Antique radio club plans swap meet at InfoAge

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Pasquale Lombardi and Jeff Ciccone, of Belmar, check out some shortwave radio sets at the NJARC’s 2019 Swap Meet at InfoAge. [FILE PHOTO / THE COAST STAR]

WALL TOWNSHIP — The New Jersey Antique Radio Club [NJARC] swap meet returns to InfoAge next weekend, with visitors again invited to check out all of the vintage technology on display.

The swap meet will be held on Saturday, July 24, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the museum and learning center, located at 2201 Marconi Road.

The NJARC, formed in the early 1990s, has been working with InfoAge for the last 20 years, according to club president Richard Lee. The club consists of radio enthusiasts who recognize the importance of InfoAge’s location in the history of the radio.

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“If you look into any history of radio, [pioneering Italian scientist Guglielmo] Marconi had a lot to do with some of the first radio transmissions in 1914 right from this spot,” Mr. Lee said.

InfoAge’s Radio Technology Museum [RTM], is one of the center’s dozen museums, located just beyond the front gates. The museum, which is open on Sundays, Wednesdays and Saturdays from 1 to 5 p.m., presents a history of radio technology from its earliest days.

“We give a history of radio right from the beginning to transistor radios and even cell phones,” Mr. Lee said.

Both the NJARC and RTM were forced to cancel most of their regular events over the past year due to the coronavirus pandemic. They were, however, able to hold the swap meet last summer, with masks and social distancing required.

“Now we’re totally open,” Mr. Lee said. “There were months where we were shut down completely … But even last summer we were able to have our swap meet outside and socially distanced, which was a big success.”

Next weekend Mr. Lee hopes to have another successful swap, and also draw in a new, younger generation of people interested in the history of radio because, he says, radio technology “isn’t going anywhere.”

“We’re always looking to get out to the younger people and members. If we can entice young people to come in and get involved in just the history of radio, let alone the idea of owning and restoration. Most people don’t realize that if they have a cell phone in their pocket, they have a radio in their pocket. It’s not like any of it is going away …  We have to preserve history and learn about our history.”

“We anticipate having another great show again,” Mr. Lee said.  “As we always joke, [Mr.] Marconi is looking down on us, because for the last 15 years it hasn’t rained.”

Attendees, for their $5 donation fee, can expect to see a wide variety of old radios as well as some demonstrations.

“You’ll see all sorts of colorful things. Lots of stuff, lots of characters,” Mr. Lee said.

The NJARC, a 501[c][3], currently has about 220 members across the state and hosts other swap meets in Parsippany in the spring and fall.

To see videos of past swaps, visit the YouTube channel, Radio Wild. For more information about NJARC, visit njarc.org.

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