So, yesterday while Kathryn was at work I spent the evening around at my good friend John’s, with the Bush VHF61 radio. We picked this up in Wales, when we were on holiday… Err, which I don’t seem to have posted about. I was almost certain I had, but clearly I didn’t. Or at least, I can’t instantly find it.
Anyhow, we spent a couple of delightful days in Wales, and during our stay, I picked up a Bush valve radio, I actually quite wanted the ferranti one, which was in terrible condition, but the seller wanted 15 quid for it – and I didn’t want to give him 15 quid – nor, in point of fact, did the shop owner, who said it wasn’t worth 15 quid. Then he went on to say that he did have a radio that was similar, and working, and which might be worth 15 quid.
Now, you can say ‘no Kate, it wasn’t worth 15 quid’, but frankly, I disagree.
And plugging it in, in the wilds of West Wales, produced no signs of life from medium or long wave – and FM only worked if I put the FM transmitter that lives on the iPhone in the car actually next to the box. Still, it clearly worked at least ‘a bit’ and I wasn’t going to whinge too much. Especially since I recall we bought several objects and the bloke knocked it down to a nice round value.
So, yesterday, Radio in Minor I headed round to Johns and we stripped it down, applied the awesome power of his ultrasonic cleaner to various bits, gently washed other bits, dusted, cleaned, used naptha to clean the valves & unfortunately I managed to wash a small number of numbers off the tuning scale*.
John checked some voltages and we discovered that it was running waaaay undervoltage on the HT and heater circuits – which was rectified by setting it to run at 230V (it was set for 250V and I was disinclined to change it until I knew what the internal voltages were).
It still could do with:
New fabric for the grille (because it appears the grille should actually have a fair proportion of red in it)
A new arial (because the reason FM’s so lousy? Some twonk has cut the internal arial lead, but apparently FM was always a bit sad on these sets).
But it now looks like this:
And we spent some of the evening listening to the delights of the radio world upon it :)
I’m really impressed though, to have something 50 years old work, essentially, out of the box just makes me have more belief in the concept that older things are better made**.
* Having carefully checked that they seemed water resistant, I wiped the back of it several times with a damp cloth, and then noticed a mark which I rubbed…and…oh dear, now we’re missing 97ish Hz upwards :(
At least the station names remained.
** Thankfully it seems to have very few yack dung capacitors, and the few paper ones actually look in remarkably good shape. Even the rubber insulation seems to be doing well. It does, however, sport a nice modern PVC mains lead :)