As I write this, I have 13 radios throughout the house that I actually try to use on a regular basis in order that I might extract some joy out of them and justify the money I have spent on bringing them into my radio world. This count doesn’t include the three radios I keep at work, a place where, depending on where I’m doing my duties, I have not one but two offices at opposite perimeters of my jobsite. So to be accurate, I really own and use 16 radios.
Now having this many radios, while being a source of comfort and wellbeing for me, also creates a host of anxieties and problems, which I would like to describe to you.
Number one, I am not one of those radio lovers who buys radios just to collect them and show them off to my friends. Having a top-of-the-line radio sit on my shelf like a useless trophy, its powers atrophying and going to waste, sends me into misery and despair. I feel like I need to use it, especially my glory radios of old, like my Panasonic RF-2200 and my Sony ICF-5900.
But wanting to use my vintage radios raises the question: How much use is too much? After all, there are only so many treads on these radio tires. Do I want to use up their limited wear or just keep them preserved in glass bubbles like well-polished souvenirs?
Another source of anxiety is battery maintenance. Of the 16 radios that I use, 11 have batteries. Of the 11 battery-filled radios, only 2 are rechargeable. That means I have 9 radios filled with non-rechargeable batteries. What this means is that I have to be diligent about replacing those batteries or else they will leak acid into the radio compartment and disseminate throughout the circuitry rendering my radio utterly ruined. Often I find myself waking up in the middle of the night soaked in sweat for fear that a neglected radio was disintegrating during my sleep!
I could go on with the anxieties my radios cause me, like which one I should take with me on a road trip. If I take my Grundig G4000 along with me, am I “betraying” my C.Crane CSW and in doing so will the CSW “act out” during my return, suddenly afflicting itself with unduly background noise or allowing its LCD screen to go bonkers?
Herculodge, without delving more deeply into my sick mind, I think you get the picture. I think I have given you enough material to grasp the utter horror and despair that lies behind my pathology. What advice, if any, can you give a tormented soul like myself?
Rest assured, I am experienced with the concerns you have mentioned in your earnest, heart-felt epistle and I want to let you know, first and foremost, that you are not alone—though I will say your description of a radio feeling “betrayed” is a first for me, but I suppose there must be a first time for everything.
My second point is that you are a man and men are hard-wired toward technological obsessions while women are, to their great fortune, free from them. Man is biologically programmed to possess technological mastery in order for him to feel in control of Mother Nature and your drive for control has translated into a radio obsession. It is men, not women, who are afflicted with radio fetishes.
Regarding the playing of your vintage radios, I suggest you do play and enjoy them but with moderation. Don’t play them all night or play them in your house all day when you’re gone to fool the would-be burglars into believing someone is home. Instead, play a more expendable radio for long hours.
Your battery concern is a very real one. I recommend you go to Amazon’s website and if you don’t already have an account, establish one. Once you have an account, you can create a Reminder on a day of the annual calendar. Perhaps during daylight savings in April, you can create a reminder to do a battery check of all your radios. Buy a $12 Juicemeter Portable Battery Tester and make sure all your batteries are in good shape. This annual practice should bring some calm to your otherwise tumultuous sleeping hours.
As far as your feelings of “betrayal” for taking one radio over another on a road trip, I am afraid that is probably a pharmaceutical issue—one that is beyond my expertise. However, I have addressed 75% of your concerns and have at least given you that much more sanity to your life. And for that I feel deeply gratified. Best to you in your radio obsession and may you continue with it responsibly and remember be grateful that you have the time and resources to have a hobby. Appreciate what you have and look away from your frets and concerns once in a while. You’ll feel the better for it.