BiState Vintage Radio Repair, LLC, offers repair and refurbishment service on all makes and models of antique console, tabletop, CB, and ham radios that were made before approximately 1970. BiState is also ready and able to service your vintage guitar or PA amplifiers. If you have anything old and electric that's not working, BiState Vintage Radio Repair, LLC, may be able to help. We have successfully repaired vintage Mixmasters, lamps, and a Model T and other classic car radios.
Sorry, we're not equipped to accept credit/debit cards. We're VINTAGE; we accept VINTAGE payments in cash. As technological as we get is accepting checks, money orders, or winning lottery tickets.
PLEASE NOTE: Some internet search engines indicate that we accept credit cards, but this is incorrect. As you know, they can't put it on the internet if it's not true. (That's a JOKE!! We're being facitious!) But, then again we didn't put it on the internet, and we're too vintage to know how to fix it!
If you're considering if a repair/restoration is worth it, especially thinking the repair costs more than the unit did originally (without taking into account inflation) please consider this:
A CONVERSATION ABOUT PERCEIVED VALUE:
A customer asked a contractor friend of mine how much it would cost to do this project.
My friend gave him a proposal: $4500
The customer responded: That’s seems really high.
My friend asked: What do you think is a reasonable price for this job?
The customer answered: $2500 maximum
My friend responded: Ok, then I invite you to do it yourself.
The customer answered: I don't know how to.
My friend responded: Alright, then how about for $2500 I'll teach you how to. So besides saving you $2000, you'll learn valuable skills that will benefit you in the future.
The customer answered: Sounds good! Let’s do it!
My friend responded: Great! To get started, you are going to need some tools. You will need a chop saw, table saw, cordless drill, bit set, router, skill saw, jig saw, tool belt, hammer, etc..
The customer answered: But I don't have any of those tools and I can't justify buying all of these for one job.
My friend responded: Ok. Well then for an additional $300 I can rent my tools to you to use for this project.
The customer answered: Okay. That’s fair.
My friend responded: Great! We will start the project on Monday.
The customer answered: I work Monday through Friday. I’m only available on the weekends.
My friend responded: If you want to learn from me then you will need to work when I work. This project will take 3 days so you will need to take 3 days off work.
The customer answered: That means I’m going to have to sacrifice my pay for 3 days or use my vacation time!
My friend responded: That’s true. Remember, when you do a job yourself you need to account for unproductive factors.
The customer answered: What do you mean by that?
My friend responded: Doing a job completely from start to finish includes time spent to plan the project, pick up materials, travel time, gas, set up time, clean up, and waste disposal amongst other things. That’s all in addition to the actual project itself. And speaking of materials, that’s where we will start on Monday so I need you to meet me at the lumberyard at 6:00am.
The customer answered: At 6am?!! My work day doesn’t usually start until 8am!
My friend responded: Well then you’re in luck! My plan is to start on the deck build by 8am. But to do so we have to start at 6am to get materials picked up, loaded and delivered to your job site.
The customer answered: You know, I’m realizing that a lot more goes in to a job than what a customer sees in the finished project. Your proposal of $4500 is very reasonable. I would like you to handle the project.
When you pay for a job, especially a custom job (and they're ALL custom jobs--no two repairs are alike), you pay not only for the material and the work to be completed. You also pay for:
- Knowledge (BiState's owner and technician has over 40 years doing this work)
- Custom Skills
- Tools (Testing equipment, repair equipment, and more)
- Time to plan (including searching cyberspace for schematics, specs, and parts)
- Time to prepare
- Work Ethic
- Licenses (business licenses and FCC radio technician licenses)
If you request a proposal for custom work to be done, please don’t disrespect a service provider by trying to get them to lower their prices.
If their proposal exceeds your budget, there’s nothing wrong with getting other proposals.
Just remember, you get what you pay for.
SERVICE PROVIDERS: Know your worth and be confident in it.
CONSUMERS: Recognize their worth and be respectful of it.
This (left) is humor.
This (below) is real.
Estimates for total cost (including parts) will be $35. Gary will provide an estimate before work begins. If you approve the repair, the item will be put in the queue for the workbench. If you decline, a non-refundable $35 estimate charge applies.
Each unit is individual and unique and requires a unique repair. Gary's experience enables him to estimate how much time each restoration will require, and the parts needed for each unit will differ. Cost for refurbishment will vary for each electronic piece depending on the requirements for that repair.
How much is my radio worth? What would my phonograph be worth if I get it fixed?
Sorry, we are not appraisers. Some pieces are collector's items and some are not. Value depends on what something is worth to someone. Generally we advise people that if the radio has not been meticulously restored and unless it is an especially rare or collectible item, if someone offers you $25, take the money and run.
Why does it seem like the repairs are expensive?
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) no longer requires that technicians who repair radios be licensed and certified. However, our technician, Gary, does possess these qualifications, which includes a First Class Radio-Telephone license. Gary continually keeps his knowledge and skills updated by maintaining membership in The Radio Club of America (RCA) and the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) (which produces a monthly magazine), and he is also a member of the Quarter Century Wireless Association by maintaining at least 25 continuous years as an active amateur radio operator (commonly known as a ham).
The training and testing that Gary completed were not easy. Membership in the Radio Club of America (RCA) includes rigorous vetting to ensure members are serious professionals that are interested in and capable of making improvements in the radio field.
We have had HiFis, consoles, stereos, and more brought to BiState Vintage Radio Repair after being serviced by someone else. Sometimes a unit is brought in for repair after someone has tried to "fix" it him/herself. These repairs require undoing the "fix" that didn't work, and then starting over to discover and repair the actual problem. We have discovered unsafe wiring splices, grease and lubrication applied over dust and dirt without cleaning, and numerous other various quick, but short-lasting, fixes (that didn't fix the problem at all). The service you receive from BiState Vintage Radio Repair is neither quick nor short lasting.
You are paying for this service, training, and skill. This isn't Emmit's Fix-It Shop in Mayberry. You are paying for the best possible repair and refurbishment that can be done on your radio or phonograph. (Also see above example conversation.)
Examples of work that almost always needs to be done to an old radio and/or record changer (phonograph), even if it's been well taken care of, include:
· new power cord
· replacement of wax-encrusted paper-type capacitors
· full general cleaning
· idler (drive) wheel
· cam wheel
· RF & IF alignment
· changing resistors that are out of tolerance
· replacement of any other components as required
· replacing tube sockets as needed
· replacing components such as power transformers or IF transformers
· rewinding (by hand) oscillator and RF coils
· replacing as needed dial cover, speakers, knobs, grill cloth fabric
Your vintage piece will receive more of a restoration than a mere repair.
(See our Before and After page.)
This is painstaking, time consuming, and thorough.
When your item leaves here, it will be BETTER than new! When it was new, it was assembled on a conveyer belt or assembly line. Your phonograph or radio will be given individual tender loving care.
This is how Philo made radios in the 1930s and '40s:
Model 048 Set Testers being assembled, Philadelphia, 1933.
This is how Philco serviced radios in the 1930s and '40s:
This is how Gary services Philco radios and all the other brands that he works on:
Gary works on one piece at a time, by hand and by himself. He accesses components by reaching into a console, not by assembling them before the cabinet is built around them.
Public domain images acquired from the Philco Radio Historical Society/philcoradio.com and used with permission.
Labor rate is $60 per hour.
Parts are an extra charge and subject to 7.35% sales tax.
Work is guaranteed for 30 days from the date that the customer picks up the unit. EXCLUSION: Turntable motors are cleaned, lubricated, and checked for correct operation, but they are NOT rebuilt. Therefore, turntable motors are not included in the warranty. EXCEPTION: If a Voice of Music (VM) turntable motor needs repair, that can usually be accomplished and will have a 15-day warranty.
The owner of the electronics is responsible for pickup and delivery arrangements. Sorry, we don't have the capacity for house calls. Any piece that has not been picked up 90 days after notification of completed refurbishment will be considered abandoned.
NOTHING LEAVES THIS SHOP UNLESS
IT IS IN
METICULOUS WORKING ORDER!
Repairs are done to a degree that we would want the item in our own home.
For items newer than approximately 1970, please contact our friends at Alpha-Tech in St. Louis, Missouri. 314-645-5250
We also do NOT repair jukeboxes of any age.
For jukebox repair, please contact our friends at
Grand America Jukebox.
We do not work on cell phones or flat screen televisions of any age.
We were recently told by a customer she had her flat-screen repaired at
Tru-View TV Service in East St. Louis, Illinois (618-294-9402). We are not endorsing this business and have no further information, but provide this contact as a resource.
For computer-based or digital CBs,
please call our friends at The CB Shop in St. Charles, Missouri, conveniently located off the frontage road at the Zumbuhl exit. Call them at 636-946-7768
A WORD ABOUT
PHONOGRAPHS & TURNTABLES
After WWII, Columbia Records worked on developing a new kind of Long-Playing record (LP) that played at 33 1/3 revolutions per minute (RPM). RCA developed a competing format in a 7 inch record that played at 45 RPM. In 1948, these new recordings were introduced and record player manufacturers scrambled to accommodate consumers. The new formats were considered a "fad" and not expected to last. Some companies, notably Zenith and Philco, introduced versions of record players that had two tone arms--one to play 78s and one to play LPs and 45s. Consumers liked the new formats; 45s were preferred for juke boxes because they were easier to use with the mechanisms. In the 1950s and '60s, most record players, stereos, HiFis and so forth came with a multi-speed turntable for playing 78s, LPs, 45s, and sometimes 16 RPMs.
If you have a pre-1950 record player that you would like to have repaired/restored, we would like you to consider replacing the older 78-only turntable or the record changer with two tone arms with a vintage but newer Voice of Music turntable/record changer. The cost to restore an older player that will only play 78s will be approximately the same as replacing it, which will be approximately $300. The advantages include:
- Voice of Music (VM) turntables are very reliable
- A VM will provide better quality sound and a more enjoyable audio experience
- Parts and information about all things VM are readily available by the owner of the brand
- The retrofitted VM will be rebuilt and as good as--or better than--new
- In the unlikely event your replacement VM breaks down, repairs are easier
- We are a recommended repair station for VM units by the owner of the VM brand
Your replacement VM will have an age-appropriate look as your original but will be much more reliable and useable.
We never require a retrofit with a VM record changer/record player/turntable/phonograph, but we encourage it. The decision is yours, but please give it consideration.
Restoration of your wood cabinet is also
available separately and upon request.
Radio/Phonograph Cabinet Refinishing may be arranged by an independent cabinet refinishing expert, with whom we have worked for a long time and who will treat your cabinet with the same care we treat your electronics. All cabinet refinishing will be done at the refinisher's location. This separate service includes:
- color and luster as close to original as possible, unless otherwise requested
- restoration of broken or missing ornamentation
- replacement of veneer (as needed)
- careful hand sanding and refinishing