A Publication of the Alabama Historical Radio Society March 2021
Greetings to All !!
I hope all of you are well and safe. I remember well about one year ago at the hamfest there was talk about some strange virus from China that had showed up in the United States. We now call it COVID-19. None of us had any idea what disruption would occur to our lives.
As we know now, it was a difficult year. Today the outlook is much more optimistic. I am very happy that none of our members have had serious health problems that we are aware of. Even though restrictions are still in place concerning our building, we have been able to move forward with some of our activities.
As you are aware, we recently held a live and virtual auction of over 30 radios, including several very nice consoles. All but two of the items were sold in the auction. Two items did not receive any bids, but were later sold to a members before the end of the day.
Members also prepared and took many amateur radios and related items to the Birmingham Amateur Radio Club BirminHAMfest in Trussville, Alabama. The event was scaled back this year due to the virus. It was a traditional parking lot, tailgate only event. We will have more on the event later in this newsletter.
Some work continues in the shop and donations continue to be received. Boyd Bailey has continued to teach the electronics class each month by Zoom. He recently added several new attendees.
With sadness I most report the passing of one of your faithfully active members, James Deese, James retired from the Alabama Power Company as a communications specialist. We spoke to his widow recently and offered our condolences. The family preferred no obituary be written and no public service. He was a regular attendee at the Shop. He will be greatly missed. James bequeathed all his radio related electronics equipment, parts and tools to the Society. His large donation is currently at the shop.
We look forward to getting back to normalcy this spring and summer and planning some special events for the Society.
Continue to be safe. See you at the shop
HISTORY OF MY BEGINNINGS WITH THE ALABAMA HISTORICAL RADIO SOCIETY IN BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA
THE YEAR WAS 1992
Submitted by Robert Frye
I wish to tell you about my radio and electronics career. I began my interest in electronics at the young age of seven, working around the Hancock Radio and TV shop, in Prichard, Alabama. The owner, Mr.
Hancock, was willing to teach me how to pull radios out of cars and repair them. His shop was only three doors up from my house. He constantly challenged me to learn more. In my last three years in
high school, I took electronics classes (Radio & TV) three hours a day. My instructor was dedicated to his students and exposed us to quite a lot of math, schematic reading, etc. He taught that a thorough understanding of the intricacies of Ohm’s Law was a requirement for a good repairman. He also taught me how to read the color code values for resistors and capacitors, as well as practical radio repair techniques. The thrill and excitement of hearing the radios playing after pulling them from a car and making them work was blissful for me - the seed was planted. I knew working in electronics was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
After high school - off to college - still in electronics - math and more math and then more
math. I was beginning to wonder if there was anything else we would study. Of course, yes, much more
to study, but loving math as I did - I seemed to excel.
As a hobby, I began searching for old radios - the year was 1963. I would repair the radios. Some radios would go into my own collection, while I sold the others. Repairing old radios was a good source of income to supplement my meager spending money, as tuition was hard to come by at the time. By this time, I had found paying jobs at a radio repair shop and a shop that refurbished television picture tubes.
Soon after college, Western Electric / AT&T hired me and sent me to Basking Ridge, New Jersey for three years in Bell Labs University to study solid state and integrated circuits, as well as teach electronics. Upon completion of my time in New Jersey, I was transferred to the Atlanta Southern Region Engineering Department in Atlanta, Georgia. We lived in
Atlanta for five and a half years before being sent to Birmingham, Alabama, where I served as Engineering Manager. Later in my career, I taught electronics and robotics at the Mercedes-Benz automobile plant in Vance, Alabama.
In 1992, I saw an advertisement about the Alabama Historical Radio Society, placed by Don Kresge. This was a club for people who loved collecting radios, repairing them, and educating others, as well as recording and transcribing radio history from
persons with knowledge of early radio and broadcasting. I joined a great group of people. Don Kresge was President. Some
early members where Marvin Shepherd, David Cisco, George Bates, Raymond Bates, Cliff Hill, David Johnson, Earl Ridolphi, John Truitt, Julian Brook, myself and a few more (sometimes my memory fails me - my apologies). We began by renting a room at the Homewood, Alabama public library. We had no money in the treasury that amounted to
anything. I remember, we took up a collection at each monthly meeting to pay for the room rent. We had a great president, Don Kresge; Don had a dream that one day the Society would have an Education Department and teach electronic and antique radio repair. At this time, however, the Society was not prepared for such an endeavor, because we did not have a workshop, nor a place of our own. After a couple of years of Donis leadership, he was forced to step down as president due to health issues. I was elected President - what big shoes to fill. There are not enough words to speak of how great a person Don was. After Don passed away in 1993, I was elected President. I served as President for two or three years.
During this time period, I also served as a Board Member of the Telephone Pioneers. One of our goals was to raise money and make donations to worthy charities and not-for-profit organizations that benefitted the community. AHRS had recently received its not-for-profit, 501c3 designation. A letter and grant request outlining the focus of the Society and our needs was submitted to the
Telephone Pioneers. After due consideration, four of the Pioneers Council Chapters give us a combined grant of $1,200 for display shelves, parts and other needs. This was the Society’s first financial donation. This was good, but we still did not have a place of our own to meet and publicly exhibit radios.
Larry Langford, Mayor of Fairfield, Alabama was a friend of mine. His wife Melva and I worked together in The Telephone Pioneers. In a Pioneer’s Counsel Meeting at Guntersville State Park. I shared with her my dream for a radio museum in Birmingham. Later, Larry stated he could make a place for a museum in Fairfield’s new Civic Center. In 1994, the city of Fairfield, at Mayor Langford's direction, provided a room in the civic center with cabinets and all other requirements along with a big sign on the side of the building that read "The Alabama Historical Radio Museum". He also provided several large storage rooms at the Fairfield city hall for our growing collection of miscellaneous radios, parts and paraphernalia.
At the Grand Opening of the museum, most of the Society members were present along with city council members and other dignitaries from the city of Fairfield. By this time Don Kresge had passed away and was not able to witness the start of the fulfillment of his dream, however his widow Edna Kresge attended and was given the key to the City of Fairfield.
Within a few years, even with the help of Larry Langford, we had outgrown the available facilities in Fairfield. Our membership, number of museum quality restored radio and financial resources were growing. We needed more space. Dave Cisco was now president. Through his contacts and efforts, he was instrumental in locating another location that would better serve our needs. He was able to acquire space in the Alabama Power service office building in the Huffman area of Birmingham. This building provided over twice the storage space, rooms for radio repair and coil winding stations and much needed parking near the building. As a result of the move, an ever-increasing number of members came to the “shop” on Saturday mornings for “radios, coffee and fellowship”
Later, with the continued benevolence of the Alabama Power Company, we were able to move the museum to the Alabama Power Headquarters building and open the “shop” and library down the street in our current building.
Just Look at Us Now!!!
Thanks to all those responsible for making Don’s dream come to fruition. Thanks to all the work of each officer – past and present- and the contribution of our esteemed members from the past – Earl Ridolphi, Claude Gray, Pete Sides & Marvin Shepherd, as well as the past and present presidents: Don Kresge, Robert Frye, Ron Westbrook, David Cisco, Dee Haynes, Tom Killian and Dave Johnson.
In the expanded facilities, the Society was able to expand our collection of historically significant radios and radio related items, build a large electronics reference library and institute a monthly electronics education program. I was proud to teach the class for several years, and continued to teach for a while, with the new Skype technology, from my retirement home in Loxley, Alabama. In my years with the Society, I hope I was able to pass on my love and wonder of technology though the auspices of the Society. I have met many wonderfully talented people with the Society and I hope I contributed to the fulfillment of the dream of our founder, Don Kresge.
Members and Mayor Larry Langford at opening of the Alabama Historical Radio Museum in Fairfield
One wall of the first Alabama Historical Radio Society, Don Kresge Memorial Radio Museum
Submitted by Gerry O’Hara
I write with an appeal for information from a small group of fellow vintage radio restorers and hope you can help. Specifically, we are looking for collectors worldwide who own or have access to a US Model 100 Emor Globe radio. This US model is listed on the Radiomuseum.org site (https://www.radiomuseum.org/r/emor_100.html) and we are looking for another one. These Emor radios were manufactured in various forms in the late 1940’s in both the UK and in Canada, but this US Model 100 EMOR so far is unique. We hope to find another.
The most relevant detail of the US model is the dial with the green and red bands with the Emor logo and US patent number. I have attached photos of the US Model 100 and the dial.
By way of background, Emor Radio Ltd. in the UK produced variants of this radio in the UK for domestic sale and for export, and also licenced the Faust Radio Company in Montreal to manufacture a redesigned variant. Emor maintained an office in New York but so far we have not been able to verify which model was sold from that location or if any assembly work on this radio type was done anywhere in the US.
The appeal is therefore whether any of your organization’s members own an Emor Globe, or specifically, are familiar with the US Model 100. If so, are they able to shed any light on whether this US Model 100 was ever manufactured in the US?
Perhaps you could reproduce this email in your Newsletter and note to contact Gary Albach directly via his email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gerry O’Hara. Editor, Canadian Vintage Radios
2021 Birmingham Amateur Radio Club BirmingHAMfest
Submitted by Steven Westbrook
As the Society as done for many years, we participated in the annual BARC hamfest. Due to the virus, this year the event was scaled back to a parking lot, tailgate event. None the less, the Society rose to the occasion. Under the direction of Ray Giles and Tom Killian, the sale items were cleaned, prepared, labeled and transported to the site. The sale items included many amateur radios, including several “boat anchors” and many other “ham” and electronic accessories. Even under the adverse conditions there were probably 25 vendors and several hundred attendees. I feel confident that next year’s BARC event will return to normal, with amateur radio license testing, displays, door prices and professional vendors.
Saturday meeting temporarily closed due to Coronavirus.
We meet every Saturday (unless a Holiday weekend) at 9:00 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). Birmingham, AL 35203). Use the rear (Southeast) entrance.
Shop temporarily closed due to Coronavirus.
The Shop is open on Tuesdays at 9:00 a.m. until around 11:30 a.m. when we go to Marilyn's Deli and Dog for lunch next door. Note that parking can be a problem on Tuesdays, so you may have to find street parking occasionally.
Regular meetings temporarily discontinued due to Coronavirus
We meet on the fourth Monday night of each month, too, at 7:00 p.m. Please come join us!
Monthly classes being presented on Zoom. Check you email for details.
One more great benefit from becoming a member of AHRS--free Electronic classes!
Classes are taught the first Saturday of each month (except when something special is taking place, then we agree on what Saturday).
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 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.
Be sure and check out our website at https/www.alabamahistoricalradiosociety.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 – Dave Johnson
Vice President – Steven Westbrook
Recording Secretary – Richard, “Wag”, Waquespack
Treasurer – Mike Woodruff
Boyd Bailey, member and Instructor 334 412-6996
Website – David Lake
Newsletter – Jim Rogers