1949 Stewart-Warner AM-FM-Phono
The left half of this generic image is a best match.
This AM-FM-Phono unit was gotten in Ephrata, WA as a repo for $103 in 1950.
The family already had a Stromberg Carlson All-American 5 AM set but needed
something that would play 78/33-rpm records. The unit was taken to the UK
1952-54 (where AFN from Frankfurt was listened to in the evenings), but, of
course, the turntable did not do well with the 50-Hz mains there!
The FM unit was inoperable. Some interest in getting that working came in
early 1958 with the US launch of Explorer I and the Minitrack beacons of
108 and 108.3 MHz on it (not that an FM set would do well - things like the
SX-62 were $400+ thru Wards then - more than our 1957 21" RCA b&w TV set
I even got a Sam's PhotoFact for it (schematic) - note that it doesn't have
an r.f. amplifier section - just a 12AT7 osc-mixer front end.
Anyway, the FM section was finally fixed (power supply ?) in August 1962
and my early FM-DXing began. One of the striking thoughts that I had when
I was first listening to our local 92.9 (simulcast KONO 860, Top 40)
playing Sheila by Tommy Roe was that whoever designed and built it never
expected that kind of music on FM!
An orientable indoor 300-ohm twin-lead dipole was used - Houston, Corpus
Christi, and Austin were common (and some faint hints at Dallas) - I don't
know why I never thought to connect the 1955 hi-low VHF 6-el Yagi TV
antenna to it. The i.f. was so poorly shielded that one could often hear
the jammers (parked for use in the nearby 31-m band) fading in and out.
Also, due to probable overcoupling of the i.f. stages, very pronounced
"double-hump" maxima were noted when tuning signals.
My only lists of US FM stations was what the White's Radio Log in Radio-TV
Experimenter issues would have in them.
Many times when Es was rampant on Ch 6 I would check this FM set. There
were lots of open channels with locals only on 92.9, 97.3, and 99.5 (in
1964 96.1 emerged). During my time in Austin (1966-69) it was also tried
- locals there 90.7, 93.7, 95.5, & 98.1 (but being near the airport images
of the VOR, etc were present on it as well).
Moving back to San Antonio in late 1969 the FM band was a shock - there
were now TEN locals (90.3, 100.3, 101.9, 102.7, 104.5, and 106.3 having
been added). Finally in Jul 1970 I caught Es with it (still an indoor
antenna) - with one ident from the many signals heard during that event. I
definitely needed something more modern than this 2-decade-old item. That
soon came as a Wards Airline GEN-1451A in October (initially gotten by my
father for its 155-MHz local police coverage).
Page Created: Jun 16, 2011