The PHILCO Phorum
Emerson 659 - Printable Version

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Emerson 659 - Jayce - 01-07-2018

As I mentioned in the January finds post, I ended up getting this fairly nice Emerson 659 yesterday at a decent price (once I found the price tag!). So far, it's shaping up like it's going to be a rather nice radio once I get it recapped. Right now the FM is rather weak and the AM reception is very directional, basically you have to rotate the radio around to get good reception even on our local channel without an external antenna connected. Of course this being a late 40's or early 50's AM-FM radio (some sources say 1949 others 1950-51), it might not ever be strong on FM without an external dipole antenna. As it sits now, it is a working, but a bit tired radio working on a rather old servicing sometime in its past. It does sound fairly good though, having a fairly large speaker inside the case.
It seems odd. About 20 years ago my radio collecting started with a somewhat battered DeWald AM-FM table radio and I'm thinking it might be fitting to finally stop my active collecting with this Emerson. Would make for a neat closing of the circle to end on a similar note. Not saying I wouldn't mind a couple more little Arvins or one of the few radios on my bucket list, but this would mark and end to wandering about looking for radios and perhaps starting to sell off the ones I no longer want.
Oh! And of course maybe find a Philco 20. Still kinda want one of those. Icon_smile

RE: Emerson 659 - Arran - 01-08-2018

  I had an opportunity to buy a Canadian market version of one of these sets, but passed on it because I didn't really care for the styling which is sort of boring, it was an AM only set though. It may be an opportunity to try your hand at restoring one of your own sets, it's fairly simple for an AM/FM unit. There may be one potential snag however, if it has those mini slug tuned IF cans the silver mica caps inside one or both pairs may need replacement, which can be tricky. It also has a selenium rectifier which may be getting weak resulting in low B+ voltage.
Here's the service info on N.A, this time it's pretty complete:

If you want some help just ask.

RE: Emerson 659 - OldRestorer - 01-08-2018

I restored one about 3 years ago. They are real nice players and the FM is a great addition. The dial jewel is ALWAYS faded around it. I used some glack shoe polish and then waxed it up. It came out real nice.

RE: Emerson 659 - Jayce - 01-08-2018

I'm still a ways out from doing my own restorations, so have no issue supporting a local business right at this time for work on these later radios. That said, the owner of that same place has already asked me if I would be interested in a signal generator and perhaps other service equipment if he has any extras. He's going to start having his repair guy going through the extra equipment he's gotten over the years so he can thin things out, but he wants the stuff to be working when he sells it. So, there's a start if I can indeed get some of that stuff.
Of course, I will also need work space. That will come once I start thinning my own herd this year.
I checked and yes, this Emerson has the little IF cans in it. The same type cans my late friend used to describe with not so nice words... Hopefully Emerson used better ones than Zenith.

RE: Emerson 659 - Jayce - 01-08-2018

Just for the heck of it In detached the internal FM antenna and just clipped one of my jumper wires to the screw. Yes Virginia, the Emerson does actually work on FM. Seems the internal antenna is either not good or the way I have the cord routed is not good for reception. Still not super loud, but that's good as the Emerson has bass on FM, too much! Even with the tone control turned all the way to treble this radio can still develop the dreaded cabinet rattle. Still it's encouraging to now get FM stations clear across the dial.

RE: Emerson 659 - Arran - 01-09-2018

  If you take a look at the parts list there is very little in the way of capacitors to replace, most of the set seems to use ceramic caps, of course that still leaves the electrolytics and carbon comp resistors to deal with. The selenium rectifier is probably tired, I would bet if you checked the B+ voltages with your volt meter you will find that it's probably down at least 20% or more, be careful if you do though, this is a true hot chassis set.