January 2024

The Superflex

A Publication of the Alabama Historical Radio Society    



Firstly, my personal hope everyone had a wonderful Holiday Season and start to 2024!

Our most recent monthly business meeting came early on Monday evening January 22nd. The next will be Monday, Feb 26, 2024, at the Shop and via Zoom. We will try a new twist with a repeating link for the next six months that will not be unique to each date. Our reminder email, a week or so beforehand, will include the link which should remain the same until July. I will be away for the next business meeting and turn the reins over to VP Steven.

A question has arisen about continuing to hold our business meetings the on 4th Monday each month at 7:00 PM. We realize may members still work and having them during the workday or on the weekend would likely conflict with other, high-priority activities. If a sizeable portion of the membership would like to have the monthly meeting at a different time, please let Steven Westbrook or me know via the Society email address: ahrs2000@gmail.com.

Our year-end meeting between Christmas and New Year’s included an annual review of Society activities, election of 2024 officers and board members, and the Holiday party and fellowship. No polls were taken, but would have been predictive: All officers and the three Directors rotating off their 3-year terms [Mr’s Cisco, McCrary, and Outland] were re-elected by acclamation.

The business session

The fellowship that followed our business meeting capped a wonderful 2023 for AHRS.

Two members’ (Rick Curl and Chris Shelt) wives are dealing with significant medical issues. Please remember them in your thoughts and prayers!

The Society Board of Directors will hold its meeting for the first quarter of 2024 on Tuesday, March 12th. Officers and Directors are encouraged to attend, so we may maintain a quorum.

2024 annual dues are coming in nicely according to Treasurer Mike, but if you have not paid, please do so. They are still only $25.00 by check, cash (in-person or by mail), or PayPal via our website. This is how we keep the tubes glowing, so thanks.

In Boyd Bailey’s electronics class Saturday, January 6th, they completed the topic of capacitors and their role in classic radio. The next class will new topics of interest. If you have a particular topic you wish covered, please advise. A link will be sent before the next class.

Our latest auction was held on Saturday, January 27th, 2024, and was held in person at the Shop and via Zoom. The shop was opened an hour ahead of opening bidding for those who wanted to see the offerings beforehand. Items include: table radios, a Kodak Brownie projector, two tape recorders, a restored Hallicrafters-Model S-38D, record player, a tube tester, and pair of stereo speakers and several wonderful radios, including a “teledial”.

The BirmingHAMfest https://birminghamfest.org is still a way off but mark your calendars that it is a couple of weeks later than usual: Friday, March 15th(4:00 PM -7:00 PM) and Saturday, the 16th (8:30 AM - 4:00 PM), 2024, at the Trussville Civic Center. We can always use volunteers so please let us know if you can help.

Our project to catalog library and radio holdings & archives and place this information into a web-searchable platform (Past Perfect) has restarted. We have purchased the computer hardware and hardware to allow us to consolidate all our documentation of library and equipment holdings in one place that, in turn, will be the platform for populating Past Perfect. We will keep you up to date on our progress.

It's not too early to mark your calendar for our annual Legends of Broadcast luncheon to be held Thursday, April 18th, 2024. Please let us know by email or in person. More detail will be forth coming as we get closer to the date. If you plan to attend, please let us know so we can order the proper amount of food. All are welcome be they member or non-member.

Several months ago, the AHRS donated a restored Detrola radio to the Alabama Broadcasters Association. It was featured in the ABA’s newsletter. The entry in the ABA Newsletter is shown in a later section of this newsletter.

Dave Cisco and Steven Westbrook have been asked by the Friends of Shades Mountain to help with the removal an antenna near Shades Crest Road. The structure has been there for some time and is owned by the organization, whose intent is to restore the site to its original status prior to the antenna’s construction.

Dave also found a Zenith console recently that he purchased for the princely sum of $10.00. He then asked Board member “Doc” Holladay, who has done outstanding restoration work to restore the radio. Doc spent hours repairing the electronics and the cabinet, then sold the unit. After covering his personal expenses, Doc donated over 70% of the sales price to AHRS. On behalf of the Society, I personally thank him for his extraordinary hospitality and generosity. Also, as these photos will attest, Doc is demonstrably a master restorer.

In closing and in keeping with our mission as a historical society, we were recently contacted by a graduate student whose thesis is on broadcast history in northwest Alabama. We hope to help with her research efforts.

Respectfully submitted,


President, AHRS



It all started when I ran out of something to do and I was going to be forced into doing things my wife wanted done. So I made a run to the local charity thrift store to see if any old radios had come in since my last visit.

I was lucky this time, and there in an old grocery shopping cart, sat a strange looking something that looked like a small version of a ladies overnight travel bag. Hmmm. Travel bags don’t usually have a line cord hanging out. That warranted a closer look. I opened it up and there to my wondering eyes were tubes and a tuning capacitor. OK. I had to have it. $20 bucks later and it was mine.

That’s how I came to be the proud owner of a 1948 Motorola 68L11 ”Portable” radio. It  has 5 tubes instead of the usual 4 because it has a tuned RF section and a 3 gang tuner cap. A giant of a portable.

I was lucky to find the schematic in Riders and also found a Sam’s, so I was set to go. Another good place to find schematics and info is:


Of course, it needed all the wax and electrolytic caps replaced and a bit of work on the speaker cone. Plus, there was a problem with the tuning system. This radio has an unusual dial that is in the handle. But the dial pointer is stationary and a tape dial slides back and forth. Really, it winds around a drum on the dial shaft. The drum was long ago dried out and thus had little or no friction to pull the dial tape around. Plus, the tuning cap was hard to turn. I thought a bit of oil would help but no luck there. It turns out the capacitor frame was really tight and had the ball bearing and thrust bearings just too tightly pushed together. So I improvised some 6-32 standoffs and some screws and made little jacks to spring the frame to free it up. The dried out drum was fixed with a layer of that old style cloth “friction tape” like electricians used to use.

Next came the recapping ordeal. This thing has 13 paper caps and a big can with 4 electrolytics in it. The electrolytic was going to be a real challenge because it was way in a corner and had at least 8 wires going to it. I solved that problem by carefully sawing off the top of the can, leaving the bottom and all the wiring intact. I hooked up the new caps by running the wires in from the top and soldering to the intact base.

When recapping a radio, I use my cut, make a hook, and replace method. I cut one cap at a time loose, put a small hook in the remaining wires and put hooks on the new cap wires and solder the hook. That makes it easier and safer. You don’t have to take the wire off an OLD socket and risk messing it up. Works for me.

Anyway, I got everything replaced and did a bit of realigning. This thing comes alive at night and with that RF amp front end, it really picks up the stations. The following is a link to my Google Drive folder where I stored a lot of pictures of the process. You might enjoy looking at them.


And, lastly, here are before recap and after photos of the underside of the chassis:

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. By the way, it will run on 120 volt AC and battery. Of course the battery has not been available since 1974. And the radio weighs 8 pounds and is about the size of three loaves of bread.

Tom Desaulniers AHRS Member/ K4VIZ / tom@k4viz.com / www.k4viz.com

Conway, AR  501-470-8660

Article from the Alabama Broadcasters Association’s Newsletter

Click   on the photo above to hear the Detrola radio playing!

In November, members of the Alabama Historical Radio Society presented   ABA President Sharon Tinsley with a Detrola radio! Click HERE to   read about the brand. The company, based in Michigan, was one of the largest   radio manufacturers between 1931 and 1948.

AHRS President Dr. Richard Waguespack showing the brass plate the group had added to the bottom of the radio.

This radio was carefully restored by AHRS member Tom Hayes.

Quote of the Month

A society is defined not only by what it creates, but by what it refuses to destroy."

-Edward O. Wilson (submitted by Jim Reed, AHRS Member and Owner of Reed Books)

We meet every Saturday (unless a Holiday weekend) at 8:30 A.M. until around 11:30 A.M., at the one-story AHRS Shop at the corner of 8th Avenue North and 18th Street, (1801 8th Avenue North, Birmingham, AL 35203). Please use the rear (Southeast) entrance.

The Shop is open on Tuesdays at 8:30 A.M. until around 11:30 A.M. Note that parking can be a problem on Tuesdays, so you may have to find street parking occasionally.

Regular monthly members meetings are on the fourth Monday night starting at 7:00 PM with the Executive Meeting starting at 6:30 PM

Please come join us!

The electronics classes are generally on “Zoom” and “in-person” at the AHRS Shop, typically the first Saturday of each month (except when something special is taking place, then we agree on an alternative Saturday)

Check your emails for the schedule and how to participate.

We start from the beginning Ohms Law, inductors, resistor and Capacitors color codes, as well as what each component does within the radio circuits. We also teach how to use test equipment used in the repairing of radios. We teach troubleshooting radio troubles, as well as how to read a radio diagram.

Currently the class is studying advance topics relating to troubleshooting and project radio repair. We are retooling our website in hopes of archiving prior classes for those who may have missed a prior class. Email will provide timely details on date, topics & links.

There are coil winding classes, and one-on-one repair help. Come join these classes!

Membership dues are $25.00 a year, payable beginning in January. If you have questions about your dues, you can contact Treasurer Mike Woodruff at 205-823-7204. Dues can be mailed to AHRS at P.O. Box 131418, Birmingham, Alabama 35213 or paid on-line at https://alhrs.org

Be sure and check out our website at https://alhrs.org, which has copies of all newsletters from 2006 to the present (click on News), videos, photo galleries, museum, Old Time Radio columns, Projects, Reading Rooms, Archives, and Contact Information. Within the next few months we hope to update our website and add additional content and new capabilities

President – Richard “Wag” Waguespack

(205) 531-9528


Vice President – Steven Westbrook

(205) 305-0679


Recording Secretary – Grady Shook

(205) 281-3007


Treasurer – Mike Woodruff

(205) 823-7204


Boyd Bailey, Member and Instructor

(334) 412-6996


Newsletter Editor/Webmaster – Steven Westbrook

(205) 305-0679


Web Address:


E-mail Address:


Youtube Channel:Alabama Historical Radio Society - YouTube