YOUR VINTAGE RADIO OR TELEVISION - PROFESSIONALLY RESTORED
  now with lifetime guarantee!*


* gold service package only.


 

Hello!   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 general public.

My 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.

So, what types of set do I restore...?


Steve

       
  HOUSEHOLD RADIOS before 1962 yes please
  MOST CAR RADIOS before 1960 yes please
  TELEVISION SETS before 1962 yes please
  RADIOGRAMS no thank you
  RECORD PLAYERS no thank you
  ANYTHING AFTER 1963 no thank you

Retro-Radiocraft ! ... some shots from my original brochure of 1986, long before the days of the internet...
 
     

Radios 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.

As 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 !

My 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.

Lastly remember, when you choose Radiocraft you are assured of a friendly, efficient and personal service at all times. ;-)

ELECTRONICS BEFORE
CABINET BEFORE

ELECTRONICS AFTER



CABINET AFTER




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 guarantee.

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 - click HERE. 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

"Thank 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."
 B.B. Bedford.

"My 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. London SE8.

"I 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.


One of my "Retrovisor" colour televisions from the 1990s recently sold on Ebay, complete with a modulator to enable digital viewing. Such a sale is now a rare occurrence.

This 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 kind testimonial:

"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!"

An 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.

As we see it here, the knobs have still to be fitted. It also awaits conversion from US 110v to British 240v mains.

What's 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... Sparton Bluebird
Mirror screw

Occasionally 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 television.

The 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.

And 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.

Alone amongst mechanical televisors, the mirror screw is capable of delivering entertainment quality results to a group of people watching at the same time.

This 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.

Image on the Mirror Screw
1939 Ferguson 904U
How 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 CHECKLISTS (if they have one) - THEN COMPARE >>>>>
'GOLD' restorations are available on all British-made valve domestic and car radios from 1932 to 1963.
Setting the standard when only the best will do...
'SILVER' overhauls are available on all British-made valve domestic and car radios, from 1946 to 1963 (except Bush DAC90 & DAC90A, Philips/Stella radios, 'piano-key' sets).
Thorough and professional renovations at keen prices...
WHAT IS INCLUDED
GOLD
SILVER
   Lifetime guarantee.
 
   Dismantle, clean and physically restore chassis.
 
   Shroud internal mains connections (when possible).
 
   Re-stringing of dial mechanism included, when necessary.
 
   Discount available for more than one set at a time.
 
   Clean and restore knobs.
 
   Testing of all resistors.
   Replacement of dial lamps.
   Lubrication of all linkages and potentiometers internally packed.
   Replacement or reforming of all electrolytic capacitors.
   Replacement of all waxed tubular (or equiv. eg: Hunts) capacitors.
    except in some Philips and late continental sets.
   Re-grommeting as necessary.

   Lubrication of dial mechanism, wafer switches, valve bases,

   Testing and replacement of valves as required.

   Internal fusing added to 110-volt fed receivers.
   RF & IF re-alignment.
   Check & tighten if necessary all screwed earth tags.
   Replacement of internal mains wiring when necessary
   at no extra cost.
   Fit 60ºC thermal reset to mains transformer.
   Meggering of power transformer inter-winding insulation
   and replacement (at extra cost) when sub-standard.
   General fault finding, rectification, replacing capacitors and resistors
   as necessary.
   Check output valve for grid emission.
   Replace coupling capacitor to output valve grid.
   Fit new mains lead, plug and 3 amp fuse
   Rectification of any designed-in points not up to current
   safety standards.
   Replace perished wiring.
   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
   signals. Order yours here. Specify the SCRF405A.
£495

£330
   Rate per return mile for my national pick-up & delivery service
   for total peace of mind.
60p
60p
   Guarantee.
LIFETIME
1 year

Sorry, I do not restore RECORD PLAYERS or RADIOGRAMS or anything made after 1963.

A 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.

SPECIALIST SERVICES ~ also available as separate services except where marked.
COST
   Concealing new capacitors within old (in radios)  
225.28
   Replacement of magic eye and rewiring to suit, as necessary  
39.95
   Repair & fabrication service for damaged or missing parts
   Supply and fit vintage style mains lead covered in gold fabric
24.24
   Electronic repair and re-creation of a new dial from a damaged original
   (gold or white print is not included in this service)
149.95
   Electronic repair and re-creation of a new internal label
69.95
   Stripping, preparation, toning and re-spraying of cabinet**
246.67 - 599.00
   Miscellaneous work: rate per hour
35.00

**depends on size and complexity - large console cabinets may be more.
All prices + postage/carriage.

AN 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 JOB....
Before... After...


 


REQUEST YOUR ESTIMATE HERE.

 
 

Pre-1963 domestic or car radios and televisions only. Sorry, no record players or radiograms.

If you are looking for information about your set, click HERE.

If you are seeking a valuation, click HERE .

To answer a common query, if you have a 1950s continental-style set with 'piano keys', please bear in mind these are quite elaborate and usually cost between £600 and £800 to overhaul. De-luxe models will be still more.


To request an estimate, please use the button below.

Our Workshop

My workshop when it was new - it's not quite as pristine now! Visitors are always welcome.
 
   RADIOCRAFT, Main Street, Sedgeberrow, Nr. Evesham Worcestershire WR11 7UF.
Tel: 01386 882280. EMAIL IS PREFERRED.
Telephone answering service only - if I can help I will always ring you back.
Please always arrange a job here first. Unsolicited packeges will be refused.

 
       



TERMS AND CONDITIONS

General

It is the customer's responsibility to read, understand, and agree to the following terms before engaging my services.
.

Guarantee

  • All "gold" restored radio sets are covered by a written lifetime guarantee!

  • All "silver" overhauled radio 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.


Quotations


'Gold' chassis restorations include both electronic and physical restoration. Cabinet work is also available, and is of the highest grade.

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

1947 Bush TV1
Bush TV1 from 1947.
Another restoration completed !
  1. The estimate must have been approved within three months of submission date.

  2. 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.

  3. The set is complete, with all its unobtainable parts in restorable condition.

  4. 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 inspection.

  5. The set has not previously been tampered with or otherwise modified. If it has, I may refuse the job or extra charges may apply.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. I regret I do not offer a car radio removal or fitting service.


Transport

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 first.

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.


Prices


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.


Payment.


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.

V.A.T. 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.

Liability Waiver

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 not provide.

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.


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS


I 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.

Remember, 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 interest !

What you can do is to:

  1. Trawl the relevant sections in my directory for other possible buyers.
  2. Try the local bric-a-brac or charity shop but don't expect too much enthusiasm.
  3. Try advertising it in the local paper.
  4. Break it up and sell the valves and knobs on Ebay.
  5. Dump it at the tip.
  6. Decide to keep it after all.


I 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.


DO 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 cheap.

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 IT ?

No. However you might find clicking HERE useful 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 ?"

The 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 cheap!


WHAT SORT OF PERFORMANCE CAN I EXPECT FROM MY VINTAGE RADIO ?

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 with.

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 specify.

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 something out.


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 ?  

Well there's 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 ?  

Yes!  Please see the next section.


HOW CAN I LISTEN TO DIGITAL (DAB) STATIONS ON MY VINTAGE RADIO ?  

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:
SERENADE RADIO (Easy Listening:UK). Phone App to use: TuneIn Radio.
JONES 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.

MEDIUM WAVE RADIO ADAPTOR FOR DOMESTIC RADIOS

Future-proof 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.

This medium wave radio adapter costs £199.00 including postage to anywhere in the UK and will set your mind at rest.

It 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.

Performance is superb - it uses the same compression (adjustable) and frequency characteristic of real medium wave stations, for that totally authentic sound.

The adapter will be hand-made for you specially. Delivery is normally within 3 weeks.

If it is a CAR RADIO you want to listen to your own programmes on, I recommend the RediRad unit. You can obtain it here:

rediraduk.com

WHAT 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 used !

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 TELEVISION ?

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 go ahead.

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 SCRF405A... 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 separately.

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 service area.

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 available there.

Otherwise, there's always Ebay and links to the relevant sections appear on my Radio Sale page.

If you prefer a 'one-stop-shop', a well established and respected dealer in such things is Steve 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 !

RADIO RESTORATIONS
TINNITUS RELIEF
SECRET MESSAGE FUN
A NEW 405-LINE TELEVISION SERVICE
Radiocraft Central
Detinnitiser
British Heritage Television


     
   
RADIOCRAFT
Main Street, Sedgeberrow, WR11 7UF, United Kingdom.