Making Money in Radio

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Fake radio picture
    Andrea and I went to my garage and found the box. Inside the box, which hadn't been opened in over 25 years, was the shiny Philco PT-2 that "oldradiodaze125" had sold on Aug 8, 2016! Some sort of temporal distortion or inter dimensional anomaly had caused the radio to end up in the closed box, to the dismay of whomever won the auction on ebay.

Obviously this picture is fake.

    Actually, we opened the box and saw what we thought was a Philco 46-250 looking back at us. (We didn't know what was inside the box at the time.) I exclaimed, "Wow, look at that! It's another forty six two fifty!" We pulled it out and looked at the back and saw "PT-2" stamped on it!! Yes, an actual PT-2! Whoot-whoot!

Philco PT-2
This is the radio after it was restored. There are no "before" pictures, but it needed the leaf blower treatment before it was allowed in the house. I sometimes wonder what all the dust inside the radio is composed of, and whether or not I'm destroying some DNA record of the previous owners of the radio. Perhaps some day in the future you could grow your great grandmother from the crap found inside the radio.

I'm a germ freak, so it gets the "germ freak treatment." All traces of biological life forms and human DNA are eradicated, I don't care whose grandmother it was. After that I don't touch it. It gets picked up with a cloth in each hand so as not to transfer any oils or fingerprints to the sparkling clean cabinet.

    Initially, things went very well. I had learned from the first radio that you don't have to spend hours sanding the cabinet with the Micro Mesh. Instead of going through all the grades you only need the 8000 and 12000. The filter capacitor was replaced in case somebody wanted to LISTEN to it, and it got a new power cord.

    I spent about a half hour on the dial glass, two hours on the cabinet and an hour on the filter cap and power cord. I already had the Micro Mesh and a decal for the front. The radio worked and only set me back about five dollars. Man, this was an easy one! $Ka-Ching!

    We listened to it for about an hour and all seemed well. I took it outside and took pictures for ebay. The next day I remembered I needed a picture with the dial lit up. I turned it on and took the photo above.

    When the radio warmed up, it was at full volume. I went to turn it down and it WAS down! The volume control did NOTHING! (Good DAY sir!)

    Well, it wasn't hard to believe that something could go wrong with a 76 year old radio that spent the last 25 years being repeatedly baked and frozen in an unheated garage. I was just glad it broke before I listed it and I didn't auction a broken radio.

Here are the old and new volume controls. A Dremel tool with a cutting disk, and a file, were used to cut the half moon shape into the end of the shaft on the new control. It had to be just right the first time, if too much metal was removed I'd need to buy another control. Since the radio needed a major operation it was recapped  as well.
Under the chassis.
Re-stuffed filter capacitor. I almost set the darn thing on fire while melting the plastic out of it.

    I found the radio had already been recapped once, probably in the late 1950s, from the looks of the capacitors. Above, the solder is being sucked from the connections because there was already too much. Radio repairmen had to work fast. The repairman just cut the old ones out, put the new ones in and added more solder.

    Does this picture make my head look big? Because it's about to explode.

    After the repairs, the tubes were tested and two were replaced. They were all PHILCO. The 50L6 audio output tube was a Philco New Old Stock. There was no way to tell how old the pilot light was so it was replaced with a brand new one. Now there was $30.00 invested in it. It costs $5.00 postage to mail a $4.00 tube!   

The decal got two clear coats. Otherwise it would come off if it ever got wet.

Here are some of the pictures from the ebay auction. Once again I was very honest with the description, which was somewhat lengthy and detailed. There are some fine scratches on the top that you can't see in the pictures, and I included that fact. I pointed out that the cabinet is absolutely clean, with not so much as a fingerprint on it. No wax, polish, "Armor All", silicon, furniture oil, Endust, etc. Bare Bakelite!

The radio went up on ebay on October 8, 2016. There were two other PT-2's there at the time. I was watching this one because it was cheap and I wanted it. However, we'll call this seller "The Liar" because he said it was a PT-2, but the picture of the bottom showed it was actually a 46-250!
This other one was a "Buy it Now" for $135. It was listed as a "1942 42-PT2". The seller wrote how easy it was to "polish it to a beautiful shiny sheen." I suspect it was covered in "Armor All." These two radios were my competition. Damn, that thing sure does look shiny!

The model number intrigued me, so I looked into it. There actually was a 42-PT-2 but it was really a PT-2 made in 1941. They sold it in 1942 during the war and just changed the model number. I guess they had a lot of PT-2's left over.

    This is the result. It went for $100 LESS than the 46-250 from the previous page, though I put twice the time and effort into it. It went for $200 less than the same model that "oldradiodaze125" sold in August! The 46-250 that "The Liar" was selling went for $39.51 and nobody bought the "shiny sheen" radio.

So how much did I make on this one? I lost track of the hours, so let's say:
Cabinet - 2 hours
Knobs - 1 hour
Recapping - 4 hours
Volume control - 1 hour
Miscellaneous - 1 hour
Packing and mailing - 1 hour

$52.00 minus $30 in parts, minus $8.00 to ebay and PayPal = $14.00 รท 10 hours = $1.40 per hour.

Let me think about this. Can I live on $1.40 an hour? Maybe you can make BIG MONEY and get BIG PAY in radio, but this isn't the way to do it. Hats off to "oldradiodaze125".


    This is what I'm really holding in the top picture on this page, where I wrote, "Psyche!" "Psyche" is pronounced "sike", as in "psychological." You probably already know that because we said it all the time when we were kids. People scrolling through the pictures never noticed. Maybe they were psyched out!

    Now we can add, "That's 'P' as in Psychological" to "That's 'P' as in "Pterodactyl." The English language is funny. If there was a picture of a soda can being opened with the word "Psyche!" next to the pull tab, how would you pronounce it?

    One thing that surprised me was that repairing a radio to sell it has no psychological reward. I'd rather keep it or give it to somebody who would appreciate it. Watching the ebay auctions was as exciting as a doing a scratch-off lottery ticket.

    This is one of my favorite correspondence course ads, because if you took the course YOU GOT TO PULL THAT LEVER! Yes, a course in LEVER PULLING. What's that lever connected to, anyway? And why is a black bolt of lightning coming out of it? Maybe it's one of those "love meters" you sometimes find in a bar. If so, he's only registering a "1" on the dial.

    3 - 2 - 1... The rocket launches. In his headphones the guy hears, "OUR HATCH IS STILL OPEN! PULL THE LEVER!! PULL THE DAMN LEVER!" He responds, "Pulling! *GRUNT* It. Won't. Budge!" (Screaming in headphones) "PULL THE LEVER, OUR AIR IS ESCAPING!!!" FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, PULL THE LEVER!!

"I'M GIVING IT EVERYTHING I'VE GOT BUT IT WON'T MOVE!! I NEVER COMPLETED THE CORRESPONDENCE COURSE!"  (Gurgling sounds followed by silence in headphones.) He lets go of the lever and notices a sign where his elbow had been. It says, "Deposit twenty five cents, make selection, pull lever." 

This broadcast is now concluded. Tune in again tomorrow. (deep voice) Intelligent, conservative talk radio!