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Antique Radio Books

Useful books on antique radios are available form several sources including Borders Books, Amazon, Barnes & Nobel, ebay, Antique Radio Classified, swap-meets, garage sales, and possibly at your local public library. Prices vary depending on condition, and availability. Some books are easily located. Othere are much more difficult to locate. Some may only be available from others who share your interests. I've included a section on books recommended by others that I may not have access to myself. If you have a book you'd like to recommend, please let me know. I'd be glad to include it in the list.


Antique Radio Restoration Guide by David Johnson
A very good fix-it book tailored to the someone just getting into the hobby. Includes information on radio theory, guides to choosing radios, and many images of collecible radios.

Old Time Radios! Restoration and Repair by Joseph J. Carr
Mr Carr is a well known author of thechnical books who has produced a thorough guide to radio restoration. The book is a presentation of the history, theory and practical operation of old-time, home, auto, amateur, shortwave and CB radio sets with the detailed instructions and schematics required to repair or rebuild them. A troubleshooting section is included, with charts and pin-out diagrams.

Fixing Up Nice Old Radios! by Ed Romney
When I first received this book, I must admit that I was a bit disappointed. This is a spiral bound "Xerox Copy" of a book featuring many images. Some of them are a bit difficult to see, since this seems to be a "copy of a copy". But once I got past my initial disappointment, I found the book to be a real treasure. Even a cursory examination reveals a wealth of information that obviously comes from a lifetime of experience in radio repair and restoration. Coverage includes basic radio theory, test equipment, a history of radio development, and a very wide coverage of radio types. The author uses his own restorations including schematics, and photos that cover the restoration as it progresses. I especially appreciated the tips and tricks the author provided. This is definitely a book for those interested in tube basaed radio restoration.

The All-American Five Radio: by Richard McWhorter
Subtitled - Understanding and Restoring Transformerless Radios of the 1940'S, 50'S, and 60's.
The AA5, or All American Five Radio was a standard five tube design used by hundreds of manufaturers for over 30 years. It pretty much remained a standard until the introduction of transistors. Though there are typos and even an incorrect formula or two, it is by far the best basic guide to these types of radios, and a good general introduction to electronic radio restoration. One of my favorites.

Tube Substitution Handbook by William Smith and Barry Buchanan
This basic manual is, as its title suggests, is a guide as to which tubes may be used as a substitute for another. This inexpensive guide can be invaluable at times, as you may not have the "exact" tube on hand when it is needed.

RCA Receiving Tube Manual
Tube theory, tube characteristics, applications, installation requirements and detailed data on hundreds of tubes. Older versions contain information on "obsolete" tube types that may not be in more recent versions. An absolute must for the workbench.

Price & Collector Guides

Guide to Old Radios: Pointers, Pictures, and Prices by David and Betty Johnson
Though this guide covers a large number of radios, there are those who consider the guide to lack depth. Still, some radios are listed here that are not listed anywhere else. There is also a bit of radio history and lore as well as safety and repair information.

Collector's Guide to Antique Radios by John Slusser
I've seen this book in the hands of a number of collectors and restorers, and have spotted them in cars parked at swap meets and auctions. My copy is not the most recent, but is still an invaluable guide. There are thousands of radios listed, with improvements and additions with each edition. Prices listed, as in all guides, are just that; a guide, and are not the last word in value. Still, the guide is an invaluable aid in identifying radios, and the best overall guide I've ever seen.

Crystal Clear: Vintage American Crystal Sets, Crystal Detectors, and Crystals
by Maurice L. Sievers

I had no idea that there were so many manufacturers of crystal sets before receiving this book. A great aid in identification and a fun book to simply have around. Profusely illustrated and filled with information for the crystal set collector and those who are simply curious about this fascinating area of the hobby. Highly recommended.


Radio Days - Austraian Bakelite Radios by Peter Sheridan and Ritchie Singer
This is a very beautiful book covering all of the models and variations of bakelite radios produced in Austrailia from 1932 to 1954. Manufacturers rarely seen in the U.S. are featured ihere. Some of the bakelite models produced in australia are simply stunning when compared with what was being produced in other countries during the same time period. Well worth the price to the serious collector of australian art deco valve radios.


The Radio Amateur's Handbook by David Johnson
Published yearly by the American Radio Relay League since 1923. I have the most recent version (2010) which is simply titled "The ARRL Handbook for Radio Communications" Earlier versions are subtitled "The Standard Manual of Amateur Radio Communications" Though they are geared to the Amateur Radio community, they are filled with radio theory, construction projects for transmitters, receivers, and more. I also have the 1936 version, and the Special Defense Edition of 1942 and it's companion "A Course In Radio Fundamentals". Each year is different, with the more modern versions focused on semiconductor designs, though all versions include tube theory.

The Radiotron Designers Handbook by F. Langford Smith
A very technical book, that is not for the novice. Designed for radio set designers and engineers by RCA in 1945. I use it from time to time as a reference only. If you think you're ready to move on to a more technical manual and can handle the math, this may be the book for you.While it is not neccessary to go this deeply in radio restoration, some may find this book useful.

The Art of Electronics by Paul Horowitz & Winfield Hill
I found this book to be a good cross-over from tube theory to semiconductor theory. Though it is not focuseed primarily on radio, it will be a good introduction to modern electronics theory

Radio Handbook by William Orr
From the looks of this book, I could easily see it being used as a basic college level text book on modern radio theory. My copy is the 23rd edition published in 1997. From basic theory, through a much deeper understanding of radio theory, this book seems to have it all. I would like to find an earlier version that is tube based rather than semiconductor.

Recommended by Others

A Flick of the Switch: 1930-1950 by Morgan McMahon
A collector guide recommended by Gene A. Carter. Though I have been unable to locate a copy to review myself, the owner highly recommends it as a source of useful information on a variety of radios, TVs made in the US. This one may be hard to find.

Elements of Radio Servicing by Marcus & Levy
Although this book is available from time to time, Finding a copy at a reasonable price is a challenge. I had a copy in hand for a few days and found it to be a very desirable book for those interested in radio restoration and service. The first edition seems to be 1947, with versions as late as 1967. Look for one on eBay or through your local used book seller. (Update! I've located and ordered a copy for about $40.00 and will update this entry once I have a chance to review the book in more detail).

Fun Reads

The Boys First Book of Radio and Electronics by Alfred Morgan
Alfred Bester is well known for books aimed at adolescent boys and girls. Though write in 1954, It is a good first exposure to electricity, electronics, and radio. It was one of the first books I ever read on the subject, and was great fun for a young boy. Modern homebrew radio builders still use his design for a one tube regenerative receiver. Brings back great memories!

Harper's Wireless Book by A. Hyatt Verrill
When this book was published (1913) "wireless" was a wildly popular new development. Harper and Brothers published this book to answer the demands of hundreds of amateurs interested in creating their own radios. The first "wireless" developments happened in the 1890's, but regular broadcasts did not begin until 1919. In between, there were thousands of homebrew radio or "wireless" sets produced by many amateurs. This book is a great look at what was happening at the time. There are many line drawings and a few photos of early wireless sets. It may be difficult to locate, but is well worth the effort.



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