March 2023



Our monthly business meeting was Monday, March 27, 2023, at 7:00 PM with officers and board members having their pre-meet at 6:30 PM. I was in Ireland, a bit late for St. Patty’s, so VP Steven Westbrook presided.

We had a great presence at Birmingham Amateur Radio Club’s BirmingHamfest in Trussville on March 4th (Sat), 2023. Our focus was on ham-related books and gear and we sold a mobile transceiver unit recently donated to the Society. AHRS members have traditionally given forums in past years and Mack White presented one on solar panels in amateur radio. Let me thank everyone who volunteered to help with the overall effort. The next major ‘Fest we participate in will be in August in Huntsville.

Above: Steven Westbrook with Ray Giles and Robert Cain manning our tables at BirmingHamfest. Dave Cisco is seated in the distance.  Below: Willie Henderson in the foreground with Ray and Robert. The right tables showcased our ham gear.

One of our most important strategic goals has been the library upgrade to include cataloging and promoting our historically important collection. This has widened to include the museum and other items we have on exhibit as well as audio and video recordings, such as oral histories, and photos and documents. Our work plan and fiscal impact were approved by the Board at its recent quarterly meeting on March 7th, 2023. The Board reaffirmed the formation of a PR/Outreach committee to be chaired by Jim Cawthon. Let me extend my appreciation to the leadership for everyone’s attendance at the Board meeting.

Earlier on the 7th, we hosted a visit by Dr. Julia Brock, a public historian from the University of Alabama’s Department of History. She visited the Museum and Shop and discussed her perspectives on how we can achieve our goals. She plans to work with us to help identify an intern to assist with data entry as we begin this next phase.

The Alabama Radio Moments exhibit in Montgomery at ADAH is ongoing until the end of May 2023, so please plan a visit if you have not already done so. Its staff has sponsored several invited presentations including the following that are available on YouTube:

·   On Tuesday, February 7th, Bob Friedman spoke on “Black Radio in Alabama”

·       Another interview was recorded featuring Shelley Stewart

Another pair of talks should soon be on the ADAH YouTube channel:

·       Halley Phillips on the all-women radio station WHER (3/21/23)

·       Kevin Nutt will be discussing Gospel music on the radio on Thursday, April 13-in person and online

The Alabama Broadcasters Association (ABA) is sponsoring a reception at the ADAH exhibit early next month at which Society leadership plans to participate.

The annual Legends of Broadcast sponsored by AHRS will be held at the Shop on Thursday, 20 April 2023 from 10:00 AM until 1:00 PM. We need volunteers to assist with calling the previous attendees to remind them of the event. Contact Steven Westbrook about attending or if you know someone you wish to invite.

Our latest electronics class at the Shop was on Saturday, March 11th and completed the review of Richard McWhorter’s book The Vacuum Tube Short Wave Radio. Next month’s class will Saturday, April 1st – the invitation and Zoom link will be forthcoming soon. FM radio will be a highlighted topic.

Dee Haynes has continued with the planned upgrade of the lighting system in the display cabinets at the Museum at Alabama Power. Due to heat, the plastic on the top of the cabinets has become brittle. The plastic is being replaced and the lighting system replaced with cooler LED lights.

Ray Giles recently identified a historically significant radio languishing in the AHRS basement. The Sparton Model 69 was probably owned by our founder, Don Kresge. The radio was located during the move from the bowels of the Annex and was extremely dusty and grimy. Ray cleaned and shined the radio inside and out. The unit is currently on display at the AHRS shop, but will probably be moved to the Alabama Power museum.

Our next auction at the shop has not been finalized but we anticipate holding another in late April or early May. Details to follow in a few weeks.

Annual dues are still being accepted.

Remember to invite anyone you encounter with an interest in vintage radio to join the Society and come to the Legends of Broadcast event!

Respectfully submitted,


Richard Waguespack

President, AHRS

Restorations by Doc

I got a call from a gentleman in Tucson Arizona who was looking to buy an "unusual" console radio. I showed him this 1940 Zenith 12S471, which is nicknamed "The Aztec". (pic 471.4)

He and his wife were excited to find this radio - it filled the bill for "unusual" so they decided they wanted it. I began by stripping all the old finish, applying grain filler- I use Timbermate grain filler- (pic 471.5) and gently sanding with 220 grit paper to a smooth finish. (pic 471.6) . It's ready to be stained, sealed and toned. (471.7) I used Mohawk Medium Walnut stain and sealed the cabinet with shellac, and after the shellac was dry I rubbed the wood down with 0000 steel wool- again, gently. (pic 471.8)

I applied 6 coats of clear semi-gloss lacquer, rubbing each one with 1200 grit sanding pads. (471.11)

The radio is ready to be assembled. Here it is with the dial glass and escutcheon installed. (pic 471.10)

And here it is ready to be packed and shipped to its new home in Tucson.

An important step in cabinet prep is grain filling. After your initial filling and sanding, shine a flashlight across the surface. If you need to grain fill again, do it. Otherwise, when the lacquer is applied, the finish will look like a corn cob. You want a glasslike finish. Also, when you sand, ALWAYS sand WITH the grain. Sanding across the grain will produce scratch marks that are very difficult to get rid of. I left out one small step - I use Mohawk lacquer rattle cans to add accents to the toning. On this radio I used Dark Walnut to "burn" the edges slightly. Do this sparingly; this can easily be overdone. Hope you enjoyed my presentation and remember - this is MY way. It isn't the ONLY way!

Doc Holladay, AHRS Member

Humor where you find it on the road of life?

Quote of the Month

“If the path before you is clear, you are probably on someone else’s.”

- Carl Jung

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

Be sure and check out our website at, 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

(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 – Steven Westbrook

Web Address:

E-mail Address: