Knight | Space Spanner

  Back        Page 1      Page 2      Page 3      Page 4      Page 5     

Another Space Spanner!
Space Spanner
This Space Spanner was purchased on ebay in 2021 from a woman in Ontario, Canada.
It was built by a kid named Timothy Hodgson sometime between 1959 and 1963.
Space Spanner
The wooden cabinet looks new! I can't say the same about the front panel.
Space Spanner
Rear view.
American Bell Headphones
These American Bell headphones were sold with the kit by Allied Radio.
Space Spanner
First look at the chassis.
The 12AT7 on the right is a GE made in Canada. The 35W4 in the center is the original Mullard, and the 50C5 on the left had no markings on it at all. The green shading on the back of the chassis shows it spent most of its life in the wooden cabinet.
Space Spanner
It's practically identical to the earlier model. It even has the big "CERACAP" capacitor on the left. The "CERACAP"
 tested perfectly good, which confirms my suspicion there was nothing wrong with the one I broke on the other radio (Page 2).
"Headache? Try CERACAP."

Here is the photo from the ebay listing. The radio came with the box, headphones and the original manual. It appears to be plugged in!
Notice the beautiful front panel. The photo is very misleading! The front panel looks different under different lighting.

This is how the light angle can change the front panel, and why the ebay photo was less than honest. I had to look at the ebay photo very intently to make sure it was even the same radio. The scratch over the word REGENERATION is barely visible in the ebay photo.
Sixty years of oxidation! This is how it appeared after it was cleaned and polished. It looked a lot worse when I first got it.
Timothy Hodgson
So who built this radio? Here's his picture and his fingerprint. His fingerprints are all over the radio chassis, burned into the oxidized cadmium plating. Using some information from the seller and her name from my PayPal account, I was able to find that the set builder was named Timothy Hodgson from Westport, Ontario, Canada. Tim's time on this earth was from October 17, 1953 to May 19, 2016. Since the radio was made between 1959 and 1963, Tim was TEN YEARS OLD or younger when he built it.

The ebay listing said he was a radio fanatic. In an email from the seller, Tim's widow, I learned that after he died she threw all his radios into a dumpster, except this one. In her own words, "He loved his radios! Sadly, I threw at least 8 into the dumpster, all in excellent condition. Some were huge and I remember him talking to a man in Russia on one of them."

She kept this one because it was light and had a box, but finally decided to get rid of it to "make room." She shipped the radio with no packing in the box. None whatsoever! How it made it from Ontario to Pennsylvania in one piece is a mystery. Perhaps it was guided by the invisible hand of Tim Hodgson.

Why would you throw working radios that have monetary value into a dumpster? I've seen messages in radio forums that go something like this: "
User: Bob RadioGuy - This is Bob's wife. Bob passed away last week. I want to get rid of these radios ASAP, hopefully all at once. If nobody wants them, they are going in the trash. Please advise me on how to dispose of them."

Personally, I think some women begrudge their husbands having a hobby. If my wife had a hobby collecting sewing machines and she died, the last thing I would do is throw her sewing machines into a dumpster.

Repairs to the radio
This connection arrived broken. I had a hunch the radio would work better if it was reconnected.
Space Spanner filter capacitor
Space Spanner filter capacitor
Naturally, the electrolytic had to be re-stuffed. I spliced it in so I wouldn't have to mess with the tube socket connections.
After replacing the electrolytic capacitors the radio seemed to work OK, but wasn't very sensitive. I couldn't hear anything on the short wave band where the amateur radio guys are. Every part was checked, and this single resistor was out of spec. It's rated at 270 ohms but was actually at 350 ohms. Could that make a difference? It was only off by 80 ohms. Granted, 80 ohms is about 30%, but it's still only 80 ohms.

The resistor was replaced, and the radio came to life! Who would have thunk it? It picked up many radio amateurs and shortwave broadcasts!

Except for cleaning up the front panel and chassis, that was about all the work that was needed. It had been assembled very well, and the soldering was mostly top-notch.
In the schematic, the resistor that was replaced is R-5, connecting the cathode on pin 8 of the 12AT7 to B-minus. (Click on the schematic for a larger version.) So here's a question; If the cathode on pin 3 doesn't need the resistor, why does the cathode on pin 8 need it? If lowering the value made the radio work better, what would happen if we just jumpered it with a piece of wire? Anyone? Anyone? Feel free to write to me at mike@mikesyard to explain it too me.

Space Spanner speaker
Space Spanner speaker
This stuff was found in the speaker when the front panel was removed. There's nothing unusual about dirt and detritus in an old radio, but how did this get through the little holes in the speaker grill and what is it? I'd bet this radio spent years lying on its back in a garage.

Mike Simpson listens to a Space Spanner
Testing the radio with the American Bell headphones, February 7, 2021.


Space Spanner from catalog
I like the two-tone radio, but the oxide on the front panel was bothering me and I had to do something about it.