Antique Radio Restoration

Radio RCA R7 Superette Restoration

The radio here described is the famous RCA R7 “Superette”, manufactured in 1931-32 by the great American manufacturer “Radio Corporation of America (RCA), and also sold in Italy thanks to Compagnia Generale di Elettricità (CGE), Milan.

As stated by the advertisement of the time, this was “The smallest great radio”: its features are indeed in no way inferior to the big and powerful console radios of its period, equipped with several tubes and mighty loudspeakers. The radio of this article, indeed, has all the characteristics of a console radio, but in a compact table case. 8 tubes are used, among which a push-pull output with two 45 tubes, and a huge loudspeaker capable of a really surprising volume. So, despite the compact size, the radio is very heavy.

Regarding the technical details, this is a superheterodyne with an intermediate frequency of 175 kHz, equipped with a separated triode oscillator (UX227), and with a radio frequency (RF) amplifier stage.

We have to note that this model has no automatic volume control, therefore if the radio is tuned to a weak station and than we move to a strong broadcaster, the latter will be playing with a strong volume. In order to get round this drawback, RCA introduced in later models (such as the RCA Victor Superette R8, described in an older restoration article) a tube for the automatic volume control, removing one of the two output tubes (and therefore reducing the output power) in order to maintain the same 8 tube chassis. In short, as mentioned, the radio has considerable power, sensibility and selectivity, and works well even with short antenna.

The only work needed for the repair were the replacement of the electrolytic capacitors of the power supply: incredibly, all the other paper capacitors were still in working order and could be left in their place. So, the lower part of the chassis still looks like nearly brand-new, if we don’t consider some cables which have been replaced in the course of the long life of this radio.

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