicles of my Radio Course, teach by correspondence. It was magic for me. Those wires,tubes,knobs lights and whistles and at last, music.

Unfortunately my duties let me no much time for this.

Further at college and my job activity killed this hobby completely.

Also, at time, almost of radio sets were very expensive and I couldn't afford to buy so many.

Now everything had changed:

-Now I've time to learn more about this matter;

- Now a lot of those radios are not so expensive;

- "old radios" are now nostalgic pieces but  a lot of them are also available.

For me they are soundly and palpable memories.

 I enjoy restoring them. But after I "restore them to life" I get affection for them, and they  don't  leave home.


Best regards

Mário Coelho

This article was edited 29.Jun.04 15:56 by Mario Coelho .

Dennis Daly
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29.Jun.04 16:49

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I collect and restore radios because I have been fascinated with them my whole life.
Beginning as a child of about 10 or 11 years old, tinkering with old worn out radios me by friends and family.

My interest went away for a long time, coming back intensely about eight years ago.
I especially enjoy restoring the large, "high-end" German-built radios of the '50s and early '60s.

Kindest Regards,
Dennis Daly

Steven Sostrom
Steven Sostrom
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29.Jun.04 20:53

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I have been interested is electronics from an early age. I made panels and switches to interconnect them in a system. I got an electronics project kit for Christmas one year. I built all of the projects.
I was given an old RCA Radiola similar to the Radiola 18 that I have now.

I looked inside and was in awe. I had not seen any radio that old before.50

I had built 2 radio kits before I graduated from high school and I took the electronics class.

A few years ago, my closest friend decided to actively collect View-Master packets. We have visited many antique stores and shows. I have over 250 radios now. I don't specialize, because I like them all. Most intriguing are older sets and those with a unique design in some way. I am interested in most old electronic items. I have old telephones and test equipment. I also have a Victrola.

Gabriel Toth
Gabriel Toth
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29.Jun.04 22:39

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Since school age I have been interested in electronics. At first I built an audio amplifier, after some FM antenna amplifier and latest some FM tuner - behind the iron curtain with my school-mates we often listened on my own tuner the new music hits from "Osterreich 3" - it was a fun!

Latest as a rf engineer I understood, that the most fascinating thing - except birth of my children - is to get old, rusty and dusty tube radios to the working condition again.

Best regards



Gidi Verheijen
Gidi Verheijen
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30.Jun.04 00:15

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When I was a boy of 12 years, I got the opportunity to listen with headphones to a one tube, battery powered radio, which was assembled as a construction kit (named "Pupil"). A few years later I built my first crystal receiver (Philips Pionier). This was the beginning of a life full of electronics and radio. I became a licensed radio amateur and experimented a lot with receivers, transmitters and measuring equipment.

Some ten years ago I acquired my first old radio (a 1933 Philco). As I wanted to have a spare tube 36 available, I hunted for such tube and found two. However, those tubes were part of another Philco radio. So this was radio number 2 ! Several American radios followed, but also radios from various European countries (Germany, Holland, Belgium, France, Poland, Hungary, UK, Austria). In the process of selecting radios I especially look at the design of the cabinet and the electronic circuit. Radios which are completely restored do not attract me, as I like to restore radios myself. Some examples can be seen on my website:

Best regards,

Gidi Verheijen

Randy Anderson
Randy Anderson
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30.Jun.04 04:20

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I grew up in a very bare part of the U.S.  The town was Dumas, Texas, in the Texas Panhandle, just north of Amarillo. Dumas was the county seat for Moore county, the town where the county courthouse and county sheriff were located.  Moore county is listed at 2356 square kilometers with a population now of 20,121 people.  Dumas now has 13,000 people.  There were a couple of thousand fewer when I lived there.  The land is flat and there are no trees.  The railroad tracks run straight to the horizon.  To me, radio was proof that there really was life in the outside world.  My father had been trained in radio and TV repair and he taught me a few things.  In high school I repaired an old Philco AM/SW set and ran an antenna to the storage building behind the house.  I remember hearing the BBC and many strange languages.

After college I became a computer programmer and then a systems programmer, a software specialist.  It was and still is somewhat a point of honor among software people that we have the newest technology of various things.  We sometimes have a sort of contest about who gets the latest TV, digital cable, satellite disk, home theater system, etc.  My work is now with very large networks connecting very large mainframe computers.  After watching electrons chase each other up and down wires and trying to figure out why Shanghai can't talk to Adelaide, Australia, it is refreshing to come home and look at piece of technology that sits in front of me and is completely under my control.  We upgrade software more than once a year and hardware more one year old is outdated and must be replaced.  I have a radio made in 1925 that picks up AM and shortwave just fine.  I get a great feeling of accomplishment of making an old radio speak, especially shortwave.  Plus I find pleasure in the strange designs of the plastic and the good wood. 

William J Blanchflower
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30.Jun.04 20:04

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One theory as to why we collect certain items as we get older suggests that we longed for these items in our childhood or teenage years but could not afford them then. In my case, I must admit that this is probably true. I think I must have been born with an inquisitive (or destructive) mind, for as a child I enjoyed taking my toys apart to find out how they worked, and needless to say, usually destroyed them in the process. When I passed the toys stage, I enjoyed listening to the short wave band on my parent's radio (I think it was a Philips 747U) and was fascinated by listening to broadcasts from thousands of miles away. I even remember taking the back off the radio to try and figure out how it worked. I think it was then that I experienced my first electric shocks from the HT supply (unknown to my parents, and lucky that it was an AC only model with a proper mains transformer). I suppose this was the beginning of my fascination with radio.

My neighbour in those days was also a radio ham. He had huge antennas in his garden and operated using an AR88 receiver and home made transmitter, and he also let me listen in to his contacts. Still being in my early teens, I could obviously not afford any of these luxuries. As an alternative, I started experimenting with home made regenerative receivers using cheap surplus acorn valves, much to the annoyance of the neighbours as it caused interference on their television sets. As it was now the late 1950's, I then progressed to using surplus "top hat" transistors, which rarely worked, as most were cheap untested rejects. I also persuaded my father to buy our first transistor radio (a Bush TR82) as a birthday present and I think at that time it cost the equivalent of a week's wages. It was at this stage that I also dismantled the Philip's radio (much to my regret now) and the parts eventually ended up in the rubbish bin.

There is then a gap in my radio interests as taking examinations, securing a job, getting married and bringing up a family took precedence. My job, working as an analytical chemist, also gave me the oppurtunity to further my electronics knowledge, as part of it involved working complex instrumentation such as mass spectrometers etc, and carrying out basic servicing and repairs to them. It is only since I was given the oppurtunity to take early retirement a few years back that I have had the time (and indeed the money) to take up my interests in radio again. I obtained an amateur radio license and enjoy talking to contacts from various parts of the world. I also started collecting vintage valve (and a few transistor) radios from the 50's and 60's and get a kick from restoring and listening to them. I now have a collection of about thirty sets. As I listen to them regularly, I try to make them sound as good as possible and sometimes make a small reversable modification using a few resistors and capacitors to add a bit of selective negative feedback, if not already fitted.

I think (in my case) the theory is proven.

Geza Bordi
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02.Jul.04 12:28

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Why? Or how it is began? It is a best qestion because of as the answers are shown...We buy an old and unused flat 4. floor with my wife. It was the only reason for us to stat. All on the flat is need to repair, paint... Then My grandmam give us an old fridge and a radio, this vas the first two "furnitures" on the flat. A VT made R946 FI SZINFONIA /1957/ on the fridge both working and we start to paint and repair all our flat...We work on it for long nights on week days and all weekends, then once moved in.Can You imagin how the radio was looks like ? But still working. It was in Budapest, summer of 1993. Then I start to clean first inside outside the SZINFONIA it looks nice now. My other grandparents have an ORION Ar-520 /1956/ not working long a go, ask me about what to do with it? I was told: Ill try to repair it.Then friends come see the old receivers working and ask me: My parens have some like this on the garrage or in the cellarage ??...and I try to repair them. Then once somebody told me: What a HOBBY You have:tubes in  boxes, smell of wood polishing, several knobs radio pats in boxes around You. Siple it is a feeling You have it, allmost nice and You hear clearly: .... oclock ! News from abroad:....If You read this I think You have had such a feeling like this or will have soon.

Filip Van Kenhove
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09.Jul.04 21:54

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No difficulty with language choices, this seems to work fine now.

I collect and restore certain radio's (High end Grundig - Saba - Telefunken) from the 50ties because of their sound quality, the technical design with valves and the magnificant look of their wooden case.

best regards,


Meyer Rochwerger
Meyer Rochwerger
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11.Jul.04 22:13

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Well... in fact I'm not a radio collector. But... since 1966 I'm involved with radios in general.

My first job was in a radio repair shop, where I learned about radios, tubes and related stuff. As other ethusiasts I became an radio addict. Nowadays I do repair and restore old tube radios here in Brazil.

My best regards to all of you.



Mike Izycky
Mike Izycky
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12.Jul.04 12:07

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Reply  |  You aren't logged in. (Guest)   18 As I sometimes sit and look at how many I've acquired over the years, I often wonder why. As does my wife, Anne...!

A good question, Konrad; I suspect you already know why I do, but here goes.

I have been interested in all things electrical and electronic since the age of four, where many relatives would give me old things to play with (they rarely, if ever, survived the process) but as I grew older and in to my teenage years, I became fascinated by these sets of yore (they were so different and interesting compared to the plastic transistor radio I had); and I decided I wanted one. Nothing much happened (other than finding the odd remnants of radios on the local rubbish dump!) until I was given a large Murphy band-spread radio when I finished my "Ordinary-level" exams at school in 1981; and I was well and truly hooked. I got the radio working again and a few months later, an advertisement in the school magazine I had placed for any old radios attracted interest from unexpected quarters; the local newspaper. In the beginning of 1982 the article was published and my parents' telephone didn't stop ringing for two days!

From then on I acquired a few more sets, then eventually I left school, went to work for the BBC and met a gentleman named Brian Forster who also suffered from this "affliction". He proposed me for membership of the BVWS (as you had to be then) and it carried on from there. I married, and the sets came with us to our new home. Later a chance local purchase of a Bakelite-cased Blaupunkt led to my being introduced to a new world; that of German radios. It was this radio that led to my friendship with several German collectors, most notably Gerhard Haberzettl from München, who answered my request for the service information of the Blaupunkt, and later helped me obtain many fine German sets; and of course Konrad himself, who has also provided me with many interesting sets, encouragement and support. In this I consider myself very fortunate indeed to have met such fine people as these and count them as my friends.

For me the attractions are numerous. Part of it nowadays is a relief from the "high-tech" world of broadcasting that I work in, full of highly complex (and irreparable) technology. There is also the aspect of industrial design; I have my fair share of "design classics" but I enjoy the early "high tech" more; that is why there are so many motor-tuned sets in my collection. It may come as no surprise to the German collectors on this forum that most of my FM radios are from Germany as they were so much better than those made here in England. These superb "high-end" sets from SABA and Körting are complemented by a small collection of VEs and DKEs.

I also enjoy restoring the wooden cabinets to a high standard as well; this requires a different set of skills but as the wooden-cased sets were usually better than the Bakelite cased models I had to learn how to do this.

For me there is such a sense of excitement when you switch on a set for the first time after repair: the nervous anticpation (will it work after all this effort?) followed by the delight of hearing sounds for the first time in many years. With these old radios also came an interest in the music of the period; so a friend and I developed a converter from FM to AM (now long discontinued) that also allowed "broadcast quality" modulation of a tape recorder or CD player. Ah, the joy of hearing Henry Hall or Glenn Miller blasting from such radios!

There is also the historical interest; how and where the sets were made, how they were marketed. So to add to the collection is also a large collection of paper documents as well.

Some of my colleagues at work think I am a little "strange" for an interest in these "old things". I think they're a little "strange" for NOT having an interest in them!

I think that answers the question...!

This article was edited 12.Jul.04 12:49 by Mike Izycky .

Juan Ignacio Balada † 2009
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14.Jul.04 10:01

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Good Afternoon:

I am collector of radios because for me, the old radios, represent a human value of the history os science and the tecnique.

When I see one radio of de years 20s., first that comes to my mind it is the effort that was due to make that profit.

In certein way I believe that I have an obligation to conserve something of this patrimony, that to us heritage from the inventors of the radio.

Greetings to all the collector of radios.

Juan Ignacio Balada Llabrés



Ernst Erb
Ernst Erb
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06.Nov.04 11:57

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Reply  |  You aren't logged in. (Guest)   20 This thread I consider to be "full" and I therefore close it.
Two different members have begun an other thread - and I hope there will soon be more answers there:


I will later link there to here and within them and others of that kind.
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