or Ekeradio FM Pocket Radio
( coat pocket radios)
internal FM converter
portable transistor radio
The Edwin H. Armstrong web page by Mike Katzdorn
John Hunter's Australian Old Things Web page with a number of interesting FM radio designs
Vintage Radio Repair and Restoration by Paul Stenning
Living in the Past (Radiophile.com) by John Pelham, beautiful photos of radios. Interesting articles.
Gerard's Radio Corner by Gerard Tel, well worth your time.
Bob's (W2ISE) Direct link to his page on FM radio, see the rest of the site, too.
Bill Wilkinson's Heathkit Web Page An excellent source of information.
Pat Jankowiak's page on the REL receiver
Jeff Miller's pages on Broadcasting History
The Norwegian Historical Radio Society
Antique Radio Classified On-line and printed classified ads for antique radio, and much more.
The Radiola Guy an interesting web site, including information on sub-mini tube radios
Classic Radio Gallery well organized site with some excellent photos of old sets
Old Radio Digital World large, thoughtful and interesting European site by Enrico Tedeschi
CK722 Transistors interesting site on early RCA transistors, by Jack Ward
Radiomuseum an extensive and outstanding radio collection web site. Thousands of radio photographs.
[I welcome comments and corrections. - arm]
It is somewhat surprising how few FM-only table radios were ever manufactured before boom-boxes and personal stereos came into vogue. There are probably a number of reasons for this paucity of pure FM sets. AM radio was wildly popular in the U.S. Even as late as the 1960's, the FM broadcasts were simply simulcasts of AM stations. FM required more tube stages than AM, so an FM-only set was more expensive than an AM-only set. Politics also played a role early on.
FM-only table radios seemed to have been manufactured during distinct periods. The first period was in the early 1940's when Armstrong set up shop on the original FM band (42-50 Mc). After FM was reintroduced on the 88-108 Mc band in the late 1940's, the FM band was usually available only on the high-end multi-band console radios. Some of these console radios had both the pre- and post- war FM bands (e.g. Zenith 12-H-092R) as did a few table radios (e.g. Zenith 8-H-034). In general, FM-only table radios were uncommon in the late 40's. There was a resurgence of FM-only table radios in the mid to late 1950's with manufacturers like Granco using transformerless designs.
The difficulty of making portable FM sets with vacuum tubes also inhibited the popularity of FM. Tubes that operated reliably at 100 Mc were not easy to make, and only very specialized tubes were very good for low-power operation at high frequencies (e.g. nuvistors). Thus, FM failed as a band for portable radios. There are some European AM/FM portable tube sets (e.g. Philips L4x71AB) and there are a few rumors of FM-only European sets, but I'm still searching for a model number. Apparently FM was much more popular in Europe than the U.S. It is a bit unclear why FM made rapid gains in Europe in the mid to late 1950's, but there have been some allusions to interference sources on the AM band that disturbed AM reception in there. The only American-made FM tube portable radio is an unusual set. The Hastings FM Jr. is a 2-tube FM-only portable radio. The tubes are the sub-mini type with wire leads. It uses an earphone for listening.
In the U.S. AM/FM designs became popular and could leverage their sales off of the desire for AM. In the late 1950's, FM began to appeal to the Hi-Fi crowd. Early audiophiles eschewed table radios for tuners, receivers, and other "component" systems. Thus, FM-only table radios did not satisfy some important markets: AM reception, portable radios, Hi-Fi. So far, the prevailing theory I have heard among collectors is that FM radio was so slow to take off, that FM-only sets were offered often an attempt to promote the FM radio band.
The following is from Corne Janssen, a Dutch collector:
I can across an article about post WWII FM in the November 1950 issue of Radio bulletin (Dutch version). This article gave me some insight in why FM became so popular in Europe. Here's a summary of that story.
Immediately after WWII the Germans were denied the use of the long and medium wave frequencies. In 1948 in Kopenhagen (Denmark) the Germans had some hope that they would get the frequency allocations back. But claims by Russia and Poland made sure that the frequency ban continued. The Germans were allowed frequency allocations in 87.5 -108 MHz FM frequency range. Some young German technicians insisted on using the FM for broadcasting but this met resistance from the former German broadcasters. In the middel of 1949 with backing from England and the US this resistance was broken and Germany started to build their FM broadcast network. The NWDR first started to experiment with 400Watt transmitters in Hamburg and Hannover. In the summer of 1950 they were replaced by two 10kW stations one in Hamburg and one in Langenberg and two satellite stations one in Koln (1kW) and one in Hannover (400W). Later that year three more 10kW stations were expected to be operational in Oldenburg, Detmold and Hannover. Parallel to this development there were other station becoming operational in the middel and south of Germany. This included a 10kW station at the top of mount Feldberg near Frankfurt. This station was received at a distances up to 370km.
The article also had some small pictures of FM add-on converters and one schematic of such a converter.
In an other article I saw a map of Germany with all FM stations in that particular year (1951). There were about 30 stations so the number of FM stations in Germany was rapidly increasing.
FM started in Australia in 1947 on an experimental basis. The first
broadcasts were by the government broadcaster, the ABC. It was never publicized
in the mainstream and very few commercially made receivers were built in
Australia. The few that were made were high quality radiograms
(radio-record player combination sets); they did not make any cheap mantel
sets. FM was available only in a few large cities and was shut down in
1961 due to the expansion of the television band. Australian VHF TV
channels 3, 4 and 5 are in the 88-108 MHz frequency range. There was
pressure from the Hi-Fi fraternity to reinstate FM and a proposal that was
almost adopted was to reintroduce FM on UHF frequencies. This occurred in
the late 60's and early 70's. Eventually (circa 1974), FM was reintroduced
in the normal 88-108 MHz band, but with restricted frequency allocations in
areas where TV channels 3, 4 or 5 were in use. FM was not fully commercialized
until the 1980's. As a result of this late commercialization, Australia does not
have any of those wonderful tube FM receivers of the 40's that American
collectors find so enchanting.
FM broadcasting began on an experimental basis in 1948. The first commercial broadcast was in 1952 at the Helsinki Olympics. The first FM network started in 1953. From the 1960's AM went on the decline in Finland. Finnish National broadcaster shut down the last AM transmitter on 558 kHz in December 2007.
Numerous people have helped supply the information on this page. This web site would be far less complete without the efforts of collectors, other than myself, who provided many of the photographs and facts presented here. I am indebted to them for their efforts and kindness. I have started to review my old notes and give appropriate credit to the various contributors. Here are a few of the many. If your name is missing from this list, please contact me.
|Matti Adolfsen||Information on professional relay radios built in Europe|
|John Byrns||Information on early stereo|
|Knut Bohn||Information on Radionette radios|
|Christian Bruckner||Information and donation of Watson TR4202|
|Bob Burchett||Information on Gonset 3311 car converter|
|Patrick Cambre||Designer of the wonderful Radio Shack Special one transistor FM radio project|
|Denis Cannings||Information on Dynatron radio|
|Gary Ceriotti||Information on Admiral and Meissner radios; radio donations.|
|Carter Cook||Identification of Maguire Industries Model D500-D1|
|Greg Dankowski||Information on Granco radios.|
|John B. Doolittle||Information on Hastings FM Jr. (Concert Networks)|
|John Ebeling||Information on early Motorola auto radio FM converter|
|Martin Eble||Information on the Realistic Concertmaster Hi-Fi radio|
|Ed Ellers||Information on Pioneer and Radio Shack radios|
|Harry Enqvist||Information on Finnish radio manufacturers|
|Paul Fleming||Information and photos of for several radios (Zephyr, Sansei, others)|
|Steve Fullmer||Information and photograph for Sylvania 9000|
|Paula-Maria Grunitzky||Information on the Sony credit card stereo radio (SRF-201)|
|Tim Hammond||Information on KLH Models 100 and 200|
|Charles P. Harper||Information on Audar, early 48 to 88 Mc converters, and other early FM info.|
|Jens Haftorn||Information on Radionette Soundrecorder FM|
|Hans Hilberink||Information on Philips "Mariette"|
|Herby||Herby from Berlin - a Sony and Casio fan - helped with many models and dates for Sony radios|
|Darryl Hock||Photographs of GE HM-80 and Crystal Devices retrofit converter|
|John Hunter||The history of FM radio in Australia|
|Mike Izycky||Information and photos for several British FM radios|
|Corne Janssen||History of early German FM radio allocations|
|Steve Kelsay||Kaiser and other European radio information and photos|
|Paul King||Information on Hacker Radios|
|Charles Kitchin||Help and encouragement with the design of the 1 transistor FM radio|
|Paul Koenigsburg||Donated two FM only table radios|
|Dieter König||Information and photographs on Bang & Olufsen portable radios|
|Ari Kosonen||Information on several Scandinavian radios|
|David Lum||Information and photograph for Olson Electronics and a Lafayette radio|
|Stig Lundstrom||Information on Luxor Westmatic B4961|
|Roger Manning||Information and photographs for Casio RD100, Citizen TR20|
|David E. Miller||Information on quite a few European sets|
|Bob Moore||Information on Grundig radios|
|Camil Moujaber||A variety of radio pictures, including the Radio Shack Science Fair FM radio kit|
|Bernhard Nagel||Information on the Telefunken UKW 6A|
|The Norwegian Historical Radio Society||Information on Radionette and Tandberg radios|
|Reginald Olson||Information on F. M. Specialties, Inc. “Fidelotuner”.|
|John Perata||Photograph of Telefunken Caprice|
|Frank Putnam||Donated Howard 482 tuner|
|Steve Reedy||Photographs of the Sinclair Watch/Radio|
|Francesco Roveda||Details on Voxson Tanga radio, Aristar (Voxson clone), and Autovox "Magic Drum"|
|Jan Rudziñski||Information on Kaiser UKW Special W-1932 and Unitra-Eltra "Luiza"|
|Mike Schiffer||Information on several rare FM only coat pocket radios|
|Paul Sexton||Information on Bush sets|
|Anders "Soda" Söderström||Detailed information on Swedish built radios (AGA, Luxor, and Dux)|
|Enrico Tedeschi||Photographs of the Sinclair Micro FM radio|
|Gary Tempest||Information on many British sets|
|Mark E. Thierbach||Model number for Medallion and Pencrest radios, many Sam's numbers. Help with Motorola car radios.|
|Walter Trachsel||Information on Heathkit "GRB" sets|
|Jack Ward||Information on early RCA transistor FM radios|
|Mike Wills||Information and photograph for the Heathkit GRB Tiger|
|Branden A||Panasonic RF-HD5|
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Last updated 25 November 2012
Andrew R. Mitz
All text, photographs, and other graphics are copyright (c) 1998- 2012 LTJ Designs.