Telefunken Jubilee Export AM/FM Radio (1956)

           

           

This small Telefunken tabletop has classic German 1950s styling and excellent performance. Built in 1956, it was dubbed the "Jubilee Export" model.

Acquisition

There's a bit of history behind this radio. It was purchased in 1956 by William Schwann, creator of the famous Schwann recording catalog and presented as a gift to a young lady he was dating at the time. I bought it from the owner in 2011, in Massachusetts.

The Schwann catalog was published for more than 50 years. In its heyday, you could find a copy in virtually every record store in the United States, and many others worldwide. As vinyl recordings fell out of favor, so did the catalog, which ceased publication in 2001.

Description

The Jubilee has a handsome veneered cabinet and a grille with gently curving louvers. Here is the radio before and after restoration. As you can see, I received it in very good condition. The exterior required nothing but minor touch-ups and a little brass polishing.

  

One glance at the dial glass tells us this was an export model. The FM band extends all the way up to 108 megahertz, whereas European FM radios such as my Telefunken Gavotte 9 usually stop at 100.

The Jubilee also receives the standard AM broadcast band and it can work with an external phono player, plugged into a rear jack.

Here are the Jubilee's five tubes and their functions.

Tube Type Function
V1 ECC85 FM RF amp/FM converter
V2 ECH81 FM IF amp/AM mix-osc
V3 EF89 FM IF Amp/AM IF amp
V4 EABC80 Ratio det/AM det/AVC/AF amp
V5 EL41 Output

The Sams service manual is Set 39, Folder 15.

The Jubilee's design is typically European, packing lots of electronics into a small space. Every tube performs multiple functions, except the type EL41 output.

A peek inside shows the construction.

On the right, you can see the power transformer. Although compact in size, this is not a cheap series-string radio. The Jubilee chassis sits on rails inside the cabinet, secured by two screws on the rear apron and a third screw holding the power tranny to a side bracket.

The yellow cylinders on the left are new-ish replacement electrolytic capacitors for the power supply. These were not exact replacements, and the serviceman secured them to the chassis with hot glue.

Strapped to their sides are the old brackets for the ferrite loopstick AM antenna, which unfortunately is now missing. When I bought the radio, the antenna was present, but hanging loose from its wires. Before turning it over to be packed and shipped, I removed the antenna and put it in my pocket. After we returned home from Boston to Washington state, I couldn't find the antenna!

I'm not crazy about this funky capacitor installation. Hot glue is certainly not my style (see Replacing Capacitors in Old Radios and TVs). I'll reserve judgment until I see how the radio performs, however.

Restoration

The next photo shows the Jubilee during its first trial. I used a metered variac to slowly increase the line voltage while watching and listening for signs of trouble.

The radio plays beautifully on FM, using the line cord as its FM antenna. The AM band is silent, not surprising since the AM antenna is missing.

Removing the chassis requires disconnecting the speaker. I unsoldered the blue and tan leads, first taking this photo as a reminder of where to reconnect them. The tall black cylinder contains solid-state diodes, the rectifiers for the power supply.

The next photo shows the busy underside of the chassis. The passive components, such as capacitors and resistors, are all smaller than their American counterparts. This saves space but it makes servicing a challenge. Old paper capacitors frequently go bad from absorbing moisture over the decades. This radio plays very well with the originals in place, however, so I'll leave them alone for now.

At upper left in that photo, you can see the volume and tone control potentiometers. They are constructed as two sections of a sturdy, sealed unit. At far right is the AM tuning capacitor. With two independent tuners on two concentric shafts, the Jubilee's tuning gear is a fairly complex business of gears, pulleys, and strings.

Built-in antennas are not necessarily interchangeable, since a given antenna will often be tuned to that specific radio's "front end," or RF (radio-frequency) circuits. You can buy a generic antenna from one of the suppliers listed on our Parts page, but I happened to have a junked 1950s tube portable with an intact antenna. Since it was available, I had nothing to lose by trying it out.

In the next photo, the salvaged loopstick antenna is the big rod lying in front of the chassis. I have temporarily reconnected the speaker with clip leads.

It worked! The radio's volume is slightly lower on AM than FM, but the reception is acceptable. The original Telefunken antenna had a sliding coil which you could move for maximum signal during the alignment process. This antenna lacks an adjustable coil, so it may not be as "hot" as the original, but it probably works as well as any generic replacement that I could find.

This loopstick is too big for the original antenna holders. I'll mount it inside the cabinet top, reusing brackets from the junker radio. Here, the antenna is mounted and ready to connect:

The pilot lamp still glows, but not very brightly, since it's coated with dust. I removed it for cleaning while I had the chassis out. The lamp socket mounts through a hole on the bottom of the mode switch frame, secured with a single screw in a wire loop.

The cabinet was in fine condition, with only a few minor nicks and scratches. I cleaned the plastic grille parts, polished the brass trim and knob inserts, and touched up the wooden case with Howard's Restore-A-Finish. That product isn't suitable for cabinets that need serious refinishing, but it's good for concealing little blemishes.

The chassis fits closely in the cabinet and requires care in reinstallation. The molded support rails on the sides of the interior have sloping channels for tabs on the front of the chassis. Tilt the chassis at just the right angle while sliding it in, and it will just barely fit.

Antenna Found!

Several months after I restored the radio, we were packing for another trip and I found the original AM antenna in a little zipper pocket in my suitcase. Somehow, I had overlooked it when searching before!

In the next photo, I have placed the original antenna next to the salvaged replacement. The original is much smaller.

Minutes later, the antennas have been swapped and the original is ready to put back into its original location, held in little phenolic brackets above the filter capacitors.

Final Thoughts

Here is the restored radio, playing happily on my workbench.

This Jubilee is definitely a keeper. It looks and sounds great, doesn't take up much space, and it required very little work.

©1995-2017 Philip I. Nelson, all rights reserved