Philco Tropic Model 3012

Last weekend I attended the Houston Vintage Radio Association holiday dinner & picked up a Philco Tropic Model 3012 during the fundraiser auction. I had let a few other radios go without placing a bid and was beginning to think I might go home empty handed when I saw the Philco “on the block”. A few seconds later I was the proud owner of this vintage receiver.

Philco Tropic 3012

Information on this model seems a little scarce, however the style of case was introduced by Philco in 1951 and used in their line of AM/FM receivers for many years after that. This particular example is a transformer-less AC/DC set with a potentially live chassis and the unusual (to me) lineup of 14Q7, 7B7, 14B6, 35A5 & 35Y4 vacuum tubes.

What prompted me to bid on this particular radio was the inclusion of two shortwave bands in addition to the typical AM broadcast band. The dials are marked off in meters which also appealed to the ham radio side of my interests.

After attaching a short length of wire as an antenna I was able to pick up signals across the two SW1 & SW2 bands so I’ll be interested to see what it can receive with a long wire antenna at night.

After a gentle cleaning with dilute mild detergent to remove dirt I rubbed in some beeswax polish to restore the original gloss. Sadly the plastic dial is cracked in the middle but I can look past that given its a little more unusual than the typical All American Five receiver.

Being over fifty years old I wonder what this radio has been used to listen to and what stories it could tell. Perhaps it gave some youngster his or her first taste of ham radio, listening to shortwave stations and AM QSOs until they received the final demand to, “Switch that radio off and GO TO BED!”

Owen Morgan, KF5CZO, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Texas, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

One Response to “Philco Tropic Model 3012”

  • Bill - WA8MEA:

    Beautiful Philco, Owen. I waited for weeks for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day to come, because I was taking those days off to restore an old Magnascope to operation. It, by no means, is in mint shape. However, it does add character to our old house with our other antique furniture, phonograph and floor model Montgomery Ward AM/SW. I am also told that collectors like the antiques to be in original condition; as much as possible. I did have to replace a couple of wires, for safety’s sake. This radio also does not have any type of AC line fuse. I would not even go so far as installing a fuse holder, opting instead to use an external circuit breaker in line with the AC plug. Other wires that were not in a dangerous position I opted to cover the bare wire sections with shrink tubing. I also had to replace the dial light. Slapped a coating of wax on it and then turned it on that night and listened to antique music (740 – Toronto) from an antique radio. Nothing beats tube audio!

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