Fathers and sons
Real stories behind YKON Bluetooth Radios
My godfather bought this radio
A week ago one of my old schoolmates reached out to me. Upon opening the message words of praise poured on me about the radio conversions we were doing. Receiving messages like these always fills me with pleasure and happiness and shows that what we do here with the team matters.
Upon him seeing some of our custom converted radios he remembered his grandfathers' old radio and wondered if we could restore it with some 21-century tech in it. After exchanging few messages we found out that the radio in question was a Hungarian Velence R646 tube radio from 1955 and currently it was serving as a plant holder.
We hear the "plantholder" story way too many times so it's our strong mission to get as many of these decoration serving beautifully crafted iconic pieces of art back into functioning modern radios.
Hearing that this custom conversion ask wasn't just a flea-market found radio makes the story even more real because it strongly lives in my friend and his families memories.
We couldn't wait to get this 60-year-old radio over into our workshop and start doing our magic on it. The ask was to upgrade the radio with Bluetooth capabilities without any of the usual functions we normally build into like a battery for portable use, FM radio or physical buttons.
As the first step in each of our conversions, we started the process of cleaning the radio from inside out. 60 years of dust can be hard to remove but it has a positive and unexpected effect as well: saves the wooden cabinet from extensive sunlight which can cause cracks on the finish. All in all, it was in a very good condition together with all the knobs and the band searching glass.
It was a radio that still lives in memories.
We have converted the same model before so we knew that the original speaker meets the amplifier's performance. Finding out that it worked to put an even bigger smile on our face. It was a no-brainer to leave it in as it gave the radio a truly warm and unique sound. We also set up the knobs to work with the radios original functions and installed a magnetic charger to power the radio.
We couldn't wait to take it to my friend's place and meet his father. Seeing the owners face and reaction when we first turn on a radio that's been unused for decades is priceless.
It was a Sunday afternoon when we arrived to the flat. There was so much excitement in the air as we were climbing the stairs. We rang the bell, the door opened and there we were. The moment of truth. What will his reaction be - we asked ourselves?
We were invited to sit on a big green couch and before we even knew it his father was serving us "palinka" a typical Hungarian house burn.
We happily smiled at the shotglasses but we knew that in order for us to truly celebrate, first, we had to showcase what we have built!
We turned on the radio, paired it up with my smartphone and with a quick Spotify search I found his favorite artist - BB King.
'All right! What kind of music would you like listen to, dad?'
'What else than BB King, son?' - he answered.
Pressed play and there it was. It was working again!
'This is unbelievable! I can't believe I'm listening to this song through this radio which last time worked 30 or 40 years ago. I haven't been so happy for many many years. You guys brought me so much joy today.'
His dad started telling us the stories from the good old days while BB King was playing in the background. They were so inspiring and felt like we were in a time machine. Finding out about the story of this radio was also one of the highlights of this visit.
'Look, although I've inherited this radio from my father it was my godfather who bought it in 1956. He was a rail man. He traveled a lot and was open to new things like that. We often spent summers with him and I remember him playing the radio for us. Shortly after his death in 1986, the radio broke and it stayed like this ever since. So let's see, 32 years. For 32 years this radio has been broken'
'My godfather bought it in 1956. He was a rail man.'
His story filled our souls with warmth as he continued.
'I remember the times when I was a kid and my parents were turning the knobs while sitting in the kitchen. Maybe they were searching for the Free Europe station...Who know's. But what I remember vividly was the fluorescent magic eye that lit up every time the radio was turned on. It's amazing to see that you guys managed to restore that too! That brings back some great childhood memories.'
As we were listening to the stories we've also set up an older smartphone with music apps and showed him how to work it.
He funnily said 'For me, the telephone means only SMS and phone calls but if I can listen to BB King on my old radio I'll learn to operate this no matter how long it will take me.'
'It must stay here! I love it!'
We all laughed as we downed the last shot. It was time for us to slowly say goodbye and head home.
We cannot express how these few hours felt. It was uplifting especially hearing these old stories and seeing all this happiness on this man's face.
Although previously we've done other radio conversions for clients from the US, UK and EU countries, the thank you notes and excitement messages usually come through via email or messenger.
This occasion was the first time for us when we were able to meet the owner face to face and spend time listening to the story behind the radio and the product we've given a new meaning to.
Experiencing this from the first hand has strengthened our vision and mission, even more, to keep the stories running, the music playing and converting, saving and restoring as many old radios as we possibly can.
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