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RCA Radiomarine AR-8712 radio direction finder

The AR-8712 is the gold-faced RDF to the right. This is a common unit from the mid 1950's. it receives on broadcast, beacon and "marine"... being "interpreted" as 1.7 to 3.4 MHZ in this case.

I got this one for under $10, as it was advertised as non-working, and has bad paint, some rust, and pencil marks on the panel. Scrawled is "Weather-3.0". This is a unit that got much use.

Of course I plugged it in when I got it. If the power cap spilled it's guts, no harm, no foul... it should be replaced anyway. But everything was fine... and when I wiggled a couple of tubes, I first heard static... then voices! Garbled though... and the next image will explain this.

It has a nifty spring post for an external antenna, so I hooked up my 100' longwire and tried the marine (SW) band. You can see the red lead under the upside-down RDF antenna. And to my surprise, the SW works, too.

Garbled speaker, garbled speech. The real suprise is that I could hear any speech at all, because the coil magnet was completely frozen around the permanent magnet. I had to wiggle it out with a pliers after this pic was taken. I suppose it "worked" when the whole speaker sort of vibrated, making some approximation of sound.

I'm going to try to re-cone the speaker if I can, using the original coil and spider. The spider is bronze mesh, and perfect. After cleaning around the sides of the magnet, I may be able to center and glue the coil back to the spider... then glue a new cone to the coil tube.

Since posting the above images a couple of years ago, I was lucky to find another ET-8712 in fine shape. It does need a cleaning and repaint, but works fine and has no major problems. I think the project shown here will be on the back burner for a time. So it goes.

Radiomarine ET-8056 marine radiotelephone, which I just won on eBay. But I have always assumed that this unit is the "sister" unit to the above RDF. The only major difference is that the radiotelephone does not appear to have the ribbed front panel... this appears to be smooth. Other than that, the log badge, speaker grill, tuning dial, knobs, cabinet shape... all appear to be the same as the RDF. I think I have seen the two of them together in the same ad, but I have to dig around my Yachting magazines to see for sure.

It will make a nice matching set for display.