Swap Meet Meets Self Control

Today, I went to a swap meet (flea market, tag sale, street market, whatever) . It’s not that I needed anything, but I just decided to go and just walk around awhile to see “what was out”.

Well, I found exactly what I didn’t need, especially with the impending move, and I bought it.

There was a seller there with some old electronics parts and a R-388 receiver that was in fairly good condition. The receiver was untested, but complete and the seller had been marking the price down and down and down and then down some more. If the asking price had not been so cheap, I would not have had the cash in my wallet to buy it. But I had recently used the $60 “cash back” option when I last used my debit card at a store and, well, sometimes I have very weak self control. Sigh… 🙂

The Collins Radio Company made the receiver during the 1950s and gave it the model number of 51J-3. The US Army Signal Corps bought it for use in the military and gave it the designation of R-388/URR.

I haven’t had a chance to take it out of the cabinet to look at and I have fought the temptation to “just plug it in and see if it works”. Old radios can have parts that can fail after long periods of non-use and a failed part can cause damage to other parts in the radio, some that are not easily replaceable, so I need to be check things first.

Still, it’s neat old radio and the engineer geek in me finds it intriguing. I am looking forward to when we have moved and I have the electronics shop set back up again. For what it’s worth, 90% of the parts in the radio are fairly common items that I have in my collection of old parts, so unless there is something wrong with one of the more unusual parts, it shouldn’t be a big deal to fix…if it even needs to be fixed….radios made by Collins have a reputation for reliability.

As an aside, a few hours after I got back from the swap meet, I was at the grocery store and I noticed the store now has a box full of used books, where one can put a dollar into a can and take a book. In with the romance novels and stock market advice, circa 1970, I found a book with an interesting cover. “One Second After”. I put my dollar into the can and brought the book home. This book is a fictional account on the aftermath of an EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse) attack on the United States of America as told from the point of view of the townsfolk of a small North Carolina town.

I’ll let you, the reader, look up EMP on the web. The book is rather grim about how things devolve after the attack.

Connecting the two threads……this kind of radio, with no solid state, or computer stuff in it, is far more resistant, but not totally immune, to the effects of an EMP event. It seems odd that I would buy this radio, and then end up getting “that” book.

For what it’s worth, I hope the book’s depressing storyline never comes to pass. I’m much too old for such stuff.