Friday, April 5, 2013

Bush Radio and its Magic Eye

Since it required some serious dusting, I brought down the Bush Radio from the shelf.  It had become a display model in the living room above the TV.  It is in working condition but we are not in condition to work it!  TV [and now internet] has pushed the radio away in spite of us having no cable TV.   The FM stations are trying to revive it but the charm of shortwave and medium wave listening can never be compared.

I wanted to capture some pictures of the radio and my favourite 'magic eye' it has.  I have always looked at it straight 'in the eye' ever since I can remember and thousands of times more when I pursued my hobby of shortwave listening [which is in a separate post] for many years.  It is a great delight to watch the green light that danced depending on the signal and audio.  What is a magic eye?  See here [click].

Magic Eye.  Left - output is not strong.  Right - output is very good. See the difference?
With the proper electric supply of 240 volts in earlier decades, the Magic Eye was beautiful to watch with the green indicators bright and dancing.  Nowadays, we are not supplied the full 240v. As such, the magic eye appears dim. 

This is the best I could capture the magic eye in action. Click here.

Bush Radio, EBS 51, 8 bands.  Good band spread.

Oribinal print on top of the plywood cabinet.

Control knobs.  

Back cover, cracked and screws missing except one when it came back from Adam Khan's shop.  Read text below.


Connected to mesh antenna.

Set serial number.

Transformer voltage options!  Set to 230v.

Vacuum tubes - 5 in number - ECH 80, ECH 81 et al.

A vacuum tube.

Speaker that gives nice audio.

Close up of fine copper wire mesh antenna which is about 3 metres long.  

I have heard that this Radio was bought through my grandfather's reputed client "Salar Masood Sahib and Sons" in 1958.  Or was it a gift from them, I am not too sure.  It appears to be a 1957 model released by Bush.  I have grown up with this. Only my father or aunt was operating it.  In those days radios were kept on a high shelf out of reach of children.  The antenna [shown above] was erected at the top most place of the high ceiling.  Higher meant better for 'catching' the radio waves for good 'reception'. 

My father would summon his good friend Adam Khan when Bush cried for repair.  He was an expert.  For simple things he would come home and rectify.  But for more complicated issues, he would ask us to send it to his shop, where he would keep for months and years.  The last this happened was 35 years ago and it stayed for two years with him until he had to yield to my pestering.  

Again, the vacuum tubes needed replacement.  One Rajappa whom I knew, did it when the tubes were still available though with difficulty. He kept it for some months before giving me back the working radio.  This was the last, 15 years ago.  Touch wood, it has remained in working condition.  If any of the tubes stop working, that will be the end. So far so good.


Susan Hirneise Moore said...

Lovely, Dinu! Another wonderful post on your MM blog!

jothi's jottings said...

Truly there was something magical about the 'magic eye'

Trevor said...

I am a radio collector and also own a Bush EBS 51. The set was bought new by my Father early in 1957, and was given to me as a teenager in 1970. My set was used in conjunction with an active tuned antennae pre-amp [termed a preselector[constructed from the UK Practical wireless magazine] and an outdoor aerial-and pulled in some good DX catches. My set looks similar to your picture excepting mine doesn't have the'magic eye'and the exterior woodwork is of a darker teak imitation colour. Radio still in working condition. I agree that the audio is good.

Dinakar KR said...

Thanks Trevor. Very nice to know that your EBS is also in working condition.

Raj Vadi said...

Brought back memories of the Pye Radio set we used to own, with a different kind of "magic eye" same concept however. I also recall a Radio Receiver License that the Indian Government used to issue, with the fees paid in revenue stamps :)

There was a reason that the radio set was out of reach of the kids, it had metal chassis that operated with lethal voltages i.e., full line voltage of 240 volts.

I also got a few jolts when touching that wire gauze antenna/aerial when I was an experimenting kid, as Trevor mentioned, trying to DX remote stations with outdoor antennas/aerials.

All I have now is wistful nostalgia of this set, I think it was junked when I was in my early teens, as the brand new "transistor radio" arrived :)