Report by Martin Butera
Photos by Ligia Katze
Table of contents
- Introduction by Martin Butera.
- The beginning of everything, the legendary and charming Hallicrafters S-38
- The tour of the Museum
- Private collection of Daltro D’Arisbo
- A Daltro D’Arisbo Radio in the FIFA museum in Zurich, Switzerland.
- Restoration “make the radio speak”
- Uncertain destination
- Final impressions
- Bonus – Redenção Park (Brique da Redenção)
- Special thanks
- Review with author information
In search of radio stories, this trip takes me more than 2,000 kilometers from home to the south of Brazil, more precisely to the city of Porto Alegre, capital of the state of Rio Grande do Sul.
Porto Alegre, is one of the most important cities in Brazil, capital of the state of Rio Grande do Sul. It has a population of 1,420,667 inhabitants and approximately 4 million inhabitants for its metropolitan area. The city is located at the conjunction of five rivers, among which is the Guaíba River (which is actually a lake), continuation of the Jacuí River shortly before its mouth in the Patos Lagoon (or Tapés Lagoon). Porto Alegre is a large industrial center in southern Brazil and is located in a strategic area, due to its proximity to Buenos Aires (capital of Argentina), Montevideo (capital of Uruguay) and Asunción (capital of Paraguay). The inhabitants of this state are called gauchos, the typical dish is churrasco (roast beef) and mate is the traditional infusion. Many important Brazilian universities are located in Porto Alegre, for example the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul.
In Porto Alegre I met the fascinating Daltro D’Arisbo, someone other than a simple collector, Daltro D’Arisbo is a radio fan who, with his dedication, passion and love, takes his radio collection to another dimension.
On the shelves there are no radios simply as collectible objects; from the radios stories of the beginning of the last century arise, frozen in time and in the memory of a lover of short waves.
The beginning of everything, the legendary and charming Hallicrafters S-38
A large apartment was purchased exclusively to store his exhibition in Menino Deus, a noble neighborhood of the Brazilian city of Porto Alegre, located in the south central region of the capital of the state of Rio Grande. They are more than 200 exclusively valve radios of different decades and all working perfectly.
His passion for radio began as a child when his father, who was a communications officer for the Brazilian army, found broken pieces of radio communications and repaired them at his home. After growing up, he recounted with that passion, it was a casual afternoon, his brother visiting his home, brought an old American-made Hallicrafters S-38 from 1948 that belonged to his father and had been lost among some others Things in the garage.
It was so that Daltro D’Arisbo, almost without any technical knowledge began its repair. Quickly the receiver that belonged to his father would become the first item in his collection. The S-38 Hallicrafters was undoubtedly one of the most popular shortwave radios ever made, the charming S-38 Hallicrafters introduced thousands of people to shortwave listening.
The tour of the Museum
Inside the museum, Daltro D’Arisbo explains the particularities of each of the radios. Didactic and extremely passionate, he becomes at times a teacher, who holds in his hand a pointer and tells us the story of each radio, making this a true time travel. Without a doubt, a true master class in the history of communication and society itself.
The museum is divided into three environments: national radios, radios manufactured outside Brazil (international sector) and a kind of vintage radio studio with a mixing console, speakers and classic microphones from the middle of the last century.
National Radio Room: You can see a large collection of radios manufactured by 100% Brazilian companies, such as those of the brand: Cruzeiro Byington & cia, Teleuniao, Invictus, Telespark and those of the SEMP brand (Sociedade Eletro Mercantil Paulista), which undoubtedly was one of the best selling brands in Brazil.
Daltro D’Arisbo explains that the SEMP brand (Sociedade Electro Mercantil Paulista), founded in 1942 by Affonso Hennel in São Paulo, SEMP was a company that has the merit of having made the first 100% Brazilian radio. Also in the national hall we can see that the collection contains radios manufactured in Brazil 100%, by multinational companies such as: Philips, Telefunken, Standard Electric, etc.
In the Brazilian national radio room, other special radios coexist, which we can enjoy in the following videos:
In the tour of the national radio room, Daltro D’Arisbo, has some radios on the table, there is a radio that is open is a chassis of a Murphy radio, built in England and serves as an example for a masterful explanation, about the signal process until it reaches the radio receiver. It also presents a Galena radio of the time of Nazi Germany (Nazi or National Socialist Germany are historiographical terms normally used to refer to the period of German history between 1933 and 1945, when the German National Socialist Workers Party (NSDAP) of Adolf Hitler ruled the country.)
Daltro D’Arisbo, is very excited and turns on a beautiful Telefunken Super Undine T875 WKKP radio, German manufacture of the late 30s. Place an analog mechanical recording acetate disc and the audio is lovely, you can hear it for yourself in the following video.
Daltro D’Arisbo, now shows a real rarity, a 30-valve Philharmonic SCOTT radio from the year 1937 of American manufacture. Radio that were presented without cabinets, with a beautiful dial and with its all chrome chassis, this radio is really a mastodon in size and weight. You can enjoy it in the following video.
Playing as human antennas: Daltro D’Arisbo, now lends us a German Telefunken 40W radio from the early 30s. (Videos in original Portuguese language):
Radio Room Manufactured outside Brazil (international sector): Daltro D’Arisbo, continues our journey through the world of radio, inviting us to the international radio room.
In the center of the “international gallery”, the oldest radio in its collection stands out, it is undoubtedly one of the most special. This is a Home Brew kit made in the United States, from the early 1920s. Daltro D’Arisbo explains that the radio pieces came in a separate package and 15 each person could configure their radio as they wanted.
Hallicrafters Tw1000 Radio (1952-56 USA) considered at the time of its manufacture in the early 50’s, as a portable radio, now of course considered “huge”, far removed from the current miniaturization, these receivers worked with battery or AC / DC. Lighter and commonly with a handle on the top, were the first personal radios: they could accompany the owner through the house, unlike table radios, virtually motionless in the living room or kitchen.
Before entering the room, Daltro D’Arisbo turns on a sign that says AIR and invites us to immerse ourselves in a real radio studio in the late 50s. It is lively and begins to sing in an old microphone that is connected to the table of one of the most important stations in the history of the radio station of Porto Alegre, properly restored and fully operational. This is the original mixing console of the Rádio Guaíba.
Rádio Guaíba is a Brazilian radio station based in Porto Alegre, capital of the state of Rio Grande do Sul. It operates in AM at 720 kHz and FM at 101.3 MHz, this station also operates in short waves at frequencies of 6000 kHz and 11785 kHz. Their studies are located in the Historic Center of Porto Alegre, in the Hudson Building, which also houses the People’s Post Office. Its transmitters for AM are on Pintada Island, in the Jacuí Delta archipelago, and its FM transmitters are in Morro da Polícia.
Welcome to the third room of the museum, the radio studio!
Another small curiosity, which we find on the shelves of the radio room, quickly catches the eye is a radio book, manufactured in Brazil. Model Invictus Super 6 of the 60s, is one of the few transistorized radios in his collection and clarifies that he only has it, because it is something unpublished.
Private collection of Daltro D’Arisbo
The connection between interviewer and interviewee is often a matter of chemistry and luck, with Daltro D’Arisbo both things happened. After the museum we end up having a wine together at home, it is the first time that a journalist has access to his private collection a real privilege.
In his house, there is the desk where he restores the radios and there is also a private extension of the museum’s collection, with more than 20 radios. They are not necessarily the most important radios at the collectible or economic level, they are important radios at the personal level, there is for example the old receiver of his father, the classic Hallicrafters S-38, with which he began his collection. His house is also a world apart, full of objects, family memories.
I ask permission to use his bathroom and when I turn on the light switch and a radio starts to sound, I start laughing out loud … Daltro D’Arisbo, then explains why I adapt the bathroom light switch: “I just like to start the day with radio.”
Daltro D’Arisbo, defines himself as a madman passionate about radio and knows that without passion life has no taste.
Daltro D’Arisbo, presents some of the radios of his private collection.
A Daltro D’Arisbo Radio in the FIFA museum in Zurich, Switzerland.
Daltro D’Arisbo: he thought it was a joke, it didn’t seem possible … At the beginning of the decade, an email identified as that of the world’s leading football entity almost deleted the spam folder. Ansorge Moritz, a stranger who claimed to speak on behalf of a company hired to design and equip the future FIFA Museum in Zurich, Switzerland. The stranger said that FIFA wanted to buy radios that had broadcast old World Cups, including the first in Brazil, from the 1938s.
Looking for information on the Internet, they found the radio museum of Porto Alegre and found the perfect radio, which was in the Daltro D’Arisbo collection, a model called “Cruzeiro 100”, manufactured by Biyngton in São Paulo, between 1935 and 1937. Daltro D’Arisbo refused to sell the radio to the Swiss. On the contrary, he donated it to exhibit it in Europe, under a single condition, he requested a small sign with the inscription “donation from the Radio Museum of Porto Alegre”. These photographs are from his personal archive that close this magical anecdote.
Restoration “make the radio speak”
For Daltro D’Arisbo “The radio that does not speak has no soul.”
However, not all radios that arrive in his collection arrive in these conditions. Most need repairs. Daltro D’Arisbo never took courses on electronics; he learned to deal with reading manuals and with the help of friends who understand the subject, although the most important thing was that curiosity and love for the radio, which led him to be one of the restaurateurs of most important radios in Brazil.
Daltro D’Arisbo, knows that a collection should be understood as an orderly gathering of objects in perfect condition that can represent a historical period in the best way. When a radio arrives at its museum, it is usually old and far from being an object called as old, collectible and worth telling a story. So, the restoration goes beyond simply “making the radio speak.” The goal is to make the radio look as much as possible to its original condition, thus reflecting the moment of its creation.
Daltro D’Arisbo, gives me a lesson in radio restoration, with a lot of passion he explains that radios abandoned for a long time suffer from the absence or excess of sunlight, humidity and pests like mice and especially termites. He also explains that corrosion is the greatest enemy of steel components, such as the chassis and components.” However, he tells me that the greatest harmful action is the human one and he explains that many radios, when opened inside, show the bad practices of technicians with few skills or without any commitment to the originality of the radio, encountering chaotic electronic arrangements.
That is why Daltro D’Arisbo knows that to restore radios, you must first begin an exhaustive search for quality electrical materials and accessories, the different bodies of radios (cabinets), look for a quality paint and many other aspects to achieve the maximum perfection, thus valuing the history that may be behind each radio. In the exclusive website of the radio museum of Porto Alegre, we can find about twenty of his own articles showing the step by step of Daltro D’Arisbo restorations, they are very well detailed articles that show their dedication and passion.
Daltro D’Arisbo expresses concern when he talks about the future of the museum, since it does not receive public or private funds and has a high maintenance cost. The costs include, at the expense of the building, general services (electricity, water, telephone) and, above all, the cleaning so as not to have dust, not less data and to the dust that is the number one enemy of the radios. All this takes time and is also very expensive, and although Daltro D’Arisbo does it with a lot of passion, he suggests that he doesn’t know how much longer.
Daltro D’Arisbo, being aware that his museum may disappear, little by little I know he is preparing, he tells me that he is preparing a catalog with more than 60 radios for donation to serious institutions that perpetuate his collection. One of the possible institutions chosen may be the “Frei Rovílio Costa” culture house.
Rovílio Costa (Veranópolis, August 20, 1934 – Porto Alegre, June 13, 2009) was a Catholic father, writer, historian, journalist and Brazilian editor, considered one of the great disseminators of Rio Grande do Sul culture. Daltro D’Arisbo, He also told me that his children have a love similar to radios, but he wants them to make their own lives and would not like them to continue their work by obligation. He even told me that many important world radio collectors, knowing that the museum can disappear, offered very high prices to buy his collection, but true to his 20 style, he tells me that he has already denied several offers for his collection.
No doubt each collection is unique, unrepeatable and irreplaceable, for the sentimental value it has for each collector, and for all the history it represents, that of Daltro D’Arisbo meets all these requirements.
Collecting is a basic and very old human instinct, typical, in general, of organized, careful and passionate people. The collector is an extension of his own person, reflects his tastes and personality, projects a part of them on the objects he possesses.
The collector is an explorer in search of treasures, they are hunters of a limited edition or single piece and they are undoubtedly possessed of hidden knowledge for other people. The collector, normally, what he likes most is the search process: finding the piece or the object out of the ordinary or difficult to obtain, with the stories behind it.
Daltro D’Arisbo knows about that and for him his collection is nothing more than a simple hobby or a hobby; it goes much more, for Daltro D’Arisbo, it became a way of life.
Daltro D’Arisbo, can not avoid an expression of satisfaction, pride and admiration for his collection, the lips will outline a smile contained in talking or showing off his collection, which perhaps in the eyes of other people can go unnoticed, but not for me.
Bonus – Redenção Park (Brique da Redenção)
It is undoubtedly one of the favorite places of our interviewee and when they see the photos they will understand why, it was no accident that upon leaving their home, he recommended that we go for a walk to the “Redenção” park.
Parque Redenção, is one of the most traditional and visited places of Porto Alegre, every Sunday (day I conducted this interview), on José Bonifácio Avenue, next to Farroupilha Park, from 9 a.m. at 6 p.m. In the park there is a fair, where the public finds crafts in various raw materials, such as leather, silver, thread, wood, resin, iron, plaster, glass and porcelain.
But the main protagonists are antiques, a true attraction for collectors looking for rare pieces and objects. Brique da Redenção began in March 1978 under the name of Flea Market, initially formed by 40 old exhibitors. In 1982, the Bom Fim and Art Craft Fair appeared in the Plaza.
There are currently 180 exhibitors of handicrafts, 70 of antiques, 40 of fine arts and 10 of gastronomy.
To the Municipal Prefeitura of Porto Alegre – Praça Montevidéo, 10 – Rio Grande do Sul – Brazil CEP 90010-170
To my Treasure Ligia Katze (Video and Photos)
About the author
He is a listener of Shortwave Radio and Amateur Radio since 1992 with the Argentine
callsign LU9EFO and the Brazilian PT2ZDX.
Martin is a Dxers and Radio Amateur with more than 30 years of experience, and has participated in DXpeditions throughout South America, with the Argentine radio callsign LU9EFO and the Brazilian callsign PT2ZDX.
Martin collaborates and writes for several Radio newsletters that cover the theme of world radio.
Martin is the founder of CREW called 15 point 61 (15.61), call now only 61 sixty one.
Martín Butera is a journalist, documentary filmmaker and founding member of Radio Atomika 106.1 MHz (Buenos Aires, Argentina) www.radioatomika.com.ar
He currently lives in Brasilia, capital of Brazil.