Ralph Spracklin
CVRS Member

Trust me when I say that installing a new tuning string on some Rogers Majestic vintage radios, is not a walk in the park. Some of those models are indeed “A Nightmare on Elm Street” There are still thousands of such radios as these out there, some with broken tuning strings. Actually those tuning condensers are themselves direct drive when using the tuning control, and yes, without the tuning string properly in place, the radio will still work, except one cannot tune in to the radio station they desire to listen to, without having to search the hard way. It’s like driving blindfolded, you don’t know where you are, or where you are going.

As I mentioned on my original post on this radio, that the wire string that operates the tuning condenser assembly and dial, was broken. Yesterday I started to repair it. First I removed the complete tuning assembly, from the chassis. The broken tuning wire was a tangled mess, but the biggest problem was that I did not have a proper replacement for it, and no diagram how to replace it. I cleaned out all the remaining pieces as I pondered how to go about it. Upon examination of the old string, I discovered it was made of copper and two linen strands, which I suppose were meant to make it less likely to snap, a reinforcement if you will. All together there was forty two strands of very fine, hair like, copper wire. This is what makes it so pliable. Not certain what AWG (gauge) of copper wiring was used. I knew I was not going to find a replacement string for a eighty-six year old radio, so I knew right away I would have to fabricate my own.

I had some very thin airline cable, stainless-steel but it was a lot more stiff than the original copper string. I did however have a roll of 32 AWG transformer winding wire, which while very thin, was still much thicker than the copper strands used in the original drive string.

Anyway, I counted out about twenty, three-foot lengths of off this 32 AWG wire, wrapped one end of it around a screw I had put on the edge of my workbench. I pulled all strands taut, when I realized this new line is going to be too thick for the job. I reduced the number of strands down to ten, and pulled those strands taut, twisted the other end of ten strands tight, and bent the ends over a few times and inserted it in the chuck of my cordless drill. In less than a half a minute I had a newly twisted copper drive string, which resembled a guitar string. While it was indeed soft and flexible, it was not as flexible as the original copper dial string, and it was also a bit heavier/thicker than the original. That did not bother me as I never reinforced it with linen thread. I figured the extra thickness would help compensate for the lack of the linen thread. This new copper tuning string, was now ready for a trial run.

I spent a couple of hours trying to determine how the tuning assembly worked, and I am satisfied that I pull this one off. So armed with a roll of tape some long thin needle-nose-pliers and a small thin screwdriver I am ready to take the plunge and get this show on the road.

The last owner of this radio had it for about forty years. I think he said his boys attempted to repair the broken tuning string. I also noticed that the rotating dial plate had some dents and dings in it, and it also looked like a course sandpaper was used on it. So I will also have to repair that and repaint it. Will keep you posted on the new dial string replacement. There are lots of obstructions on this tuning assembly, so, as I said this is not going to be a walk in the park.