Why I became an Antique Radio Man

 

antique zenith radio

Tony Bartunek

  Born in Czechoslovakia, the earliest memory I have of hearing radio was at the age of 2,  watching my grandfather with his ear pressed against a small Philips antique radio listening to BBC London, broadcasting on short waves in the Czech language. This was during the German occupation, and later I learned that the penalty for listening to BBC was a firing squad.

  After the communist takeover of the country,  the only radio stations available to the public were broadcast by the communists celebrating the "victories" of the working  class over "Imperialism". I did not know then that anyone found listening  to BBC was arrested and sent to labour (concentration) camp for 15 years for "re-education".

  My fascination with the sounds of radio began at the age of 8 in 1951 when I built my first radio, a crystal radio set. As a teenager I continued to build radio sets.

  After studying for 4 years in Czech Republic, I received a degree as a Radio/TV technician. Then  when I came to Canada,  I received advanced degrees at Radio Electronics Schools of Canada (RETS),  National Radio Institute (NRI)  in Washington and finally an electronic Engineering Technology degree at Capitol Radio Institute (CREI)  in Washington.

  As of this writing, I have 53 years experience as an electronic technician, having worked in Czech Republic, Austria and Germany on radios,  auto radios and televisions. Forty of these years have been in Canada.

  When the communistic system fell in Czech Republic, I returned for a visit and brought back the same radio my grandfather listened to. It took me one week to restore the smashed cabinet and repair the electronics inside. The radio now sits on display in our showroom, in perfect working condition, but not for sale.  Its  picture is in my "restoration projects".

  We now have our own store specializing in repairs,  restorations and sales of all types and makes of European, German, Canadian and US made antique  auto radios, car radios, vintage radios, old tube-type radios, consoles, table and floor model radios, antique TV's and related electronic tube-type equipment like Hi-Fi amplifiers, tuners, juke box amplifiers from  1920-1960. Any makes - from Addison to Zenith, from Blaupunkt to Telefunken.  We have a showroom displaying over 100 different types of antique radios, automobile radios, early televisions, gramophones, crystal radios and other related equipment.

  This is a full time job and it is a pleasure for me to do. It is always challenging  and rewarding  to repair an 80 year-old radio, which was sitting in an attic for years, to hear it play again and have the customer say: "This radio has been in my family for two generations. I remember as a little boy when my grandfather was listening to it and have always wanted to have it restored.  Now it works again!"

  I believe that my ability to repair electronics is a gift from God.  Not only is it a life-long hobby but also, thank God, a profession I love to do - not as much for the money, as for the smiles.

" The LORD had promised good to me, His word my hope secures, He will my shield and portion be, as long as life endures."

Update Jan 29/09:

The history repeats itself. Right now, in order to hear the truth, I listen to Shortwave radio like my grandfather and father did. You will not hear the truth on CNN or on TV. Try to get it on your antique Zenith console radio or Zenith shortwave radio!

 

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