!930s Ever Ready Portable Radio

Doghouse Riley

Senior Junior Member
BBC TV has a regular programme called "The Repair Shop."

It's where people bring in treasured posessions they've had for decades, many with family associations, to be repaired or restored. The emphasis is more on the emotional reactions at the "reveal" as much as the process of the actual restorations

I occasionally watch this, I check the EPG TV guide to see if there's anything interesting coming on.
If it's a moth-eaten teddy belonging to an octogenarian, they had when they were four which they want restoring, my impulse is to say. "Put it in the bin love." But the BBC like to big up the emotive parts of these restorations.

I've a lot of time for these restorers, particularly the guy who does clocks. This week he did a grandfather clock and made an excellent job on it.

Anyway, the one that caught my eye this week said, "Radio expert Mark Stuckey has a job on his hands repairing a 1930's transistor radio."

I'll say!, I'd certainly like to see a pre-war transistior radio! Who writes these programme guides?

It was actually as I expected, a portable valve radio.

Someone's father who was a private in the army had been ordered by an officer to carry it with him when he was evacuated at Dunkirk. My dad, like many of the 300 thousand others with him at Dunkirk, didn't even attempt to bring back his rifle, let alone carry a radio on his head when your standing for hours up to your chest in sea water.
The guy with the radio when he got back met up with the officer and was told he could keep it.
I'd have said, "If you didn't want it, why make me bring the naffin' thing back? I could have just dumped it in the sea!"

Give Mark his due, he wasn't put off with the task, we saw him take off the knobs and removed the chasis.

Now this is where the dumbing down in this programme starts, the BBC think the audience is OK using their eyes, but engaging their brains they believe is a bit beyond them. But that's typical BBC.

Mark explained that he had to replace the wiring and obtain a new set of valves. That was it. So no problem eh?

Now valves of that era are like hens' teeth and if you could find them, they cost silly money.

What he didn't explain was that he would have had to check the values of every naffin' capacitor and resistor in the set. Hard to do if you've not got a circuit diagram and the value codes have disappeared off many of them if they are still there. Any of them which were faulty would have to be replaced. An essential job if you don't want it to go up in smoke when you turn it on. But that sort of information was deemed unnecessary or beyond the comprehension of the target audience.

His next problem was power. These old portable valve sets used high power batteries. This one's was 90volt.
Ever-Ready, Mark said, stopped making them in the early 1970s.

Not to be defeated, Mark got 10 pp3 9volt alkaline batteries, lashed them together with insulating tape and soldered all the terminals in series, to give him the required 90v. He even went to the trouble of having an authentic looking outer cardboard casing made for it.

He connected them up, turned on the radio and it worked!

Well, we wouldn't have been seeing it if it hadn't, would we?

"The "reveal" was as usual like them all, very emotionally charged.

What we didn't see, was the presenter Jay Blades, taking the owner on one side and saying to him. "Yes it's working at the moment, but will only do so for a few hours. Those batteries can't be re-charged, so you'll need to buy another ten batteries, some wire, a soldering iron, some solder, some flux and solder together the 20 terminals......... don't even think of bringing it back here."
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Doghouse Riley

Senior Junior Member
What irritated me was the fact that they spent as much time as they did with the electronics, with a woman, an expert in fabricating and restoring leather items.

She made a complete new handle for the radio, lots of stitching and colouring to match the cabinet.

The BBC would consider the target audience could relate to that.

In earlier series, the presenter/host Jay Blades who does naff-all, had a full-length immaculate "designer" brown polished leather overall he wore every week.
There was aways an unused 2" paintbrush in its top pocket.