Sunday, November 23, 2014

Business Radio Finds | Philips, Tait & Pye Vintage Sets

So I've developed a bit of an obsession for vintage two way radio sets from the 1970's - 1990's and keep bagging bargains off of eBay. I've bought a few sets recently pretty cheap and they've been listed as not working and in most cases this has been true. I've bought them and had a play around with them when they've been delivered and had a good look at them. I keep the keepers and then I resell the sets
that are useless. I sell them as they were bought; as spares and repairs. I've sold them mainly to radio collectors and rig doctors who can get them working again. I've managed to make my money back every time so I can comfortably keep on buying sets purely out of interest. As I said, they have all been bargains and have not cost much at all.

Pye Pocketfone:

I bought two sets of these as part of a job lot of agricultural business radios. One set operated on 72mhz low band and the other set were high band. They came with everything listed in this entry. Each pair came with a mains powered charger unit which seemed to work. Each radio had a leather case and the whole lot had seen better days but if it wasn't for the fact the batteries were long dead I think they would have worked fine.

I put them on eBay soon after and after the auction ended I asked the buyer (a licensed amateur) to give me an update of how he got on with the radios when he received them.

A few days later he emailed me and confirmed that two radios were indeed low band and the other two high band, and all basically worked, when powered up directly to the battery studs on the base of the radios. The batteries were dead, but can be recelled fairly easily, with modern 
high capacity AAA cells. The chargers did light up as they did for me, but  he had not yet checked what actually comes out of the charging studs, as they all have a lot of verdigris on them and were in need of new contacts. He also said he had a few spare modules from this series of radios, so there was a reasonable chance of getting them going. 

In service, they were the end of an era for Pye, and were not as reliable as the earlier Pocketfone series but it was great to own these for a while as they are a nice vintage piece of kit but it is even better to see them given a new lease of life by someone with a lot more technical ability than me.

Philips PR710:

In the same batch of radio gear was a set of these Philips PR710 handhelds both complete with charging bases. The PR710 was a synthesised multi-channel hand-held transceiver, originally intended at the specification and planning stage to be the replacement for the PFX.  The product design evolved to use a large rugged case and was marketed for tough commercial applications, rather than Police use. Like the above Pocketfone's, these were programmed to 72mhz and with no way of programming and the fact that the batteries were dead and only one radio powered on, I decided to sell these on eBay as spares and repairs. The contacts in one radio were ruined but had they been working, I have since found all the information online to programme these. These came with massive aerials due to being low band VHF. Another nice peice of kit from 1989!

Philips P1002:

I got these FM UHF transceivers most recently as part of a house clearance. There is very little info online about these radios but I assume they are from the early 1990's. They came in two pairs each with its own mains charging unit. The chargers worked but the same old story with the batteries... dead. They no longer hold more than a few minutes charge and the low power triggers an error message making the radio useless. They are programmed to one channel; 169.1625mhz with a CTCSS tone of 118.8.

The radios consist of a plastic and metal body and are quite weighty. Each has a screw on BNC sized connector that I haven't seen before and a pin port on the top for a microphone. The keypad is useless presumably due to the fact that they have been programmed to one channel so the keypad is not needed. The display had a nice orange backlight for the LCD display. Another fine example of vintage radios but again no real use to me and I don't have the space to house all these radios so I sold them on eBay as spares and repairs. I should just learn to recell batteries to save the heartache of letting radios like this go!

Tait Orca 5000:

I picked these up in the same lot as the Pye Pocketfones from an ex agricultural radio system. These radios are 66-88mhz handheld transceivers programmed to 72mhz like the others. I'm guessing these were released by Tait in the late 1990's to early 2000's. There were 3 in the lot, of which 2 worked fine and the other had a low audio problem. Each radio came with its own charging dock and one or two spare batteries. As they were programmed to 72mhz, they too had extra long rubber duck antennas suitable for that band. There is no display on these and they feature a 16 channel dial and volume knob on the top. They're extremely heavy sets and are excellent quality.

I gave these radios a quick charge and was pleased to see they held their charge however I cannot legally use the frequency they're programmed to and do not have the means to programme them so again, they were sold on eBay to a gentleman who had use for them. As with all the other radios above they were sold as spares and repairs but I made well more than my money back on these and used the profit to buy a working Motorola HT600E programmed to all UK UHF repeaters complete with charging base which I'll review another time.

There's something charming about the older two way radios and even though I end up selling most of my purchases on that are of no use to me, the few that I have kept so far are really nice additions to my collection. The good thing about the faulty radios is that eBay allows people with more expertise than me to give them a good home and a new lease of life whether it be on PMR, amateur bands or elswhere.

Thanks for reading!

73's, Lewis M3HHY.
Manchester, UK.

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