My trusted McMurdo 15-17

Well we may be upset that England was beaten by Italy, but the failure of my trusty McMurdo 15-17 radiogram trumps that lot.  You can imagine the heart sinking feeling when I went to play a few 45s, hearing a funny buzz and out went all the lights!

Now in fairness, I bought this set in 1995 from a lady in the East End of Londinium (gawd blimey luv a duck me old china etc…), it was her father’s pride and joy. I gave her 350 hard earned work units for it. We were both happy. My dear friend Steve Coronas had offered to pilot his Vauxhall estate machine, which just about held the radiogram after removing all the cars seats, engine and roof.  She shouted as we went to drive off, saying she had a spare chassis! Upon arriving home, I set about getting it going, doing the minimum to make it work so it would be safe to use. It was in it’s original 1937 state. Along with me, it was shipped to Spain and I have not touched it electrically since. It gets used for high days, weddings, bar mitzvahs and pissing the neighbours off.

At present, I would find it hard to walk the chassis down to my technical surgery, as the locals have decided to dig the road up to lay new pipes etc… I cannot get the car near the house. With work progressing at a pace which would make a 3 toed sloth look like Husain Bolt, I would be dead before I could fix the thing. So, surgery on the kitchen worktop. One can imagine how that went down.

With the 15 valve chassis perched next to the slow cooker, I really hoped that the mains transformer had not died. The cabinet and chassis showed signs that some mice had been doing a gnawingmost on the underside of the chassis. In fact several HT cables and a small electrolytic had been consumed. Bastards. Making repairs as best as possible in true field surgery fashion, I powered the chassis up with the current limiter. A reward of happiness was forthcoming. All back in the cabinet and with a couple of feet of wire, we had good reception and the record deck worked, albeit, needing a good service.

Time permitting, I will have to go through the chassis and replace all the nasty waxy type capdensors. Having said that, the ones I tested, shown no signs of being 500K resistors. The chassis, with it’s 15 valves and 12” energized loudspeaker sits there eating up 150 watts. That’s what we like. 137 guineas in 1937 says the invoice. 7,000 UK pounds in today’s dosh.  

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