It should be noted that the HRSA currently has no electronic means of forwarding technical queries or other messages to the bulk of the membership. Incoming emails are dealt with by individual committee members and contact with other members is via meetings and the journal. This may change in future.
Probably the most popular sets with collectors are the smaller mantel receivers since these take up less space than floor consoles or radiograms.
Most members also have some vintage test equipment either for use when working on older sets or just collecting it.
Other than donations, the best values are probably found in HRSA or commercial auctions. Both give you a good chance to examine the items without a big mark up in price. Internet auctions can be good if there is something you particularly want but you lose the ability to inspect the items while the wider audience can lead to high prices and usually postal costs.
Don't forget that the HRSA, as a society, will accept donations to raise funds by selling at an HRSA auction but will not normally purchase items. The HRSA can sometimes assist disposal of deceased estates of both members and non-members either via their auctions or, for a large number of items, an on-site auction may be possible. Please contact your nearest HRSA group for further details
Asking around fellow collectors, either at meetings or by putting a request on an internet news group will often work if it is something not stocked by current electronics suppliers. Members can use the yellow pages section of the magazine to advertise sales and wants. See the HRSA Net Links page on this site for some component sources.
From 1938-1955 a series of volumes giving the circuit and component list for most domestic radios was published. These are the "Australian Official Radio Service Manuals" series (AORSM), for which some summary information can be found on this site. A CD of the full set of manuals can be purchased and individual copies come up for sale from time to time. In other cases one can contact other collectors and usually something can be found.
In the case of overseas radios, a search of the internet may be successful with details being either freely available or on sale. Again other collectors may be able to help, especially if the unit is common in Australia. Original manuals are often sought after in their own right.
Listed here are some of the factors affecting value
Radios of this period were mainly of the wooden "coffin" type with a hinged lid at the top and controls at the front, with any frequency indication being 0-100 markings on the large tuning knobs. Components were mounted on a wooden base board and the front panel usually of black ebonite. Many were homemade and have no makers information. Bigger sets had several tuning stages, each with its own knob, which made them hard to tune.
During this period most radios were built into large well made wooden cabinets, often floor standing with access to the works from the back. Dials were small with 0-100 markings, with a single tuning knob and components attached to a metal removable chassis which contained the valves and large components on top, with the wiring and smaller parts underneath. Only the AM broadcast band was covered.
The later 1930s saw larger circular dials with a central pointer, often with stations marked, and sometimes with the addition of short wave bands. As well as wooden sets, some table or mantel cabinets were now made from attractive bakelite mouldings usually in a dark brown or cream colour. The chassis types were similar but with smaller components while 8-pin octal valves became standard over this period. Radiograms were introduced, remaining popular until the 1960s.
From 1934 until the 1960s nearly all Australian sets had a transfer, usually in blue, labelled ARTS&P on the back of the metal chassis to cover patent licensing. The letter preceding the serial number can give a guide to the year made. From 1934 to 1941 the letters A-F were used, with G-I, or no letter, being postwar.
Few domestic radios were made during WWII but radios of the late 1940s were often similar in size and style to the late 1930s. Miniature valves, introduced during the war, became available and were used initially in the manufacture of small bakelite portable sets. Mains sets now had On/Off switches, usually combined with the volume control.
This decade saw the full introduction of the miniature type of valve and plastic cases gradually replaced bakelite, allowing the introduction of brighter coloured sets. Car and portable radios also became more popular. Towards the end of the period, the first transistor sets came on to the market, usually as portables.
Australian radio manufacturing was superceded by imports towards the end of this period and solid state sets became universal. Station identification on dials fell out of use and FM bands were available on some imported receivers, though no such stations existed here until the 1970s. Size reduction meant that most receivers were plastic cased and portable by the end of the period. Radiograms were superceded by component stereo systems.
There are also internet sites where you can buy and sell as well as newsgroups for queries and discussion on historical radio subjects.
Obviously the best way is to join the HRSA and attend regular meetings, however this is not always easy for those in more remote areas, though the HRSA journal provides a a great deal of information and much can be found on the internet, with the more popular sites shown on our links page. Email discussion groups also provide a forum to obtain or discuss technical details.
Through these means, advice on most matters can be given as collectors are usually happy to share their experience and many have worked professionally in the radio field.
Page maintained by Ron Soutter. Created: 14/8/08 Updated: 13/9/2012