I strongly suggest that you take up the hobby of amateur (Ham) radio. There are numerous clubs around the country and plenty of info on the web to get you started. While I’m not a “hard core” enthusiast, I do see the benefit of being able to contact others without being dependent on cell towers, phone lines, or smoke signals. (Ham radios require 12 volts of DC power, so a car battery will power them when the lights go out.) In the summer of 2005, my area was hit by flood conditions after many days of torrential rain. Most of the bridges were destroyed and a number of the roads simply washed away. Our neighborhood was an island for two days – nobody could get in or out. However, we had the latest news by listening directly to the sheriff and city police radio traffic and could have easily contacted anyone if we had needed to.
My ham radio equipment looks far to modern for my neo-Victorian tastes, so I decided to blend the two. I purchased an antique, but empty, Sparton 110 wooden radio cabinet to house all of the radio equipment (more on than in a future post). However, I still needed separate speakers for the radio and scanner. While trying to formulate an elegant solution, I found this 1920’s Atwater Kent E3 speaker at the local antique mall and had a stroke of inspiration.
Obviously, this speaker is not in working condition and is perfect for a restoration project. I will be salvaging the base and housing. Everything else is trash. The speaker is quite large, measuring 11″ in diameter, which means that it can easily house two small self contained speakers – one for the radio and one for the scanner. I will replace the cloth covered wire, the original nuts and bolts with stainless hardware, and the grill cloth. The original metal parts will be painted gloss black, and the brass Atwater Kent medallion will be polished. I’m excited about this project and hope to show you more pictures very soon.