Author Topic: Grand Ole Opry  (Read 225 times)

TC Chris

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Grand Ole Opry
« on: November 04, 2017, 09:55:21 PM »
I'm usually busy on weekends all summer but now it's winter.  We lose daylight saving time tonight, and it's cold and wet outside.  The boats are hauled out.  The Mustang has seen its last traveling for the season.  So now I'm sitting here listening to the live AM radio broadcast of the Grand Ole Opry at 650 on the dial.  They've been on the air since 1925, the longest-running radio program in U.S. history. 

You can catch it on the internet, all static- and fade-free, but it's a lot more fun to turn on a good AM radio and pull those tiny signals from the air, they way people have been doing it for 92 years.  Nashville is just shy of 700 miles from where I live and WSM has a clear channel still and lots of power. I'm listening on a classic GE P-780 portable with a homemade AM loop antenna.  The GE is sensitive, with a tuned RF stage, and designed to sound good. 

Chris Campbell

electra225

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Re: Grand Ole Opry
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2017, 08:58:01 PM »
When dad and grandpa milked the cows, it was my job to run the radio.  They had a Zenith 5-S-56, really not much of a radio.  5-tube transformer power supply radio.  I still have it, restored it, and it is still not much of a radio.  We used the top rail of the Red Brand fence for a radio antenna.  We listened to WJJD in the daytime, WIRE sometimes, and WHO or WSM at night, depending if it was "Opry" night or not.  I heard awhile back that WSM was going to cease broadcasting the Opry.  I can't get it here in AZ.  We have a clear channel station at 620 and I don't have an antenna that will shoot skip around that station so close to 650.  It comes in at my place in Missouri like they are broadcasting from our back porch, even on a four tube clock radio.
If it ain't broke, call me.  I can break it....

TC Chris

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Re: Grand Ole Opry
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2017, 10:03:58 PM »
I just looked at the schematic.  They used a three-gang tuning capacitor so the antenna RF circuit is tuned, if not amplified.  That's one step up from the basic 5-tube receiver.  I've got a 5-S-319, a basic radio dressed up with pushbuttons.

Chris Campbell

Bill

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Re: Grand Ole Opry
« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2017, 05:51:27 AM »
I have a R 512 F Zenith with push buttons.  It's green with ivory knobs and push buttons which are located at the back on top of the radio.  It also has a carrying handle on top.  Got it in AZ last year at a yard sale.  I thought I was cool looking and it was cheap.

Bill

danrclem

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Re: Grand Ole Opry
« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2017, 09:17:46 AM »
I've been to the Opry a few times but the last time was back in 2004.  It's a very good place to listen to and watch the performers but most of the ones I like to see are gone.

19and41

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Re: Grand Ole Opry
« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2017, 03:53:48 PM »
It's mighty difficult to get WSM here, so it's a special occasion to get it.  I can get Chicago  and Magnavox City like Atlanta,  but not Nashville.
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
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electra225

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Re: Grand Ole Opry
« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2017, 07:26:41 PM »
There is not much that will help that 5-S-56.  It sat in the damp milkhouse for 30 years, then sat in my junk shed some more, so it admittedly has seen a hard life.  I had to replace all the veneer on it, since moisture had peeled most of it off.  Dad painted it Oliver greeen at some point so the wood that was left would not rot.  Tuned RF or no, it is a pretty pathetic example of Zenith "craftsmanship."  I am also not a Zenith fan, so that may cloud my opinion somewhat.  The only reason it is not on a brush pile somewhere is because it was dad's.  It proved miserable and problematic to restore and still is not a very sensitive radio. 


This radio has one of the "backwards" power supplies that Zenith and other manufacturers used to circumvent the RCA patents.  The positives of the filter caps go to somewhere (I put them wrong the first time) not typically seen and it has no cathode bypass capacitor.  The thing LOVES to oscillate and squeal.  We used that huge antenna on it back in the day and a simple hank antenna is not enough.  It will run for a time, then start to squeal.  Nothing I can do fixes it for long.  I have replaced every electronic component that is replaceable in the entire set and still the problem persists.  Like I said, had I just got this radio from Public John Q, it would have been on a bonfire years ago.  It makes a nice stand for the wife's coal oil lamp.  And I saved dad's old milkhouse radio.  That is about all I can say for it. 


I have a Zenith console with the inverted bakelite chassis that the Zenith guys like so well.  I am sorely tempted to sledgehammer the chassis and put the cabinet on a bonfire.  That IS the most miserable radio to work on I have ever seen, bar none.  This is the radio that soured my opinion on Zenith.  That and all the miserable rubber wiring.


Rex, you are closer to Nashville than my place in Missouri.  Wonder why you have so much trouble receiving WSM.
If it ain't broke, call me.  I can break it....

19and41

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Re: Grand Ole Opry
« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2017, 10:07:24 PM »
I can only assume it is the terrain between here and Nashville.  Lots of hills and valleys.  Some locations are just beyond upper atmosphere bounce and when the ground level signal is attenuated.  I imagine the more northerly locations have the bounce.
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
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19and41

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Re: Grand Ole Opry
« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2017, 10:10:29 PM »
If I had this setup in Missouri or Kansas, I'm sure I'd have the United states covered.
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
Arthur C. Clarke

TC Chris

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Re: Grand Ole Opry
« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2017, 12:56:29 AM »



This radio has one of the "backwards" power supplies that Zenith and other manufacturers used to circumvent the RCA patents.  The positives of the filter caps go to somewhere (I put them wrong the first time) not typically seen and it has no cathode bypass capacitor.  The thing LOVES to oscillate and squeal.  We used that huge antenna on it back in the day and a simple hank antenna is not enough.  It will run for a time, then start to squeal.  Nothing I can do fixes it for long.  I have replaced every electronic component that is replaceable in the entire set and still the problem persists.  Like I said, had I just got this radio from Public John Q, it would have been on a bonfire years ago.  It makes a nice stand for the wife's coal oil lamp.  And I saved dad's old milkhouse radio.  That is about all I can say for it. 



Well, by the photo it's a handsome little devil.  And if it has been re-capped and re-resistored as necessary and still oscillates, then I wonder if it needs alignment?  Maybe there's a little capacitor under one of the IF cans that you missed?

Chris Campbell

electra225

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Re: Grand Ole Opry
« Reply #10 on: November 07, 2017, 09:09:45 PM »
I should probably have another go at the old Zenith.  I don't remember it squealing when it was in the milkhouse.  I have long suspected it was a mistake I made during restoration.  I typically shotgun caps without seeing how the radio works first, especially if the radio has a power transformer.  I'm sure I did that with this set.  Alignment makes sense.  Using an antenna a couple miles long like we did when it was in the milkhouse would mask alignment problems.  The Zenith is one of my wife's favorite radios, appearance-wise.  The snoots on that other forum would tear the thing apart.  I do not use toner, don't believe in it.  I had to use brown paint on the fluting on the edges to cover up the paint my dad had put on it years earlier.  I painted the bezel around the dial because it was mega-ugly and black was the best way to clean it up.  I finished it in gloss polyurethane, sanded to dull the gloss.   Thanks for the kind words, guys.
If it ain't broke, call me.  I can break it....

TC Chris

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Re: Grand Ole Opry
« Reply #11 on: November 07, 2017, 10:10:20 PM »
I've got a little Philco tube portable, the one with the roll-top dial cover.  It oscillated. By some wild guess, I tried a grounded tube shield over one of the tubes--can't recall if it was the converter or IF amp.  That solved the problem.  No idea exactly why but since it worked I stopped thinking.

And I'm not one to pay much attention to snooty evaluations.  If I find something and it's cool in some way, I'm happy enough.  Lots of my radios are kept because I remember who gave them to me, or where I found them.  A few are those little table radio TRF sets with 4 tubes and a big ballast resistor to drop the series-string filament voltage.  They were designed for local listening.  Sophisticated?  No way.  Exotic?  Are you kidding....  But they tell us something about marketing, and cost control via component reduction, and even a bit about '30s and '40s style.  One that I pass by every time I walk in my back door was given to me by Shirley Leibrand, a neighbor lady when I was a kid.  She was, of course, Mrs. Leibrand, not Shirley.  Later in life she went into the antiques business and handled estate sales, and from one of those she plucked the little TRF set because she thought I'd like it.  It always reminds me of her.  Your Zenith conjures up lots of memories, too, doesn't it?  That's a good enough reason to own it.  And if your wife likes it, so much the better.

Chris Campbell

electra225

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Re: Grand Ole Opry
« Reply #12 on: November 09, 2017, 09:50:40 PM »
We are absolutely on the same page, Chris.  You said what I was thinking very well, certainly better than I did.  99% of my collection is common items that I remember when I was younger.  I have my grandma's Grunow 1191 that she got new for Christmas in 1936.  I remember listening to her "stories" on it and watching the green eye.  I have grandma's brother's Trutone D-925 that sat out on his screened porch.  I remember him sitting in his bib overalls listening to the White Sox on that radio.  I have dad's milkhouse Zenith.  I have a Bendix radio that sat on top of the refrigerator at home for 30 years.  It became mine when my grandmother passed in 1984.  It still has the piece of masking tape holding on a chunk I broke out when I was a little tyke by dropping a Pacquin's jar (hand cream) on the edge of her radio.  That was when she moved the radio to the top of the refrigerator.  I still have the Emerson 522 grandpa won in a card game in 1955.  He gave it to me so I would leave the big Grunow alone.  Collectively, I would be hard pressed to sell the whole lot for $100.  The only things I have that might be worth something is my Coke radio and my Concert Grand.  The rest is curb material, according to the "experts."  My collection of "worthless' and "undesirable" radios have brought me a lifetime of satisfaction.
If it ain't broke, call me.  I can break it....

TC Chris

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Re: Grand Ole Opry
« Reply #13 on: November 09, 2017, 10:15:45 PM »
That's the right attitude.  I have a bunch with similar memories attached.  Just to tell one more, my grandmother (Granny, because she was from Alabama) saved a Zenith G 725 for me, one of those brown Bakelite-cased AM-FM table radios with a big round metal dial surrounding the central speaker.  Granny did not have a lot of money so in her older years she would serve as a sort of live-in housekeeper to mind the children of wealthy people.  At one house they were throwing the radio away so she snagged it for me.   She was pretty good at radio spotting.

The radio had served in the kitchen where it accumulated a lot of grease.  That damaged the finish on the metal dial beyond cleaning.  I ended up painting it with a gold spray paint, applying press-on numbers, and spraying with clear enamel.  It was an improvement.  It served for some years as my office radio.  Once when I was out, leaving the radio on, the selenium rectifier died.  It burned up, creating a very bad smell, and burned up the speaker cone above it in the process.  Others in the office were quite excited when I returned.  I added speaker terminals on the back and use it with a small hi-fi speaker. Value?  Not very much.  Except to me.

Chris Campbell