Original vintage radio sets can be a great addition to your home but the price of a well looked after model and the specialized knowledge needed to repair them keep these retro shortwave radios out of range of most peoples disposable incomes.
Getting that vintage look is easy if you go for one of the many reproduction radios and with almost every era and radio type available there is a lot more instant choice than trying to find a “real” vintage set to suit your style. Although there are a mountain of these old style radios for sale at any given time many do seem to be thrown together without any thought for usability and the quality of the finish product.
The amount of reviews on the internet does mean that the bad apples are outed very quickly and reviews should be used as the first line of defense against buying a poorly designed shortwave radio.
The Classic Look
A radio made of plastic that looks like wood isn’t fooling anyone and may pass the wood test at a distance but anybody with at least one good eye is going to spot that plastic monster in a heartbeat when viewed close up.
A well turned out wood cabinet has a great look and feel along with the chance to treat it to match existing or future decoration whereas painted plastics look exactly as intended, painted plastic.
These traditional radios are for the most pretty basic affairs with AM, LW and FM band coverage with only a few embracing any modern audio options like MP3 compatibility or memory card record functions.
Not all our tastes in retro radio runs to the wooden beasts from the birth of home radio, some prefer the funky styles from the last 30 years. A black and silver mix with good sized dials were characteristics that began the “boom box” style of portable radio although thankfully they are now a good deal smaller and easier to carry.
Integration of modern technology seems to be more natural in portable 80,s style sets than the static wooden boxes. Most sets will come with a built in record faculty that will dump whatever your listening to onto a limited amount of internal memory but the true gems have an external memory slot fitted which allows the recording time to be greatly extended.
When you have a shortwave radio that will store hours of audio it does automate the listening process to some degree by allowing you to leave the set tuned into a semi active frequency and reviewing the results later on saving a whole lot of time sitting around listening to static.
Not only will exporting audio to MP3 give the option to play it back on many media devices but also gives the reverse and with a memory card loaded with your favorite songs turns the radio into a portable MP3 player.
The purists would say that these radios are far from the original item but if you want a good looking radio without the problems that come from trying to maintain and repair decades old technology a quality retro radio may just be for you.