Radio Days

Radio Days

I’ve been spending all my spare time and lunch hours at the Ed Sullivan Theater Maintenance Shop cleaning out my Blaupunkt Radio. There’s a lot of evidence of water damage, and I hope a thorough cleaning will help bring this old radio back to life. Although I doubt I will be listening to, or hearing, a radio much over the sounds of a Ferrari V-12, but the romance of having a working stock radio has me opening the case up on this old German radio!

Before I began opening up the case to the radio, I did some research on the internet, and made some phone calls. The radio is identified as an old Blaupunkt manufactured from approximately 1962-1964. It’s a “Frankfurt TR Deluxe” and has 6 vacuum tubes, and a separate amplifier/vibrator unit that attaches to the back of the unit. It receives AM, FM, and Marine bands, and, with a good schematic, may be repairable. I ordered a schematic from a mid-western electronics company, and hopefully in a week, I’ll be getting a diagram. I also reached a gentleman by the name of  Mr. Willy Wilkes on the phone that specializes in old car radios (see suppliers page for contact information). As I told him what I had, he was able to describe with intimate detail, the inner workings of my particular unit! In the 10 minute conversation we had, I had enough information to begin cleaning out my radio without the schematic.

The dial indicator was frozen, and the tuning knob didn’t seem to be working. I soon realized that some of the tuning rods had corroded onto their sleeves. Mr. Wilkes suggested lubricating these shafts with WD-40, not electronic cleaning solutions. He felt that the cleaners have a tendency to foul the inner workings of the tuning shafts. I purchased cheap “Radio Shack” knobs to turn the shaft of the tuner and after using many cleaning swabs, and blowing out a bunch of dirt and sand, the tuning mechanism began to move!  The maintenance technicians kidded me about all the work I was doing to the mechanical operation of my radio without any guarantee that the radio would work electronically, but I persisted in my cleaning.

Soon the indicator was moving smoothly across the full distance of the dial, and the push button presets were all operational. It was time to move onto the on/off switch on the volume control knob. Willy mentioned in our phone conversation about things that may be hard to find replacement parts for, and the on/off volume switch was one of them. I studied this switch carefully and soon realized that it suffered the same problem as the indicator dial. It had stopped working because of the excess dust and dirt that had clogged it’s mechanism. After some more cleaning, and spraying, it too began working! As I put the radio back in its parts box today, I felt another component to my Ferrari begin its trip back to life!

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