Jay Volke radios
DailyHerald Sunday, September 1,1996 • CARPENTERSVILLE, EAST DUNDEE, WEST GILBERTS, SLEEPY Therom Wlerenga traveled to Elgin last week all the way from Muskegon, Mich., to look at a couple of old Vlctrolas at Radiofest, which was sponsored by the Antique Radio Club of Illinois. Dally Herald Photo/Dave Tongs Radio days never get old for collectors , BY GERARD DZIUBA ; -- • .'-. Dally Herald Assistant City Editor For vintage radio collectors, all it takes is one look to get them started. They don't even have to turn them on to see if they work. The sight of the largej yellowed dial, usually in the center of a clumsy wood cabinet, strikes a chord in people that yells to them, "Collect "Collect me." They buy one radio. They buy two radios. And before they know it, they're buying broken radios just for the parts. They seek out old radio repair shops, and they look for other collectors. By now, they're hooked. That's how Lyons resident Jay Volke started his old radio collection. collection. "Now I have about, oh let's see, from 200 to 300 radios in my collection," collection," said Volke, who refers to himself as a radio archeologist. archeologist. "Fifteen years ago I picked up a an old radio at a garage sale. I fooled around with it and had a lot of fun." He has Zenith radios from the 1930s and 1940s, a few radios from companies nobody has ever heard of, ones that look like they should have a dog sitting next to them, and transistor radios. Volke and 700 of his radio-collecting radio-collecting colleagues carted their treasures to the Elgin Holidome this week for the annual Radiofest, which ended Satur- ,dayl -—••, --,,,-.•• • •• '.--. "-I'i'i Members, such as Milwaukee resident Dennis Schrank, said he loves attending the annual Radiofest because he can talk to other people about old radios and knows he won't bore or confuse confuse them. "You have to understand old radios to appreciate them. They may not look as complicated as the units are today, but they are unique and have a .certain sound quality only collectors appreciate." appreciate." "I like to think it's more of a warm sound," said Jeff Beyer of Skokie. "It's a deep, richer sound." Sometimes the old radios are not the prettiest things in the world. Some are styled after Coca-Cola coolers, Viking ships, telephones and beer cans. But you have to love them, Beyer said. The music and words that come out of the speakers may sound tinny and muffled to some people, but the radios of days gone have a great advantage of a modern radio: They can be repaired, members said. "That's the beauty of an old radio. That's why they're still around," said Mary Fanner. "Replacing a tube here and a tube there, before you know it, you have a working radio. Members of the Antique Radio Club of Illinois, which puts on Radiofest, say they never throw away used radios. Their working Radios of days gone by may not be as sleek as the ones of today, but at least they re sturdy sturdy and have replaceable parts that will keep them out of the trash can. Below, Chuck Schwark, Mike Higglns and Dale Boyce look at antique radio equipment during Radiofest _* .u_ L,~ii^*~ n !„ Cliln Dally Herald Photos/Joe Lewnard at the Holidome in Elgin. parts can be used in other units or sold and traded. "There's always something that can be salvaged in arkpld radio," said Mary Fanner, who drove from Minneapolis, with husband Greg, to attend ' Radipfest "For a lot of these folks Radiofest is the only place members members can find the parts they need to get their radios running." Some of the people who. attended attended this year were from as far away as France, New Zealand, . South Korea and Sweden, said Carolyn Khipfer, club secretary. For details about the Antique Radio Club of Illinois, call Jeff Aulik at (815) 399-1902.