NOTE FROM PRESIDENT WAG
Our most recent monthly business meeting was Monday, June 26th with apologies that the Zoom video was inoperative. Our next meeting will be Monday, July 24th at 7:00 PM with officers and board members having their pre-meet at 6:30 PM. This will be available both in person at the Shop and via Zoom at the link we will send out ahead of the function. I will be in England so Steven Westbrook will stand in for me.
The Museum in the atrium of the Alabama Power building is still under renovation. We have reinstalled many of the items that were on loan to the exhibition in Montgomery, that just closed. We envision new cabinet lighting and other updates. We are now in the rewiring and installation phase on the lighting update to LED. We will also replace many damaged or faded information placards. We are also considering refreshing the exhibit with a few different radios and possibly some other radio related items. Dee Haynes & Steven Westbrook have been instrumental with this effort.
The Alabama Radio Moments exhibit in Montgomery at ADAH has closed after 9 months and our loaned items are all back. We inherited several large posters and display placards from ADAH, which we will display either at the Shop or in the Museum. The ADAH is considering a future permanent display involving radio in Alabama. They will let us know if we can help.
Recently, we hosted the board meeting of the Holle Family Foundation at the Shop. We have applied for grants from the foundation and several other sources that will enable us to complete the PastPerfect library cataloging project.
August will be a busy month with our information booth at the annual meeting of the Alabama Broadcasters Association and the Huntsville Hamfest. We can certainly use volunteers for the latter that will be on Saturday, August 19th. The AHRS will have tables on Saturday only.
We have been invited by the Homewood Preservation Society to give a talk and exhibit at the Homewood Public Library on Wednesday August 16th from 6:00 PM-7:00 PM, on the radio history, with an emphasis on links to the Homewood area. Save the date. We would like as many members as possible to attend. The plan is to bring a few representative radios and related items. A strategic goal is to ramp up our public educational efforts now that life has returned to normal after COVID.
The next electronics class at the Shop will be on Saturday, July 8th so as not to interfere with the July 4th weekend; it will be both live at the Shop and via Zoom (see the upcoming email link and topics). Boyd Bailey is planning a program on FM radio.
Our next members’ auction date has not yet been set. We’re sorting through items now for the Huntsville Hamfest and likely will have one in later August or early September. Donation have continued, including radios and NOS test equipment. A separate email will be sent with details.
Remember to invite anyone you encounter with an interest in vintage radio to join the Society! And, let Steven Westbrook or me know if you want to contribute an article or other content to the newsletter or have any ideas for a program at an upcoming monthly business meeting.
We have had a major effort from members to sort the multitude of knobs we possess, and the next push will be to categorize our solid-state devices. For an upcoming newsletter, I will ask John Outland to update us on the tube inventory and storage system. Thanks to all!
The Shop remains busy with repairs but in observance of Independence Day, Tuesday, July 4, 2023, the AHRS Shop will be closed.
On a closing personal note, I hope everyone has a wonderful Independence Day – – we each have a vision of what “a more perfect union” looks like, but we must remain united by our core American ideals and values.
Trip Across the Pond
In my recent travels I visited several museums and ran across a few interesting items.
Above is a photo of a window my brother sent me. Alas, he had no identification of where it was located OR the device it was meant to depict. Any guesses?
Above photograph shown above are from a small SOE (British Special Operations Executive during WWII) museum at Beaulieu estate near Portsmouth UK. The legend refers to the items in the photo below used by their operatives in Nazi-occupied Europe. The reason the museum is there is because the estate was used as a training site for agents headed behind enemy lines. A prior owner also developed a wonderful auto museum on the grounds. This was a cruise stop my wife and I took recently; needless to say, she visited the house and gardens whilst I and most of the other men went elsewhere on the property.
Planning continues for the rollout of the PastPerfect cataloging program for the AHRS library and archives
Computers May Do Us All In?
Recently I was told by one of our Society's members, Rick Curl, about an AI (artificial intelligence) program that can write a paper or article from scratch on any subject. I asked Rick to have the program write a 1000-word article on the electronic technical principle known as super heterodyne for this newsletter. I added a twist and ask to have the article written in the style of Dr. Seuss. Rick advised he opened the program, and the poem below was written in less than 3 seconds. This is sad and scary at the same time.
Super Heterodyne by AI
Oh, gather 'round, dear readers, I have a tale to tell,
Of circuits and frequencies, a magical carousel.
In the land of electronics, where wonders never cease,
Lies a marvel called super heterodyne, a circuitry masterpiece!
Now, let me introduce you to the star of our show,
A circuit that can tune and receive, as radio waves flow.
It's called super heterodyne, a name quite fancy indeed,
But fear not, my friends, for I'll explain it with great speed.
Imagine a world of radio signals in the air,
Flying around, unseen, with no particular flair.
But to catch those signals, we need a clever trick,
A circuit that can amplify, select, and make 'em stick.
First, we start with an antenna, tall and proud,
It grabs the waves from the air, without making a sound.
These waves are tiny, oh, so very small,
But fear not, for the super heterodyne will catch them all!
The antenna hands the waves to a mixer, quite smart,
It's like a magical blender, but with electronic art.
The mixer takes the incoming waves, high and low,
And mixes them with a local oscillator's flow.
Oh, what's an oscillator, you ask, with curious eyes?
It's a little device that generates a signal, oh so wise.
The local oscillator produces a constant, steady wave,
And it mixes with the incoming signal, like a dance to save.
Now comes the real trick, the beauty of the plot,
The mixer creates a new frequency, right on the dot.
It adds the incoming signal and the local one too,
And creates a difference, a new frequency so true.
This new frequency, oh, it's special, my dear,
For it's much easier to handle and process, never fear.
It's called the intermediate frequency, or IF for short,
And it's the hero of the super heterodyne's report.
With the IF in hand, the circuit works its magic,
It amplifies the signal, making it clear and not so tragic.
Filters clean up the mess, removing unwanted noise,
And the signal becomes stronger, a delightful voice.
Finally, the detector steps in, its role so grand,
It converts the signal to audio, isn't that simply grand?
From radio waves in the air to music in our ears,
The super heterodyne circuit banishes all fears.
So, my friends, that's the story of super heterodyne,
A circuitry wonder, simply divine.
Next time you hear a radio, tuned and clear,
Remember the magic that brings those waves near.
I my view, the pillars of the literary world, like Dr. Seuss, Hemingway, Shakespeare, M. D. Smith or Don Keith do not have anything to worry about, yet. Human literary masterpieces have a soulful quality that machine generated works do not.
Conservation of Dust Jacket for Father of Radio Book
As you may be aware, the dust cover of our Father of Radio, An Autobiography of Lee Deforest book was damaged while on loan to the Alabama Department of Archive & History. Their archivist repaired and conserved the cover, as outlined in the attached letter. The cover has been returned to the Society.
Damaged dust jacket before conservation
Dust jacket after conservation
Quotes of the Month
When I asked John Truitt, a AHRS founding member: What is the measure of a beautiful radio? He stated: “a beautiful radio is one that make me smile when I look at it”.
We recently had visitors to the Shop. During the tour, we mentioned that Ken Smith, an AHRS member, just upgraded and improved our Youtube Channel on the internet. The response from one of the visitors was “ It appears the AHRS just put the “tube” back into Youtube.
Only think outside the box after you become thoughly aware of what is inside the box.
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 meetings will resume on the fourth Monday night 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 and then we agree on a different 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. 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 AL 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
President – Richard “Wag” Waguespack
Vice President – Steven Westbrook
Recording Secretary – Grady Shook
Treasurer – Mike Woodruff
Boyd Bailey, Member and Instructor
Newsletter – Steven Westbrook