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NARC Workshop Report

Sunday February 19, 2017
Pavek Museum
St. Louis Park, Minnesota

We had nice weather last year, but this year's 59-degree record temperature was amazing. It resulted in a record attendance workshop swap meet in the Pavek Museum's parking lot. A great selection of radios and related things were offered for sale, everything from sets offered in the hundreds of dollars down to a large load of free electronic parts that someone cleaned out of a house.

2017 Workshop Mini Swap Meet

Once the museum opened, there were a lot of things to do. There was nice assortment of items for sale in the museum's back room to check out, people were bringing in radios and other things for the program, and Kip Wallace was setting up snacks and refreshments in the Minnesota Room where many of us congregated. We had about an hour to socialize and browse through the museum before noon when the meeting started.

Once again Steve Raymer did another amazing job of putting together a variety of presentations that ensured there was something of interest for everyone.

Jim Thompson, Radio Daze coordinator, reported that plans are progressing for Radio Daze 2017 on May 19-20 and that all hotel rates are the same as last year, BUT hotel management has completely changed and so there will likely be rate increases for next year. We'll have to wait and see how that works out.

Allan Lein is building some really nice little audio signal generators based on the classic HP200 design but that run off a single 9-volt battery, and Chris Ossanna brought in an additional distortion analyzer that they used to set up a couple benches for measuring distortion of amplifiers.

2017 Workshop Mini Swap Meet

Gary Ball did a wonderful presentation about restoring transistor radios. Some things he recommended were to use distilled vinegar to remove battery acid from contacts and plastic, and micromesh is great for finely sanding plastic. Pencil erasers also are good for carefully rubbing out blemishes and Novus Plastic Polish will do a great final polish. Lexol Leather Conditioner and Cleaner will do a nice job with leather cases. Gary also explained how to tell if a transistor radio's volume control potentiometer is worn out before you buy the radio. Suggestions from the crowd included using Panasonic capacitors from Digi-Key, or if you want cheaper shipping then buy your parts at Mouser. DeoxIT is likely the best contact cleaner to use. Automotive headlight polish is good for polishing plastic radios. Costco sells Microfiber cloth in bulk and it is very soft for using as a final polishing step. Someone also suggested Flitz metal polish. Note that these were all the opinions of fellow collectors and that NARC has not tested, nor can recommend or be liable for any of these suggestions!

Jim Reynolds told us about inexpensive Chinese-made San-Sonic FM transmitters that can be bought on the internet and used in our homes. He also brought a rare Garod SD-2 portable radio that none of us had ever heard of. Bill Williams discussed how he restored a 1948 Pilot 3-inch television. Matt Hyman talked about restoring paper items, such as an original old cardboard box, by using Lineco neutral pH adhesive that stays pliable. He also uses lighter fluid to soak off old tape.

2017 Workshop Mini Swap Meet

The workshop wrapped up with members showing radios and a few other things that they had never seen another of before. Gary Ball had a Forward TR812 radio which is a Zenith 500H transistor radio clone. Jim Reynolds had a Garod SD-2 portable radio. Matt Hyman had a Zenith from about 1946 in a tall long-legged wood cabinet with a swing-open front door. Bill Fanum had a an early telephone amplifier(?) in a wooden cabinet with a label that said 519-A. David Bjork had an Emerson WonderGram phonograph that ran on 3 volts.

Pat Gearty showed his Silver-Marshall super-heterodyne kit radio that had been quite a project just to identify. Greg Farmer had a small cathedral styled radio in a hard rubber cabinet with no identifying name on it. Tom Sargent showed us his Zenith Universal portable radio, and Ken Ladd had a battery operated regenerative set that used type 99 tubes. Other radios that I can think of were a plastic Airline radio with lighted up flowers on the front (similar to the Airline Lone Ranger radio), a CR&T model 5F that someone identified as a Continental Radio and Television product, and a Sonora model LR149 radio.

2017 Workshop Mini Swap Meet

The guys measuring distortion of amplifiers were apparently having a good time and were still engaged with that as we wrapped up the workshop.

Thank you to everyone who gave a presentation, to Jeff Hed and Kip Wallace who took these photographs, and to Steve for all the work he does organizing the workshop every year.

2017 Workshop Mini Swap Meet

Anyone interested in presenting at next year's workshop should contact Steve Raymer.

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