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 > Remembrances of vacuum tube days

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mr. ed

Amarillo, Texas

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Posted: 12/11/20 09:27am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

As a young teenager, I developed a love for electronics which became a lifelong love affair. In those days vacuum tubes were the norm and solid state devices such as transistors weren't in usage then. I built many projects using vacuum tubes as a hobbyist during my teen years, such as ham radio equipment, stereo amplifiers and tuners and various pieces of test equipment, all employing vacuum tubes. I obtained some of the early transistors' back then and tried to experiment with them, but quit trying to learn how they worked since I was so involved with tubes. Of course, my position changed in time. Many products we use today wouldn't be possible or feasible without the advent of solid state devices.

I also remember my first portable radio, which employed miniature vacuum tubes. I recall 2 batteries were necessary, a size D "A" battery, which supplied power to the tube filaments. and a much larger "B" battery, around 70 to 90 volts, which supplied power for the tube plates. The radio performed pretty well, AM & FM, as I recall. I also remember when most drug stores had do-it-yourself tube checkers available for the public. They're real dinosaurs now and nonexistent!

The older I get (now 76) the more I look back to the good ol' days of my youth! [emoticon]


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BB_TX

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Posted: 12/11/20 09:40am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Never got into actually working with the circuits. But made a number of trips to the local 7-11 to use their tube tester to test the vacuum tubes from TVs that stopped working. And buying new tubes there.

routeforty

ohio

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Posted: 12/11/20 09:55am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

YES,YES,YES!! You could actually fix something back then. Remember going into a store and see a display where you could buy a vacuum tube to replace one that wasn't working in your radio, tv, etc. With a decent knowledge of the principals of electronics you could trouble shoot your electronic equipment and then repair it-usually, just by replacing one of the tubes, or visibly see a wire that was bad. Now the basic principles are the same, but every thing is a circuit board and so small that it is virtually impossible to fix-so it's cheaper to just replace the item. I guess there's good and bad, but you're right, it sure was great to fiddle around with those things.


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BobsYourUncle

Calgary Alberta Canada

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Posted: 12/11/20 10:00am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I remember those days too. I was also fascinated with electronics back then. Took courses in high school too. I still work on electronics to this day. I built a TV in high school using scrap parts and an oscilloscope to trace the circuits. It was early solid state, no tubes.

I do remember those tube checkers and have used them myself.
I had an old tube portable record player I used to take apart and fix. It kept blowing one particular tube. And don't ask me why I remember it was a 50EH5.

My first car was a 48 Pontiac. It had a massive tube radio in it.

Good memories.


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gbopp

The Keystone State

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Posted: 12/11/20 10:15am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We had a TV but, I was happy sitting in my room listening to WLS Chicago, AM radio.
I did watch the Beatles on Ed Sullivan and boxing matches.
They were the good old days.

routeforty

ohio

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Posted: 12/11/20 10:28am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

gbopp wrote:

We had a TV but, I was happy sitting in my room listening to WLS Chicago, AM radio.
I did watch the Beatles on Ed Sullivan and boxing matches.
They were the good old days.
Ah, yes. WLS-Dick Biondi, Larry Lujack, John "records Landecker, and then WCFL with "super lips" Barney Pip, WABC with Cousin Brucie, The DJs were almost as entertaining as the music

RoyF

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Posted: 12/11/20 10:34am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Remembering radio in the old days, there was plenty to listen to! Amos, Andy, Jack Benny, detective shows, soaps, and what music: the NBC Symphony with Toscanni, the Met Opera on Saturday. I listened to The Breakfast Club, the Green Hornet, The Fat Man, This is Your FBI. I played cornet in the band and couldn't wait for the Cities Service Band of America on Friday night. (That's CITGO for the young folks.)

Second Chance

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Posted: 12/11/20 10:38am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I grew up immersed in the same activities as you, Mr. Ed - just a couple of years behind. I even worked at an electronic and photo supply and repair shop in our small hometown in New Mexico while I was in high school. Many years later, one of my lieutenants in the Army (seeing me as "the old man"), brought me a cartoon he had clipped out of something. The image was of an older, gray-haired man standing at a window above which was a sign saying, "PARTS." the older man was holding up a vacuum tube. The kid behind the counter said, "Light bulbs are on isle 12, pops." The lieutenant thought it was funny...

Rob


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gbopp

The Keystone State

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Posted: 12/11/20 10:57am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

routeforty wrote:

gbopp wrote:

We had a TV but, I was happy sitting in my room listening to WLS Chicago, AM radio.
I did watch the Beatles on Ed Sullivan and boxing matches.
They were the good old days.
Ah, yes. WLS-Dick Biondi, Larry Lujack, John "records Landecker, and then WCFL with "super lips" Barney Pip, WABC with Cousin Brucie, The DJs were almost as entertaining as the music

Dick Biondi is my all time favorite. As far as I know, he's still living. [emoticon]

Johno02

Lexington, TN USA

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Posted: 12/11/20 11:26am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

WLS on a crystal set....


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