Gateway Music NOTE: This article appeared in AZReporter Weekly Magazine in 1998. Some of the radios may have been sold.

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Old Time Radio in a Digital World

Gateway Music not only provides a wide selection of instruments and repair services, but a collection of antique radios and record player parts.

WILLIAMS-While the world rolls into the 21st century, digitally enhanced world, a few maintain a vigil over the history that brought us to this state. The world of tubes. There are some kids today who have probably never seen a vinyl record, much less heard one. While digital manufacturers glorify the benefits of CDs, many audiophiles will argue that tubes give a richer, more natural sound. It is said that Eric Clapton will use nothing but tube amplifier systems in his show. Old tube systems are less susceptible to brown-outs and electrical spikes. While it is not likely these benefits will make any manufacturer come out with a tube computer, it certainly can benefit the audiophile who want to listen to music or radio.
           Whether you argue that the sound is better or you just like to collect antiques, these old radios are still around. And one of those sentinels is in one of those "hidden" places in Williams. Tucked away at Gateway Music -- right along historic route 66 -- in Williams, Arizona is Lu Carle's collection of radios and record players that he rebuilds and offers for sale.

Lu Carle carefully cleans and inspects a radio prior to putting in back into service.

           Lu's skill for repairing antique radios comes as a natural aside to his business. Lu started Gateway Music when he came to Williams in 1980. He hired someone to work on electronic amplifiers for musicians. After the person left, Lu was still receiving electronic equipment in addition to his normal work repairing musical instruments.
           While rummaging through a yard sale a few years ago, he found an old NRI course from 1965 complete with kits and bought it. The course covered tubes. Having some previous electronics experience, he studied the course until it started teaching television repair. He has no interest in television repair, but he always had an interest in old radios.

This Brunswick 7 tube model (Circa 1928) Lu rebuilt looks easy to repair. But you can see requires a knowledge of tube systems.

           He found a 1939 Wards Airline Model 93B-714A and began his radio restoration trade. He donated the radio to a raffle as part of a benefit held by KYET radio in Williams a year ago. Word circulated and he estimates 55 restorations since that first radio ( This article was written in 1998). Lu finds old radios through rummage sales, estate sales and people bringing them in. He maintains his business of repairing other electronics and musical instruments.
           In the process of "recycling" these radios, he has become somewhat of a historian. "I have to research the companies and the way the radios are built in order to learn what I need to restore them," Lu explained. On one record player/AM radio is a label on the upper-frequency with the word "POLICE." Lu noted that the police radios used to operate in the upper AM band and radios could pick up their transmissions. In essence, the first police scanners.
           Yet another arm of his repair business is the availability of spare parts for those old systems. He now carries tubes and cartridges for phonograph record players. He carries audio plugs, music books, and other necessities for the musician. If you visit Williams and visit Gateway Music, you might even find a musical instrument or two.

One of the models Lu rebuilt sits at the KYET studio in downtown Williams.

Grand Canyon Tube Radio

200 S 6th Street
Williams, Arizona 86046
(928) 635-9271

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RCA VICTOR Circa 1940 (sold)

Delco Model 1140 Circa 1940 (sold)

United States Television Clearsonic Model  (sold)

Clapp-Eastman H-R Regenerative radio with headset from 1922

Crosley "American Overseas" Model 66TA (1946) (sold)

Crosley Model 9-11865 (1949) (sold)

Traveler Model 5170 (1952)  (sold)

1936 Philco Cathedral in a rebuilt cabinet