General Electric 201
   

~1949
click on image to enlarge


201 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 202
As far as I know, this model's distinctive cabinet was never recycled for any other model radio (or UHF converter or whatever), but it doesn't take a lot of imagination to picture a slide-rule type dial scale in the upper opening and a grill insert in the space now occupied by a dial.  Who knows, that's a common layout for radios of this period and maybe that's what the cabinet designer originally had in mind, but considerations in chassis design dictated a change to the final form.  I can only assure the reader that this design was not...


housing a special 2X9 oval speaker or horn driver or anything like that.  A 5 1/2" round speaker (decent size for an AC/DC table radio) is mounted to a stiff fiberboard baffle at an angle which slopes from the ceiling of the cabinet to just below the narrow opening.  This type mounting is certainly not unique today:  the tiny grill slats on either side of a stereo TV set conceal speakers mounted in similar low profile fashion. 
Tube Complement:

 RF amplifier   1   12SG7
 converter  1  12SA7
 IF amplifier  1  12SK7
 detector/AF amp  1  12SQ7
 audio output           1  35L6GT
 rectifier  1  35Z5GT

Restoration notes:

I didn't originally do any photodocumentation during the recap of the 201.  However, given the fact that I have really two of the same radio but for their color, I can do a quick 'n' dirty simulation of before (above) and after (right).  This was the most crowded and cramped chassis I had done up until that time and was a bit intimidated going in.  You can see, though, that the more caps you replace, the less crowded it gets! 

Note that a fan of electrical tape at one time replaced the filter caps in the 202 and apparently nothing else.  The 202 also has all of its original GE tubes and...


a remarkably pristine Beam-A-Scope antenna back.   The loop is composed of material which is not so much wire as it is tiny L shaped coping, which tends to come loose...

the way it has on the 201's antenna.  If you look carefully (you may have to use the enlarged picture) you can see the little spiral channel cut into the back.  Over time the antenna seperates from it and can turn into a tangled mess. 

A previous repair person has already had to contend with the fragile nature of the "wire" once it begins to loosen.  Here they have attempted an ungainly repair to a break in the outside turn.  A bit of tape was also applied to help stop further separation.  

I eventually added more wire to conform to the original countours of the loop, along with more tape and some nail polish to help hold everything together. 

What's wrong with this picture?
...aside from the obvious loop anomoly, which in its current shape doesn't seem to degrade the performance of the set.   What's that paper cap doing there?  Was I really that anxious to get this one done?  Was it a Friday...?  Looks like this is going to turn into more than just a photo session.  I heat up Ol' Weller and in no time flat...

that nasty wax turd is gone, replaced by a new NTE cap.  I turn off the iron, satisfied that the last little detail has been addressed.  Then again...what about that resis- I mean, "carbon drifter"?  It's supposed to be 470 ohm, but with a fudge factor of 10%, well, 515 would be OK.  Ah heck, 525.  Would you accept 575?  No dice, this one's drifted up to 617, so out it goes.

I'm not certain of the purpose of that large channel mounted to the bottom of the cabinet.  Perhaps it was intended as some kind of shipping brace to reduce stress on the bakelite at the mounting holes.  What is somewhat strange is the fact it was still even there for speculation, on both the 202 and 201.  Strange because the one I removed from the latter...

was clearly marked recommending its removal.  The chassis isn't directly at AC line potential, but that's too large a piece of conductive material to be exposed outside of a set with a non-isolated power supply.  I would have worded the original message a bit more adamantly.

Between the two radios I am only certain that the 201 still has its original cord, ending in that instantly recognizable marbled ivory plug.  The cord on the 202 also has a molded plug, but its contours suggest it may have started life as an extension cord in an era a bit later than when this set was new.  If I had given it more thought, it might have been a toss-up as to which radio to do first.  Neither has a perfect cabinet.   The 201 has hairline cracks at the corners of the speaker grill and a spot where a label of some kind was affixed long enough for the cabinet to visibly darken around it.  The 201's grill is also quite tarnished.  The 202's cabinet is remarkably free of any stress cracks, but is hardly free from scratches.  The 201's dial is also in significantly better shape;  good enough to leave alone whereas the 202 really should have its dial replaced. 

There really wasn't a question, though, between the two simply because I had the 201 first, it was the one I bought specifically for its looks and is the one I intend to hold on to, whereas the 202 just happened to be one included in a lot.  

It's a nice sounding radio even if the weird constriction of the speaker into that little wedge maybe gives it just a bit of a "hollow" tinge.  Being an AA6, its performance is excellent as one would expect.  It cares much less than other radios about which direction it's facing to pick up desired stations. The spot I chose to display it and play it is 90 degrees out of line with its ideal position to pick up the station I most frequently listen to--WBBM--and it picks it up just fine anyway.  That may be partly due to the use of the 12SG7 for the tuned RF stage.  It's a higher mutual conductance type than 12SK7 with roughly the same characteristics as wide-band miniature type 12BA6.  The wall in back of the radio is lit by a 120 volt bulb, a bit of whose light also falls on the dial.  ;)  Since there was an S-6 installed in the 201 I assumed this was correct, but the original Rider service material calls out a type I was not familiar with at the time I completed the restoration:  C7 clear bulb, ten watt.  I had seen such ten watt bulbs with a bayonet base, but never with a candelabra screw base.   I eventually acquired the proper bulb.





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