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Lafayette Radio (LRE) Newark NJ




 
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« on: May 19, 2016, 09:03:24 AM »

Like many of us in the NE, we started buying radio equipment from Lafayette Radio. For me, I was in high school and would take the bus to Newark and walk Broad Street to Central Ave. Yesterday at lunch time I took a walk to see what was there. Sadly, just a parking lot, but most of the other buildings I remember are still there. Up the hill was Aaron Lippman Electronics which I'm sure is now gone also.


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« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2016, 11:01:58 AM »

It was something good to say about Lafayette Radio....
My first exposure to a real stereo was on a truly nice Lafayette Stereo. "Sheila" Tommy Roe sounded marvelous on that system. Amp, Preamp, speakers,,,
Why they got coined "LAFF A LOT" is beyond me



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« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2016, 11:09:31 AM »

LOL, I have the LP "12 in a Roe" by Tommy Roe.
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« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2016, 11:45:11 AM »

When I was a kid in West Hartford, CT the other neighborhood kids and I would ride our bikes across town and check out whatever was on the bargain table at Lafayette. Back then they always seemed to have much more interesting stuff than what Radio Shack offered. After saving up my earnings from a paper route I got the mighty fine pair of components in the picture below. The amp sported a 12AX7A preamp and a single-ended 6BQ5 amplifier delivering around 5 watts for each channel. My parents gave me a pair of speakers and a turntable for my birthday and Christmas and I was good to go. I dragged that system to college and later when I got married it ended up in our first apartment. My wife never could figure out how to use it so I had to leave a 3 x 5 card next to it so she could turn the thing on and off.

Eventually, I raided the amplifier and transplanted the 12AX7A and 6BQ5 into my Viking One as a dubious upgrade to the audio chain. I tweaked the AM section of the tuner so that it would cover the 160 meter band and used it for listening to the numerous AM conversations that took place there. I'm still a sucker for Lafayette (and other brand) amps like that when I see them at flea markets.

Sorry to see that picture of the parking lot where the building used to be in Newark. The last time I looked a camera shop was residing in what used to be the Lafayette store near me.

Rob W1AEX



* lafayette combination.jpg (210.66 KB, 640x538 - viewed 283 times.)
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« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2016, 01:47:19 PM »

I lived on the South shore of Long Island and Lafayette Radio was near the North shore, in Syosset.  It was more than an hours worth of bike riding but well worth it.

My first purchase from Lafayette was their KT-390 90 watt CW, 75 watt AM transmitter kit.  It worked the first time I fired it up.  I liked it so much I even bought another one a few years ago just for fun.

Once I got my drivers license, it was a 15 minute drive up the SOB (South Oyster Bay) expressway, and lots more stuff came home with me.

Great place for a teenage ham!
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« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2016, 04:36:18 PM »

Aaron Lippman went out of business about 25-30 years ago.  I bought a lot of antenna stuff from them.  A divorce of one of the owners put Lippman out of business.

Fred
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« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2016, 05:22:29 PM »

I had a brief taste of Lafayette Elec. back in the mid to late 70's. Groton, CT had a Lafayette and when i first got my drivers license I'd pop in there to drool.  Then it was gone, taken over by Harry Leiser with a name change to Leiser Electronics. The business plan changed and eventually Leiser folded a few years later.
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« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2016, 06:08:30 PM »

My first receiver was the Lafayette ExplorAir receiver.

Being a reGen it was kindatouchy but sensitive enough for my purposes.

Phil - AC0OB


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« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2016, 08:05:46 PM »

Just finished a x country car trip and stopped by to see the last building WRL occupied as a store and factory


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« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2016, 09:02:06 PM »

If you wanted real Lafayette fun, you had to work there. It was told to me back in the early 80's, I was their longest part-time employee. I started there my first year of college (needed beer money) at Plainfield, NJ. Today, it's parking lot. In 1972 the store move to Route 22 Watchung. NJ. Couldn't be there for the opening; I was on my honeymoon in Boston. For fun and giggles, wife and I stopped at the Lafayette store in Boston and called my manager at Watchung to wish them much success and that I was celebrating with them at the Boston store. Watchung store is now Honey Baked Ham.

Some fun trivia. The Plainfield store seem to be a revolving door for female cashiers. I think I dated most of them. Management was not amused. So then I dated the manager's daughter for a time; he was even less amused. But, he was a great guy and overall we got along fine. Sadly, he passed away several years ago.

I had no set hours for working. Although Watchung was my main store, if there was salesperson short fall in one of the other NJ stores, I would help out there as time required. For two years when I was going to school in NYC, I worked the Union Square store two nights a week . The Union Square store had the original group of sales people that came out of the 100 6th Ave store (one of Lafayette's first stores and where, on the upper floors, back in the real good old days, they did design and manufacturing). Most of these guys started there before I was even born. The Union Square store was, one of three union shops, only in the Lafayette chain. Besides being the only gentile at that time to ever work at Union Square, and since it was a union shop, I could not be a salesperson. My title was salesperson assistant. The time spent here was very educational in the art of sales techniques and how to close a sale.

Lots of fun and time spent at Lafayette and it was very enjoyable, rewarding, and interesting. Getting a chance to play with lots of new to market communications equipment and hi-fi equipment, and lots of other stuff is something I'll always remember.


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« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2016, 09:18:20 PM »

When I was a kid in West Hartford, CT the other neighborhood kids and I would ride our bikes across town and check out whatever was on the bargain table at Lafayette. Back then they always seemed to have much more interesting stuff than what Radio Shack offered. After saving up my earnings from a paper route I got the mighty fine pair of components in the picture below. The amp sported a 12AX7A preamp and a single-ended 6BQ5 amplifier delivering around 5 watts for each channel. My parents gave me pair of speakers and a turntable for my birthday and Christmas and I was good to go. I dragged that system to college and later when I got married it ended up in our first apartment. My wife never could figure out how to use it so I had to leave a 3 x 5 card next to it so she could turn the thing on and off.

Eventually, I raided the amplifier and transplanted the 12AX7A and 6BQ5 into my Viking One as a dubious upgrade to the audio chain. I tweaked the AM section of the tuner so that it would cover the 160 meter band and used it for listening to the numerous AM conversations that took place there. I'm still a sucker for Lafayette (and other brand) amps like that when I see them at flea markets.

Sorry to see that picture of the parking lot where the building used to be in Newark. The last time I looked a camera shop was residing in what used to be the Lafayette store near me.

Rob W1AEX



That amp looks so familiar...Amazing how nice that stuff was back then...looks like really expensive goodies.
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« Reply #11 on: May 19, 2016, 10:09:00 PM »

After saving up my earnings from a paper route I got the mighty fine pair of components in the picture below. The amp sported a 12AX7A preamp and a single-ended 6BQ5 amplifier delivering around 5 watts for each channel.

Eventually, I raided the amplifier and transplanted the 12AX7A and 6BQ5 into my Viking One as a dubious upgrade to the audio chain. I tweaked the AM section of the tuner so that it would cover the 160 meter band and used it for listening to the numerous AM conversations that took place there. I'm still a sucker for Lafayette (and other brand) amps like that when I see them at flea markets.

Rob W1AEX

In the picture you show Rob, the tuner looks like the LT-250 FM Stereo tuner and the amp looks like the LA-224A which actually was rated at 15 watts RMS. Had a pair of 6BQ5's per channel and 5 12AX7's. Can't remember the rectifier tube but probably a 5AR4 or something similar. Roughly 1966 vintage.
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« Reply #12 on: May 20, 2016, 08:28:29 AM »

After saving up my earnings from a paper route I got the mighty fine pair of components in the picture below. The amp sported a 12AX7A preamp and a single-ended 6BQ5 amplifier delivering around 5 watts for each channel.

Eventually, I raided the amplifier and transplanted the 12AX7A and 6BQ5 into my Viking One as a dubious upgrade to the audio chain. I tweaked the AM section of the tuner so that it would cover the 160 meter band and used it for listening to the numerous AM conversations that took place there. I'm still a sucker for Lafayette (and other brand) amps like that when I see them at flea markets.

Rob W1AEX

That makes a lot more sense for an amp in that time period...A pair of 6BQ5's...



In the picture you show Rob, the tuner looks like the LT-250 FM Stereo tuner and the amp looks like the LA-224A which actually was rated at 15 watts RMS. Had a pair of 6BQ5's per channel and 5 12AX7's. Can't remember the rectifier tube but probably a 5AR4 or something similar. Roughly 1966 vintage.
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« Reply #13 on: May 20, 2016, 08:43:16 AM »

So all this LRE reminiscing motivated me to assign the next project - to get my first real stereo system back up and running. I recall going to Lafayette in Newark and buying the LA-750 and LT-725. I still have the original boxes!  Last night I powered the amp up and aside from noisy pots and switches it sounds remarkably good. The tuner lights up, but has very low sensitivity on FM - AM works just fine. I'm hoping it's just some bad caps that have dried up. The LT-725 had a built in SCA decoder which I figured out how to activate. I remember listening to PRN (Physician's Radio Network) on the sub-carrier of a local NYC station. Gotta see if I can find a service manual for the tuner on line. By this time I deserves an alignment!


* Layayette Stereo.jpg (696.55 KB, 1800x1350 - viewed 293 times.)
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« Reply #14 on: May 20, 2016, 12:24:58 PM »

In the picture you show Rob, the tuner looks like the LT-250 FM Stereo tuner and the amp looks like the LA-224A which actually was rated at 15 watts RMS. Had a pair of 6BQ5's per channel and 5 12AX7's. Can't remember the rectifier tube but probably a 5AR4 or something similar. Roughly 1966 vintage.

You are correct Pete. The amp that I had was the LA-214 which looked nearly identical but it was a notch below the one in the picture and sported a single-ended 6BQ5 for 5 watts per channel. The tuner that I had (LT-80?) looked nearly identical to the one in the picture but it did not have the tuning meter, covered both AM/FM bands and was not stereo FM. It had a jack on the back that provided connection to the LA-220 multiplex stereo converter kit. My dad and I built that little kit and it worked quite well for stereo FM reception.

Rob W1AEX


* LA220 MPX Adapter.jpg (10.84 KB, 300x225 - viewed 200 times.)

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« Reply #15 on: May 20, 2016, 01:27:13 PM »

As a Texas boy, back in the 50's and 60's, it was such a thrill to get the Lafayette and the Allied catalogs in the mail. I wore the pages out. It was just like getting the Sears Christmas catalog. If only I had a time machine so I could order from those catalogs!  Wink
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« Reply #16 on: May 20, 2016, 02:17:12 PM »

LOL My 1967 Lafayette and Allied catalogs are available as reading material in my porcelain palace, just as Sears catalogs were! For those who never had the pleasure ....
http://www.americanradiohistory.com/Archive-Catalogs/Allied-Catalogs/Lafayette-1968-Spring.pdf
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« Reply #17 on: May 20, 2016, 03:11:04 PM »

LOL My 1967 Lafayette and Allied catalogs are available as reading material in my porcelain palace, just as Sears catalogs were! For those who never had the pleasure ....
http://www.americanradiohistory.com/Archive-Catalogs/Allied-Catalogs/Lafayette-1968-Spring.pdf


What you posted is just the quarterly supplement. We did one for Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter and sometimes an even shorter "Holiday" version.

The full 1968 catalog was 512 pages.
The full catalogs were actually put together and printed a year before they were issued for a particular year so the supplements many times kept up with equipment changes, price changes, etc. They could be compiled, printed, and issued a lot faster.
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« Reply #18 on: May 20, 2016, 08:20:37 PM »

As a Texas boy, back in the 50's and 60's, it was such a thrill to get the Lafayette and the Allied catalogs in the mail. I wore the pages out. It was just like getting the Sears Christmas catalog. If only I had a time machine so I could order from those catalogs!  Wink

Same here in Indiana.  In the late 60's I was stationed at the Presidio of San Francisco courtesy of Uncle Sam.  Bought an HA-460 from one of the stores there; still have it.  When I got back home to SW Indiana, they had a store in Evansville.  Bought some audio equipment and their HA-750 6M mobile [which looks like a hastely converted CB rig].  Wish I knew what happened to the little self-contained stereo; don't even remember the model number.  Overall good equipment and mostly friendly people.
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« Reply #19 on: May 21, 2016, 07:15:33 PM »

So all this LRE reminiscing motivated me to assign the next project - to get my first real stereo system back up and running. I recall going to Lafayette in Newark and buying the LA-750 and LT-725. I still have the original boxes!  Last night I powered the amp up and aside from noisy pots and switches it sounds remarkably good. The tuner lights up, but has very low sensitivity on FM - AM works just fine. I'm hoping it's just some bad caps that have dried up. The LT-725 had a built in SCA decoder which I figured out how to activate. I remember listening to PRN (Physician's Radio Network) on the sub-carrier of a local NYC station. Gotta see if I can find a service manual for the tuner on line. By this time I deserves an alignment!

The common problem for low sensitivity for the LT-725 is a bad MPF-107 FET in the front end and an even more common problem is a bad ICF-1 IC in the IF chain. These were notorious for failing. When they fail, they tend to act as attenuators. To test, connect a .01 mfd cap on the input side of the IC and connect the other end of the cap to the output side of the IC. If the volume and signal strength come up, the IC is bad.
In the LT-725A, the SCA decoder was removed due to some legal issues.
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« Reply #20 on: May 22, 2016, 02:51:09 PM »


The common problem for low sensitivity for the LT-725 is a bad MPF-107 FET in the front end and an even more common problem is a bad ICF-1 IC in the IF chain. These were notorious for failing. When they fail, they tend to act as attenuators. To test, connect a .01 mfd cap on the input side of the IC and connect the other end of the cap to the output side of the IC. If the volume and signal strength come up, the IC is bad.
In the LT-725A, the SCA decoder was removed due to some legal issues.

From 1967 and on for a couple years, Lafayette used a Fairchild 703 IC in the IF strip of their FM tuners and stereo receivers.  That was the most common failure.  While I worked there, they had an ongoing rework program and "time-test" to weed out early failures.  

The 703 IC was not exclusive to Lafayette, however.  A few years later when working at Radio Shack, they had products from the late 60s with that same failure-prone IC.  I used the same 'cap across the IC' test to make a quick determination without test equipment to diagnose that 703's death.  

Fortunately, the 703 was widely available on RS's peg-board for cheap.  Nowadays it's a struggle to find it.
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« Reply #21 on: May 22, 2016, 03:41:16 PM »

Good old Laughingyet in their pre-Japanese import daze sold a lot of re-branded Hallicrafters CB and ham transceivers, tanks for the mammary. I had an LA-225A stereo amp similar to its baby brother pictured, the difference was P-P 6BQ5s.

Hey Pete, it's been a long time since I've been to a hamfester so you probably don't remember me buying a few of your manuals, but I just discovered we go back farther than I thought. You worked at the Plainfield, NJ store I frequented, I'm sure we met there and didn't know each other then. I replaced the 12AX7s in my equipment with low hum and noise 7025s routinely pulled from the WERA console in the basement of the Park Hotel annex and had more goodies from the RCA BTA-1R and BTA-500R transmitters in South Plainfield where I spent many a Saturday thanks to my friend Bob Balfour CE. Small world, isn't it?
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« Reply #22 on: May 22, 2016, 07:21:06 PM »


The common problem for low sensitivity for the LT-725 is a bad MPF-107 FET in the front end and an even more common problem is a bad ICF-1 IC in the IF chain. These were notorious for failing. When they fail, they tend to act as attenuators. To test, connect a .01 mfd cap on the input side of the IC and connect the other end of the cap to the output side of the IC. If the volume and signal strength come up, the IC is bad.
In the LT-725A, the SCA decoder was removed due to some legal issues.

From 1967 and on for a couple years, Lafayette used a Fairchild 703 IC in the IF strip of their FM tuners and stereo receivers.  That was the most common failure.  While I worked there, they had an ongoing rework program and "time-test" to weed out early failures.  

The 703 IC was not exclusive to Lafayette, however.  A few years later when working at Radio Shack, they had products from the late 60s with that same failure-prone IC.  I used the same 'cap across the IC' test to make a quick determination without test equipment to diagnose that 703's death.  

Fortunately, the 703 was widely available on RS's peg-board for cheap.  Nowadays it's a struggle to find it.

A wrote this back in April 2012: "The infamous IC, ua703, also known in Lafayette products as the ICF-1 and IC-C555A, (Part No. 1014-25) suffered from lots of failures. It was also used in many of Lafayette Hi-Fi IF strips. I still have some of those parts."

The IC was first touted on the cover of the 1968 catalog:

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« Reply #23 on: May 22, 2016, 07:29:12 PM »

Good old Laughingyet in their pre-Japanese import daze sold a lot of re-branded Hallicrafters CB and ham transceivers, tanks for the mammary. I had an LA-225A stereo amp similar to its baby brother pictured, the difference was P-P 6BQ5s.


What rebranded Hallicrafters  rigs are you talking about? If you're referring to the military-gray color U. S. made stuff, none of it was made by Hallicrafters.

The LA-225 (there was no suffix "A") was an AM FM Multiplex stereo receiver. It was one of several receivers whose prefix didn't start with an "LR".  The LA-224A was a stereo amplifier and had a pair of 6BQ5's in each channel.
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« Reply #24 on: May 23, 2016, 08:30:08 AM »

Thanks so much for these tips!

So all this LRE reminiscing motivated me to assign the next project - to get my first real stereo system back up and running. I recall going to Lafayette in Newark and buying the LA-750 and LT-725. I still have the original boxes!  Last night I powered the amp up and aside from noisy pots and switches it sounds remarkably good. The tuner lights up, but has very low sensitivity on FM - AM works just fine. I'm hoping it's just some bad caps that have dried up. The LT-725 had a built in SCA decoder which I figured out how to activate. I remember listening to PRN (Physician's Radio Network) on the sub-carrier of a local NYC station. Gotta see if I can find a service manual for the tuner on line. By this time I deserves an alignment!

The common problem for low sensitivity for the LT-725 is a bad MPF-107 FET in the front end and an even more common problem is a bad ICF-1 IC in the IF chain. These were notorious for failing. When they fail, they tend to act as attenuators. To test, connect a .01 mfd cap on the input side of the IC and connect the other end of the cap to the output side of the IC. If the volume and signal strength come up, the IC is bad.
In the LT-725A, the SCA decoder was removed due to some legal issues.
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