Panasonic RE-7259
AM/FM Two-Band Table Radio

This page chronicles repairs made to a Panasonic "RE-7259" AM/FM table radio. Latest revisions are at the bottom of the page.

Another Achievement from Radio Headquarters



Panasonic "RE-7259"



Photo: September 13, 2021 / Tupper Lake, NY / iPhone 8
As found – before cleaning, and wood rejuvenation


Panasonic (Japan) model "RE-7259" / Serial № 65532
Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd.

Years manufactured: circa 1975 – ?

Tuning Range:
Broadcast (AM): 525 - 1605 kHz
Frequency Modulated (FM): 87 - 108 MHz

Discovery and Condition
September 11, 2021 (Saturday): First saw this radio at Wildwood Arts & Antiques on the corner of Park Street and McLaughlin Avenue (211 Park Street, Tupper Lake, NY). The price wasn't marked, but the proprietor said he was looking for $20. I carefully lifted it up off the floor, and examined it from various angles. It was dusty, and the power cord had a type of gummy substance that made every dog hair within a 14 mile radius adhere to it. For extra points, my black T-shirt and black pants got a liberal dose of this irksome mixture. The wood (veneer) cabinet was obviously faded and dried out, and had accumulated an assortment of scratches and stains, the most obvious of which were two dark circular water marks on the top (see photos). So, while this rig had a certain amount of retro appeal, it was unpleasant to handle, and would not be winning any beauty contests.

Fast-forward 15 seconds. Does it work? We shuffled sideways in the aisle so that the proprieter could plug it into an outlet. When it first came to life, the volume control was a little scratchy, which was to be expected. I mean, when was the last time anyone switched it on? Never mind. It successfully picked up a couple of signals on FM, and one on AM. There is a well-known shortage of stations in this region, so the mostly silent journey up and down the dial was of little surprise or concern. All knobs were intact, and working smoothly. Also, both FM and AM band indicator lamps were functional (see photos).

In summary, aside from the patina (a.k.a. dirt, dust, grease, grime, hairs, neglect, scratches, scuffs, stains, etc.), it looked complete, and was now verified to be functional (one for the plus column). Even though it was intriguing, and probably worthy of being rescued, I walked away. Needed more time to think about it, and do some research. After all, it wasn't going anywhere, and I had the opportunity to return over the next several days.

Band Indicator Lights

Photos: September 13, 2021 / Lake Placid, NY / iPhone 8
Before the knobs were cleaned.

Panasonic "RE-7259" FM and AM band indicator lights.

Neon Green Tuning Dial Lens
Unfortunately, the tuning dial lamp appeared to be inoperative, but figured a new one could easily be sourced. What type of lamp was required? Given the radio's 1970s appearance, it would likely be soldered in place (i.e. not a bayonet, or screw type base). It is worthwhile mentioning that the tuning dial lens was a funky shade of neon green, reminiscent of the old "magic eye" vacuum tubes, so replacing that lamp would be absolutely essential to restoring its original splendor. Continue reading to learn what type of lamp was actually needed.

Scrutiny and Justification
September 12, 2021 (Sunday): Returned to the antique store to perform another, more focused assessment, and verified the hardware (front, back, and bottom) was definitely 100% intact, but passed on it once again! Was another radio really needed? Probably not, but I envisioned the cabinet oiled and polished, the power cord cleaned up (or replaced), the dial lights all working, and lush, room-filling symphonic sounds emanating from the cloth-covered loudspeaker, as I sipped warm brandy, and puffed on a cigar with my feet up in front of a roaring fire. Then, I woke up.

September 13, 2021 (Monday): The internet research, decision-making, and profound procrastination phase continued in the Lake Placid Courtyard Marriott. The "pondering room" had a commanding view of the rear parking lot, which was bordered by a selection of ferns, wildflowers, and trees. Beyond that (looking north) was a forest, with one of the Adirondack mountains in the distance, the tip of which was obscured by clouds or mist. From this vantage point I checked on-line auction prices, photos, videos, discussion forums, etc. Typical auction "buy it now" prices ranged from as low as $20 to an incredible $99, plus shipping of course. Many of the higher-priced specimens looked more distressed than this one. Downloaded the schematic, but unfortunately it didn't include the type or value of the Tuning Dial lamp (see lamp data section). Recall, both FM and AM Indicator lamps were working back at the antique store.

Anticipation and Preparation
Hunting for old radios is a fun pastime, but when the right specimen is found, zoom out, and consider the peripheral aspects of adopting another stray. How difficult will it be to source any missing parts? Do you have the time, skills, and materials required to bring it back to a presentable, working condition? Where will it be displayed in the shack? Pondering should be done BEFORE buying the radio, or may result in an abundance of unfinished, non-working examples in the shed.

Before actually getting this radio, I bought a 16 oz. bottle of Howard Feed-N-Wax wood polish & conditioner at Aubuchon Hardware (258 Broadway, Saranac Lake, NY). This way, I could hit the ground running if, and when a deal was struck at the antique store. The big question was if it could be had for less than $20. It had multiple condition issues, so there was justification in trying.

Purchase, and Initial Cleansing
Meandered back to the antique store in Tupper Lake a third time, and was chuffed to finally snarf the thing for $15. After the purchase, dusted and cleaned it off as much as possible in the parking lot before placing it into the trunk of the motor carriage. Then took the radio directly to Tupper Lake Municipal Park, and set up a makeshift workspace on a picnic table in the shade of a gazebo to give it a moderate cleansing with Murphy's Oil Soap, a tooth brush, a larger scrub brush (for cleaning the power cord), a bucket of water, and some rags and towels. Then applied several coats of the wood polish and conditioner, which was absorbed quickly. Weather conditions: 72, sunny, white puffy clouds, and a light breeze.

AM and FM Reception
Back at the hotel in Lake Placid, it picked up multiple FM stations with good, undistorted audio, but nothing was heard on the AM band. Planned to search for AM stations again in Long Lake, and Old Forge.

Sams Photofact (Folder 1075-5)
Texted Lynn (W2BSN) back home at the Antique Wireless Association (AWA) who said he would supply a copy of the Sams Photofact for the Panasonic RE-7259 (Folder 1075-5), which I hoped would include details of the Dial lamp, and Band Indicator lamps (see lamp data section).

Update / 28-sep-2021: Visited the AWA on the first Tuesday after I returned from vacation, which was September 28, 2021, and borrowed a copy of the Sams Photofact. Unfortunately, it didn't include detailed information about the lamps, i.e. what type of base was required (screw or bayonet), and in the case of the Dial lamp, whether "cylinder" (according to Sams) meant "fuse" type or something else. While there, I helped transport, and unload a van-load of vacuum tubes from Building #1 (Museum) to Building #3 (Technical Center on Gauss Road). Saw and/or chatted with a lot of familiar faces such as Bob Hobday (N2EVG), Stan Avery (WM3D), Brad (N8YG), Pete WB2UAQ), Mike "Mig" Migliaccio (N3HLM), and others. The Museum was bustling with activity due to the upcoming AWA Conference, which was to be held October 5-9. Next, I rode with Lynn (W2BSN) to Elton Park in East Bloomfield just across from the historic building that once housed the AWA Museum, and got caught up on highlights of the previous year while enjoying a spot of grub from Parkside Pizza. We were also joined by Kevin (N2AFX / ex WB2QMY) who came from his home QTH in West Bloomfield.

September 14, 2021 (Tuesday): Eventually had the chance to test the AM reception in Long Lake, and it picked up numerous signals up and down the band (another one for the win column).

Shiny Knobs – Cleansing Detail
From the cabin in Long Lake, each knob was removed, and scrubbed under warm running water with a fingernail brush, and Palmolive dish washing liquid. "Dish washing liquid? Relax, it's Palmolive!" The knobs were thoroughly dried before putting them back on. It took about 30 minutes to remove the decades of accumulated crud, dirt, grease, and oil, and made a noticeable transformation to the overall cosmetic appearance.

 

Photos (left to right): 9/13/21 (Tupper Lake), 9/14/21 (Long Lake), 9/15/21 (Long Lake) / iPhone 8

Side-by-side comparison; before and after cleaning the knobs, and rejuvenating the wood. The secret weapon for the knobs was the fingernail brush, (purchased specifically for this task) because it had the correct stiffness. Old toothbrush bristles were too soft to effectively remove the oily deposits from the recesses of the knurled knobs. Once cleaned, they shined like new (see photos). For the cabinet, Howard Feed-N-Wax was dispatched with an old rag, and some elbow grease. It was beginning to resemble a dignified radio again. You'll Agree.™

Photo (left): September 13, 2021 – as purchased condition.
Photo (right): September 14, 2021 – cabinet oiled, cord, plug, and knobs cleaned.


Photos: September 14, 2021 / Long Lake, NY / iPhone 8

September 14, 2021 (Tuesday, continued): The blue FM indicator lamp stopped working shortly after taking the photo with the coffee cup. Probably needed to source a new one. What was the lamp style and rating (volts and amps)? Hopefully, the Sams Photofact would reveal the answers (see lamp data section).

September 15, 2021 (Wednesday) 1:42 a.m. / Update: The blue FM indicator lamp began working the next time the set was turned on. Could it be a dirty power switch contact? Check the connections, and use DeoxIT on the combination on-off switch / volume control pot back at the workshop.


OEM power cord made by Kawasaki
Determined a new power cord could be sourced from Antique Electronic Supply (see Links page). The original cord was made by Kawasaki (see photo), so it may be best just to clean and preserve it for historical integrity. After all, it wasn't damaged, only scuzzy.

Photo: September 14, 2021 / iPhone 8
After scrubbing the plug and power cord with a fingernail brush and Palmolive liquid

OEM power cord made by Kawasaki.


Lamp Quest Tangent
This radio has three lamps (bulbs).

September 13, 2021 (Monday): Sams Photofact (Folder 1075-5)
Texted a friend at the Antique Wireless Association (AWA) who said he would supply a copy of the Sams Photofact for the Panasonic RE-7259 (Folder 1075-5), which I hoped would include details of the dial lamp, and band indicator lamps.

September 14, 2021 (Tuesday): Posted a question about the lamp values on the Antique Radios forum. One of the replies included a screen capture of the Photofact that included the lamp data. The values were listed, but nothing specific about the type of lamp base, with the exception of the Dial lamp, which was described as "cylinder", which may denote a fuse type (verify).  

Excerpt from Sams Photofact № 1075-5 / Lamp Data / Courtesy: Antique Radios forum

Panasonic RE-7259 AM/FM Radio Lamps
Description / Value Type / Base
(screw, miniature bayonet, cylinder, [fuse], etc.)
Notes Source
Dial (6.3 V, 200 mA) (Cylinder) Cylinder (fuse)
  • "Cylinder" denotes "fuse" type lamp (verified 9/26/21).
  • Parts Express sells a fuse type lamp (see screen shot). Note: values differ slightly from OEM.
  • Vintage-Electronics.Net sells fuse type lamps (see screen shot). On 9/26/21 got a reply from Bob Toepfer at Vintage Electronics that this lamp will work as a replacement for the original spec fuse lamp.
  • 9/30/21 - Ordered five fuse lamps from Vintage Electronics (see screen shot).
  • Note / Reminder / Personal Sanity Check: in March 2007, I purchased eight replacement fuse lamps (8V, 250 mA) for the Harman/Kardon "hk 340" from Vintage Electronics.
eBay
9/26/21
FM Indicator (6.3 V, 250 mA) Type 46
screw base

  • These are screw base lamps, so the Type 46 (6.3 V 250 mA) works.
  • Antique Electronic Supply sells packs of 10 screw base lamps for $3.00 (plus $3.95 shipping) for a total of $6.95.
Had an old 10-pack in stock. Ordered another 10-pack from AES 9/26/21.
AM Indicator (6.3 V, 250 mA)

September 16, 2021 (Thursday): Verified FM and AM Indicator Lamp Type
Removed the three tiny Phillips head screws from the back of the radio, and removed the cardboard cover. Discovered the FM and AM Indicator lamps were screw based, but was unable to see what type the Dial lamp was. Three more larger Phillips screws needed to be removed to extract the chassis (to reveal the Dial lamp), and I was not in a position to do that at the time.

September 26, 2021 (Sunday): Removed the chassis, and replaced the FM and AM Indicator lamps with Type 46 lamps (6.3 V, 250 mA) that I had in stock. Ordered another 10-pack of Type 46 lamps from Antique Electronic Supply. Cost: $3.00 plus $3.95 shipping. Total $6.95.

Verified the Dial lamp was a fuse type. It measured 29 mm long (1 ⅛"). Found a vendor on eBay who sells 10-packs for $12.99 plus $4.00 shipping, plus  $1.27 tax ($18.26 total) Purchased a 10-pack from him. ETA 10/4/21.
Dial Lamp Specifications (eBay 9/26/21)
Type: Incandescent
Color: Original (warm white)
Length: 29 mm
Diameter: 6 mm
Polarity: Non-polar
Voltage: 12v AC/DC (Oops – wrong voltage! Needed 6.3 volt – returned for credit)
Current Draw: 250 mA (0.25A)
The glue (or anti-vibration paint) on the Band Indicator lamps presented a challenge when removing the screw base lamp sockets. To help things along, I put some paraffin oil on a Q-tip (cotton bud), and applied it to the paint to soften it up. About 10 minutes later, used an x-acto knife to chip away at the paint. Then used a small screw driver (and thin dental tool) to leverage the sockets up and out.

September 30, 2021 (Thursday): Realized the fuse lamps I ordered on eBay were 12 volt, but I needed 6.3 volt. Ordered five of the 6v 250 mA fuse lamps from Vintage Electronics. They arrived October 7, 2021 (Thursday).
Fuse Lamp 6v 250ma
Ordered 5 @ $1.65 = $8.25
Subtotal: $8.25
Shipping & Handling: $5.75
Tax: $0.00
Surcharge: $0.00
Order Total: $14.00





Replacing All Three Lamps

a.k.a. Journey to the Bottom of the Radio ®

Back cover removed to replace old, and non-working lamps.


The dial cord chart was found on the inside of the cabinet.


Chassis free to move about. Removed four screws on bottom of cabinet, and three screws securing the chassis inside the cabinet.


The tuning dial, and its clear plastic lens are easier to inspect and clean with the chassis removed. Also, use DeoxIT on the pots while everything is apart.


Chassis balancing on cabinet; revealing IF coils, and other circuitry. Note four rubber feet, and four chassis mounting holes on bottom of cabinet.


Bottom of cabinet and IF coils (detail).


Dial lamp ("cylinder" a.k.a. "fuse" type) at bottom of tuning dial.


Original Dial lamp (6.3 V, 200 mA) burned-out, and broken. Replaced with a new (6.0 V, 250 mA, 29 mm length fuse a.k.a. "cylinder") lamp from Vintage Electronics.

New replacement Dial lamps (6.0 V, 250 mA, 29 mm length fuse a.k.a. "cylinder" style) from Vintage Electronics.


Speaker – 6 ½", permanent magnet, 16 Ω


Serial № 65532


FM and AM Band Indicator lamps with original white sealant paint (unbroken) on socket clips.


Internal ferrite antenna (for AM reception), and Band Indicator lamps with original sealant paint. First softened the paint with paraffin oil. Then scraped the paint off with an X-Acto knife to break the seals in order to change the lamps.


Original cardboard shell with notch cut out around Band Indicator lamp.


When the lamp sockets are in their home positions, the notches should be positioned downward at a 45° angle toward the tuning dial. This allows a bit of light to illuminate the top portion of the tuning dial. The light coming from the tip of the lamps illuminates the Band Indicator lights.


Original specification Type 46 lamp (6.3 V, 250 mA, screw base) with original cardboard shell removed.

Chassis rear view 1.

Chassis rear view 2.


Panasonic "RE-7259"



Photo: October 7, 2021 / finished, and on the workbench / iPhone 8
After cleaning, wood rejuvenation, and lamp replacement.

Lamps Replaced
October 7, 2021 (Thursday): at the time this photo was taken, the replacement fuse lamps (6.0 v, 250 mA, 29 mm length) had arrived from Vintage Electronics, and everything was put back together; however, even with the Dial lamp replaced, it was impossible to read the frequency numbers in complete darkness. The designers apparently forgot that the purpose of the Dial lamp was to make the frequencies readable in low light. Click the photo to see what a properly illuminated dial looks like (Harman / Kardon 330c). Also note the size of the Panasonic compared to the Harman/Kardon receiver.

Summary
The main objectives were met. The exterior was cleaned, the lamps were replaced, and while the interior of the cabinet was vacuumed and dusted, a thorough detailing was left for another time. This project, including the physical work, and the documentation, provided over a month of stimulation and amusement, and all for the entry fee of $15.00.




c o n t a c t / r a d i o w o r l d
Panasonic RE-7259
Established: September 20, 2021
Last Update: November 07, 2022
Black Sparrow Photography / Jeffrey P. Miller (N2AWA)