Wednesday, January 2, 2013

PYE Radio Restoration

Whilst up in the attic rummaging around for Christmas decorations I came across an old radio/gramophone that had been sitting up there for the past 10 years, before that it had been sitting in the cellar of our previous house, totally unloved! It belonged to my XYL’s father and had been purchased many years ago.

I brought it out of the attic and gave it a good check over; blowing off the dust the on off switch had a small crack and the center cover on the left control was missing, the wooden cabinet was sound but had varnish peeling off, otherwise everything seemed to be there. On the back was inscribed “PYE R32” so I did a bit of investigating on the web

The original web photo

 It seemed the PYE R32 was built in the 1960s and could be bought for the vast sum of 28 guineas a lot of money in those days. It looked like an old valve radio but in fact was a transistor based rig, presumably, transistors were still in their early stages so the R32 was made to look like the reliable valve system. Removing the back cover everything was covered in a thick dust, it was then that the radio instinct took over and I knew I had to get it working! 

I gave the insides a good clean, first with a vacuum cleaner using a small spout and brush and then with small tips of cotton wool buds dipped in electrical cleaning solvent. Gradually the dust came off and it was almost as if the PYE was slowly coming back to life as each layer of dust was removed. 

 Once I felt everything inside was relatively clean I decided to connect a battery and see what would happen. Bingo, it came to life, I tested both the MW and LW ranging up and down each band and all seemed OK, the volume was a bit scratchy but some solvent on the pot soon cured that. The tone worked well and interestingly it had its own little antenna system that could be rotated within the cabinet which was rather neat and worked really well, bringing in European stations when you turned the antenna. 

 So now I knew it worked it only seemed right and fair to restore the cabinet back to its original condition. I decided to tackle the top first as it was definitely the worst effected, I gave it a good coat of paint/vanish stripper and then gently peeled off the remnants, finally I finished off with some serious scrubbing using wire wool. 

Leaving it to dry off for 24hrs I then sanded down the top, cleaned it all up and applied some varnish. Whilst I write this post it’s still drying off but if all is well I will then attack the front and both sides and re-varnish the whole cabinet.

I must admit just with the top done it looks better than the original picture I took off the web, should look brilliant once I've completed the sides, more pictures to follow once it’s all completed.

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