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I don't know how to really start this since its a total mess but, my radio has supposedly been broken for years, I don't know how to test it because I'm missing almost all the parts for the antenna and am having trouble trying to figure out what I'm actually missing, I'v taken the radio out of the car to clean it and have the antenna in the trunk, but is there anyway to trouble shoot or test the radio without needing the complete antenna set, or will the radio not work without both of them being complete and connected to the radio?
-1961 Sedan, Daily Driver in the making
What part of the country are you in? There are several different companies/individuals that repair/refurbish radios and other electronics. I used one in South Carolina for mine. Based on your post, I am guessing you don't know how to read a schematic. You can reach out to me next week (after June 19th) and I can give you some pointers. My contact info is in the magazine. I'm on Eastern time.
There are a couple of things to check. It sounds like you have twin antennas that were mounted to the rear quarter panels. Those would be connected to a "Y" reducing to one antenna lead that went to the radio. You can test the radio with only one antenna though.
According to the manuals I have, there were two radios used in the 1961 DeSoto; the model 112 which had only a single front speaker, and the model 304 which powered a rear seat speaker as well. To test the radio, you need to have a speaker or speakers attached and a test antenna attached. The radio should have power from a 12 volt power supply, and a good ground. There is a 7.5 amp tube-type fuse in the radio power lead, that needs to be in the test circuit as well. When the radio has power and is turned on, the speaker should make a "plop" noise, and then, after a tube warm-up delay, should make noise. If you don't then you may need to find a good radio repair person.
Your radio is a transition era radio and uses tubes in the tuner circuit and transistors in the power circuit. A radio repair person will want a copy of the radio circuit diagram. Before you go to much farther, you might want to find a shop manual and a parts manual for your car. That may sound unobtainable, but they have been reprinted and many are available on CD. Rock Auto for example lists both for your car under the "literature" category. Faxon literature in California shows them in their online catalogue too. They are surprisingly inexpensive. I think you will get the 1960 manual also if you get the CD, which is good, since the radio is carryover from 1960, and is covered in that manual. The radio circuit diagram is in that shop manual, as well as the overall car wiring diagram which will show the antenna connections.
Good luck, and let us know how your repair goes!
Owner of a 1952 Desoto Firedome