Vesta Vixen mid 60'...
 
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Radio Vesta Vixen mid 60's pocket transistor.

 
sideband
(@sideband)
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Bit of a change for me! I normally only collect 30's, 40's valve radios and a few early transistor sets the criteria here being that they use Germanium transistors. Well this little Vesta uses germaniums and....it was the first transistor radio that I actually bought with my saved-up pocket money. They were sold by Woolworths and I remember seeing one of these in the window as I walked past. I decided to save my pocket money and buy one....£5-19s-6d, (£5.95p in todays money). This was in the summer of 1966 when I was 13. At that time, MW was littered with various offshore pop pirate stations, the likes of Radio Caroline, Radio London, Radio City, Radio England, Britain Radio, Radio 390 (although that one wasn't pop music).....there were loads of them. When I had saved up the necessary cash I proudly came out of Woolworths with my purchase and before I had got to the exit, I had fitted the four batteries (they are known as AA now but I think they were U14 back in the day) and eagerly switched it on. As I came out into the sunlight, the sound of 'Swingin' Radio England' came through after a quick adjustment of the tuning. I walked home listening to that little radio and was pleased that all the pop pirates could be tuned in easily and settled on my favourite Radio Caroline.

So that's the background to acquiring this little Vesta.....so many memories of those carefree days and those sounds coming from (mainly) the North Sea and rusty ships and forts. The set didn't work when I got it and when I opened it up I was surprised to see it fitted with Mullard transistors, three AF117, OC81D and two OC81. I know the original that I had was fitted with different types in keeping with it's 'Empire Made' origin. Anyway as expected, a tap of the mixer transistor brought some life to the set. It didn't sound very good but at least it was doing something. As I have a number of AF127 transistors, I just fitted one in place of the original AF117 and I then had working radio....of sorts. The output sounded somewhat thin and tinny but not actually distorted. I decided to have a quick check of the electrolytics with the ESR meter and the second one I checked was virtually OC. There was a little circuit stuck inside the back cover and this capacitor revealed itself the be the audio coupling to the base of the driver OC81D. I fitted a new 10uF 16V and when I switched on, the sound had been transformed. The set was very lively and actually sounded quite good for a small pocket radio. 

Now 6 months later and over the last few weeks, the set had become unstable and tuned everything in with a whistle. The other day it was unusable so it went back on the bench again. A quick check with the ESR meter showed that ALL the electrolytics (except the one I'd changed 6 months ago) were now completely OC. I spent half an hour or so fitting new capacitors. When I switched on, the radio was working really well, no instability and I think much better than after the first repair. 

I think there are a few of these about. This one brings back memories and can still receive Radio Caroline......!

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There is a little damage to the plastic casing but I have the pieces and intend to glue them back carefully with polystyrene cement.

 

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Topic starter Posted : 31/01/2022 10:54 pm
Lloyd, AmRadioFan, Cathovisor and 4 people liked
Cathovisor
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Posted by: @sideband

..£5-19s-6d, (£5.95p in todays money).

<mode='pedant'>

Errr... £5.97 and a half 😉

</mode>

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Posted : 01/02/2022 2:20 pm
AmRadioFan
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@sideband 

That was a major purchase in 1966, about £118 at 2022 prices. 

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Posted : 01/02/2022 7:48 pm
Katie Bush
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Posted by: @sideband

I think there are a few of these about. This one brings back memories and can still receive Radio Caroline......!

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Back in the day when;  "Comes complete with leather carrying case" probably meant actual, real, leather.

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Posted : 02/02/2022 4:15 pm
Sundog liked
sideband
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Posted by: @katie-bush

Back in the day when;  "Comes complete with leather carrying case" probably meant actual, real, leather.

I'm not sure but I'll look later. I seem to recall something like 'Real Hide' being stamped inside the leather case. 

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Topic starter Posted : 02/02/2022 5:15 pm
sideband
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Posted by: @sideband
Posted by: @katie-bush

Back in the day when;  "Comes complete with leather carrying case" probably meant actual, real, leather.

I'm not sure but I'll look later. I seem to recall something like 'Real Hide' being stamped inside the leather case. 

See picture.......

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Topic starter Posted : 02/02/2022 8:34 pm
Katie Bush
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I thought it might be! I am suitably impressed.

Nowadays, you'd at best get a case made of thin card, or compressed fibre, covered in a less than realistic plastic sheet with a mock leather pattern embossed into it.

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Posted : 02/02/2022 8:48 pm
sideband
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Well the leather carry strap is broken but a suitable replacement can probably be found on any number of second-hand bags in charity shops etc. I'm not too bothered about the strap but I'll keep looking for possible donors.

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Topic starter Posted : 03/02/2022 11:37 am
Nuvistor
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My first radio was built from a scrap set, around 1959/60. Gutted the chassis and used parts that were ok, tuning gang, speaker etc to build a battery valve TRF with reaction. Just MW/LW but it worked extremely well. A decent bedside radio for Radio Luxembourg.

The scrap set would probably have been repairable but it was a mains powered set and that was vetoed by my dad.

However about the same time in science class at school the science teacher gave me a mains radio to look at, I had completed the lesson and he didn’t want idol hands. He was a little shocked when after cleaning up switches and valve bases Radio Canada came in loud on and clear on SW with a length of wire for the aerial. Unfortunately the classes disrupted and he didn’t do that again. However he saw the funny side. 

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Posted : 03/02/2022 1:06 pm
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Sundog
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AF117s were pretty trendy at that time. My portable set (Perdio mini 66) of that era used OC44 and OC45s. I was somewhat annoyed that the sensitivity was poorer that the so called 'cheap Japanese' radios that some of my friends had. But it did pull in the stations I wanted.

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Posted : 05/02/2022 9:12 pm