As a radio-mad teenager, I remember coveting this receiver when it was owned by my school friend, Mike. I don’t recall how he got hold of it but I was definitely green with envy! I was still struggling with my trusty 19 set receiver on the LF bands and a very deaf domestic short-wave set trying to pull in the DX on the higher frequencies. Every time I went round to his house there was this gleaming black beauty, which seemed to effortlessly pull in station after station. That wonderful heavy flywheel tuning control – you just gave it a flick and it cruised up the band. It was complete with its matching loudspeaker and seemed to have a glorious full tone on the broadcast stations when the selectivity was opened up.
That was getting on for 40 years ago. Quite recently Mike and I renewed our acquaintance and he offered it to me as he needed to make some room in his garage. I didn’t need asking twice!
OK so it’s had a few modifications. Aficionados will immediately point to the Belling-Lee aerial socket on the front panel where the tone control is supposed to be. And the odd toggle switch and jack socket that maybe shouldn’t be there. But these things can be sorted out in the fullness of time (luckily, Mike still had the original tone control knob – on his battery charger!). The two chromed rails have, unfortunately lost their chrome – but I’m sure they too can be restored to their former glory.
The good news is that it still works! True it could do with some attention. The gain is a bit intermittent – probably needs some decoupling capacitors replacing. The BFO seems to drift a bit – maybe a dodgy valve (luckily it came with a complete set of spares!). Also the selectivity is way off on the narrower bandwidths, so I guess it needs some re-alignment. The last task will be made easier, however, by the provision of the two trimming tools thoughtfully mounted on clips on the chassis!
It currently lives in my shed – not an ideal location, but I do use it fairly regularly to keep the damp out. It’s the LF version so unfortunately there’s no medium wave. But it does go down to 73kHz – all sorts of weird noises down there!
Despite its faults it still sounds great on the broadcast bands. And that flywheel still spins round just as I remember it. I’ll need to start work on it soon though – while I can still lift it!
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