Over the years I have owned a variety of different radios, from the small transistor bought by my grandma for me to one of the latest WiFi receivers. Some have been excellent, some have been good, and some have been very bad!
Moving at 12 years old to an old cottage with my mum we discovered an Sobell Fidelio had been left there and this radio provided many hours of enjoyment for me. It was the radio I first heard Radio Northsea International on in 1974 and Radio Caroline on in 1975. Happily I still have this radio, although it no longers works, but I have been in touch with someone that thinks he can fix it for a reasonable cost, so one day we might get it functioning again.
Interesting photos and info on the Fidelio here
The first radio I actually owned myself was afore-mentioned small no-name transistor set bought as a present by grandma. I remember it having a black plastic housing with a bit of pretend wood style embellishment. I recollect a faux leather sleeve and strap as well. It was a basic MW/LW/FM set with an telescopic aerial and ran off a battery.
A year or two later and my mother seeing my growing interest in radio very kindly bought me a Vega Selena B210.
These veritable beasts were heavy, power sucking monsters in a wooden case. But they sounded fantastic and had great SW coverage. I ended up owning at least three varieties of the Selena, and still have one to this day, although it needs some work on it if it is to function properly again.
The trend for ghetto blaster type systems saw me purchase a couple over the years, although I did tend to go for the more restrained models. One particular one I owned had excellent sound quality and, rare for the time, had a line-in stereo RCA socket for an external source, so I used it as a studio monitor when recording radio programmes.
The advent of digital SW radios in the late 80’s saw me buy a Sangean ATS-803 which was an excellent radio. Being what was termed a DXer/SW Listener I spent many happy hours trawling the bands for pirate and foreign stations. It was still going strong many years later when I swapped it for some computer equipment from a friend.
I inherited a venerable Bush TR82 radio from my father some years back. It was a mainstay in our house as I grew up. Some years ago I was in the Trago Mills store in Newton Abbott and I came across the updated version of this set which had the addition of VHF/FM as one of the major selling points. At about 30 pounds, I thought it worth a gamble. It’s not a bad set, but not as solid or as good sounding as the original set, but it looks the part, so it’s now in the collection. Go here for an excellent, if critical, review of the reproduction version
Where do we start with this genre of radios?
The one thing I can say is that the reliability of these receivers is utterly appalling. I have owned seven in total, six have failed not long after their respective warranties finished. These are the failed brands: Roberts, Oxx, Bush, Clarus and Marks & Spencer.
The one still functioning set is Lidl’s Silvercrest SMRS 30 A1.
I have had my fingers burned so much by internet radios that I will not buy another one. I instead connect a smartphone to a Bluetooth speaker, or an external amplifier and speakers when required.
The Internet Radio Forum is a helpful place for users, it can be found here.
A friend’s radio
Visiting a friend one day they showed me this Roberts radio, silly me forgot to note the model, but what is it interesting is that the dial screen features Virgin Radio & Atlantic 252.