The Ideal Radiophonic Christmas Gift
By James Grahame
Tom Kipgen is a retired Spam dealer. His second career is far less gelatinous -- he designs and builds unique handcrafted radios. Kipgen's designs hearken back to the golden age of wireless, when a radio set was the centerpiece of a room.
This design -- Radio Moscow -- is a guaranteed conversation starter. The whimsical brass cupola perched on top of the 1625 tube is machined from 2" solid brass pipe, and the top and bottom plates are hand-lacquered Padauck wood. The set is built around an enormous triangular variable capacitor he discovered several years ago on eBay.
Kipgen explains, "It's been sitting on my shelf staring down at me every day since
then with that just-got-to-use-me look on it's plates. What the heck do you do with
a cap that's 7" tall and 5" on three sides?
It just figured that the set would have to be triangular too. Then the thought occurred that the tube's plate cap could also mimic the variable capacitor if it was great big and had great big fins as well. Why it's the shape of a poppy bulb I don't know. Well, actually, it's more like those funny hats sitting on buildings in Moscow."
Radio Moscow could be yours for a mere $327. His tube radio gallery features over twenty unique sets, including the twin cylinder Harleytron, the Flat Top shortwave and a single tube regenerative receiver that would be the perfect finishing touch for a mad scientist's lair.