"Homebrew" Receiver Restoration
Project Notebook

Since I started this project I've been posting notes about it to various email groups. I an effort not not to annoy those that are not
interested I created this site.
I have included all the messages I have sent so far via email
with the dates sent. When I add a new entry I will post it to the top of the page so it's not necessary to go to the bottom to see the latest addition.
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It's hard to believe I haven't posted anything in 15 days.
I finally got laid off from my old job on Monday July 14th.
I've been expecting this for some time. I was originally scheduled
to be gone in early April, they found that they couldn't do without
me so I got "extended" 3 times.
I may just use this as an excuse to retire, at least for a while...
It's amazing how hard it is to find time to do anything even though I don't have to go to work anymore. Oh well, back to the project...
The missing filter cap problem went away yesterday. I got a package in the mail from Mike WU2D with 2 matching, very usable caps.
Last week I also got the 4 missing grid cap covers in the mail from Vortex Joe N3IBX.
I'm trying to get the chassis ready to take to a friends glass beading booth, I decided that glass beading would be the easiest way to clean up the rust and mouse stains. Glass beading will give the metal a dull gray finish, I will use some flat clear spray to seal the metal to keep the finish from rusting. I think it will look very close to the original
galvanized finish.
It's a fairly time consuming process to unmount all the tube and coil sockets and cover every thing else to protect it from the bead blasting.
I hope to be able to get the cabinet and front panel to the powder coating shop this week too.
After much head scratching and hand wringing I've decided not to add metal tags for the controls to the front panel.
There are several reasons;
- all I've seen of old metal labels are too big for this set, some of the controls are too close together, and I haven't found a source for a full set with all the functions I need.
- the builder didn't put them on it. They were available when it was built, if he had wanted them he surly could have used them.
This is a restoration, I don't want to change the historical record any more than I can help. That's my story and I'm sticking to it...
More later.

I went with Mark KC4YOI & Ralph W4ZO to the Salisbury hamfest this AM. It was kind of small this year, $4+ a gallon gas is mostly to blame I'll bet. Did get to see a bunch of the old radio guys there, and a pretty good number of old radios too.
I was hoping to find the filter cap I need, no such luck.
I have had a bunch of guys looking for and offering the caps they've found.
A couple of likely prospects are coming in the mail from Mike WU2D, along with the grid cap covers from Vortex Joe N3IBX
Last evening and this afternoon I spent some time working on the National Velvet Vernier dial. I had to remake the clear cover over the dial as the original had shrunk and turned dark. I also cleaned and polished the black bakelite body, the main knob and the nickel plated cap over the dial center.
I cleaned and polished the IF cans. The cover for the plug-in coils is next on the list for polishing. I use a cream metal polish called Mr. Metal, it works pretty good, it's kinda like Novis 2 for metal.
I've put some photos of the latest work on the right side of this page.

I had some time at work today so I took the transformer end caps
and cleaned them up in the glassbeader and then primed and
painted them gloss black.

After getting home I decided to take the front panel off, it took about
an hour being really careful, putting all the hardware in small zip lock
bags with notes as to where they go back.
In doing this I discovered that there were originally 2 of the chassis
mounted condensers. SO, I'm hoping someone has an extra one
laying in their junk box. You can see close up photos of it on the
restoration project web page. I need one exactly like this one,
OR 2 that mount the same that are exactly alike.
I also need 4 of the metal caps that go over the grid caps on the
tubes. I have 2 of them but 4 are missing.

At this point I'm really undecided about adding control labels
to the front panel. It's not going to take much to get me to leave
it alone and not "change the historical record" as someone else said...

It was a nice rainy Sunday afternoon here, I spent most of it
in the workshop getting started cleaning the receiver.
I've added some photos to the project page, click on the
link button at the top of this page to see them.

I've got the homebrew receiver out of the cabinet and have spent
some time looking it over.
There are some rust stains (mice?) on top of the chassis which
is made of galvanized steel.
I've about resigned myself to having to take it apart and glass bead
it to get rid of the rust, and then I guess paint it.
I really hate to paint it since it wasn't originally painted.
Does anyone have any good ideas for taking care of the rust
stains without going to the extreme of glass beading it?
It there any way to touch up the galvanized finish?

I've added some photos of the chassis out of the cabinet
showing the underside and the tube layout, just page down a little.

I'd be interested in some opinions from the experts in vintage
amateur gear, it almost looks TOO good to be homebrew.
Check out the lacing of the wiring and the construction of the
main tuning condensers and tracking adjustment condensers.
"IF" it is a home built set, whoever built it was a pro for sure.

Nick wrote:
If you have a trophy shop local to you they do pretty good for those kinds of labels. I have seen them laser engrave an entire front panel as well.
That's most likely what I'll wind up doing. My friend makes
replica parts for Enigma machine and he sells laser engraved
labels for them and they're a perfect match to the real thing.
Play Thing of the Past has some labels, but not all that I need
and they have to match so making new ones will be the easiest
thing to do.
I also found a place in Monroe that can powder coat black wrinkle.
That should look a lot better than what you can get out of a spray
can now days. They said it would cost about $25 to do the cabinet
and face plate. A friend had a vintage transmitter project powder
coated and it looks GREAT.

I finally got the radio home today, my friend Mark KC4YOI
picked it up in Raleigh yesterday, it's taken almost a month
to figure out how to get it without having to make a special
trip 3 hours there and back and $4 a gallon gas.

I've bought a 30s vintage homebrew ham receiver that I plan
to restore. It's really nicely built with the exception of not having
any decent labeling of the front panel controls.
I seem to remember seeing ads in 30s QST and such for the little
metal tags with function names on them for use on home built radios.
Does anyone know of a source for these old tags, OR does anyone
have a stash of them in their junk box???

Right now all it has for control tags are old style Dymo labels.
I need tags for; Volume/AF Gain, RF Gain, CW Osc, Power, H.V. On/Stand By-Operate, Crystal Filter, Headphones. Or variations of these.

I've started a web page to document the restoration project, check it out
if you're interested.
This page was last updated: July 27, 2008
1 done, 2 to go
Finished National dial
I would write something here about a well polished knob, but I know someone would take it wrong...
The front of chassis after removing the face plate
Scroll down to see the latest photos.