Philips BX490A

Philips BX490A

This is obviously not one of the heavy-metal boatanchors typical of this webpage. However, it is tube type, covers long wave, BC, and 4 short wave bands, and has a story connected to it.

This Philips BX490A came to the USA with an immigrant family from the Netherlands. The Dutch radio was brought over because its power transformer could handle a variety of input voltages, including the 120 volts AC in the USA. However, it used tubes for which there are no American equivalents. Tubes are ECH21, two EAF42, EBL21, AZ1 and EM34. Several of the tubes are rimlock style. Those tubes look like American 7 pin miniature tubes but have an eighth pin where the American tube has a space. A metal band with a dimple on the tube is used to properly locate it in its unique socket.

Philips BX490A (13k) EAF42 tube

The Love Story

A number of years ago, this radio needed repair. Because of the strange tubes, no typical American radio shop could repair it. Therefore why not let the local seventeen year old kid from church whose hobby was electronics have a go at it? Couldn't hurt to let him try.

With a home-brew RF signal tracer probe connected to his home-brew hi-fi amplifier, the kid traced the circuit and found the problem, a bad capacitor. Replacing the cap fixed the radio. With his new driver's license, he drove to the immigrant family's house to return the radio. The family's tall thin 14 year old daughter took notice of the radio fixer. He didn't notice her until a few years later when she turned 18 at which time even a near-sighted nerd with thick glasses couldn't help but notice her.

He repaired the radio once more while they were engaged, substituting an American 6AV6 for the functional equivalent Dutch tube that had quit. A wafer tube socket was mounted above the original socket with wires going through the original socket pin openings and tack-soldered underneath. This was to allow easy reversal of the modification if the correct tube was located.

Some months before he passed away, my father-in-law gave me the radio, which is still working with the substitute tube after many years. His beautiful daughter and I have three tall sons.

The Hammarlund RBG-2 built for the Navy was the previous item on the bench.

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