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Radio Survey: What to do?

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  • Radio Survey: What to do?

    I finally have a lot of little things sorted out on the Packard Hawk. Brake lights don't stay on, motor is running very smoothly now that I'm into fresh gas, its not overheating thanks to a new rad, and there are no rattles.

    The question is this: The top of the line radio - the 1958 signal seeking Wonderbar AM radio works OK, but sure doesn't sound that good and there don't seem to be as many AM stations around.

    What are people doing:

    (1) keeping it original;
    (2) putting in something that sounds a little better
    (2a) in the original hole
    (2b) underneath the dash
    (3) plugging a radio into the lighter.
    (4) something else. if so, what?

  • #2
    Im planning to run an underneath 8-track with a cd player hidden inside of it.
    1960 Lark VIII Regal Wagon

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    • #3
      There's a long lost technique of tuning these old radios. It's called "trimming the antenna". While I'm not familiar with that model radio, it must have a way of trimming the antenna. Most radios of that era have a screw behind the tuning knob...remove the knob and escutcheon and you might see a screw behind it...usually just above the shaft. If one isn't there, there should be a screw somewhere on the side of the radio casing.

      You set the tuner to a station (as strong a station as you can find) near 1400 on the dial. Then turn the trimming screw until you get the strongest signal you can...now the antenna is trimmed!

      Other possibilities...the antenna isn't grounded fully which can hurt the reception...the cable between the radio and the antenna is bad...the tuner might need a cleaning out with tuner cleaner.

      If you want to have a better radio installed, then you can leave the original in place and get a more modern unit with an underdash or in the glove box mount. Custom Auto Sound may well have a model to fit in the dash but I've heard many less than wonderful opinions on their quality.

      Another idea is to search Ebay for an FM converter...it installs easily, you get FM reception and it looks contemporary. You use the existing speaker so nothing else new is required beyond mounting it. I had an FM Converter in a '67 Dodge Charger I used to own and besides working well it got many comments from those who remember them and how it fit the era the car came from.
      Poet...Mystic...Soldier of Fortune. As always...self-absorbed, adversarial, cocky and in general a malcontent.

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      • #4
        I just finished painting my '64 Daytona, and I forgot to drill a hole for the antenna in the new fender! Since there is NOTHING on local A M, and I and NOT going to drill ahole in my new paint job, I am going to buy a set up that will allow me to play my IPod thru the in-dash radio. The unit is called RediRad, and basically lets you play your portable player thru the antenna feed. Since the music I like is on my IPod, this will work for me, and I can have the '60s speaker sound and tone.

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        • #5
          the earliest FM converter I found was dated 1959, all tube and a big chrome plated box that mounted under dash....looks very cool....I'd look for one of those and do the Redi-Rad.....anything with a head phone jack works, so a satellite radio receiver would work too.

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          • #6
            send your stock radio off to this guy,,,,

            http://www.garytayman.com/

            I've sent a couple off to him and have been really happy with the results. AM/FM Ipod using all your stock controls. Sound quality is excellent too.
            http://datinmanspeaks.blogspot.com/

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            • #7
              I'm lucky here in south jersey with a few good AM stations left. I enjoy the Ronettes and the front speaker. For long trips, we have a Bose thingy which links wirelessly with the iPod Keep your car original

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              • #8
                Originally posted by 55s View Post
                I finally have a lot of little things sorted out on the Packard Hawk. Brake lights don't stay on, motor is running very smoothly now that I'm into fresh gas, its not overheating thanks to a new rad, and there are no rattles.

                The question is this: The top of the line radio - the 1958 signal seeking Wonderbar AM radio works OK, but sure doesn't sound that good and there don't seem to be as many AM stations around.

                What are people doing:

                (1) keeping it original;
                (2) putting in something that sounds a little better
                (2a) in the original hole
                (2b) underneath the dash
                (3) plugging a radio into the lighter.
                (4) something else. if so, what?
                Maybe the old tuners just aren't as sensitive, but when I decided to pre-set the local traffic stations (AM) on my modern car, I decided to just scan AM. I was amazed at how many AM stations it picked up.
                Paul Johnson, Wild and Wonderful West Virginia.
                '64 Daytona Wagonaire, '64 Avanti R-1, Museum R-4 engine, '72 Gravely Model 430 with Onan engine

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                • #9
                  I would probably go with option 2b. I must admit though, that the AM/FM conversion to your stock radio would be the ultimate! (However it is costly IMO.)

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                  • #10
                    Trying to keep mine stock, I sent the original radio out for rebuild. Still haven't heard it sing, yet. My good old boy was pretty rough on the installation and probably knocked a tube loose. He did leave a 3/8 wrench in the bracket (doh). There is a really good radio shop in Barrie, Paul. He did my Acura, so I'll send him my Stude. Let me know if you want a radio pro to give you some options.
                    Dave Warren (Perry Mason by day, Perry Como by night)

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                    • #11
                      I had a local guy hook up an ipod jack in the radio for the 53. havent hooked it up in the car yet but it seems like it will work as prescribed. Looks and plays as original for judging but plug in the cord and you have all your favorite tunes at your fingertips.
                      Steve
                      sigpic

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                      • #12
                        The original signal seeking radio can be rebuilt to AM/FM and you can even get stereo if you add a speaker in the rear deck. The radio will look stock, but sound great when you turn it on. You will have to buy new, high-end speakers for it. The company that makes the kits is here

                        http://www.radiosforoldcars.com/stereoF.htm

                        and they have the dealer network listed on their website. These are the kits that I have been installing for several years and they work and sound great. The signal seeking system will still work and you will also have auxiliary inputs for iPod, or satellite, or CD player.

                        Gunslinger's advice is good with one exception. You trim the antenna on as WEAK a station you can find above 1400, not a strong station.

                        A car as nice as a Packard Hawk deserves to have the dashboard looking good. Putting an aftermarket radio in it would be a crime, IMO.
                        RadioRoy, specializing in AM/FM conversions with auxiliary inputs for iPod/satellite/CD player. In the old car radio business since 1985.

                        17A-S2 - 50 Commander convertible
                        10G-C1 - 51 Champion starlight coupe
                        10G-Q4 - 51 Champion business coupe
                        4H-K5 - 53 Commander starliner hardtop
                        5H-D5 - 54 Commander Conestoga wagon
                        56B-D4 - 56 Commander station wagon
                        60V-L6 - 60 Lark convertible

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                        • #13
                          Agree with Radio Roy. Also, what nobody here has mentioned yet is that the radio may be fine, but the old speaker(s) may have dried out, and developed a warped cone that drags on the magnet structure. That makes for a muddy sound and just kills the bass.

                          I'd recommend having the radio serviced by a good antique radio tech, and replace the speakers with high-quality new ones. You could have a jack added so that an iPod or other device could be played (in mono) through the radio's amp and speakers.
                          Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

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                          • #14
                            I've used s & M Electro-tech a few times, www.turnswitch.com out of Minnesota. Had great luck with them.

                            Jim
                            "We can't all be Heroes, Some us just need to stand on the curb and clap as they go by" Will Rogers

                            We will provide the curb for you to stand on and clap!


                            Indy Honor Flight www.IndyHonorFlight.org

                            As of Veterans Day 2017, IHF has flown 2,450 WWII, Korean, and Vietnam Veterans to Washington DC at NO charge! to see
                            their Memorials!

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                            • #15
                              Surprised no one mentioned this option: http://www.rediscoveradio.com/

                              It comes in 6 and 12V neg and positive ground. YOu can plug whatever you want into it and play it through your AM radio. Keeps everything stock and not chopped up and it a lot cheaper than a complete conversion.
                              Dan White
                              64 R1 GT
                              64 R2 GT
                              58 C Cab
                              57 Broadmoor (Marvin)

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