Monday, July 19, 2010

50-year old Telefunken Gavotte tube radio still playing well

This is my grandmother's and grandfather's old Telefunken Gavotte 6 Export tube radio. When my grandmother passed away earlier this year she did not leave a lot of worldly possessions, but I am very grateful I could inherit this beautiful old radio (manufactured in 1955) which I used to fiddle with as a kid when we visited grandma.

The radio is in a beautiful shape, always a cherished piece of furniture in a tidy home, just some light scratches and cracking of the wood finish. And to my great surprised as I replaced the ungrounded power plug with a modern one, it works, and plays FM beautifully!

Check out the video I made in my excitement, and the follow-up as I had learned slightly more of the specs. Apologies for poor quality and mistakes, they slip in:

My grandmother's antique radio is working! :

Antique radio, again :

What I tried to explain in the second video was that LW, MF (MW in German), HF (KW in German) has long been allocated for AM transmission, whereas VHF (UKW in German) is used for FM. That was what surprised me somewhat, that the Gavotte's superheterodyne receiver is able to demodulate both amplitude modulation and frequency modulation.

Another thing which is not clearly visible in the video is just how analogue the radio is. The radio tubes take a minute or so to warm up and begin functioning, and there's that beautiful little flourescent green signal strength indicator. Ah, turns out that's called a "magic eye tube" as illustrated by this excellent video.

I considered modifying the radio and using only its shell to build some variation of a home media computer, but there's no way I will do that now. I would however consider selling it, if the price is right, so collectors, get in touch and tell me what a gem like this may be worth!

(Update: I made some better pictures now available on flickr and in the little slideshow below. Also I learnt that pretty "magic eye" is indeed an EM80 tube with that fan shape)

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

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