RCA 98-T

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RCA 98-T

Post by Wildcat445 on Fri Feb 21, 2014 8:17 pm

I fixed a minor problem on a Magnavox console stereo for a friend of mine the other day.  He invited me to his shop with my car to tinker and tell car stories.  When I got there, he told me that he had something for me.  He gave me his old RCA 98-T that had been upstairs in his body shop for ever.  It was covered with that purple dust that body shops have, along with cobwebs and dead spiders.  After I blew it off, it is really not too bad.  8 tube transformer power supply chassis with P-P 6V6 output.  The sticker in the cabinet says it should have 6K6 for the output.  Another interesting thing about this radio is the Tempe Radio repair sticker on the chassis.  This was George Fathauer's shop before he started Antique Electronic Supply.  The caps in this radio appear original, as do all the coupling caps.  Hard telling what George did to this radio, but that sticker has to be over 30 years old.  The eye tube is too long and has cracked the plastic trim on the front.  A correct RCA 6U5 should be shorter and the plastic can be glued good as new.  Somebody has tried to refinish it and washed off the "RCA Victor" decal.  It is ugly outside, but really nice inside.  It needs one of everything, but barring something hinky going on, it should built out nicely.

Regards

WC


Last edited by Wildcat445 on Wed Mar 05, 2014 2:05 pm; edited 2 times in total

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Re: RCA 98-T

Post by willy3486 on Fri Feb 21, 2014 8:59 pm

Sounds like a nice gift. I am partial to RCA anyway. I don't remember how AES supply got started but its nice to hear the history of it being started by George Fathauer and about his shops name of Tempe Radio .

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Re: RCA 98-T

Post by Wildcat445 on Fri Feb 21, 2014 9:40 pm

This one might be for sale. I am trying to downsize. I do not need another radio. He was gonna pitch this one, since it was so nasty.

I remember going to George's shop in the early '80's. He always asked what I was working on and I could pick his brain if I got stuck. He had everything, and I do mean everything. I bought a signal generator and a tube tester from him for reasonable prices. He was a genuine radio guy, not a numbers cruncher. AES is NOTHING like it was when George had it. His son, George, Jr. worked with him for a while. If I ever needed something for a radio, George had at least on of whatever I needed.

Regards

WC

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Re: RCA 98-T

Post by Wildcat445 on Sun Feb 23, 2014 12:59 pm

I could not resist the urge to tinker with this radio. I need to downsize. I am not dead yet, so curiosity got the best of me.

I was cleaning on the front plastic bezel and found it cracked. I was digging around a bit to determine the extent of the damage when I found a "Westinghouse" sticker on the lower front of the bezel. This decal has largely been rubbed off, but there is enough left to tell what it is/or was. Could Westinghouse have sold a radio like this, perhaps built by RCA? Could this actually be a Westinghouse radio, sold by RCA? Is there a GE version of this radio? My guess on the age of this radio is about 1940, give or take. I don't have my Riders CD here, so don't have any information available.

I found another interesting feature. On the rear of the chassis, on the right hand side, there is the word "Confidential" in capitol letters, stamped in ink. It is pretty faint, but appears to be factory. I was cleaning things up a bit when I discovered this. Anybody have any ideas about this? Thanks.

Regards

WC

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Re: RCA 98-T

Post by Dr. Radio on Sun Feb 23, 2014 3:05 pm

Sounds like a neat set with some historical importance--maybe more with the founder of AES then the "confidential", but ya never know, could have been an engineering sample that actuall got put in a production cabinet.

If your Radio looks like this, then it is truly RCA, not Westinghouse.

http://www.rfcafe.com/references/electrical/rca-86t-restoration.htm

RCA's of this era used the most worthless plastic known to human kind as trim for the dial bezel. "Tenite" shrunk from heat and age, warped like crazy and cracked.

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Re: RCA 98-T

Post by Wildcat445 on Sun Feb 23, 2014 4:48 pm

Not even close. SOMETHING here is amiss. Mine has two chrome strips running in front of the grill. It has pushbuttons, and is three band, with a phono plug on the chassis. One of the pushbuttons is for phono (?). It only has two knobs. The tuning knob is behind the bandswitch knob on the right and the tone control is behind the power switch and volume control on the left. Mine is eight tubes with an eye tube above the volume control. The bezel is not tenite, it is plastic. The dial on mine is horizontal. Hmmmmm.

Regards

WC

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Re: RCA 98-T

Post by Wildcat445 on Sun Feb 23, 2014 4:56 pm

Doc, I owe you an apology. As you can see, I wrote the model number down wrong. I have done that before. It is a model 98-T. Now we can start over with the correct information. I just checked, and now it is right. Again, my apologies.

Regards

WC

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Re: RCA 98-T

Post by willy3486 on Sun Feb 23, 2014 5:41 pm

This one?
http://www.radioatticarchives.com/radio.htm?radio=8438

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Re: RCA 98-T

Post by Wildcat445 on Sun Feb 23, 2014 7:40 pm

That's it. That one is almost as nasty as mine. Pushbuttons are reproduced, fortunately. Mine are welded to the shaft they are supposed to turn on. The bezel is broken on one corner because the eye tube is an off-brand replacement, and it is too long. It pushed against the bezel enough that it broke it. The chassis on this thing is gorgeous. Somebody has tried to strip the finish and got about half of it off. The cabinet is in nice shape as far as veneer and that is concerned. All I know about it electrically is that the primary of the PT, the cord and the power switch all check good. There is some really stiff rubber wiring, but it is in good shape. Until I dig around in there changing caps, that is. All the caps including the e-caps are original. The 6K7 IF tube socket has been changed. To do that, someone had to remove the electronic tuning mechanism. All the tubes appear original except the 6U5 and the 6J5. It is a Triad 6J5GT. I should have RCA replacements for these. I know I saw someplace that those dial bezels are repopped, but I'll be switched if I can remember where. I thought RadioDaze, but apparently not. If I can replace the bezel and the pushbuttons, this thing should be a sweetheart. OH, yeah. This thing has both a 6V6GT and a 6K6G output tube, in push-pull. With a 6 inch speaker. Wonder how that worked. It should have two 6K6G's.

Regards

WC

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Re: RCA 98-T

Post by Bill Cahill on Sun Feb 23, 2014 9:17 pm

I need to see pictures, but, it sounds like somebody switched chassis's.
Westinghouse cabinet, and, RCA chassis.

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Re: RCA 98-T

Post by Dr. Radio on Sun Feb 23, 2014 9:28 pm

Wildcat,

No worries man. Too bad it wasn't the other (the incorrectly listed model), I really liked that design and thought maybe I could wheel 'n deal ya on that one  Very Happy 

The one you have still has the Tenite (which is a type of plastic) dial bezel. RCA really used that material (unfortunately) from about the mid 30s to the very end of the decade).

That radio will probably perform stellar after a lot of elbow grease and parts. RCA built a lot of stuff only an Engineer's Mother could love (in the looks dept), but the stuff was built like tanks and after a proper restoration and alignment (get rid of those black "throat logenze"  capacitors) it will bring in stations from far and near easy...and just "boom".
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Re: RCA 98-T

Post by Wildcat445 on Sun Feb 23, 2014 9:30 pm

I took pictures for documentation, but, of course, I can't post them. It for sure says Westinghouse on the bezel, under the pushbuttons. There are RCA stickers all over the inside of the cabinet. It is an RCA radio. Why there is a Westinghouse sticker on the bezel is anyone's guess. I got some pretty good pics if I can ever figure out how to post them. I have the bezel glued back together, but there is still a crack in the bottom. I thought I saw awhile back where those bezels were reproduced, but I can't find the website. The pushbuttons are $120 for a set of eight. That would be fine is I could find a new bezel. This thing is nice enough otherwise that I would spend that to make it look really good when I get it refinished. I wonder if someone found an equivalent Westinghouse radio and robbed the bezel and stuck it on the RCA radio. Who knows.

Regards

WC

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Re: RCA 98-T

Post by Wildcat445 on Sun Feb 23, 2014 9:33 pm

If there was ANY way, short of messing with one of those photo hosting sites, to post pics of this thing, I would. I simply am not smart enough to figure out those hosting sites. I have tried numerous times, and it ends in cussing and defeat. I give up.

Regards

WC

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Re: RCA 98-T

Post by Dr. Radio on Sun Feb 23, 2014 10:00 pm

Wildcat445 wrote:If there was ANY way, short of messing with one of those photo hosting sites, to post pics of this thing, I would.  I simply am not smart enough to figure out those hosting sites.  I have tried numerous times, and it ends in cussing and defeat.  I give up.

Regards

WC


WC,

Do you feel you would be able to e-mail pictures successfully???


I'd be willing to post the pics for you. You'd just have to e-mail me your pictures.....

Send me a private message if so inclined...
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Re: RCA 98-T

Post by Wildcat445 on Sun Feb 23, 2014 10:08 pm

I have no problem emailing pictures.  I just have trouble with photo hosting sites. Thank you for your kind offer. Pm sent.

Regards

WC

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Re: RCA 98-T

Post by Wildcat445 on Mon Feb 24, 2014 1:59 pm

The grille cloth is not original, and I don't know what the original stuff is supposed to look like.

This thing is one of those "tube count sells" radios. Basically a 5-tube set with a power transformer. It has an eye tube, a phase inverter and an extra output tube, otherwise is basically an AA5. They would have done better with an RF amplifier, and done away with P-P audio for a 6 inch speaker. The eye tube lays in a clamp, on top of the chassis, between the bezel and the 6Q7 tube shield. The 6U5 eye tube is a "United Electron" branded tube that is about 1/4" too long, so is jammed between the tube shield and pushes on the bezel. I could use a better bezel if anyone has one or knows who repops them.

Regards

WC

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Re: RCA 98-T

Post by Dr. Radio on Tue Mar 04, 2014 8:59 pm

Here's some pictures of Mr. Cat's radio. Looks like a really interesting set!










Repair Tag:





Mysterious "Confidential" ink stamp.....




Grill cloth as-found:




Mysterious bezel....it's factory....or is it? Can't be! "Westinghouse"......?




Close-up of range selector and tuning mode indicator:






Sorry for the wait WC ! Embarassed 
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Re: RCA 98-T

Post by Wildcat445 on Wed Mar 05, 2014 12:13 am

Thanks, Doc. Good job! What about that grille cloth? It is in good shape, but I'd bet it is not correct. 1725 West University Drive, in Tempe AZ was the home of AES a couple times. He moved to 588 West First Street for a time, then back to University Drive, then to the new facility where it is now. I had a website that I'm almost sure repopped the bezel on this radio. I thought it was RadioDaze, but I guess I am wrong. Does anybody know if it is reproduced by anyone. The pushbuttons are $120 a set. Think this radio is worth doing all that? The chassis on this thing is gorgeous.

Regards

WC

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Re: RCA 98-T

Post by Bill Cahill on Wed Mar 05, 2014 1:24 pm

Grill cloth is wrong, but, nice art deco radio with original chrome grills..
Bezel looks like it's off a Westinghouse. There was one model by them that had the same control set up. The give away was the blue plastic lens. RCA used a green plastic lens, Westinghouse, blue.
In spite of that, and, grill cloth, I'd say this radio is well worth saving. Very nice set....

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Re: RCA 98-T

Post by Wildcat445 on Wed Mar 05, 2014 2:10 pm

Thanks, Bill. I appreciate that information. Do you know if the bezel is reproduced, and, if so, by whom? P-P audio for a 6" speaker is a tad overkill, don't you think?

Regards

WC

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Re: RCA 98-T

Post by Dr. Radio on Wed Mar 05, 2014 7:30 pm

Bill-

Glad you chimed-in. I saw the other examples on the internet of this RCA and figured the lens was just faded, but as you said, if Westinghouse used a blue lens, then it all makes sense.

WC-

This is gonna be a "labor of love" type thing. It's definitely not a "flipper" radio you redo and then try to make money, but it has some interesting character and I think in your mind it is worth the $$$ to spend on reproduction/replacement parts.

It's an RCA. I've said it before and I'll say it again, many of their designs are "utilitarian" that only an engineer's mother could love, but they really perform. Those chrome bars stand out. If you go through this one and carefully align it, I can just about guarantee you won't even notice the fact there is no RF amp stage.

Also, it appears the IF cans are missing there top covers. I have extras. I'll put them in my "Save for Wildcat" pile.

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Re: RCA 98-T

Post by Bill Cahill on Thu Mar 06, 2014 1:28 pm

Yep. They are missing. Why didn't I notice that??
As stated, it will not be a big bucks radio, but, is worth restoring.
No repros of bezel are made that I'm aware of.....
I'd repair what's there.

Wish it were my set. I like it.

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Re: RCA 98-T

Post by Wildcat445 on Thu Mar 06, 2014 2:26 pm

I don't flip anything. I put three times more money into it than it is worth, then let somebody else worry about what to do with it after I am dead and gone. I like the set, so I'm going to fix it. And it thank you both for your kind words. I did not know about missing covers for the IF cans, and appreciate your saving some for me, Doc. I have glued and repaired the top corner of the bezel, and the lower crack will just have to be a part of its character. The frau does not like the grille cloth, so it's going. She does grille cloth. I am going to finish stripping the cabinet, then I'll refinish it. Probably in a hue heading toward mahogany. Wonder if I filled the lower crack in the bezel, and then painted the bezel, how that would look? What color should it be painted, if I choose to go that route? Thanks, again, for your input on this.

Regards

WC


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Re: RCA 98-T

Post by Bill Cahill on Thu Mar 06, 2014 2:33 pm

Painted bazel  bad idea. Cabinet should be done in a medium walnut finnish, Gloss lacquer.

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Re: RCA 98-T

Post by Wildcat445 on Thu Mar 06, 2014 2:57 pm

How should I fix that crack?  How do I hide it where the repair will not show? Replacing the pushbuttons will require extra care. They are all frozen to the shaft they pivot on, and that bezel has been in the Arizona heat for too long. It us uber-brittle. Just removing the shaft, once the pushbuttons are removed will be an exercise in patience.

Regards

WC

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Re: RCA 98-T

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