SCOPE OF WORK
Generally speaking, most receiving tubes are not very pricey. (Guitar amplifiers and stereos do have pricey output tubes!) What really always costs is the labor, as in all other service industries. One of the bigger contributors to labor is replacement of rotten wire insulation (not unusual in late 30′s RCA sets) or restoring a set that was built with acid-core solder. Use of such solder means virtually every connection must be made anew. Some early (1920’s) radios used “pot metal” in their variable capacitor frames (tuning bodies). That is a disaster! Some receivers have bad IF coils. Most all such bad coils can be repaired or replaced, but that typically means another two hours of labor.
An ancient receiver rarely escapes the need for re-alignment of its three major systems (RF, OSC, and IF coils). This is a process much like tuning a guitar, only the ear is not used. A multi-band radio means a lot of labor, because each band’s alignment has nothing to do with another band’s alignment, unless the radio is a communications receiver. There are two aspects to tuning: getting the numbers on the station dial to read correctly and achieving good sound fidelity.
Minor speaker cones repairs are expected and are not a problem. Re-coning a speaker can be an expensive endeavor, if the speaker was used not only for its primary purpose but also for a secondary purpose: an inductor in the power supply. Further a speaker can contain a “hum bucking “coil. Any of these surprises can cause a cost increase.
The last thing I wish to do is scare away a potential customer! On the other hand, I never want a customer to feel cheated or “suckered in.” Now I tell you what I do.
MAKING AN ESTIMATE
What I can usually do is look up the schematic of the piece of gear, when a person contacts me initially. The schematic and the quality of the detail available with the alignment instructions provided by the manufacturer allow me to provide a potential customer an estimate of the kind that any jobber does. I never promise I can stay within so many percent of that estimate, but very early into the repair process I can let the customer know what’s actually in store.
A standard broadcast “All American Five” (something like a 1945 to 1960 version) is going to cost you about $180 to have restored. The closer one gets to 1960 (with no paper dielectric capacitors), the less will typically be the cost.
I can guarantee a repair/restoration in the same sense every other jobber does. I only warrant what I fix. I cannot warrant parts of a radio I did not replace. Vintage gear can self-destruct. It is very unlikely to have such failure, but you should know that vintage electronics should not be left unattended for too long.
I can provide a warranty up to a year, but the longer is the warranty the higher is the cost. My standard built-in warranty is 90 days from the return/ shipment date. This warranty covers parts I replaced and work that I did. The warranty does not cover acts of suicide by, for example, a power transformer I did not replace.