Fw: [GEMOTO:1518] HD Radio (cheap!)

Roger Kirk rogerkirk@ttlc.net
Thu May 3 17:41:37 EDT 2007

Brian Vita wrote:
> OK, I'll bite.  I'm a young-un.  What's a Loft radio or a Muntz TV?

As told to me by a radio-tv repairman who started in 1928 (at the age of 

Loft Radio:  According to him, when WWII electronic surplus came on the 
market, entrepreneurs would hire engineers to design radios using 
whatever parts were available in large quantities, cheap!  The designs 
were frequently, unusual, but  they worked.  Usually, they were 
assembled by inexpensive local labor (New York) in cheaply-rented space 
e.g. a loft.  Hence the name.  They were made in batches - the size of 
which was governed by the the number of parts available.  Undocumented, 
sold locally under unusual names and almost never covered by Sams' 
Photofacts.  Conformance with UL was, no doubt, a mystery.  Problems 
arose when they malfunctioned and were brought to a repair shop.  With 
no schematic to guide the technician and an unorthodox design, it was a 
real challenge to bring it back to life.

Muntz TV:  Alledgedly, MR. Muntz contracted with one or more engineers 
to design CHEAP televisions.  According to lore, they would buy a 
brand-name TV (let's say RCA for example) and with schematics in hand, 
they would disconnect components one by one e.g. bypass caps, gain 
stages, etc.  If it made little or no difference in the picture, it was 
noted and discarded.  The final result was (usually) a TV that worked 
"decently" in a high signal strength area e.g. NY City.  Stability and 
quality of picture on a distant signal was nil.  BUT, it was cheap!  
Some people owned them and subsequently moved to a state like Maine 
where TV signals were few, distant and multi-path (ghosting) was a 
constant problem.  The lack of picture quality was immediately apparent 
and TV repairmen had difficulty explaining to  disbelieving customers 
that there really wasn't anything wrong with their TV, except it just 
wasn't very well designed.

This is how it was told to me by one who had to repair them from time to 
time.  Can anybody else corroborate?

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