It's back, and it's better than ever! Here's "Version 2" of the popular Gakken Vacuum Tube Radio kit, which had been discontinued. This is a kit that allows you to put together a real, functional, vacuum-tube radio! It takes about two hours to assemble (according to the box) and runs on 5 9V batteries and 1 "C" battery (batteries not included). Instructions are in Japanese, but clearly illustrated; if you take care, you should be able to get through them without too much trouble. A note on the box points out that the vacuum tubes in this kit are refurbished items, and are about 30 years old; scratches on the surface of the glass are not considered defects.
Version 2 includes a pin straightener for the vacuum tubes, a testing microphone so you can make sure everything is hooked up correctly to produce sounds, rubber feet on the fiber board to minimize "howling," a variable condenser to allow for finer tuning, a recreation of 60-year-old circuits, and a more powerful transformer for better volume and sound quality. Relive the excitement of yesteryear with this adventure into the realm of vacuum tube radio!
Notes from a happy builder concerning Version 1: I put this kit together myself the other night. My Japanese skills are pretty minimal but by going slowly through the parts list and the instructions (which are very well illustrated), I had no problems. The most annoying part was detangling the antenna wire! Important to note: the only tool you'll need is a tiny screwdriver, which is included in the kit; also, there are two lengths of antenna wire included, and they are exactly the length you need to use, so measure carefully and do not cut the wire. The instructions say to leave a 30cm trailing end when you fasten the antenna wires to the Litz antenna frame, and that's exactly what you need to do. The hardest part of building the radio was connecting the wires correctly, but the illustrations in the instructions are very clear on which wires go where. Have fun building your own vacuum tube radio!
One of our loyal HLJ customers uploaded a cool video that he made of how he built the Vacuum Tube Radio Ver. 1 and how it operates to YouTube. Big thanks to Tom for the excellent video!