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February 10, 2010


Radio Russ

Wow! That's beautiful. I'm envious about what a great deal you got on this. The only thing I have that is close is a Panasonic Model 730 with 6 tubes and a big 6" speaker. It's a black plastic cabinet, not the nice wooden cabinet you have.

As far as cleaning the volume potentiometer, the best thing is a product called DeoxIT D5 which comes in a spray can. I couldn't find it locally and ordered it direct from CAIG Laboratories. It's expensive at $15 for a 5 oz spray can. It's amazing for cleaning pots and any other type of electrical contact. It has some type of chemical action that really works. It's never failed on anything I've used it on.

Their website is www.deoxit.com

Good luck and enjoy your new acquisition!


Thanks for the tip, RR! I'm on it today. Yes, this is a magnificent radio. I can't stop looking at it. I'd love to see photos of your 730. Send it to Jeff to post, or email some photos to: rainguy@comcast.net.
Thanks once more for the info. Sounds like what I need.


Well, it's beautiful and it inspires me to take a photo of my huge Graetz tuber and send it to Jeff.
You can't beat the sound of a classic tube radio. I'm not handy enough to do my own repairs---so I generally have to look for them in working order and hope they don't malfunction.

jeffrey McMahon

I brought my Sony ICF-5900 to my work office (which has huge interference) and am enjoying fantastic FM and AM, the best of any radio I took to work. The problem is a scratchy volume knob. I couldn't pull the knob off or I quit for fear that I might break it. So I sprayed Deoxit on the knob and didn't really enjoy good results. I don't know if I should try pulling the knob off again or not or if that would even work and be worth the risk of damaging the radio.

Radio Russ

Jeff, sometimes you have to take the pot out to locate a gap in the casing for the spray to hit the resistive surface. The wiper on the pot will act with the Deoxit to scrub away the dirt, grease, etc.

Sometimes, the pot is just plain worn out or defective in some other way. The older the equipment, the higher the quality of the potentiometer it seems.

jeffrey McMahon

Russ, what is the pot and how do I take it out? Should I even attempt to take it out in the absence of experience with this matter?

Radio Russ

Jeff, the pot is short for potentiometer and it's the volume control. I'd have to see the radio and where the volume control is mounted. If you have the radio opened up, it's usually possible to get at the volume control to effectively spray the inside of it.

Spraying from outside the cabinet is hit or miss at best. You don't need much Deoxit at all to clean the control - as short a burst as you can manage.

jeffrey McMahon

Russ, thanks. I think I'll pass for now. The ICF-5900 is built like a sealed tank. Trying to open it will be like trying to break into the US Mint.


Jeffrey, maybe a look at the ICF-5900's Service Manual will help. You'll find it here
(scroll down to the end and download the ICF-5900W Service Manual as a PDF-file).

Relevant for you is page 3 of 12. To access the pot you have to demount the front case. And to do this you have to demount all the the knobs on the front. This is especially "tricky" with the bandspread dial, but a close look on page 3 will help. Have a look at the little spring - this is the Open Sesame!

I managed to disassemble and reassemble my ICF-5900W without damage, and my skills as a mechanic are less than average. But..

...my heartbeat was more than 120 when doing this, I admit. And I don't want to incite you into disaster...

Jeffrey McMahon

Thanks, Andreas. I'll be prudent and hire a pro.


I'd just repeat what you've already done several times over the new few weeks. I took me a couple of weeks to get my RF 2200 narrow/wide switch to work at all, but eventually it did and has ever since.I just repeated the DeOxit treatments until I got what I wanted, without taking the unit apart.


That's the weird thing Jeff----if you have to remove all of the knobs to disassemble the unit, that apparently means the volume knob WILL pull off---and then you can spray through the front, without taking everything apart. I am a technical dunce and I managed to take my Super Radio apart twice to re-secure the frequency dial. First time----I neglected to remove the knobs----when I pried the cabinet apart, the knobs popped off themselves and went flying. Nothing lost and no damage. Everything is great now.

Jeffrey McMahon

Angelo, I've pulled the volume knobs off my vintage Panasonics no problem but my Sony ICF-5900 is a different story. The knob is very stuck. Good build quality or oxidized on. Or both. I don't know.


Just found this exact radio for $125.00. My wife and I thought it looked gorgeous and I found your blog researching what we found. Understanding that you paid $60.00 for yours, is it worth the price? Owner said it worked, but I didn't get a chance to hear it. I know nothing about vintage radios, do you ever have to replace the tubes? Would it even be possible to replace the tube in something of this vintage?

Fred Mertz

Wow - I just found me one and am waiting for a Fedex delivery as I type. The one I located says "Vista 640" on the brass name plate so it's both interesting and helpful to know it's by Matsushita. For me this was a "full package" radio, having a phono input and an FM multiplex output as well.

The one I located cost more at $110.00 but it has been serviced and the photos showed the insides in "brand new" condition. Really a massive looking, well built chassis. If anyone wants to see a shot of the case back and the innards this is where I got mine:


Sooner or later that URL will change so if you just search for a "Vista 640" on Radioattic it will show up.

Can't wait to check it out. Are you still using yours?

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