NEW COMMISSIONS ARE NO LONGER ACCEPTED.
I am retired, keeping busy (tho' unpaid) building a powerful new
405-line television transmitter. Fully licensed, this will cover the London area on special occasions.
This page serves as a record of what Radiocraft did in the past.
YOUR VINTAGE RADIO OR TELEVISION - PROFESSIONALLY RESTORED
now with lifetime guarantee!*
gold service package only.
I'm Stephen Ostler. "Radiocraft" started
trading in 1986 and was based on an original idea for
the time - to supply vintage radios, fully restored,
safe and original, (in other words 'as new') to the
intention was to introduce the vintage radio ownership
to people who had hitherto not been enthusiasts, but
who perhaps might consider a beautiful and unique piece
of early-twentieth century history - say, as a finishing
touch to their room.
what types of set do I restore...?
RADIOS before 1962
VALVE CAR RADIOS before 1960
SETS before 1962
! ... some shots from my original brochure
of 1986, long before the days of the internet...
and televisions of all types and ages from the '30s to the
'60s have been restored and the business has never looked
back since. So, if you have an old set you'd like to use and
enjoy again, whether it's a domestic or a car radio or a TV...
get in touch ! You can be sure of value for money and
quotations are free. Unlike many modern black boxes, these
'electronic antiques' are as good to look at as they are to
listen to. Nowadays, their individual designs and beautiful
materials mark them out as highly desirable collectors items.
it turned out, I found that one of the best parts of the job
was the amazement and delight on customers' faces when they
first saw their old radio 'as new' again. Real job satisfaction
customers have not only been private individuals. On one occasion
I supplied at Marconi set to the BBC for the reception area
at BBC Radio Essex in Chelmsford (the original home of Marconi
radio), and for a while sets were also made available to the
public through the well-known store Harrods. Later
on I was selected by the National Media Museum at Bradford
to supply two 405-line televisions. One of these was then
left switched on, all day every day.
remember, when you choose Radiocraft you are assured
of a friendly, efficient and personal service at all times.
A FINISHED SET
Radiocraft offers a range of service options to suit your
exact needs and budget.
My"gold" restorations are now covered
by a LIFETIME guarantee. That means if your radio or television
should ever need further attention in the future - it will
be fixed free of charge, subject to the provisions on our
No one else backs their work with such a
guarantee, and no one else offers a personal collection and
delivery service with national coverage, geared to your convenience.
No one else provides our transparent pricing method for estimates,
with the facility for customers to check the figures for themselves
online. No one else can include (when required) cabinet restoration
of the highest standard, returning your set to its original
as-new appearance. And no one else provides such an effective
solution to enable you to listen to your choice of music on
your antique radio. I started the UK's first full-time
radio restoration business and a thirty years later, I am
still foremost in the field today !
All-in-all, my aim is to provide a door-to-door, 'turn-key'
service for my valued customers. Thanks to this, today you
can enjoy vintage radio in your home, recapturing all the
original excitement with none of the worry.
To follow one particularly ambitious recent restoration -
And there's another HERE...
If you have any questions I suggest you click
HERE first for the FAQ.
"Just to let you know that we got the Bush back
to Leeds without incident and that the reception is excellent
on AM and FM with little aerial extension. We'll be taking
the set down to Kent later in the summer. Many thanks once
again for the restoration; as well as sounding good it is
a beautiful object." G.J. Leeds
you for the care you took in restoring my parents' Decca radiogram.
We have given it pride of place in our music room where it
looks as if it was meant to reside. The sound it produces
both from the record deck and the radio is as I remember as
a young boy.
I am so glad that you were willing to undertake the renovation
and that we were enabled to find you through the web."
Emerson radio has arrived safe and sound. What a joy it was
to switch it on and have sounds emanate. Great job. Many thanks
for a superb service. I couldn't be happier." D.K.
must thank you for all your work on my radio. It looks and
sounds fabulous and is much admired by everyone who sees it.
Thank you again for your work." R.T. Northampton.
of the "Retrovisor" colour televisions I made in the 1990s
recently sold on Ebay, complete with a modulator to
enable digital viewing. Such a sale is now a rare occurrence.
Marconiphone 559, originally purchased from Harrods
in 1937, is shown here finished and ready for delivery
to its new owner. A week later, I received this very
"Thank you once again for the wonderful restoration
of my radio: I absolutely love it! Everyone who has
seen and heard the radio is very impressed with the
quality of your electronic and cabinetry craftsmanship.
The radio has already become a greatly treasured possession.
It really has been a pleasure doing business with you!"
American ATWATER-KENT 318 console from the early 'thirties
nears completion. The comprehensive restoration has
taken six weeks and the set was originally in dreadful
condition, both internally and externally.
we see it here, the knobs have still to be fitted. It
also awaits conversion from US 110v to British 240v
this that touched down in the workshop? It's a SPARTON
BLUEBIRD, a very rare American radio from 1936. It's now
back with the customer, having been entrusted to me for
a complete electronic restoration. This is probably the
only example in the UK...
there is time for a 'special project' too. This
strange-looking device I have constructed is called
a Mirror Screw. It is a scanning device for colour
screw consists of a series of edge-polished horizontal
strips of stainless steel. The position of each
strip differs slightly from its neigbour. The
screw rotates and a thin vertical line of varying
light is reflected by it. Where the horizontal
strip intersects with the vertical line, a travelling
spot of light results. In this way a television
picture is built up, line by line. When the screw
is rotating fast enough, we see a television picture
appear within it.
it looks like this! Here it is seen in its case,
producing a 12-inch, 60-line television picture.
Sound is included too. The picture looks as if
it is coming from deep within the screw.
amongst mechanical televisors, the mirror screw
is capable of delivering entertainment quality
results to a group of people watching at the same
unit has since been rebuilt to deliver 120-line
colour pictures. It is now the highest definition
mechanical televisor in the world. A short
video of it working has been placed on YouTube.
to enjoy your own overhauled vintage radio.
First, you'll either already have your own radio
or should obtain one (see my Radios
For Sale page for a link to the relevant EBay
page). Then email me using the button further
down. I operate a fixed price restoration
scheme subject to conditions. Contact me to find
out what the job will cost in advance. Be sure
to check out my FAQ lower down
this page too.
In general, even the 'gold'
restoration of an old radio will only fall into
the same price band as say, having your car serviced.
Whereas garages charge far more than me per hour,
I need far more hours than them to do the job,
so things balance out. For further discussion
on this, please see the section on pricing
lower down the page...
BE SURE ASK OUR COMPETITORS FOR THEIR
(if they have one) - THEN COMPARE >>>>>
restorations are available on all British-made valve
domestic and car radios from 1932 to 1963.
Setting the standard when only the best will
overhauls are available on all British-made valve
domestic and car radios, from 1946 to 1963 (except
Bush DAC90 & DAC90A, Philips/Stella radios,
Thorough and professional renovations at keen
clean and physically restore chassis.
internal mains connections (when possible).
Re-stringing of dial mechanism
included, when necessary.
available for more than one set at a time.
and restore knobs.
of all resistors.
of dial lamps.
of all linkages and potentiometers internally packed.
or reforming of all electrolytic capacitors.
of all waxed tubular (or equiv. eg: Hunts) capacitors.
except in some
Philips and late continental sets.
Lubrication of dial mechanism,
wafer switches, valve bases,
Testing and replacement of valves
fusing added to 110-volt fed receivers.
& IF re-alignment.
& tighten if necessary all screwed earth tags.
of internal mains wiring when necessary
at no extra cost.
60ºC thermal reset to mains transformer.
of power transformer inter-winding insulation
and replacement (at extra cost)
fault finding, rectification, replacing capacitors
output valve for grid emission.
coupling capacitor to output valve grid.
new mains lead, plug and 3 amp fuse
of any designed-in points not up to current
Soak test for 6 hours.
Typical ball-park cost
for an electronic service to a radio.
The actual cost will depend on
age and complexity of your
set, and could range from under
half to over double these
figures. Vintage televisions typically
cost around £1000 to fully overhaul.
In addition, 405-line
televisions will need a little 'Aurora' plug-in
box to work on modern
Specify the SCRF405A.
per return mile for my national pick-up &
for total peace of mind.
I do not restore TRANSISTOR RADIOS, RECORD PLAYERS
or RADIOGRAMS or anything made after 1963.
SPECIAL NOTE ON CABINET RESTORATION...
I am the only radio restorer in the UK that specialises
as much in cabinet restoration as much as in electronic
restoration. I use the original materials, namely
cellulose lacquers (high-build, pigmented and clear)
with compressor and spray gun, to achieve 'as-new'
or 'better-than-new' results. Please note, the hard
plastic finish on 'continental' piano-key sets resists
economic removal and regrettably I cannot offer
a cabinet refinishing service on these.
SERVICES ~ also available as separate services
except where marked.
new capacitors within old (in radios)
of magic eye and rewiring to suit, as necessary
& fabrication service for damaged or missing parts
and fit vintage style mains lead covered in gold
repair and re-creation of a new dial from a damaged
white print is not included in this service)
repair and re-creation of a new internal label
preparation, toning and re-spraying of cabinet**
work: rate per hour
**depends on size and complexity - large console
cabinets may be more.
All prices + postage/carriage.
EXAMPLE OF MY SPECIALIST SERVICES... HERE'S WHAT
CAN BE ACHIEVED WHEN A WOODGRAIN EFFECT PRINTED
ONTO BAKELITE HAS TO BE RE-DONE. NOT AN EASY
SORRY, THE BUSINESS IS NOW
you are looking for information about your set,
workshop when it was new - it's not quite as pristine
now! Visitors were always welcome.
It is the customer's responsibility to read,
understand, and agree to the following terms
before engaging my services.
- All "gold" restored radio sets
are covered by a written lifetime guarantee!
- All "silver" overhauled radio
sets and television sets are covered by a
written 1-year guarantee.
Any chargeable repair work
carried out after the guarantee has elapsed
is then protected by its own 3-month guarantee,
but covering the repair only. Since the 'gold'
is already covered by a lifetime guarantee,
this applies to 'silver' sets only. In all cases,
the guarantee only runs from the time that payment
for the work has been received.
'Gold' chassis restorations
include both electronic and physical restoration.
Cabinet work is also available, and is of the
Quotations for restoring your
sets are free and without obligation. Cabinet
work and restoration of the electronics are
itemised separately. These quotations are accurate
- subject to the following:
Bush TV1 from 1947.
Another restoration completed !
- The estimate must have been approved within
three months of submission date.
- The set is a practicable proposition to
restore, with no parts inaccessible for service.
"Piano-key" continental-style sets can sometimes
present problems in this regard.
- The set is complete, with all its unobtainable
parts in restorable condition.
- No wound components (transformers, chokes,
coils, speaker coils, motors, etc.) are found
unserviceable when the rest of the job has
been completed. Such faults will not normally
be revealed until the job is otherwise finished.
These will be subject to a normally modest
surcharge to cover parts and fitting. If this
occurs, the original faulty components can
be returned alongside the set for independent
- The set has not previously been tampered
with or otherwise modified. If it has, I may
refuse the job or extra charges may apply.
- There are no very rare and valuable valves
that need replacement. Such valves are occasionally
found in upmarket radiogram amplifiers and
just a few table sets. I'll warn you when
this is likely to apply. 'Magic Eyes' also
come into this category.
- In the unlikely event that an original valve
is completely unobtainable, no additional
work is involved in adapting the set to use
a non-standard valve.
- In certain cases, I may ask for a deposit
before starting work and may also ask for
the work to be paid for in stages as it progresses.
- Quoted prices for cabinet work will assume
all the original veneers and unique fittings/escutcheons
etc. are still present and the original speaker
fabric is restorable. If they are not, an
extra charge will be made. In extreme cases
I may decline the job.
- Any work set out in the blue 'specialist
services' section (further up this page) will
be at extra cost, subject to prior approval
of the work by the customer.
- I regret I do not offer a car radio removal
or fitting service.
In the first instance, because vintage radios
are fragile items, my collection - or your personal
delivery - of the set is always to be preferred.
A mutually convenient time will always be agreed
My personal collection/delivery service covers
the mainland UK, but does not include the London
congestion zone, the centres of the large cities,
or anywhere where close-by parking cannot be
guaranteed or is not available. Vintage radios
can be heavy beasts!
The cost of my personal collection/delivery
service is kept to an absolute minimum. This
costs 60 pence per mile (counted both ways on
the journey) to anywhere on the mainland UK.
In addition, when the return distance
exceeds 300 miles, there is a standard surcharge
of £100 to pay for overnight hotel expenses
and subsistence. I will always quote you the
cost first. The cost of a transport run becomes
payable at the time of providing it. This service
is only available for transporting sets which
are being serviced by Radiocraft. Email
me with your location now and I will get back
to you with a precise no-obligation quote for
transport without delay!
Please remember my transport service will be
required twice if you are using me to both collect
and later return your set.
I regret I cannot provide a service for overseas
customers, nor when international shipping or
air-freight would be involved.
My prices are kept as low as possible bearing
in mind the care and the time that goes into
each job. When evaluating prices, remember the
time involved in a restoration is usually far
more than say, a garage would spend doing a
major job on your car. But since my overheads
are less than at your garage, I can charge a
lower labour rate which compensates for this.
I reserve the right to adjust
my prices from time-to-time. Please note that
once a quotation has been accepted it is fixed
and should not later be considered as 'an opening
figure for negotiation'. Restoration charges
are calculated transparently, in a special area
of my web site. A link to this area can be included
on request. There is also a discount structure
available which can reduce this quoted price.
This applies when more than one set (radio or
tv) is submitted for gold restoration at the
same time. This discount is: 4% off (both) when
two sets are submitted; 7% off (all) when three
sets or more are submitted. This discount structure
only applies to valve sets. It does not apply
when the job is paid for in stages.
If you are a new customer, a deposit of 25% of
the total may be requested as advance payment,
especially when the final total is expected to
come to over £800. If it later proves impossible
to complete the job for any reason, this will
be refunded in full. Otherwise it is non-refundable.
A stage payment schedule can sometimes be arranged
when the project is large and you would prefer
to pay out over a longer period. Such stage
payments are made in advance and the relevant
part of the work is then carried out. Any stage
payment schedule must be agreed in advance,
before the project is started.
is not chargeable. For international and postal
customers, all outstanding balances must be
settled in full at the time of job completion
and before despatch. For other customers, if
there is a delay of more than two weeks before
the goods can be collected or delivered, settlement
of the invoice will be required at the time
of completion. Radiocraft holds a 'repairer's
lien' on all items until such time as full payment
for the work has been received.
If any special discounts or
offers apply to a particular transaction, these
are contingent on payment being received in
timely fashion on completion of the job, normally
within seven days of receipt of invoice.
Naturally I accept cheques or cash as payment;
however you can now also pay online by credit
card using the secure PayPal system. Payments
are processed in pounds sterling but are automatically
converted to your own currency when billing.
Click on the icon below when you want to go
to the credit card payment page.
My very highest priority when I service all
vintage electronic devices is to ensure safety
- both from fire and from electrical hazards.
To date there has never been an accident caused
by equipment I have serviced. However it must
be understood that vintage electronic apparatus
often run at high internal temperatures and
at high voltages in comparison with modern equipment.
Radiocraft supplies all such
serviced equipment solely on the basis that
I cannot be held liable in the event that personal
injury or damage to property results from operation
of the equipment, and that the operator will
exercise common sense at all times. In particular,
faulty equipment must be disconnected from the
mains at once and not re-used until repaired
by me. Also, any equipment must never be left
connected to the mains whilst unattended, must
never be used in damp surroundings, nor left
in the sole company of children or pets.
When transport of your treasured
radio is required, I strongly recommend you
use my personal transport service, which has
never yet caused any damage to a radio in transit.
In the unlikely event of a
radio becoming damaged or mislaid whilst in
my custody or using my personal transport service,
my liability as to compensation shall be limited
to the original market value of the radio and
will not extend to any notional added value
which may have been created during the course
of a restoration.
I do not recommend any radio
is posted by mail or sent by carrier, even
if well packed. Liability for safekeeping of
the radio whilst in the hands of any other transport
service (such as the postal service) shall be
borne solely by the carrier concerned, in accordance
with any compensation terms they may or may
The acceptance, or rejection
of a job in the light of further facts coming
to light before commencement, will be entirely
at my discretion. The customer will be assumed
to have read and consented to these terms. Your
statutory rights are not affected. English Law
applies. E & O.E.
HAVE A POST-WAR RADIOGRAM FOR DISPOSAL... IS IT OF VALUE
No, it's worth very little I'm afraid.
If you have a radiogram you wish
to dispose of, however lovely, please do not
contact me. If you do, there will be no reply.
Radiograms and stereograms dating from
the 1950s onwards are offered to vintage radio collectors
constantly. They are often in beautiful condition, having
been well-cared for all their lives and commonly become
available as part of an estate, with executors desperate
to find someone - anyone - who will take them !
Because of their bulk, unremarkable
styling and the sheer quantity of them available, '50s
and '60s radiograms are not sought after by collectors
and are consequently of zero market
value. If you wish though, the radio sections and
cabinets (only) of pre-1950 radiograms (which
are generally of higher quality) can be restored
by me - and will provide a lot of pleasure as a centrepiece
in the home. However I never purchase - nor accept as
gifts - any radiograms.
desirable radiograms always date prior to 1950
and even then are strictly limited to very rare editions
or the ultra-high-grade early Decca, Dynatron,
RGD, and pre-war HMV models. Otherwise there will
be absolutely no
What you can do is to:
- Trawl the relevant sections in my directory
for other possible buyers.
- Try the local bric-a-brac or charity shop but don't
expect too much enthusiasm.
- Try advertising it in the local paper.
- Break it up and sell the valves and knobs on Ebay.
- Dump it at the tip.
- Decide to keep it after all.
HAVE A VINTAGE UNIT FOR SERVICE THAT YOU DON'T HANDLE.
WHAT CAN I DO ?
This depends. If it's a car radio, tape recorder, record
player or vintage audio item, Google is your friend!
There's also my on-site Directory
to look at. You're sure to find someone who can help
there. However, remember there are many types of set
I am delighted to service, unlike some other
repairers who won't or can't handle (for example) Philips
sets, FM radios, television sets, car radios, etc...So
give me a call. My aim is to please.
YOU SELL RADIOS ?
No. I am a restoration specialist.
If first you need a radio to kick things off with, there
are plenty of people selling 'raw' sets on their web
sites and over Ebay. For example one reputable dealer,
Steve Harris, can be found HERE.
On my 'Radios For Sale'
page you'll find direct links into the Ebay pages. Happy
Hunting ! Once you've acquired your pride and
joy; then's the time to bring it back here and I can
transform it into a condition to use and enjoy.
WHAT ABOUT THE VALVES ? CAN YOU STILL GET THEM
? ARE THEY UNRELIABLE ?
Most valves (known as 'tubes' in the
USA) are still available. Large amounts were originally
manufactured and today these stocks are largely in the
hands of specialist collectors and dealers. Since relatively
few vintage receivers are in use today, this remaining
stock will probably serve indefinitely. Just a few types
of valve are now becoming rare and this is reflected
in their prices. Otherwise valves remain plentiful and
It's a common mistake to regard valves
as fragile and unreliable. Although it's obviously a
bad idea to drop them, the fact is valves are far more
electrically robust than transistors and will stand
much more abuse. In general they're pretty reliable
too. They don't 'pop' like light bulbs but wear gradually.
Their average service life might be between 10 and 25
years for a set in regular use.
I HAVE A VINTAGE RADIO TO SELL. WOULD YOU LIKE TO BUY
No. However you might find clicking
to find out what your set is likely to be worth...
WHY DON'T YOU JUST REPAIR OR 'DO UP' SETS RATHER THAN
'RESTORE' THEM ? SURELY THAT WOULD SAVE MONEY.
To answer the question, it's far better
to 'restore' rather than 'repair' sets for two reasons:
the economic use of time - and set reliability. To take
an example, imagine you brought in a vintage set for
repair with the instructions: "Just get it going".
First, I would have to spend an appreciable amount of
time in fault-finding - usually working through one
fault after another. This process would work out more
expensive than the standard 'component replacement'
method I currently use. Also, once you've 'woken up'
an old set by curing the faults, a lot of stress wiil
be put on the other (original) components.The end result
would be a set which would be likely to go wrong again,
making it impossible to guarantee and later on even
more expensive and troublesome for the customer. So,
if you want a reliable job which will give peace of
mind, there really is no alternative to a full 'silver'
or 'gold' overhaul.
BUT IS IT WORTH HAVING MY SET RESTORED ?
As the number of my completed restorations
heads toward the thousand mark, it's certainly interesting
to consider why so many people have considered the answer
to this question to be 'Yes'. There are at least
three ways of looking at it.
The first is to ask: "Would I get
my money back if I were to sell the restored set on
the open market ?"
The answer here generally is "No".
The situation is analogous to having a much-loved old
car restored with the aim of enjoying using it again,
rather than just storing it as an investment. Although
the market value of your set would certainly increase
substantially once restored properly, just like with
classic cars only if it is a rare sought-after model
would you find the value (say at auction) had increased
so much that it would pay back the restoration fee.
The second approach is to ask: "What
would it cost me to obtain something else which would
be as useful, provide the equivalent service and carry
a comparable guarantee ?
The answer here is probably "A decent
home entertainment system." This would cost many
hundreds of pounds, probably far more than the cost
of restoring your valve radio.
The third is to ask "What else could
give me as much pleasure in ownership, or have as much
character, or would be as unique, or as well-made, or
would carry with it as much history ?"
frank answer to this is "Nothing". These qualities
are hard to find at any price. And as your Radiocraft
'gold' wireless set endures, it will become rarer and
rarer, probably still working perfectly for your descendants
and becoming a true investment for your family.
YOU SEEM TO BE AT THE 'TOP END' OF THE MARKET. DO YOUR
PRICES REFLECT THIS ?
Yes. However, it's most important that
I keep my prices keen for the level of service I provide
and that my estimates are transparent. No business would
grow or prosper otherwise. I have found the best way
to gain new business is to receive recommendations (and
repeat commissions) from my existing customers. Therefore
I always try to offer 'something extra' in terms of
value - to keep ahead of the competition. For example,
nobody else in the business offers a lifetime guarantee.
When comparing prices, think of what
you local mechanic or plumber would charge for a job
taking a similar time - then you'll realise I am actually
WHAT SORT OF PERFORMANCE CAN I EXPECT FROM MY VINTAGE
There are two major types of performance
to consider. These are: 'how good will it sound ?' and:
'how many stations will it pull in ?' Vintage
radios vary greatly in performance according to when
they date from, who made them, and how expensive they
originally were when new.
Broadly, most mains-operated radios
manufactured after about 1934 will meet up with modern
expectations. Before that, loudspeakers tended to be
'squeakier' and signal sensitivity poorer. Operationally
too, very early sets can require care and a deft hand
with the controls. And these controls may not do exactly
the same thing as the Volume and Tuning we're all familiar
By 1936, domestic valve radios were,
in the technical sense, fully evolved. Mid-market and
up-market radios from the late thirties and on can give
excellent sensitivity and tone. In fact the sound from
these sets on 'AM' - that is the medium, long and short
waves (for which they were designed) is generally far
deeper and clearer than the sound from a modern transistor
radio or ghetto-blaster - where AM is an afterthought
and FM listening is primarily intended.
As for the question of 'how many stations'
will there be, there are still a handful from the UK
broadcasting on medium and long waves and many more
receivable from abroad. Otherwise, results will depend
on whether there are strong local stations and your
local reception conditions. Urban and heavily built
up locations will tend to suffer from more interference
than rural, and blocks of flats with a steel frame construction
will screen the signals, making them weaker and more
prone to interference. These days, interference is most
likely to come from poorly designed 'digital' gizmos
around the house (and in neighbours' houses), and from
switched-mode power supplies. If such problems rear
their heads, there are various possible solutions. The
first is to run a screened lead leading to an aerial
wire placed somewhere beyond the spread of the interference.
The second is to tune into the strong local-only signal
provided by a Medium Wave Adapter
(explained further down). Finally, if you're a real
perfectionist, the Welbrook
Loop is worth considering.
British-manufactured sets which always
be counted on to give exceptionally good results include
Murphy, Philips, R.G.D and Dynatron. But many others
too will deliver really satisfying listening. And such
radios need not cost a lot to obtain. In fact the more
'collectable' and valuable radios, where cabinet material
and design are the primary considerations, also tend
to be the poorer performers. It's a fact that you'll
often get a better sound from that restored 'brown box'
you originally picked up for a tenner than from a Round
Ekco worth a thousand ! This is can be worth bearing
in mind when deciding whether a restoration of your
old set will be 'worth it'.
HOW CAREFUL WILL YOU BE TO MAINTAIN THE ORIGINALITY
OF MY SET ?
Very. However there are two things
even more important. First and foremost is safety.
Sometimes I will have to make discreet modifications,
particularly to the power circuitry, mains cabling and
earthing, to ensure your set will be completely safe
- for your (and my) peace of mind. The other consideration
is reliability. For example my 'gold' sets are
guaranteed for life. This is far longer than even when
they were new. So, many of the hidden under-chassis
vintage components will be replaced. This is always
done neatly and in workmanlike fashion. You also have
the option to request that new components are hidden
inside the old if desired.
Vintage radios one day will be centuries-old
antiques. Just as the case is with such antiques today,
evidence of professional attention previously received
does not detract from their value but just becomes an
intrinsic part of their long history. In the future
I believe this will be how Radiocraft-restored sets
will be seen.
HOW LONG WILL IT BE BEFORE I GET MY SET BACK ?
For the past several years my backlog
of work has remained steady at around four or five months.
However, if you don't want your restored set back within
this time-span you may specify any point in the further
future which you prefer. For example, you might not
need the radio for your classic car to be ready until
the car itself is expected to be coming together, say
in the following spring. Handing your set in a long
time in advance has the advantage that I can generally
plan accurately for a deadline far into the future and
'slot the job in' to be ready exactly at the time you
Alternatively, when you require your
set urgently this can sometimes be arranged too, since
other customers might not be in so much of a hurry.
Let me know your requirements. I can generally work
I SHALL HAVE TO PACK UP MY SET FOR DESPATCH. HOW DO
I DO THIS ?
If you can't bring your set to me personally,
or don't want to use my transport service, then packing
up and posting your set becomes the only option. This
needs to be approached with great care. Your old radio
may have a fragile or finely-finished cabinet. Certainly
it will contain delicate glassware (the valves) which
can easily become dislodged and smashed. How then to
go about it ?
Basically, the safest is advice is
"don't!". Even a radio, packed correctly as
detailed below, can arrive damaged. Remember, the box
could tumble over and over during handling and the set
might be travelling upside-down or on its side. Valves
may become dislodged from the shaking and the dial glass
can get broken because it has to bear unusual stresses
as the chassis tries to move around inside the cabinet
against its rubber mountings. It's impossible to insure
anything classed as an 'antique' or containing glass
in the Parcelforce system. I will no longer post
radios or send them back by carrier under any circumstances.
Please either deliver and/or collect them yourself or
use my bespoke personal service!
I SIMPLY WANT SPARES FOR MY VINTAGE SET. WHERE CAN
I GET THEM ?
Try Ebay. Go to my sale
page for a link or look at the Directory..
Please note, Radiocraft does not supply spares nor can
I provide advice on sourcing for individual cases.
I DON'T LIKE WHAT'S ON THE MEDIUM
WAVES THESE DAYS. HOW CAN I LISTEN TO MY OWN
MUSIC ON MY VINTAGE RADIO ?
always Radio 4 (the Home Service) on Long Wave...but
seriously, it's a fact that today the majority of content
on British medium wave stations is one of two types.
Either it's the 'shock jock' variety, consisting of
phone-in voice broadcasts with the opinions of the 'hoi
polloi' very much in evidence, or it's compressed, blaring
rock music complete with cocky and gobby presenters.
Well, I suppose it helps some people get through the
day, but the sound of it just makes me feel bleary-eyed
and run down. Rant over ;-)
But there is another way. It's quite
easy to play anything you like over your vintage radio,
be it a digital or FM station, or your very own CDs.
The DAB+FM kit (see the green box further down) will
accept most types of audio input. So you'll be able
to tune your vintage radio into whatever you like!
In this connection, you may have noticed
I have recommended the Guild series of CDs on
the home page. I have no connection with this company
apart from having already amassed over 50 of their CDs
and being a very satisfied customer. These CDs consist
of collections of re-mastered original recordings of
Light Music - once often heard as radio and television
themes, newsreel film backgrounds, and television interludes.
This sort of music is full of melody, lush instrumental
texture and atmosphere - and it sounds great through
old radios! It also has to be said it's refreshingly
different and 'un-cool'. Today, increasing numbers of
people are rediscovering this wonderful, tuneful music
from the pre-pop era.
HOW CAN I LISTEN TO FM STATIONS
ON MY VINTAGE RADIO ?
see the next section.
HOW CAN I LISTEN TO DIGITAL (DAB) STATIONS ON MY VINTAGE
Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) radio
is the latest way to listen to radio in the UK. This
way you can receive all the stations previously radiated
by FM (frequency modulation) and many more besides.
To enable you to listen to anything
you choose on your vintage radio, I now can supply a
Medium Wave Radio Adaptor. This consists of an SSTran
AM Modulator - obtained specially from the USA but
assembled here in the UK - and a power supply. The SSTran
is widely considered to be the best AM modulator available.
You'll want for nothing in sound quality and you'll
be able to continue using your vintage radio indefinitely
into the future!
The unit converts any audio signal
into a miniature medium wave station. It plugs
in to your own choice of audio source, so you'll need
to already have a DAB radio if you want to listen to
DAB on your vintage radio.
The signal can be received everywhere
in your house, so you can even listen to the same station
on several radios at once if you like! No connection
is needed to your set(s). You simply tune in the signal
like any other medium wave station.
If you are looking for something before
the rock 'n roll era to tune into on your old radio,
here are a couple of internet radio stations:
(Easy Listening:UK). Phone App to use: TuneIn Radio.
COLLEGE RADIO (Beautiful Music:US). Phone App to
use: Simple Radio.
Plug your computer - or phone - into
the Medium Wave Radio Adapter (below) and listen to
them on Medium Wave! The quality is very good.
WAVE RADIO ADAPTOR FOR DOMESTIC RADIOS
your set! Be assured of high quality listening on medium
wave for ever, on any station, on all the radios in
your house - regardless of what 'they' do to the band.
medium wave radio adapter costs £199.00 including
postage to anywhere in the UK and will set your mind
can be used with any vintage radio, whether previously
serviced by me or not. You connect it to your own audio
source; for example an iPod, CD Player, or Digital Radio
- and the adaptor will convert this into an authentic
medium wave radio station you 'tune into' in the usual
way. So now you can listen to whatever you want.
is superb - it uses the same compression (adjustable)
and frequency characteristic of real medium wave
stations, for that totally authentic sound.
adapter will be hand-made for you specially. Delivery
is normally within 3 weeks.
it is a CAR RADIO you want to listen to your own programmes
on, I recommend the RediRad unit. You can obtain it
ABOUT THE 'OTHER' SORT OF DIGITAL RADIO (DRM) COMING ON
AM ? WON'T THAT SPOIL THINGS ? |
Digital radio is being promoted as
the next step in the development of radio. Currently
Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) is available through
various means, including over the Band III VHF frequencies
formerly used in the UK by ITA for 405-line television.
However there is also a scheme afoot to also
apply a related technique on 'my' AM (amplitude-modulated)
long, medium, and short wave bands. This would combine
'near-FM' standards of audio quality with the international
range associated with the current AM bands. The system
is called Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) and is already
being tested in Great Britain.
You can't receive DRM stations on vintage radios.
DRM stations will sound like a slight increase in background
hiss on traditional AM radios - that is, if you listen
for it. In any case, it's no longer looking so promising
for DRM as it was. DRM receivers are turning out to
be fussy to use and slow to recover when the signal
drops out. And with the increasing competition of 3G
and 4G mobile phone networks for data transfer and internet
radio, that's another nail in the coffin of DRM! It
seems likely traditional AM stations will remain present
on the medium waves for some years yet.
As regards the Short Waves, it is here
that the most interference might be found, though not
from the DRM digital stations but from something much
worse - use of the National Grid for carrying broadband
internet. This is an incredibly leaky and inefficient
way to do the job. With broadband coverage now approaching
saturation in the UK using more conventional means,
here's hoping this horrible technique will never be
The UK has pinned its digital hopes
on DAB (radiated on Band III VHF) fot the future of
domestic radio. However this isn't as worrisome as it
sounds. Read on...
ISN'T MEDIUM WAVE AND VHF/FM RADIO NOW EFFECTIVELY FINISHED
? WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO MY VINTAGE SET WHEN IT GOES
Originally the government was encouraging
the switch-off of the AM and FM services by 2015 and
their replacement with DAB (with sets ready for DAB+,
a more efficient form of DAB). At that time some ultra-low
power local stations were to launch on the FM band;
this was then destined to wither since the main stations
would have left. However because of the sheer numbers
of AM and FM radios in use and the reluctance of broadcasters
to suddenly forfeit a large chunk of their audience,
this aim has now been abandoned. DAB has also been gaining
a bad press, with its inferior sound quality to FM and
DAB portable sets that are much heavier on battery consumption
than those just receiving FM.
In fact, before AM and FM go, DAB itself
will probably die a death because most listeners in
future won't be listening on radio sets at all, but
instead over the internet - using some form of smartphone...
or perhaps through their home entertainment unit via
the digital television system. By then, dedicated radio
sets as such will have become passť. That is,
unless you are determined to continue listening the
old way. In which case, you might as well listen using
a really old and interesting set, restored by
me of course !
The long and short of it is that, for
the forseeable future, both AM and FM radio reception
looks to be safe in the UK. And when it does eventually
finish, you can carry on by using the Medium Wave Radio
Adapter featured further up the page.
WHAT DO I NEED TO OPERATE MY VINTAGE
British vintage televisions will only
produce results from a long-obsolete type of television
signal. This means that not only is the picture made
up of fewer 'lines' (405 instead of 625), but also the
radio carrier wave used is of far lower frequency than
the one used today. So what's involved ?
Once you have obtained your set (from
the likes of Ebay), it is imperative it is properly
overhauled. Never try switching on a vintage television
before this has been done, since this represents a fire
and electrical safety risk and you could also cause
serious - and expensive - damage to the set.
Before the overhaul can begin, I must
test the cathode ray tube is in basically good condition.
Replacements are difficult to find today. This test
is free. If this test is failed, the overhaul cannot
Once your set has been overhauled and
is ready to use again, it is necessary to provide an
appropriate 405-line picture signal for it. This is
generally achieved by stepping down the modern 625-line
signal down to 405-lines, through the use of something
called an Aurora converter.
This is actually called the Aurora
click for details. Apart from a source of programmes
such as a DVD player or digibox with an analogue output,
this will be all you need! You'll need to order this
For more information on this topic,
be sure to visit my own Vintage
Television site. or if you might prefer instead
a modern 'retro' colour TV, take a look at the Retrovisor.
Please note these are no longer in production though
sometimes one may become available.
WILL 405-LINE TELEVISION EVER COME
BACK 'ON AIR' ?
Not such a strange question as it may seem. The answer
is actually 'yes'. If you have a restored vintage television
and live in the London area (or even further afield),
one day all you will need to do is put an 'H' aerial
on your chimney and switch on at a suitable time. Just
as in the old days in fact!
This is an idea that no one took seriously at the start.
It's being taken very seriously now. Heritage Television
Ltd. is working to make this dream a reality -
fully licensed 405-line television transmissions that
can be received on almost every vintage set within the
At the moment, the licensing conditions restrict publicity
for tests when they occur. More details about the project
can be found at 405-line.tv.
I HAVEN'T GOT A VINTAGE RADIO OR TELEVISION
FOR YOU TO RESTORE YET. WHERE CAN I GET ONE?
Unless you are a member of the British
Vintage Wireless Society or certain other groups,
you won't be able to attend their regular swapmeets,
though you will be able to go to their main national
event in the Midlands, the National
Vintage Communications Fair. This is huge, and makes
a great day out. Lots of radios and televisions and
everything else connected with the hobby are always
Otherwise, there's always Ebay
and links to the relevant sections appear on my Radio
If you prefer a 'one-stop-shop', a
well established and respected dealer in such things
Harris near Chester. Highly recommended.
If you want to get a feel for the full
original range of vintage television sets, to whet your
appetite, then look at Jon Evan's page HERE
HOW HAS THE COST OF LIVING CHANGED
SINCE THE DAYS OF EARLY RADIO AND TV ?
You can find out - with this handy calculator !
SECRET MESSAGE FUN
A NEW 405-LINE TELEVISION SERVICE
Sedgeberrow, United Kingdom.