This magic eye radio features an EM83 tube atop a ‘tower’ of cylindropuntia imbricate a.k.a. the Devil’s Walking Stick or cane cholla. When this cactus dies it leaves this skeleton which is surprising stout and completely hollow down the center core. This particular specimen came from an extremely desolate and isolated area around Vaughn, New Mexico.
The EM83 tube is extraordinarily scarce and I was told that they are no longer available anywhere. I do a world wide search from time to time and have always come up empty. Any set that incorporates one of these jewels will quickly become very valuable regardless of the radio it is in. Beyond that, they are the most beautiful tubes of them all and are very entertaining as well A beacon on one side vacillates with strong signals thus aiding in tuning the set. The other side registers the gain of the circuit…at least in this radio it does.
This set also includes a small amp and speaker that has more volume than a person needs. The binding posts are solid brass from McMaster-Carr and they and the on-off switch are mounted on the back panel. The coil was wound on an Amidon torroidal core # FT-114-61 using .026 magnet wire to an inductance of 241uH. The tank was completed using a 365pF variable capacitor from the Xtal Society in Lawrence, Kansas. The plate and the filament voltages are supplied by a transformer #P-T442 from Antique Electronics. I polish all brass screws on the set and I buy these items from Micro-Fastners Inc and McMaster-Carr. This EM83 radio also features a 1 meg potentiometer gain control from Mouser Electronics.
The cabinet is Mahogany that is carefully steamed, bent to shape, thoroughly dried and then attached to its frame work. After all sanding is complete it is then stained, shaded and finished with satin nitro cellulose lacquer. The knobs are solid brass with main tuning controlled with a 5/8th inch knob while the amp and gain control have ½” knobs.
Some folks draw back with trepidation when hearing the name of the radio but I see nothing but unique art and beauty.