There has always been a drive to miniaturize technology. That’s a good thing, because it’s that drive that has given us powerful computers that fit in our pockets and have processors containing billions of microscopic transistors. But there was a time when our electronic devices were big and took up large portions of our homes. For that reason, some of them, such as console radios, were designed to look more like pieces of fine designer furniture than technology. BrokenAntlerWorkshop had just such a radio, and has a tutorial on how he modernized it with Alexa capabilities.
BrokenAntlerWorkshop got this console radio when he moved into his home, and it had likely been there for several years or even decades. It’s a Montgomery Ward Airline radio made in 1947 — a brand that, interestingly, also made Jack White’s iconic guitar. This radio could originally pick up AM and shortwave, but it hadn’t been working in years. Restoring those vintage electronics is difficult and expensive, and you’d still be left with a radio that can only pick up frequencies nobody wants to actually listen to. So, instead, BrokenAntlerWorkshop converted the console radio into a modern internet streamer with Amazon Alexa capabilities.
To do that, he removed all of the original electronics (and debris) from the inside, and cleaned up the wood enclosure as much as possible. He then dissected an Amazon Echo Dot and mounted its guts inside the console. To beef up the sound output, he used a set of PC speakers. For a little extra flair, he used some LED strips connected to a sound detector board to react to music being played. The result is a revived vintage console radio that retains all of its retro mid-century charm, while also providing the modern technological features that make it useful in today’s world.