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The Echophone EC-1 Unboxing

March 21, 2017 Leave a comment

The Echophone Ec-1 has arrived. I had to carry it in it’s box from my work to home, on the train, no mean feat when also carrying a handbag, but I did get it home in one piece. I should say that it was not as well packed as I would have liked but it seemed to have survived the journey from the US nonetheless.

This radio known as the morale radio was commonly used by GIs to stay in contact with news of home. Like all radios of this era, I bought this one, fulling expecting that it would need extensive work, despite it possessing a sticker stating major modifications (1994). I am not sure what the modifier considered major modifications, I imagined a recap, I hoped not a major departure from manufacturers specifications.

At the point of unboxing, it is unclear what those “major” modifications may have been. Looking at the wiring, there is little evidence of significant change other than attempt to fit a polarised mains plug. The fitting of this seems to be non-standard. Typically when modifying an “all American 5” one would fit a fuse and ensure that the polarised mains chord had the neutral wire connected to the chassis and one would fit safety capacitors where necessary. One would also remove all wax paper capacitors and replace with modern poly units.

Whoever modified this radio, has connected the mains chord in a non standard way, with both wires going to the first valve in the series of five. No fuse is fitted. The mains chord is retained in the case by a knot which has resulted in the insulation being cut by the case- a common if deadly error. Not a single wax paper capacitor has been replaced and a large electrolytic is clearly leaking.

Another project for a cold, rainy day or two.

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Echophone EC-1

While I still have the restoration of my Hammarlund HQ170 to finish, and a repair of the audio circuit on my Viking Ranger II to complete, as well as a rectifier repair on a Yaesu FT101E, I could not go past this little beauty. While I have older receivers (1935 and 1936), I have been wanting a receiver from the period of WWII now for some time. This little radio was known as the morale radio.

Screen Shot 2017-03-08 at 5.11.55 AM

The original EC-1 was the GI’s radio of World War 2 and it was manufactured by the Hallicrafters company under the brand name “Echophone Commercial.”  It began production toward the end of 1940 and continued in production all through the war.  This model radio was about the only commercial, non military radio that the government allowed to be manufactured during WW 2 and they did it for morale purposes, that is, to provide lonely, homesick and bored servicemen with entertainment.  These rugged little radios have good short wave circuits so the servicemen and women could listen to shows, music and war news no matter where they were in the world.  The EC-1 sold at a  “reasonable” price of about $20 (about a month’s pay).  Actually, for this quality of radio, $20 was a very low price and a lot of GIs got to own them either by buying them outright or receiving them as gifts.

Hogarth
The EC-1 radios were marketed to the GIs directly and through their families to be given as gifts.  Ads for the radios appeared in magazines with a rather over the top campaign featuring a Private (later corporal) Hogarth.  Hogarth was always shown as a hopeless nerd with coke-bottle glasses, but very popular with pretty girls who wanted to listen to his radio. I don’t think this nerdy girl could attract girls with a short wave radio, but those were innocent if heteronormative times.

I may have some modifications to do to the radio when it arrives, most notably for safety, unless the appropriate modifications were done in 1994 when this radio had a major service. Known as an all American 5, the 115V supply is delivered to the 5 valves in series, without a transformer or fuse. One side of the mains chord connects directly to the radio chassis which is isolated from the external box by rubber grommets only. Without a polarised plug to determine which is neutral and which is active, there is a 50% chance of connecting the chassis to the active. Life was cheap in the 1940s :-).

Categories: Daily News, HF, Vintage Radio