Welcome to The Sydney Radio Collector.

Written at 17:43:11 on Monday, 11th April, 2016. 

About The Sydney Radio Collector

The Webmaster

The owner of the site is Brad. A long-serving member of what is a world-wide radio collection, restoration and preservation fraternity. I became interested in valve radio and how it all worked when I was still a kid and for more than twenty five years I have been an active collector.

I acquired my first radio in late 1988, a bare-bones Kelvinator 5 valve receiver from the late 1950s which was purchased for the sum of $3.00. Even though this radio had no cabinet I used it most nights to listen to the 'Hoedown' country music programme on 2TM. The radio was made for Kelvinator by EMI at their factory in Homebush, NSW. Months later I puchased a HMV model 441, a large five valve timber radio for $15.00. This radio replaced the Kelvinator as my daily listen due to the Kelvinator's lack of a cabinet - too dangerous to connect to the power in that state. The HMV's cabinet was structurally sound but aesthetically, almost a write-off and was the subject of a much-needed restoration. Inlaid veneers were repaired and the whole cabinet sanded back and repolished.

However this was no longer enough. I had to buy a third radio and a short time later I purchased a HMV five valve radiogram for $20.00. This was in good condition and ended up replacing the smaller HMV as the radio and gramophone I listened to regularly. These two latter radios I still own though because they are yet to be restored electrically, they are no longer in use but they still take pride of place in what has become a larger collection of all types of radios ranging from the early 1920s up to the mid 1960s.

The Collection

As mentioned, I have a collection of approximately 200 radios. Those that have been restored take pride of place in various locations around my house. There's a general display of dozens of receivers though there's other smaller ones with each one having a particular theme or purpose. Groups of a single model of radio in various colours exist. As does a larger single group of classic timber radios. I don't have a preference for Bakelite over timber or vice-versa. From a historical perspective both types of radios are very important.

Another group of radios is stored on shelving in my workshop, awaiting their turn 'under the knife'. Yet another smaller number of condemned radios are stored for the purpose of supply of spare parts for radios that do have a chance. One example is an AWA Radiolette 500M that I listened to at work in the last job I had. It requires a replacement power transformer and I have a couple of spare Radiolettes with banged up cabinets, one of which will provide the correct transformer, tested as working. A bloke who collects and restores old valve radios requires this well-rounded arrangement to engage in the hobby successfully.

The Workshop

I have a workshop set up in my garage. It is laid out to provide easy access to radios, spare parts, a work bench and an assortment of test equipment. I do have a habit of doubling up on things so work doesn't need to stop if there is equipment failure so there are two cathode-ray oscilloscopes which are both in working order at the moment, and hopefully well into the future. One is an AWA 14 valve monster and the other is a slightly smaller and younger BWD solid state machine (bar the screen, of course). I also have an AWA signal generator, Fluke digital multimeter, analogue multimeter of an unremembered generic brand and the usual basic hand tools and a battery drill. The oscilloscopes and signal generator are Australian-made. There will, in time, be an article here on the way I have my workshop set up and this will include some tips on how to go about this safely and productively.

The Website

In many ways this website is a case of 'back to the future'. In 2003 I decided to run a personal website that would document and display my collection and chonicle the latest repair and restoration stories. Bigger things ended up getting in the road however and the result of this is something that Australia lacked until 2005 - a local discussion forum for radio restorers and collectors. Eleven years later, the Australian Vintage Radio and Television Discussion Forums are going strong and there's nothing to suggest this will change any time soon. The forums dominate that site now so this site has been created to fill the void.

For those that care, this website is coded on Microsoft's .NET platform, allowing for super-fast loading of pages and unimaginable scalability. The hardware is a HP DL360 rack server running four 500GB hard discs in a RAID array. The operating system is Microsoft Windows 2008.