Our next monthly business meeting will be Monday, Oct 23rd 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. Our most recent business meeting was Monday Sep 25th and the quarterly Board meeting was the following day.
We have begun the process of forming our annual nominating committee and the following Board members were appointed in accordance with the bylaws: Dave Johnson, as Chairman, “Doc” Holladay, and John Outland. We need a couple more nominees or volunteers from the ranks of “members in good standing” to complete the roster. All officers serve a single 1-year term that coincides with the calendar year and a third of our Board members complete their 3-year terms at year’s end. Dave Cisco, John Outland, and Charles McCrary will rotate off the Board, but can be re-nominated. Also, any member who wishes to be considered for an office (President, Vice President, Treasurer, Recording Secretary, or Board member) is invited to make your desire known to the Nominating Committee or an officer listed at the bottom of this newsletter.
The exact date has not been set, but we anticipate having our annual Board meeting with election and Holiday party one weeknight between Christmas and New Years weekend. Both Christmas and New Years Day fall on a Monday this year. Stay tuned for details.
For anyone who missed the Alabama Radio Moments exhibit in Montgomery, there is an online version available athttps://archives.alabama.gov/visit/exhibits/online.aspx
Member Frank Roberts came across a battery-powered ECT (Electroconvulsive Therapy) unit which was showcased in last month’s edition. Happily, it will find a permanent home at the Alabama Museum of the Health Sciences which will reopen soon and is located at the Lister Hill Library on University Blvd on the UAB campus. https://www.uab.edu/amhs/
AHRS was well-represented at the August Huntsville Hamfest and we had a lot of traffic!
On Wednesday August 16th, we (as in Dave Cisco) presented a talk on radio history at the meeting of the Homewood Historic Preservation Commission, including the role of Hewlette Legrande “Pop” Ansley with an emphasis on links to the Homewood, Alabama area. The video is on our YouTube channel thanks to Ken Smith, our videographer & editor, at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQXInJW3t2s .
The last electronics class at the Shop was on Saturday, Sep 9th with Boyd Bailey covering ballast tubes and related topics. The class thereafter will be on Saturday, October 7th and will cover web resources available to help with radio diagnosis and treatment including where to obtain schematics and parts. Our plan is to integrate Boyd’s content with what is listed on our web site.
Our members’ auction was September 16thand included some great items; almost everything sold, including a large subwoofer enclosure with a pair of 15” speakers. We are considering another auction, perhaps in November, before we get into the Holiday season.
The Society recently acquired a rare Kellogg radio built Dec 12th, 1928, with 401/403 tubes as shown in the photos below. The company was in the radio business for a short time.
As always, please suggest topics for this newsletter and if you feel the need, please submit an article for publication in a future edition. Earlier this year, we included a brief bio on Board member “Doc” Holladay and have included in this newsletter a piece by long-standing member, John Outland, our tube guru.
Respectfully submitted and still hoping for some cooler weather,
Tubes and More!
The Society has a growing collection of vacuum tubes in the “Tube Room” and in storage at the AHRS Shop. Most of the common tubes are available to members at no charge for repair or restoration of their radios or other electronic equipment. Other, more valuable tubes, are available to members at a minimal charge. Donations are always welcome.
Currently the trays in the “Tube Room” are being resorted and reinforced. The inventory is being reorganized into alpha-numeric order. This process will make finding tubes easier. Hopefully, some additional shelves will appear to accommodate our growing inventory.
When looking for a tube type or types, be aware the tubes have not been tested and may test good, weak or defective. You can use one of the multiple tube testers in the shop to determine which are useable. Please depose of any defective tubes, but week tubes should be returned to the tray. In the future, the weak tubes may be all that are available of a particular type.
Boxed tubes help keep the order in the tray, so please use the loose tubes first. Tubes in a box may or may not be good, someone may have only taken the time to place it in a box, but not tested the tube.
After you select the needed tube, please return the tray to the proper shelf.
The Society has some “rare” or “semi-rare” tube types that are available for loan in the shop. These tubes are not for sale, but we can help you find a source. The “duds” of these unique tubes are used in Society display radios.
Society owned tubes are for repair for your personally owned radios. Please do not collect tubes for your home supply.
Please help keep the tube room and shop orderly. Please ask me if you have any questions or need any help.
- John Outland
“The rest of the story” on a Recent Radio Donation
I recently received a call from Cheryl Olin from Calera, Alabama, who wished to donate some radios to the Society. She advised she was the widow of Ralph Andrew Wilson, a long-time broadcast engineer, who spent most of his career in Honolulu, Hawaii. He spent over 30 years installing and servicing radio studios and transmitters all over the island state, and entertaining everyone within earshot with his wild sense of humor. After Ralph died in 1999, Cheryl moved his cherished radio collection halfway around the world, first to Florida for over 20 years, then recently to central Alabama. When Cheryl discovered the Alabama Historical Radio Society, she decided to donate Ralph’s radios to some people who will appreciate them.
- Steven Westbrook
Cheryl also provided the article below from the Honolulu Star-Advertiser newspaper, about an Alabama “Shock Jock” who made it big in Hawaii
Tom Dancer was
By Pat Gee
Question: What ever happened to Tom "Dynamite" Dancer, the disc jockey?
Answer: Radio personality Tom "Dynamite" Dancer, whose trademark was "blowing up" people with a tape-recorded explosion if they disagreed with him, died in 1992 of throat cancer.
Dancer, who was originally from Birmingham, Alabama, and whose real name was Graham Gambill, worked at KORL, K-108 and KDEO over a 25-year span in Honolulu. He started his radio career in the early '50s while he was in the Navy and on the Big Island, said his ex-wife, Judy Dancer.
"It was ironic that a talk-show star had his voice box removed," she said.
According to a 1992 Star-Bulletin article, Dancer died Christmas Day at the age of 56. His voice box had been removed the year before, and a voice prosthesis installed, enabling him to speak. It was the first successful operation of its kind in the world, the article said.
Dancer worked with the American Lung Association, speaking to school children about the dangers of smoking, which is what television and radio personality Michael W. Perry most admired about him. Perry said Dancer blew up a bunch of cigarettes on the air to underline his message.
"He was quite a guy" and "a force in the '70s," Perry added.
Dancer established a world record of broadcasting over 225 continuous hours in 1978, held it for about a year, then had to do it over again because someone else broke his record, said radio producer Dale Machado, who first met Dancer at KORL radio station.
Artie James, who used to own K-108 and now lives in Oregon, said Dancer "loved what he did and it showed. He played his game at 100 percent, and listeners loved him. He spoke out on what he thought was right and what he thought was wrong. He was more than a spin doctor. He was a straight shooter."
Judy Dancer said she is trying to get his last wife, Christine Dancer, who has since remarried in Ohio, to send back Tom Dancer's ashes to be buried at Punchbowl (the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific)."Family and friends want a place to bring flowers. People really loved him, and he touched a lot of hearts," she said.
RADIO AGE May. 1924
The Magazine of the Hour
The article below was suggested for inclusion in this newsletter by AHRS member, Mike Spanos. The AHRS is a subscriber to the current incarnation of the Radio Age publication.
The Loop Antenna
By R. H. LANGLEY,
Radio Engineer, General Electric Co.
The loop antenna is a very interesting device. It is uniquely different in its method of operation from the outdoor antenna. The outdoor antenna is in effect nothing more nor less than a condenser. It is a very large condenser to be sure so far as its physical dimensions are concerned, but electrically it is a relatively small condenser. The loop on the other hand is an inductance. This fundamental difference between the two is the reason why it is necessary to use different methods of tuning in the two cases. Let us examine this special form of inductance, which we call a loop, and see why it serves as a pickup device for radio signals and how it should be made to be effective.
There is a very close parallel between the ordinary direct current generator or dynamo and the loop antenna exposed to passing radio waves. In the dynamo, the number of coils corresponding to the loop antenna is rotated in a powerful magnetic field. The purpose of rotating them is in order that they may move with respect to the field and thus have a voltage generated in them. The amount of this voltage depends, of course, upon the strength of the field and the speed at which the wires are swept through it.
In the radio case, the coil stands still, but the field moves swiftly past the coil, thus accomplishing the same result. The speed at which the field moves cannot, of course, be varied and is always the speed of light, which is 186,000 miles per second.
Let us see now what form of a loop would have the greatest voltage generated in it by a passing radio wave. Let us think of this radio wave as very much like great smooth waves on the ocean, which, of course, also move forward with a very definite velocity. The turns of wire on our loop antenna are necessarily in series with each other, that is to say, they form a continuous winding. If the maximum voltage is to be generated in any one turn of the loop, then the voltage generated in the two sides of this turn should be in the opposite direction so that they may add and not oppose each other. If the voltage generated in both sides of the loop were in the upward direction at any one instance, then these two voltages would cancel each other, but if the voltage on one side of the turn was up and on the other side of the turn, it was down, then they would add and if the loop were connected to a receiver, a current would flow around the turns of the loop. This is, of course, exactly what we wish to have happened. Now in order to have the voltage generated on one side of the loop in the opposite direction to that generated on the other side of the loop, the loop would have to be one-half a wavelength long, that is to say, it would have to be long enough in the horizontal direction so that one side was in the crest of the wave when the other side was in the trough of the wave. Since the distance between the crest of the wave is the wavelength itself, then the distance from the crest to the trough is one-half the wavelength.
The higher the sides of the loop are, that is, the longer the vertical wires are, the greater will be the voltage generated, and of course, the voltage generated in each turn is added to the voltage generated in all the other turns.
But a loop one-half a wavelength long is quite out of the question. It would be as long as a steamship and almost as difficult to handle. The loops which we are using every day are of quite reasonable dimensions. They are only a few thousandths of a wavelength long. How do they function? In order to answer this question let us ask ourselves how we would build a coil of wire in order that absolutely no voltage should be generated in it by the passing wave. The only way in which this could be accomplished would be to so build the coil that the same voltage would be generated on both sides of it and that the voltages generated on the two sides would be opposed to each other.
This would give a complete cancellation and no voltage at all at the terminals of the loop or coil. It is obvious that the only way in which this could be done would be by so arranging the loop that it had no length at all. That is to say, arranging it so that the two sides were exactly in the same position in space. This would mean that the horizontal wires across the top and bottom of the loop would cease to exist and the loop would become nothing but a wire laced up and down between pegs on the plain surface of a board.
If there be any difference at all between the two sides of the loop, then there will be some difference not in the amount of voltage generated on the two sides, but in the time at which this voltage is generated and there will consequently be some voltage at the terminals of the loop since complete cancellation of voltages cannot occur.
If the loop is rotated so that its horizontal wires are at right angles to the direction in which the signal is coming, then the loop has no length so far as those signals are concerned. The passing wave strikes both sides of each turn in the loop at exactly the same instance and the voltages generated are therefore equal and opposed and there is no terminal voltage. This is, of course, the fact which gives the loop antenna its very useful directional property. It is to be noted, however, that if the loop is turned ever so slightly from this zero position then the voltages no longer cancel and there is a voltage at the terminal. This means that the zero position of the loop is very sharp, but the maximum position is very broad.
In applying the loop antenna to an actual radio receiver, it is necessary that provision be made to tune it to resonance with the desired signal. This is accomplished by means of a variable air condenser, and since this condenser has a very definite maximum capacity, the amount of inductance which the loop can have is also limited. This maximum inductance with the maximum capacity of the variable condenser must give resonance to the longest wave to be received. The specification for the best loop antenna, therefore, is that it shall have just as many turns as possible, each turn being just as long as possible and just as high as possible, and still have no more than the required maximum inductance. The higher the loop is, the greater will be the voltage generated in each side of each turn, and the longer it is, the greater will be the difference in time at which these voltages are generated in the two sides of the loop, and consequently the greater will be the voltage at the terminals, but it must not have an inductance value greater than that required for tuning.
The Vulcan Cylinder Record Company (What is old is new again…)
(Taken from Vulcan’s current website)
We make hard-wearing, plastic cylinder records for use on Edison, Columbia and similar cylinder phonographs. We have a range of records in standard 2-minute, 4-minute and 5-inch diameter Concert formats.
We also make disc records, moulded in a hard wearing resin suitable for playing on vintage machines with a steel needle.
To see the most up-to-date list of our titles, please go to the Catalogue page.
Or you can view, print or download our easy-to-search PDF Catalogue.
You can browse the selections and listen to samples of the records by visiting the shop
If you are unsure of which of our records will play on your phonograph; or of anything else to do with the purchase of our products, visit our FAQ page.
If you wish to have your own material recorded on cylinder or disc visit the Custom Work page
We offer our expertise and resources for television, radio and film work as well as for education and museum projects. Please contact us to discuss your needs. Contact us
The Vulcan Cylinder Record Company is owned and operated by Duncan Miller, in Sheffield, England. Duncan was born in Kent, England. His interest in cylinder records began in 1977 with a desire to make acoustic recordings. Finding it difficult to do on a disc gramophone, he obtained a small Columbia machine in 1979 and made some wax blanks. He then contacted the local Edison expert, G Frow, author of the book Edison Phonographs 1877 to 1929. George introduced him to The City of London Phonograph and Gramophone Society (CLPGS) and to Paul Morris with whom he collaborated for several years making wax cylinder blanks and records under the Miller Morris label.
In 1998, Duncan worked with EMI using their 1911 recording lathe to engineer a 78 RPM disc for their centenary year celebrations (3000+ copies were made and given away at the time – some do turn up on the collectors market now and again). Since then he has developed several processes for the manufacture of moulded records in plastic materials, and in 2001 the latest process was launched with the Vulcan Record label. Archive and custom work has also been forthcoming and recently he made good playable copies of over 200 cylinder moulds from the National Library of Norway (see our phonograph cylinder blog for more details). In 2006, Gwynn Barton took over the administration side of the business,managing and despatching orders, dealing with customer enquiries, final polish and inspection of the cylinders, making the presentation boxes and generally making sure that this side of the business runs smoothly. Gwynn comments: “I had never even heard of a cylinder record before I met Duncan, and I can only say that it has been an absolutely fascinating and absorbing learning curve for me. I am now well and truly hooked, and continue to learn new things every day. I love it!”
Quote of the Month
“I like any music that doesn’t suck” - Beavis and Butt-Head
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 what 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
Vice President – Steven Westbrook
Recording Secretary – Grady Shook
Treasurer – Mike Woodruff
Boyd Bailey - Member and Instructor
Newsletter – Steven Westbrook