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On The Bench - PYE PE80 "Cambridge International"

This behemoth arrived last night and whilst it powers up the internals are in very poor shape - water-damaged, rusty and dusty, and the speaker is making horrible, unpredictable sounds.

PYE PE80

Fortunately, externally it's in reasonable condition, and all the knobs and controls have lovely movement. There's some water damage, a missing knob, and the speaker fabric needs replacing, but that's all do-able.

It's quite a special radio - with 11 selectable bands (9 shortwave, MW + LW) and the ability to tune within the selected band. It oozes quality and has an imposing, commanding presence! Launched in 1953 or 1954, and cost around 40 Guineas (about £1150 in today's money!)

Testing the speaker with a different amplifier and audio source reveals the speaker sounds as good as it looks. It's about 9" in diameter so has really nice bass extension, but still handles the mids and trebles really well.


I've decided to keep the exterior original and replace the internals with a bluetooth adapter and a modern 60 Watt mono amplifier. Actually, the Class D amplifier is rated at 60 Watts with a 24V PSU, but that's overkill for this project, and I don't want to drive that old speaker too hard, so a 12V PSU should give us around 30 Watts - more than enough.

It'll have AUX-in too. The stereo sound source will be summed to mono and I'll add a potentiometer between the audio source and the amplifier, so the volume can be controlled using the radio's original volume control.



With the radio cabinet stripped down it's off to my brother's workshop for finishing. In the meantime I can get on with assembling the internals.

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